Fil-Canadian violinist Isabel Lago to train, perform with Canadian Opera Company

Isabel Lago
Isabel del Mundo Lago is all set to join the oldest opera orchestra in Canada. Photo from Isabel Lago on Facebook.

Young Filipino-Canadian violinist Isabel del Mundo Lago was welcomed by the prestigious Canadian Opera Company (COC) Orchestra Academy as one of the five student musicians who will train and perform for the national orchestra.

The Fil-Canadian, who traces her parental roots to Filipino parents, Rita del Mundo of Imus in Cavite and Philip Lago of Pasig in Manila, is a full tuition scholar of The Michael and Sonja Koerner Scholarships at The Glenn Gould School where she is a third year student.

The 20-year-old student violinist was announced by the COC on January 7, 2020, as having successfully passed the Toronto auditions for the 7th annual COC intensive training program scheduled from January 16 to February 8, 2020.

The COC notes Isabel Lago’s credentials include performance as a concerto soloist with the Fraser Valley Symphony and the Richmond Symphony Orchestra, playing with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra in the 21C Music Festival, and serving as Concertmaster for the GGS Opera’s orchestra in 2019.

Isabel has won competitions including first prize in the Canadian Repertoire class in the BC Performing Arts Provincials and first place in the Abbotsford, Chilliwack, and Vancouver festivals.

Her exposure include participation in the National Arts Centre Young Artist Program, San Diego Conservatory’s International Youth Symphony Program, and the Schleswig-Holstein Musik Festival Orchestral Academy in Germany.

Isabel will undergo three weeks of one-on-one mentorship and practical experience on “how a performance comes together, how to prepare their part of a score, and the continuing work of an orchestra over the course of rehearsals and performances” from the world-renowned oldest opera orchestra in Canada established in 1977.

Isabel, born to Filipinos Rita del Mundo of Cavite and Philip Lago of Manila, grew up in the United States and Canada. Photo from Junie del Mundo Facebook post.

The COC student musicians’ training and performance opportunities in the 2020 Orchestra Academy include:

1. Performing with the COC Orchestra for two performances of the COC’s production of Humperdinck’s Hansel & Gretel on February 6 and 8, conducted by COC Music Director Johannes Debus

2. A recital of Ralph Vaughan Williams’ Songs of Travel and select instrumental chamber works with artists of the COC Ensemble Studio on January 29 as part of the COC’s Free Concert Series in the Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre

3. Coaching sessions, workshops, and masterclasses with COC music staff and COC Orchestra musicians, including COC Concertmaster Marie Bérard and Associate Concertmaster Aaron Schwebel

4. An introduction to the physicality of opera through sessions with the COC’s Performance Kinetics Consultant Jennifer Swan

5. An exploration of the concept and themes of the opera with Hansel & Gretel Assistant Director and COC Director/Dramaturg-in-Residence Julie McIsaac

6. Coachings and ongoing, one-on-one mentorship from a member of the COC Orchestra

7. A behind-the-scenes tour of the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts led by the COC Associate Technical Director Jake Gow to introduce players to the technical aspects of a production

Isabel Lago and her fellow 2020 COC Orchestra Academy class members will be paired with mentors from the COC Orchestra, learning from them in a one-on-one capacity. The 2020 mentors are: Marie Bérard and Dominique Laplante, first violin; Aaron Schwebel, second violin; Catherine Gray, viola; Paul Widner, cello; and Tony Flynt, bass.

Filipino musicians have excelled on the world’s stages and among the more recent accolades were received in 2019 by 11-year-old cellist Damodar das Castillo who was declared champion musician in Estonia, violinist Ruth Livioco-Tumpalan who is an American Protege Awardee, and composer Nilo Alcala who won the American Prize.

SEND congratulations to Isabel del Mundo Lago for marking a new milestone in her young musical career!

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Angie Quadra-Balibay
Angie is a self-confessed reformed news critic who vows she has finally found infinite value in delivering the good news. She teaches students of all ages how to make the important interesting for audiences across media platforms.