Magazine article Opera Canada

Dawn Rivard

Magazine article Opera Canada

Dawn Rivard

Article excerpt

Born in Windsor, ON, Dawn Rivard moved to Toronto after high school to make a living as an artist creating retail displays. When she wanted to make her wigs look better, she headed to the only place she could find that might teach her that--a Wig and Makeup Training Program at the Canadian Opera Company. "I took a makeup class to put on my resume to make me more qualified for the internship." she says. "I was excited and honored when Martha Gleason accepted me for one of the four season-long positions"

Rivard had every intention of learning what she could and then going back to the world of window displays. But when she finished the program, she was offered an assistants position at the COC, and on her first day there--while sweeping the floor, as she recalls--she also got offered work on Phantom of the Opera by Donna Gliddon: "Those two women gave me my big breaks in this industry, and I owe them a lot."

Rivard worked at the COC and Livent (producer of Phantom) for three years, leaving the COC following a summer at the Banff Summer Festival. After getting a hairdressers license, she did musical theater for several years, and then worked in film full time. "I got burnt out and realized my passion was for opera and stage work, so although I still do film and commercials, my calendar is filled with more opera. I gel with opera singers. They are some of the most disciplined performers, and I respect their dedication to the languages, the music, the staging and the history of the art form." Opera also uses every one of Rivard's creative skills--hairstyling, makeup design, wig building and styling--with some technological innovation along the way. "In one Magic Flute we put LED lights in the Queen of the Nights wig that were controlled from the lighting booth."

Rivard embraces opportunities to test her resources. …

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