Originally founded in 1986 as a 9-member male-only chorus for The Barber of Seville, the Opera Lyra Ottawa (OLO) Chorus now boasts a membership of close to 60 local singers. Led by Chorus Master Laurence Ewashko since 1988, the OLO Chorus has grown to a highly skilled and flexible ensemble known for its discipline, dedication, and sense of fun. They have been featured in many OLO mainstage Opera productions and are often invited to join other organizations throughout the city to perform in numerous high profile events.
Laurence Ewashko - Chorus Master
Laurence Ewashko celebrates his 23rd season as Chorus Master and the second production of Lucia with Opera Lyra Ottawa. Mr. Ewashko is currently Associate Professor at the University of Ottawa, where he conducts two choral ensembles and has a voice studio. He completed six years of postgraduate studies in Vienna with the generous assistance of the Canada Council for the Arts. Former conductor of the Vienna Boys’ Choir, Laurence was invited back in 1998 to take the boys on tour throughout North America, including an appearance on the Late Show with David Letterman and his carnegie Hall debut. He has served as Chorus Master and Vocal Coach at the Banff Centre for the Arts, and has lectured in Canada, the United States, Italy, and in Sweden. This season Laurence will be preparing Ottawa choruses for the NACO Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 in D minor, as well as a world premiere of "A Ballad of Canada" by Malcolm Forsyth.
Opera Lyra Ottawa Chorus
The Opera Lyra Ottawa Chorus is open to all aspiring singers with intermediate music reading skills as well as good stage presence and acting ability. The OLO Chorus is, essentially. a volunteer chorus; singers receive a small honourarium at the conclusion of each production or concert. All costumes, wig and make-up supplies are provided by Opera Lyra, however choristers are expected to provide their own footwear.
To prepare for mainstage productions, 3-hour music rehearsals typically start 4-5 months in advance and are scheduled once a week at a venue in downtown Ottawa. Extra music rehearsals are normally scheduled a week or two prior to staging rehearsals. Choristers are usually called to two 3-hour evening staging rehearsals (19:00-22:00) as well as at least one staging rehearsal on Saturdays (10:00-13:00 or 14:00-17:00, or both). Sundays are the days off. There are usually four evening rehearsals in the theatre during 'Tech Week' with wig and makeup calls starting as early as 17:00. Choristers are expected to attend all music and staging rehearsals.
Auditions for chorus positions are scheduled annually in January or February. These auditions are intended to fill positions available for the following season.
To apply for an audition, non-OLO chorus members are required to send a resume to Chandel Gambles, Office Coordinator via e-mail, firstname.lastname@example.org. Resumes can be submitted at any time of the year. The audition panel will review all applications and decide who will be invited to audition. Those chosen to audition will be informed by Opera Lyra of their audition time at least one week prior to the audition date.
For the audition, singers are usually asked to prepare two opera arias, contrasting in style, one of which should be in Italian. The audition panel will choose which aria will be heard at the time of the audition. In some cases, both arias will be heard.
An accompanist will be provided for the audition at no cost to the applicant. Applicants may also bring an accompanist at their own expense.
There will be public notification of audition details via: this website, local choral groups and the Music Department at the University of Ottawa.
AUDITION POLICY FOR CURRENT OLO CHORUS MEMBERS
OLO chorus members who have sung in at least one fully-staged Opera Lyra production since September 2007 do not have to re-audition. Please note that concerts (ie. Mignon, Hamlet, Black & White Opera Soiree) do not count as a production. Separate auditions will be scheduled for chorus solo parts and/or when deemed necessary.