by Julianna Kerr

After more than 20 years, Carlo Verdicchio’s favourite thing about his work is still the variety of tasks required behind the scenes to make a performance successful.

As Operations Manager for Chamberfest, Carlo’s role in production coordination includes a wide-ranging collection of different jobs, from setting the stage to creating a performance space where none existed before.

Carlo Verdiccio is rarely photographed at rest. Here is an action moment from 2022.
Photo: Curtis Perry

Born and raised in Montreal, Carlo lived in the U.S. and in France, before settling in Ottawa. His first contract with Chamberfest was in 2000. He was a federal employee then and would book summer holidays so he could do production for the festival.
“It used to involve running from venue to venue in the early days of the festival,” he says. “Sometimes four or five venues in a single evening.”
Carlo fondly remembers a dedicated patron who used a mobility device to get around.

“You could see him racing around to different venues to get to as many concerts as possible. But the concept evolved, and we ended up doing production in different locations, but consecutively versus concurrently, so audiences could catch more of the performances.”

He describes the festival as a great concept, a tribute to the artistic direction.

“It’s been good for Ottawa that Chamberfest has kept its concept broad,” he says. “It has worked from the beginning – a cross-section to give everyone something they can enjoy.”

“It’s been good for Ottawa that Chamberfest has kept its concept broad,” he says. “It has worked from the beginning – a cross-section to give everyone something they can enjoy.”
A great deal of work goes into planning and delivering the concerts presented to Chamberfest patrons. Carlo’s day usually begins with a production team briefing to hammer out last-minute details, and then it’s off to the venue.

Once on site, he starts roughing in the details for all aspects of the coming performance – from sound checks and instrumentation set-up to defining and testing any technical requirements.
Next, it’s often time to greet the musicians and give them a tour of the spaces they will be occupying, from the stage to the green room.

Carlo wears many hats during the set-up process, working on logistics to ensure all goes as smoothly as possible. From considering box office locations to briefing production volunteers, it’s likely that he has played a part.

His work is done once the facility has been returned to its original configuration and everything is back in its place.
“Then, we call it a night. Or lunch time, or whatever time it is,” he says.

As for the concert itself, Carlo says he gets to hear a lot of music, but he rarely gets to listen because there is always so much going on.
Being in production does, however, have its perks and memorable moments.
Take, for example, a production he was working on about 10 years ago. Laurence Ewashko and the Ewashko Singers were presenting their Christmas concert, performing classical and jazz pieces.

Future superstar mezzo soprano Wallis Giunta was left waiting during rehearsal while the band, The Pollcats, went off on a groove of their own for a verse.
“So, for fun, I got on stage and asked her to dance with me,” Carlo says. “We jived for the verse, and she said something like, ‘Let’s do that tonight’. I thought she was kidding, but I was ready.
“Sure enough, that evening, as the band starts their verse, she turns to me offstage and pulls me up. We break into a few good moves, then she whispers, ‘I’ve got to sing now’, so I give her one last spin, tell her to go right ahead and back off stage left.
“She never missed a beat, and the show went on. So gracious and graceful. Lots of fun.”

Carlo will be hard at work throughout Ottawa Chamberfest from July 20-Aug. 3. Wallis Giunta performs on July 28. For more information and the full schedule, visit

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