"Handel wrote this role for castrato Gioacchino Conti, who was, by all accounts that I read, a complete freak of nature: he could allegedly sing high Cs (as in, C6), and while he preferred to sing roles with more lyrical material, he was known to be equally virtuosic in how he executed coloratura."
"I am also excited to have a predominantly female production team around me, made up of inspiring women with strong ideas and the conviction to realise them."
"I've been singing from the time I was three. Singing has always been a great comfort. As a child I had a wild imagination and I was always creating little scenes. If I was playing with leaves, I would make pathways and roads."
Though still young, Higgins is a seasoned composer; and though there are learning curves to writing for the voice, he wisely keeps his eyes on the final product: an opera for families.
"You know, thank goodness that we're beginning to deal more and more with questions and issues of diversity. But Young Artist Programs can't deal with the diversity questions if there isn't a pipeline beforehand."
She cautions that even in a prestigious YAP or ensemble studio, the opera directors are juggling many priorities and they simply want "to get the most out of your voice right now."
When the legendary Jessye Norman receives the prestigious Glenn Gould Prize - Canada's most significant award for artistic achievement - soprano Pumeza Matshikiza will be among the impressive line-up of singers set to pay homage.
"In the operatic canon, there's a whole lot of male swagger, seduction, anger, and violence but a notable lack of vulnerability. Dramatically, I'm interested in shame and vulnerability, particularly in the lives of men."
I wanted to be Billy Joel when I was growing up because he was a classically trained pianist too. He wrote his own music, sang his own stuff, arranged his own music, his songs, and told a story.
"The stories of Lucretia and Virginia, gruesome and tragic, were seen by audiences of the Renaissance as stories of women's battles against tyranny. These stories of these women's heroic battles seem particularly apt and poignant at present. Botticelli's paintings illustrate these alarming and urgent stories with vividness."