Quilico Awards 2023

Last evening saw the first post-plague edition of the Christina and Louis Quilico Awards competed for by the singers of the COC Ensemble Studio. Six of Ensemble’s seven singers competed with Vladimir Soloviev and Brian Cho providing piano accompaniment.  It wasn’t the most thrilling Quilico Awards ever.  The judges; Perryn Leech, Carolyn Sproule and Steven Philcox probably had a pretty easy time of it.  So herewith how it came out.


midoriMidori Marsh was easily the top pick (which was no surprise at all).  She sang “O luce di quest’anima” from Donizetti’s Linda di Chamonix and “Deh vieni, non tardar” from The Marriage of Figaro with plenty of power but also agility and control.  In short it was polished and high quality.  Here is the one member of the ES one would predict with some confidence will become a successful professional singer.

Second prize winner Arianne Cossette sang a spirited “Je veux vivre” from Gounod’s Roméo et Juliette and a pretty decent “Non mi dir” from Don Giovanni.  She has a voice with plenty of power and a pretty lower register but right now I think she’s pushing her upper register and it sounds squally.  This is a common (and fixable) problem for young sopranos; especially the ones with big voices, and the RBA acoustic always makes it sound worse so I think there’s potentially a very good voice here.


Mezzo Alex Hetherington won the third prize with a fairly predictable pairing of the Komponist’s aria from Ariadne auf Naxos and “Parto, ma tu ben mio” from La clemenza di Tito.  How often has one heard those arias in competition?  Both were quite nicely sung but one wonders if there is the power there to sing major roles on an opera stage.  TBH I’m not even sure that’s where Alex’ interests lie anyway. Her future may lie more in the world of contemporary music and art song.  She certainly has the sensibility and technique.


alexhallidayBaritone Alex Halliday was perhaps a bit unlucky to miss out on a prize.  Again, it’s not the most powerful voice but he made a decent fist of “Quand laa flamme de l’amour” from Bizet’s La jolie fille de Perth and “Vi ravviso” from Bellini’s La Somnambula.

Finally we heard mezzo Queen Hezurmuryango and soprano Charlotte Siegel.  Both these ladies have issues they need to address and I don’t think any purpose is served by me dwelling on them.

Photo credits: Karen E. Revves


3 thoughts on “Quilico Awards 2023

  1. This is just plain mean! Every single one of these singers did an AMAZING job! Don’t listen to this old grump you all slayed! ❤️

  2. I have had the pleasure of listening to all of these young artists on a few occasions. They are all incredibly amazing artists who absolutely deserve to be in the ensemble studio and have great futures in the opera world. Tearing down these young performers can be incredibly damaging and unnecessary. Bravi tutti to everyone who competed!

  3. Having heard many of these wonderful performers several times, I know the caliber of talent at the COC is now and always has been very high! I can not imagine a way where you are finding little to nothing positive to discuss all of these performers. And then to take the time to tear them down so harshly is honestly unacceptable. In a time where we are desperate to rebuild art and get people back in their seats, why attempt to scare audiences away? It’s clear you know singing, and that is lovely. Please try better to hear more positive work, and make your criticism more gentle. Destroying the souls of young singers should be the last thing you desire to do.

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