OAF News

Winners of 2013 Christina and Louis Quilico Awards

Toronto, May 14, 2013– Rihab Chaieb and Neil Craighead from the Canadian Opera Company Ensemble Studio are co-recipients of this year's first prize of the Christina and Louis Quilico Awards.  Ms Chaieb and Mr. Craighead will each receive $4,000. Claire de Sévigné won the second prize of $3,000 and Ambur Braid won the third prize of $2,000.  The competition took place on May 13, 2013 in the Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts.

(l-r) Soprano Ambur Braid, Alan Walker, Executive Director of the OAF, mezzo soprano Rihab Chaieb, Christina Quilico, soprano Claire de Sévigné, bass-baritone Neil Craighead    Photo: Chris Huctheson

The competition was adjudicated by a panel composed of Alexander Neef, General Director of the COC, Janet Stubbs, mezzo-soprano and Ensemble Studio alumna, and Stuart Hamilton, vocal coach, pianist,  author and former Head of COC Ensemble Studio.  The young artists sang one aria of their choice and one aria selected by the panel.

Tunisian-born mezzo-soprano Rihab Chaieb is currently appearing with the COC as Sister Mathilde in Dialogues des Carmélites. Other COC credits include Sesto in La clemenza di Tito (Ensemble), Inez in Il Trovatore, La Ciesca in Gianni Schicchi, Ino/Juno in Semele (Ensemble), Tisbe in La Cenerentola, Second Secretary to Mao in Nixon in China, the Third Lady in The Magic Flute (Ensemble) and the French Mother in Death in Venice. She recently performed in Kaija Saariaho’s From the Grammar of Dreams (Washington, D.C.) and attended the Steans Institute at the Ravinia Festival. Upcoming engagements include Cherubino in Le nozze di Figaro (San Francisco Opera’s Merola Opera Program). Ms Chaieb is a Canada Council for the Arts grant recipient.

Bass-baritone Neil Craighead is currently appearing as a Cappadocian in the COC’s Salome. Other COC roles include Publio in La clemenza di Tito (Ensemble); Pinellino in A Florentine Tragedy/Gianni Schicchi; Sciarrone in Tosca; the Usher in Rigoletto; the First Priest (mainstage) and the Speaker in The Magic Flute (Ensemble); a Youth and Russian Father in Death in Venice; the Oracle and a Trojan Man in Idomeneo; the Official Registrar in Madama Butterfly; and, at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, the Japanese Envoy 2 in The Nightingale and Other Short Fables.

About the COC Ensemble Studio
Founded in 1980 by the Canadian Opera Company, the Ensemble Studio is Canada’s premier training program for young opera professionals.  The members of the Ensemble Studio are the COC’s resident artists and are important ambassadors for the company.  Since the program’s inception, over 150 young professional Canadian singers, opera coaches, stage directors and conductors have acquired their first major professional operatic experience through the Canadian Opera Company Ensemble Studio. Former members include Ben Heppner, Isabel Bayrakdarian, John Fanning, Wendy Nielsen, David Pomeroy, Joseph Kaiser, Lauren Segal and Krisztina Szabó.

Members of the Ensemble Studio receive a blend of advanced study and practical experience through an individually tailored, multi-year program, involving understudying and performing mainstage roles, intensive vocal coaching, language and acting studies, and career skills development, as well as participation in masterclasses with internationally renowned opera professionals.

About the Ontario Arts Foundation
Established in 1991 as a public charitable foundation, the Foundation holds over 300 endowments totaling more than $60 million and pays out over $2 million annually in support of the arts in Ontario.

About the Christina and Louis Quilico Awards
Christina Petrowska-Quilico established the Christina and Louis Quilico Fund in 2000 to honour her late husband, renowned baritone, Louis Quilico, and to recognize outstanding young singers, pianists and composers for voice. During his 45 years on the stage, Louis Quilico shared performing credits with Luciano Pavarotti, Placido Domingo, José Carreras, Joan Sutherland and Renata Tebaldi. He was instrumental in furthering the careers of many young singers through his teaching and master classes. The Ontario Arts Foundation manages the endowment that funds the Christina and Louis Quilico Awards.

For more information, please contact:

Alan Walker
Executive Director, Ontario Arts Foundation
Tel: (416) 969-7413


Kristin McKinnon
Assistant Publicist, Canadian Opera Company
Tel: (416) 306-2383


BLOG: Light at the end of the tunnel... Read more »