Magazine article Opera Canada

Wallis Giunta

Magazine article Opera Canada

Wallis Giunta

Article excerpt

It's turning out to be a banner year for the creamytoned, Ottawa-born mezzo Wallis Giunta. In March, she sang three recital programs south of the border--at the Caramoor Festival in western New York and twice at Merkin Hall in New York City. In July, she is off to Tuscany as one of the small handful of singers invited to join KiriTe Kanawa in her young artists' program at the Solti Te Kanawa Accademia di Bel Canto. That will be followed by a month of studies in Germany with soprano Edith Wiens before returning home to take on the role of Lola in Opera Lyra Ottawa's September production of Cavalleria Rusticana.

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When we spoke on a rainy day in a cozy downtown Toronto coffee shop, she was in the midst of rehearsals for her first major mainstage role with the Canadian Opera Company, taking on 13 performances as the Second Lady in Diane Paulus's charming and colorful new production of Die Zauberflote. For the past two years, Giunta has been a busy member of the COC's Ensemble Studio, gaining a wealth of experience and covering roles such as Nancy T'sang in Nixon in China and Angelina in La cenerentola. Also in March, she took part in the COC's U.S. premiere of Robert Lepage's acclaimed Stravinsky production, The Nightingale & Other Short Fables, at the Brooklyn Academy of Music Opera Festival in New York, singing the alto solo in The Nightingale as well as the brief four-song cycle, Pribaoutki, under COC Music Director Johannes Debus.

She returns to New York this fall for what will likely be a two-year stint with the Metropolitan Opera's Lindemann Young Artist Development Program. "I'll probably have some assignments, such as covers or small roles," says Giunti, 25, "similar to the set-up here with the COC Ensemble Studio. They provide ongoing lessons and coaching, and the singers are invited to attend all the mainstage rehearsals and performances they want. The program has been really generous with releases to allow me to take the engagements that I have, but otherwise I will be based in New York.

"The Met progi'am mounts performances on its own as well, including a scenes concert on the main stage. …

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