Toronto native Charles Sy has been recognized locally and nationally as a promising young artist with a “softly lyric sound, a natural sense of phrasing coupled with a rare willingness to project beyond the apron” (National Post). He is described as “vocally and dramatically mature with a delicious dark tenor sound that [stretches] easily into shining high notes” (Schmopera). Charles is currently a member of the Canadian Opera Company’s Ensemble Studio after receiving both First prize and Audience Choice in the Canadian Opera Company’s 2014 Centre Stage Ensemble Studio Competition Gala.
A recent graduate of the University of Toronto (BMus, MMus), Charles is also an alumnus of several prestigious opera training programs including Music Academy of the West, Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, Opera NUOVA, the Centre for Opera Studies in Italy (COSI), and the Opera as Theatre program at the Banff Centre, where he was praised as being “excellent from beginning to end as Lechmere” (Calgary Herald) for his performance in Britten’s Owen Wingrave. Previous opera roles include Mayor Upfold (Albert Herring), Tamino (Die Zauberflöte), Vogelsang (Der Schauspieldirektor), Alamão (Pedro Malazarte), Ralph Rackstraw (H.M.S. Pinafore), Don Ottavio (Don Giovanni), Mr. Owen (Postcard from Morocco) and Remendado (Carmen). In 2012, Charles covered the title role in UofT Opera’s renowned student composer opera, Rob Ford: The Opera.
An enthusiastic interpreter of song, Charles was selected for an Art of Song Fellowship at the Toronto Summer Music Festival in 2012 where he had the opportunity to work with the world-renowned Gerald Finley and Craig Rutenberg. He was also awarded the 2014 Jim and Charlotte Norcop Prize in Song at the University of Toronto. Charles received first place in the Ottawa Choral Society’s 2014 New Discoveries Competition and is a Jeunes Ambassadeurs Lyriques Laureate for 2014, winning the Prix Lyrique Italien and the Prix Jeunes Espoir Lyrique Canadien. He is a 2014 Jacqueline Desmarais Grant recipient and is also the recipient of the 2013 Hnatyshyn Foundation Developing Artist Grant for Classical Voice after being nominated to represent the University of Toronto and competing at the national level.