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For the third consecutive year, Against the Grain Theatre joins University of Toronto Opera to immerse emerging artists in a three-week program focusing on the exciting canon of modern-contemporary works and engaging workshops to expand the mind of the modern artist.

The NOI is meant to prioritize individual artistic needs in the middle of August when the new-reality audition season is just around the corner. AtG’s outside-the-box approach to traditional opera matched with UofT Opera’s educational excellence is quickly being established as a hub for singers to learn and perform.

The program consists of private voice, repertoire and acting coachings, masterclasses and roundtables with program faculty, and a variety of seminars and workshops to encourage artists to consider a holistic approach to their artistry and professional careers.

2020 sessions included: Bystander Intervention Training with Aria Umezawa, Theatre Design with Jason Hand, Resume Workshop with Sandra Horst, Recording Workshop with Ryan Harper, Expanding Your Artistic Practice through the lens of BIPOC artists, and Exploring Indigenous Artistic Practice.

It is the responsibility of NOI as an educator of emerging artists to provide a variety of perspectives in their training so that they can be better artists and colleagues (who wouldn’t want that?). This is why we are incorporating equity, diversity, and inclusion training for both staff and participants, as well as a diverse selection of repertoire outside of the Western classical canon, into the National Opera Intensive this year.

New for 2021:

  • Several spots for promising undergraduate students
  • Mandatory Anti-Oppression training for all staff members and participants on the first day of the program
  • Diverse representation of repertoire outside of the Western classical canon – ex. Works from BIPOC composers, female composers, LGBTQ+ composers, etc.
  • Exploring programming with LGBTQ+ representation

In 2021, AtG and UofT Opera will explore a digital model of instruction. The program will take place from August 3rd through 19th, 2021. This model allows AtG and UofT Opera to work with emerging artists all over Canada (and anywhere, really), creating a truly National Opera Intensive.

Applications for the National Opera Intensive 2021 are now closed.

Contact with “[Your Full Name] + National Opera Intensive” in the subject line and a real human will reply ASAP.

As a graduate of this storied institution, my foundation for opera was built at UofT Opera. Our Executive Director, Robin Whiffen is also a graduate of UofT Voice and together we couldn’t be more thrilled to continue this relationship with Sandra Horst and Michael Patrick Albano.

Joel Ivany

This Summer Intensive is a well-thought out program, helping us to find the rhythm of lessons, practice and self-promotion any artist needs when navigating the business post-graduation. It’s was a pleasure to explore the realm of non-mainstream contemporary opera within this creative sphere!

Sarah Parkin, UK


MacMillan Theatre in the Edward Johnson Building
University of Toronto, Faculty of Music
80 Queens Park, Toronto, Ontario

National Opera Intensive Faculty

Voice Faculty

Catherine Daniel, Mezzo-Soprano
Miriam Khalil, Soprano
Elliot Madore, Baritone
Heidi Melton, Soprano

Music Faculty

Andrea Grant
Sandra Horst

Stage Direction/Acting Faculty

Michael Albano
Joel Ivany


2020 Alumni

Madison Angus
Corey Arnold
Sawyer Craig
Marina Davis
Máiri Demings
Renee Fajardo
Elizabeth Harris
Kristian Lo
Stéphanie McKay-Turgeon
Elise Noyes
Cristina Paoletta
Georgia Perdikoulias

2019 Alumni

Dani Agostino
Madison Angus
Anna Boyes
Alasdair Campbell
Julie Ekker
Jocelyn Fralick
Lauren Halasz
Nolan Kehlar
Christina Lanz
Virginie Mongeau
Amy Moodie
Brittany Rae
Morgan Reid
Stephanie Sedlbauer
Whitney Sloan
Carmen Sprecht
Caroline Stanczyk
Charlotte Stewart-Juby
McKenzie Warriner
Gwendolyn Yearwood

2018 Alumni

Madison Angus
Shaelyn Archibald
James Brown
Kallie Clayton
Gwenna Fairchild-Taylor
Jaclyn Grossman
Camille Holland
Meghan Jamison
Kieran Kane
Philip Klaasen
Janelle Lapalme
Emili Losier
Jonathan MacArthur
Julia Morson
Justine Owen
Annie Ramos
Jonelle Sills
Whitney Sloan
Rebecca Townsend
Gwendolyn Yearwood

Check out Opera Pub: The Next Generation, featuring the NOI 2020 cohort!


Photos: Darryl Block Photography