Categories: Entertainment

Opera singer Caitlin Wood wins Lieutenant Governor of Alberta Arts Award

While at Vancouver Opera

St. Albert opera singer Caitlin Wood, an emerging gifted coloratura soprano is one of 10 recipients of the 2016 Lieutenant Governor of Alberta Arts Awards for emerging artists.

A citation on the Lieutenant Governor of Alberta Awards Foundation web page states, ”Caitlin Wood is a wonderful young soprano with excellent stage presence, a beautiful, clear voice and potential for an international operatic career.”

Wood is invited to accept the $10,000 prize award on Monday, June 13 at a closed ceremony at Edmonton’s Government House with Lt.-Gov. Lois E. Mitchell in attendance. About 177 Alberta artists competed for the prize.

“I felt so grateful. I feel very lucky especially with the Lt.-Gov. giving the award. In the arts it’s fairly difficult to make a living. There are not as many jobs, and some people like what you do. Some don’t. It’s so subjective. To know all your hard work is paying off is fantastic,” said Wood.

She was speaking in a telephone interview from her Toronto home where she studies privately with University of Toronto instructor Mary Morrison.

A member of the University of Toronto since 1979, Morrison enjoyed a distinguished operatic career. The well-travelled soprano also mentored numerous up and coming singers including sopranos Measha Brueggergosman and Tracy Dahl.

“She is amazing. She is on top of everything,” said Wood. “I don’t have a big voice, but what Mary taught me is if I sing high, I will be able to cut through an orchestra. She’s taught me to carry my voice to the back of the hall. And she’s taught specificity of vowels and a clean diction.”

Wood’s professional career became airborne after receiving the 2013 Richard Bradshaw Graduate Fellowship from the University of Toronto’s Opera School.

A year later as a member of Vancouver Opera’s Yulanda M. Faris Young Artist Award Program she nabbed various roles including Frasquita in Carmen and several understudy roles in Die Fledermaus and Stick Boy.

In a stroke of luck, soprano Andriana Chuchman, who was cast as Johanna, the female lead in Sweeney Todd, was called to the Metropolitan Opera House.

“They asked me to sing in her place and it was fantastic. Greer Grimsley was Sweeney and he’s so well-known in the opera world.”

Unknown to Wood, her national presence took a leap when Against the Grain mastermind Joel Ivany cast her in the 2015 Banff workshop production of A Little Too Cozy.

Ivany’s concept is a wild romp that fractures Mozart’s Cosi Fan Tutte and rebuilds it as a sassy reality TV dating show where two couples can win prizes if they agree to marry without having seen each other.

A supporting character in this production, Wood was cast as Despina, the “lady handler.”

A Little Too Cozy officially opened May 12 in Studio 42 at CBC Toronto’s Broadcast Centre. The Toronto Star applauded Wood’s performance as “an extreme caricature of a careerist media handler played with the dry raillery of a closet dominatrix.”

Wood’s star just keeps shining brighter. This summer she looks forward to performing Lucia in The Rape of Lucretia at the Banff Centre.

In 2017, she will continue to hopscotch across Canada.

In April 2017 she is slated to perform the role of Clorinda, the ugly stepsister in Edmonton Opera’s La Cenerentola (Cinderella) followed by her first leading lady role Susanna in The Marriage of Figaro for Vancouver Opera.

Wood plans to use her money for additional vocal coaching lessons in preparation for the roles of Clorinda and Susanna.

The high flyer adds, “And if there is any money left over, I’ll use it for auditions in the United States.”

Anna Borowiecki: Anna Borowiecki joined the St. Albert Gazette in 2000. She reports on local people and events in the arts, entertainment and food industry. She also writes general news and features.