Magazine article Opera Canada

Frederic Antoun

Magazine article Opera Canada

Frederic Antoun

Article excerpt

HAD THINGS UNFOLDED DIFFERENTLY, FREDERIC ANTOUN would have become a composer after he dropped out of premed. Instead, the Montreal-based singer, who just turned 30, is on his way to becoming Canada's next great lyric tenor. The charismatic Antoun has matinee-idol good looks, an impressive athlete's body, passionate acting skills, easy high notes and a sweet, silky voice with bite that instantly commands the ear.

Antoun's Egyptian-born father is an orthopedic surgeon and his French-Canadian mother a dietician. Classical music filled the home, and Antoun and his younger brother and sister all took piano lessons. In high school, Antoun studied the great works of the classical composers, which gave him an interest in writing music himself. When he decided to pursue composing full time, he needed an instrument for his CJEP audition. Because he didn't have time to get a piano sonata up to speed, he had to fall back on his voice, learning Schubert's "Die Forelle" ("The Trout") in German from one of his father's Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau albums. "I was never a big fan of vocal music," he says, "but I knew I had some kind of voice from goofing around with my friends mimicking grand opera."

He auditioned as both a composition and vocal major for the Universite de Montreal and was accepted in both. When he had to choose between the two, he went on to get both his bachelor and master degrees in voice performance. "At the beginning of my career, I didn't have much projection, so I saw myself as an oratorio and art-song singer who composed on the side. I had no chest voice so I couldn't sing opera. …

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