I began the opera and never looked back

MARCO POLO Ciao! Could you please introduce yourself?
Allison CocianI My name is Allison Cociani and I am an Italian Canadian.
I was born in Vancouver and live part time in Vancouver and part time in Lake Country BC, so that I can be close to my mom. I am a composer and a classically trained singer, and I have recently started a new opera company in Vancouver called East Van Opera. We are committed to the production of new music and to elevating women in the arts, and we will be performing my own opera, Alma this June 22nd to 25th at the Metro Theatre in Vancouver.
MARCO POLO Give me a few snapshot details of your childhood.
Allison CocianI My childhood was filled with music and nature and wonder. We moved to the Okanagan when
I was five years old, and I was blessed to have had the opportunity to have so much nature at my finger tips. I remember walking just a half a block away and I had a whole mountainside as my playground in one direction, and the lake in the other direction. My father was Italian (from Trieste) and my mother is French Canadian, so we had a very european upbringing.
Of course I had to occasionally help with the stomping of grapes, and preparations for making olives, and sausages, etc etc. We had a strong family life and a strong connection to our family in Italy.
MARCO POLO How much did your parents influence your early choice to pursue music?
Allison CocianI My parents put my in piano lessons at the age of five, as I was always sitting at the piano and playing songs of my own concoction. I loved it of course, and excelled in music. My parents didn’t really give me much room to listen to music other than classical for the longest time, so it’s no wonder I connected so easily to the genre. After a while they noticed I was always singing, and put me in voice classes when I was 9 years old. I must say, I loved that even more. By the time I turned 13 though it started to be too much and I had to choose between piano or voice. I ended up choosing voice, and the rest is history!
MARCO POLO For all of us, your uneducated audience, firstly how many different kinds of sopranos are there? Coloratura, soubrette, lyric, spinto and dramatic.
Correct?
Allison CocianI There are many different kind of sopranos, yes. As a young lady I was primarily a coloratura, but now as a mature woman my voice has also matured, and I would consider myself a lyric coloratura, meaning I have all the agility of a coloratura, but a warmer quality to the voice. I can also sing lyric roles as well.
MARCO POLO You are also a composer…
Allison CocianI Yes I have spent the last 3 years composing an Opera.
When my father passed away in 2012, I was left with a hole in my heart. I decided, after some time had passed, that I needed to focus on creating something big, something to help me heal from that pain. I began the opera and never looked back. It is a labour of love, and it is, I think, something my Dad would have loved very much. The music is modern and complex, yes, but very melodious and fun to listen to. The story is one that explores the theme of personal strength and forgiveness. I think we can all relate to this concept in the times we live in. We also have ballet dancers and a burlesque act woven into the opera. It’s going to be very entertaining!
MARCO POLO Let us talk about your most recent roles.
Allison CocianI Recently I’ve had a couple of roles with Opera Mariposa in Vancouver. I played the role of Serpina, in La Serva Padrona, by Pergolesi, and I played Lucy in The Telephone, by Menotti.
Allison CocianI I love to sing concerts of course. I love that intimate setting, and the ability to create a playlist to suit the audience. I do love though, the allure of opera and the stage.
What other genre so completely encompasses so many art forms ~ singing, story telling, orchestra, visual arts, costumes. It is so powerful and complete and I would like very much to have the chance to do more stage work.
MARCO POLO Where do you see yourself professionally?
Allison CocianI I love being a singer, but I am so passionate about composition.
My dream is to take my music to Italy and tour my opera there. I intend to continue with East Van Opera, and to continue to create new works.
I long to share my music with the community and to touch the hearts of my listeners. I am so excited for this future.

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