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."
Siem's concert is part of TUCCA's ongoing Music for a Cure concert series, which has traveled internationally, and comes to the UK for the first time in collaboration with INCTR and CARF-UK.
Bybee sings the Pilot, opposite 11-year-old Nitai Fluchel in the title role. We spoke with Bybee about working on this opera, and his unexpected path to a singing career.
"If you want to see our bucket list, there's about a hundred pages of endless Google docs of repertoire ideas that we've been marinating for years. Some pieces stay on the list because they are just waiting for the right venue, the right collaborators, the right concert."