Metro/Handout/Rene Stackenborg Kate Applin started the Metro Youth Opera to create work opportunities while waiting for her professional opera career to begin.

Like most grads, Kate Applin was at a crossroads when school finished. Five years at Wilfrid Laurier yielded a music degree and an opera diploma yet, “I didn’t know what happened between training and becoming a professional,” she says. “How do you get from one end to another?”

At 25, Applin had already spent more than half of her life preparing for a career as a professional opera singer, something that usually kicks in around the age of 30.

“The most important thing to be a better performer is to perform more, so I made that opportunity available.”

That opportunity is Metro Youth Opera. Founded by Applin, the small opera company celebrates its third season of performances this weekend with eight singers performing three different shows.

During their post-university years, most singers audition for Young Artists’ Programs, the last stop between professional success or failure. Applin says she “wasn’t ready” for those auditions but she was keen to build on the momentum she’d already created for herself.

Throughout grade school Applin spent up to 10 hours a week in rehearsals with the Canadian Children’s Opera Company; she recalls her supportive parents driving her and her sister to rehearsals on Boxing Day. Summers were similarly jammed with camps, programs and rehearsals.

“A lot of your social time is spent with people also in the organization,” she recalls.

University was a bigger challenge; living in dorms in her first year Applin often begged-off from social events, instead spending most of her time in the music department. “But it was fun,” she says. “You were there with people who also loved what they were doing.”

She still plans to make the next step and begin auditions for a Young Artists’ Program, but right now she splits her time between managing a music school and “loving the company.”

Metro Youth Opera 2013 Season — April 5, 7:30 p.m., April 7, 2:30 p.m. Centre for Creative Living, the Crescent School, 2365 Bayview Ave. metroyouthopera.ca.

Children’s opera

From Grade 5 on, Applin spent much of her spare time rehearsing with the Canadian Children’s Opera Company, the only permanent such ensemble in the country blending music with drama.

“That’s the joy of opera,” she says.

Anyone looking to forge a career similar to Applin’s might want to check out the CCOC’s open house Friday, with open rehearsals for the company’s production of Laura’s Cow taking place on Saturday at First Unitarian Congregation on St. Clair Avenue. Check canadianchildrensopera.com for more details.

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