Home - Archives for April 2016

Month: April 2016

Top 3 Reasons Carmen The Opera was Awesome

What an evening! I found myself completely mesmerized by the performance at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts. That’s how I and 19 other GEMgirls and mentors got to spend our Saturday night, attending the final dress rehearsal of the Canadian Opera Company’s performance of Carmen, on April 9. The distinguishing reasons that made the breath-taking phenomenon so spectacular were the live orchestra along with the phenomenal performance. The icing on the cake was the appearance of the two most renowned Carmen’s in the world!

Live Orchestra. You’d think 3 hours of watching a performance would get boring, but I was hypnotized the way Orchestra and Chorus played Georges Bizet’s compositions, and the hours drifted away right in front of my eyes. What captivated me was the thrill and excitement of being taken on a musical journey and I believe the Orchestra and Chorus did justice to Bizet’s masterpiece, Carmen.

Phenomenal Performance. Even though it was a full dress rehearsal, it was nothing short of a flawless performance. The performers were effortlessly able to transport the entire audience back to the 1870’s, into the exciting, romantic, and tragic story.

Two in One. The appearance of two of the world’s most renowned Carmen’s made the performance extra special. How often does one get to see two of the five most famous Carmen’s to perform in one opera?

DSC_0389My special gratitude to Katherine Semcesen for not only familiarizing us with the classical architecture behind the venue but also answering our questions during the intermission. And a special thanks to all the GEM mentors for taking out their time to accompany the mentees.

This was my first experience attending an opera but definitely not the last. As for the Canadian Opera Company, you’ll always find me in the audience!

To see more photos from our special night out click here.

Written by GEMgirl Aliza Fatima

 

How Volunteering Has Helped Me in My Job Search

Currently, I am a GEM volunteer finishing a post-graduate degree in Public Relations. This entire semester has been spent focusing on finding a summer position. How do I find the time to be in school full time, work part-time and volunteer? The answer is simple: I make time. Volunteering has not only helped me on a personal level, but it has helped me to develop skills I have used in my job search, and here is why:
It allows me to feel apart of something larger than myself. Writing resumes and cover letters all the time you start to allow yourself to think as an “I”. Not to mention all of the job interviews where you explain your strengths, your accomplishments and how you will be an integral part of an organization. While this is great and warranted, sometimes we need to take a step back and think about the bigger picture.
Networking. Through GEM I can honestly say that I have made some incredible connections and have truly learnt the value of being a part of a team. Although I am not always in the office, in fact I am only there one day a week, I never feel left out and have forced myself to be engaged in my surroundings.
How to compartmentalize. Say that three times fast. Sometimes it’s hard to sit down and focus on something when it’s unpaid and you are busy with homework, social calendars and home life. Volunteering has allowed me to pick and choose what I need to focus on in that moment, be present and put my best foot forward. This is a critical skill not only in the job hunt but once you’re in a position as well.
Spend your time volunteering for a cause you believe in. Maybe your position as a volunteer will open the door to a new job opportunity, you never know until you try.
Blog by Jamie Crawford-Ritchie. Jamie is a student at Seneca College’s Public Relations program and volunteers at GEM using her social media prowess. When she’s not at school, volunteering with GEM or working at her part-time job, she’s on social media or dreaming about going back to Disneyland.
Photo: Jamie Crawford-Ritchie, Social Media Volunteer at GEM.

Carmen as a Connector

Blog written by Alexander Neef, General Director of the Canadian Opera Company

Saturday April 9th, 20 GEMgirls and their mentors are attending the final dress rehearsal of the Canadian Opera Company’s performance of Carmen, at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts.

Opera synthesizes many arts forms—music, drama, design, art— and, conceived over 400 years ago, has endured by constantly adapting to the ever-changing artistic landscape. Art is a great leveler—connecting people from all cultural, social, ethnic and historical backgrounds. Opera survived because it engages audience’s souls, using the power of the human voice to focus on human emotions. No matter the character or when they lived—monarchs or mermaids; gods or gentry; or, as in the love triangle at the heart of Carmen, a sexually liberated female cigarette factory worker, a duty-bound soldier, and charismatic bullfighter—the emotional highs and lows that sing through the music unfailingly connect operas to audiences.

Carmen was revolutionary. In 1875, Paris had never seen anything like it: an opera about “real” people living “real” lives. Uncompromising, sexually self-aware and societally marginalized, Carmen lives by her own rules which often do not match society’s expectations, unlike any character portrayed before. This, along with the plot’s unflinching realism, outraged audiences. But the scandal didn’t last long. Within a few months, Carmen was a triumph, and it continues to be one of the world’s most popular operas. (Carmen was first performed in Toronto, only four years after its premiere in Paris!).

George Bizet’s music is at once sensual, emotional and unforgettable. But under its irresistible appeal lays rich psychological interaction. These are real people with stories that could be ripped from today’s headlines. How much more relevant can you get?