Article Written by Stephen Bell – Marketing/Development @coffeescreative
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At Coffeeshop Creative we are not only passionate about designing and developing a unique web presence for our clients, but also sharing their stories. We are super excited to share another story in our series of blogs – Grabbing Coffee. Today’s feature is Canadian/Estonian mezzo-soprano, Kristina Agur! As we are designing the upcoming launch of her custom website, we recently caught up with Kristina in the busy Danforth area, at Broadview Espresso.
Estonian/Canadian Mezzo Soprano? Tell us a little about yourself?
Well, starting with the Estonian-Canadian part, I am very fond of the nickname I was bestowed at UofT-Mama Estonia. This came from my proclivity to nurture and feed people, alongside the sizable imprint the expatriate Estonian community has made in my life. It has made me who I am today, and I am so thankful for the support the community has given me.
As far as my journey to the life of a musician…Definitely not the straight path! I grew up playing piano and percussion, encouraged to develop my musical skills, but I had lofty dreams of becoming an orthopedic surgeon. During my Geoscience degree at McMaster, I joined the choir, thinking it would be an easy elective. Through the encouragement of the conductor, David Holler, and a rethink of my goals and dreams, led me to this crazy business!
Now, I am a recent graduate from UofT Opera, living the typical freelancer’s life: hustling gigs, church job, and some retail. My favorite non-singing job is definitely selling mushrooms for a farmer at a farmer’s market. Getting paid to talk about cooking and good quality produce, it’s so much fun!
Kristina Agur in Dialogues of the Carmelites with Halifax Summer Opera
What are your plans for the year ahead?
Moving! I’ve been based in Toronto for most of my life. I ventured as far as Hamilton for my B.Sc., but I am excited to branch out further. I’ll be going to Estonia, I’ve always seen my career steps starting there. But, that move isn’t just about my artistic development. This move is married with a need to experience and grow in a place I am so attached to. I know the reality will alter my perceptions for better and worse, but it’s something I am passionate about. My priority up until then is working as much as I can to prepare. I do want to take this chance to thank Chris Enns, his workshops on finances at UofT (and his great blog ragstoreasonable.com), have given me the tools to do this!
Where do you want to be singing in 5 years time?
The where isn’t so important to me, even though right now my focus is in Europe. I just want to keep refining my craft, and keep developing more facets as an artist. I have my goals and dreams, but I like to keep them close to the vest (I always write them down, but those aspirations stay between me and my friends) But, I would love to sing at the Royal Swedish Opera. My grandmother developed a secret love of opera, when she was a twenty-year old refugee in Sweden. The family she worked for were very kind, and took it upon themselves to culture my small town grandma. They took her to the opera. She fell in love, but when threatened with deportation, Estonians moved on. Coming to Canada, she kept this love quiet, until I started singing seriously. It’s something we’ve bonded over, going to as many shows as she could manage. I’d love to sing on the stage where her love of opera began, in the place where she started her new life.
In Masterclass Kristina Agur and Soprano Sondra Radvanovsky
I have recently reconnected with my love of the outdoors in the colder weather. I’ve always loved cross country skiing and skating, but I’ve started running in the winter, and I love it! I’m an avid cyclist (in the spring-fall, winter riding terrifies me), and just generally love the outdoors and camping. On a day off, you’ll usually find me in the kitchen, making some sort of stew/soup/casserole. My access to organic and local produce has fueled a love to experiment in the kitchen. And Netflix…when given the opportunity, I will rewatch any late 90s/early 2000s romcom. Clueless is always a good choice!
Kristina Agur in HMS Pinafore – UofTOpera
And most importantly, favourite style or type of Coffee?
A good cup of black coffee, Curtis Coffee is a family company that has been roasting for years. They finally opened a café in the St. Clair West neighbourhood, but their Peruvian Roast is such a treat!