Hailed by the New York Times for his “robust singing” and Opera News for his “exquisite vocal beauty,” Grammy-Award-winning Canadian baritone Elliot Madore has established himself as an international artist in demand at the leading opera houses and orchestras of the world.
Here, Madore discusses growing up playing hockey and singing opera, and how an international opera career is only possible with support from his “home team.”
“I’ve always wanted to find the right way to pay tribute to hockey and opera, two of my passions. So, with Messiah/Complex, Joel and I initially talked about telling the story of how music and hockey intertwined with my childhood. My family loves sports, and I basically grew up on various ice rinks in Toronto. There was one rink in particular where I spent a lot of time—at Weston Arena, where my grandparents and mom would take me, and watch me play games.”
“For the Messiah/Complex film shoot, we tried to connect to this journey from boyhood to teenager, to adult. In the old family videos, those are my grandparents— my mom was recording us. There’s some footage that was taken on the day I first skated at Weston Arena with full hockey equipment and a hockey stick. Now, I’m singing Handel’s The Trumpet Shall Sound, in Weston Arena, with my grandfather watching from the stands.”
“When I was thirteen years old, my mother took me to an audition to sing the opening Canadian national anthem for the Toronto Maple Leafs. There were hundreds of people who wanted to sing it, lined up out the door. I couldn’t believe it when they gave me that role. I started opening Leafs games at the Air Canada Centre—and I did that for over a decade. So, all the security guards and support staff for the Maple Leafs basically watched me grow up.“
“I grew up in the Weston neighbourhood, near Weston and Lawrence. I always loved music as a kid. Music followed me around, and then I actively pursued it by singing in choirs. When I was about 16, I had to make a choice between singing and hockey—at the time, it seemed more practical to pursue opera as a career—although I guess it may sound odd to think about opera as a practical career choice.”
“When I was seventeen, I was accepted into the Curtis Institute, in Philadelphia, where I lived in an apartment by myself, and started to learn and train seriously to sing opera, earning my undergrad and Masters. Then, the turning point came when I won the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, circa 2009. I was 22 years old, and it was written up in the New York Times, and made CBC’s The National. I moved to New York, performed at the Met, and then soon I was singing in opera houses around the world—in Switzerland, the U.S., England, and Germany. It’s been a fortunate journey. The Trumpet Shall Sound.”
“Home, community and family are very important for me, and that’s what I hope my filmed performance in Messiah/Complex shows—the sense of gratitude I hold for family and community—respect for the home team.“
Thank you to Elliot Madore for contributing his artistic voice and being a part of this project.