"You could just sit back, forget the spectacle and concentrate on
Tchaikovsky's luscious vocal writing."

Wayne Gooding, Opera Canada

CREATORS
Narmina Afandiyeva
Larry Beckwith
Robert Cooper

PERFORMERS
Tonatiuh Abrego
Isabel Bayrakdarian
Nicholas Borg
Russell Braun
Alexander Dobson
Beste Kalender
Evan Korbut
Marjorie Maltais
Everett Morrison
Marion Newman
Christina Raphaëlle Haldane
Michael Robert-Broder
Charles Sy
David Trudgen
Ilana Zarankin

Creators

NARMINA AFANDIYEVA
CHORUS FIRE
I DUE FIGARO

Pianist, Music Director

Studied at the Bülbül Specialized musical school and Azerbaijan State Conservatory under the guidance of professor Adelya Vekilova. Graduated in the Collaborative Piano Program at the University of Toronto, where she studied with Professor Steven Philcox.

She was awarded the Gwendolyn Koldofsky Prize in Accompanying (University of Toronto, Faculty of Music).

Narmina worked as Music Director and Pianist for I CAPULETI E I MONTECCHI, THE MAGIC FLUTE, MADAME BUTTERFLY (Summer Opera Lyric Theatre), and as a pianist for zarzuela SAUCY SEÑORITA, THE MIKADO, EARNEST, THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING (Toronto Operetta Theatre), borodin's PRINCE IGOR and Weill's STREET SCENE (Opera in Concert).


Larry Beckwith

LARRY BECKWITH
RODELINDA

Artistic Director: Toronto Masque Theatre

Conducted Toronto Operetta Theatre's TAPTOO! byJohn Beckwith and LA VIE PARISIENNE by Jacques Offenbach as well as EARNEST, THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING by Victor Davies

Professional singer: the Elora Festival Singers, Tafelmusik Chamber Choir and Opera Atelier

Baroque Violinist: The Aradia Baroque Ensemble

Holds undergraduate and graduate music degrees from the University of Toronto.


Robert Cooper

ROBERT COOPER, C.M.
VOICEBOX CHORUS DIRECTOR

THE ECSTASY OF RITA JOE

Artistic Director: Chorus Niagara, the Orpheus Choir of Toronto, and Ontario Male Chorus.

Chorus Director for the Black Creek Summer Festival.

Conducted symphony orchestras in Halifax, Winnipeg, Edmonton and Orchestra London (ON); opera companies in Victoria, Ottawa and Winnipeg.

Executive Producer of Opera and Choral Music at CBC for 31 years.

Recipient of an Honorary Doctorate from Brock University, the Order of Canada and the Queen’s Jubilee Medal for his significant contribution to the Canadian choral community.


Performers

TONATIUH ABREGO

Winner of the St. Andrew's Arts Council International Aria Competition (2016), Tenor Tonatiuh Abrego has performed across Canada singing leading roles in Opera and as a soloist in concert performances.

Tonatiuh's previous credits include: Romeo in Jeunesses Musicales du Canada's touring production ROMEO AND JULIET; the leading roles 'Male Chorus' and 'The Witch' in Calgary Opera's productions of THE RAPE OF LUCRETIA and HANSEL AND GRETEL respectively; Nemorino in Opera Nuova's L'ELISIR D'AMORE and 'Don Ottavio' and 'Mr. Craven' in Banff Centre for the Arts' productions of DON GIOVANNI and THE SECRET GARDEN. He was seen in Opera McGill's productions of Britten's THE TURN OF THE SCREW, THE RAPE OF LUCRETIA, DON GIOVANNI.

After having completed his Master's degree in Voice performance at McGill University under the tutelage of Maestro Stefano Algeri, Tonatiuh graduated from Calgary Opera's renowned Emerging Artist program. Upcoming projects include performances with the Canadian Opera Company in ANNA BOLENA and THE NIGHTINGALE AND OTHER SHORT FABLES.


ISABEL BAYRAKDARIAN

On the opera stage performed roles range from Gluck's Euridice in ORFEO ED EURIDICE to Debussy's Mélisande in PELLÉAS ET MÉLISANDE to Poulenc's Blanche in DIALOGUES DES CARMÉLITES and Janáček's Vixen in THE CUNNING LITTLE VIXEN.

Ms. Bayrakdarian appeared regularly at Canadian Opera Company, the Metropolitan Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Paris Opera, Covent Garden and in Houston, Barcelona, Salzburg, and Los Angeles.

In concert, Ms. Bayrakdarian performed with the premier orchestras of New York, Boston, Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Pittsburgh, Minnesota, Toronto, Vancouver, and Montreal under an imposing array of today's leading conductors.


NICHOLAS BORG

Baritone Nicholas Borg holds Masters in Opera at the University of Toronto. With UofT Opera Nicholas portrayed Ben in THE TELEPHONE, Hel Helson in Britten's PAUL BUNYAN, Sir Joseph Porter in HMS PINAFORE and The Man with the Cornet Case in POSTCARD FROM MOROCCO.

He has performed Tarquinius in THE RAPE OF LUCRETIA with MYOpera. Other roles include Peter Quince in A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM, Curio in GIULIO CESARE, Count in LE NOZZE DI FIGARO, Masetto in DON GIOVANNI, and Simone in GIANNI SCHICCHI. Nicholas has participated in the St. Andrews Arts Council Opera Workshop and performed the title role in EUGENE ONEGIN for the Muskoka Opera Festival.


RUSSELL BRAUN

Renowned for his luminous voice, baritone Russell Braun rightfully claims his place on the concert, opera and recital stages. His intelligent and thoughtful portrayals of Chou En-lai, Billy Budd, Prince Andrei, Figaro, Papageno, Count Almaviva, Don Giovanni, Pelléas, Eugene Onegin, and The Traveller have captivated audiences at the Metropolitan Opera in New York, l'Oéra de Paris, the State Opera in Vienna, the Royal Opera, Covent Garden, the Los Angeles Opera, La Scala in Milan, and at the Salzburg and Glyndebourne festivals.

The highlight of recent seasons is the title role of the Canadian Opera Company's new production of LOUIS RIEL in Toronto and in Ottawa with the National Arts Centre Orchestra presented as part of the celebrations surrounding Canada's 150th Anniversary, reprise of Peter Eötvös's SENZA SANGUE in Rome and London, Brett Dean's KNOCKING AT THE HELL GATE with the BBC Symphony in London, and Kaija Saariaho's CINQUE REFLETS AUS: L'AMOUR DE LOIN with the Radio-Sinfonie orchester in both Stuttgart and Freiburg.


ALEXANDER DOBSON

Recognized for his "ringing, present sound" and "rich, flexible, baritone", British-Canadian Alexander Dobson has been praised for his musicality and dramatic awareness on both opera and concert stages. Some roles include the title roles in WOZZECK and DON GIOVANNI, as well as Guglielmo (COSÌ FAN TUTTE), Belcoré (L'ELISIR D'AMORE), Ned Keene (PETER GRIMES), The Count (THE MARRIAGE OF FIGARO), and Marcello (LA BOHÈME).

Alexander has appeared with conductors such as Yannick Nézet-Séguin, Elmer Iseler, Trevor Pinnock, Nic McGegan and Paul Goodwin; on the stages of L'Opéra du Montréal, Opera Ontario, Milwaukee's Florentine Opera, Calgary Opera, Opera Lafayette, Royal Opera House Covent Garden and with the Toronto Symphony, Orchestre Métropolitain, Montreal Symphony Orchestra, Philadelphia Orchestra, National Arts Centre Orchestra, and Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra.

Upcoming engagements include Alexander's Feast with Tafelmusik, Zemlinsky Lyrische Symphonie with the Spoleto Festival and Prince of Players with Florentine Opera.


BESTE KALENDER

Beste Kalender has recently made her recital debut at Carnegie Hall as part of the Spotlight Recital Series with the world-renowned pianist Warren Jones. Shortly after, she has been featured as The New Artist of The Month by the Musical America Worldwide.

Beste made her professional role debut in the title role of Bizet's CARMEN with Calgary Opera, where she was a member of the Emerging Artist Program at the time. She has been named Jeunes Ambassadeurs Lyriques du Canada and has represented Canada in South Korea (Jeonju Int'l Sori Festival), Italy (Giovanna in Rigoletto, Teatro Comunale di Bologna) and Germany. She made her performance debut in France with Les Chorégies D'Orange. Her American role debut was in the title role of Music Academy of The West's production of Rossini's LA CENERENTOLA in 2015.

Beste is a recipient of the 2015 Canada Council for The Arts Grants for Professional Musicians, the winner of the 2016 Sylva Gelber Music Foundation Award and The 2017 inaugural Stuart Hamilton Memorial Fund for Emerging Artists Award.


EVAN KORBUT

Evan Korbut is a First Nations performer born in Sault Ste. Marie, ON. He began his musical training at age 4, and played violin for 13 years. He completed his Bachelor's degree in Music (voice performance) in 2011, and his Master's degree in Music (voice) in 2014 at Western University.

He has appeared in various productions including DIE FLEDERMAUS as Eisenstein, LA BOHEME as Marcello, THE MERRY WIDOW as Danilo, COSI FAN TUTTE as Guglielmo, THE RAPE OF LUCRETIA as Tarquinius and Junius, LA CENERENTOLA as Dandini, THE MARRIAGE OF FIGARO as Figaro, and L'ITALIANA IN ALGERI as Taddeo.


MARJORIE MALTAIS

Mezzo-soprano Marjorie Maltais is rapidly earning an excellent reputation on both concert and operatic stages in Canada and beyond. Marjorie received her Masters in Music/Literature from University of Western Ontario, and she gained attention as a Finalist at the Canadian Opera Company's 2015 Centre Stage Competition for her dynamic stage presence and the "fireworks of her remarkable coloratura".

Recent engagements include solo performances in Mozart's Requiem (Boise Philharmonic, Guelph Symphony), Bach's B Minor Mass with Orpheus Choir/Chorus Niagara, a semi-staged Elijah with Pax Christi Chorale and Bach's St. Matthew Passion with Ottawa's Thirteen Strings Chamber Orchestra. Marjorie was a featured soloist with Chamberfest Cleveland, performing works by Britten, Korngold and Wagner, and starred as Costanza in Haydn's L'isola disabitata with Toronto's Voicebox:Opera in Concert and Aradia Ensemble.

In 2017/18 Marjorie looks forward to performances in Beethoven's Ninth Symphony with Windsor Symphony Orchestra, and her debut with Montreal's Orchestre Metropolitain in Manuel de Falla's Three-Cornered Hat, followed by Messiah with Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, and with Grand Philharmonic Choir. 2018 brings her debut with Peterborough Singers in Mendelssohn's Elijah.


EVERETT MORRISON

Everett Morrison is an Aboriginal (Cree) bass-baritone. Originally from Moosonee, Ontario he is a graduate of Cambrian College's Music Program (Voice) and a Graduate from Laurentian's Music Program (Voice). Everett has studied with Marion Harvey-Hannah, Monica Zerbe and Dr. Robert Hall.

He has performed throughout Northern Ontario and Northern Quebec. Everett has made his professional debut with the Canadian Opera Company as The Wandering Spirit, War Chief of the Crees in the COC's production of the Canadian opera LOUIS RIEL. Everett also facilitates Voice Workshops for Aboriginal Youth.


MARION NEWMAN

Kwagiulth and Stó:lō First Nations, English, Irish and Scottish mezzo-soprano Marion Newman is firmly established as one of Canada's most accomplished singers. Noted for her "sumptuous mezzo tone and impressive vocal agility", Marion's operatic roles include Carmen and Rosina in IL BARBIERE DI SIVIGLIA.

On the concert stage, Marion has performed with the best ensembles, symphonies and choirs across Canada. Her extensive repertoire ranges from Vivaldi to Vivier and includes Handel's MESSIAH, De Falla's EL AMOR BRUJO, Rossini's PETITE MESSE SOLENNELLE, and Mozart's REQUIEM. Upcoming appearances include world premieres of several works, operas and concerts that speak to Marion's First Nations identity. She is much sought after as an advisor for arts organizations wishing to take an active and continuing role in reconciliation.

This season, highlights for Marion include the premiere of Jennifer Butler's KLEE WYCK WOMAN with Emily Carr String Quartet at ISCM World New Music Days, and the role of Dr. Wilson in the premiere of MISSING with City Opera Vancouver/Pacific Opera Victoria. Marion is a guest artist with Regina Symphony in their Forward Currents Festival, and sings the title role in Victor Davies' THE ECSTASY OF RITA JOE with Toronto's Voicebox:Opera in Concert. Marion performs Bramwell Tovey's song cycle "Ancestral Voices" with Vancouver Symphony on tour in BC, Manitoba and Ontario.

Previous engagements include MESSIAH with Regina Symphony Orchestra and with Okanagan Symphony Orchestra, a solo recital at Canadian Opera Company's Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre, and "Bearing" at LuminatoFestival.

Marion's discography includes THE LESSON OF DA JI, an opera by Canadian composer Alice Ping Yee Ho and librettist Marjorie Chan, with Marion in the title role, five discs with the Aradia Ensemble for Naxos and SEA CHANGE, with Continuum Contemporary Music.


CHRISTINA RAPHAËLLE HALDANE

Soprano CHRISTINA RAPHAËLLE HALDANE enjoys an active performing career in the UK, Europe, Asia and North America. Recent highlights include a return to the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, to sing Fiorilla (cover) in Rossini's IL TURCO in Italian and Nella (cover) in Puccini's GIANNI SCHICCHI, a performance of Mercedes in Bizet's CARMEN for the Cambridge Philharmonic, as well as sell out recitals for Handel House London and the Oxford Lieder Festival. Her 'Capturing Cuzzoni' Handel program successfully toured the Maritimes and she joined the Kincardine Summer Festival for their 25th anniversary celebrations, performing in recital and singing the solos in Haydn's THE SEASONS.

In the past season, Christina was part of new opera THE EXTERMINATING ANGEL by Thomas Adès, covering the role of Silvia, for both the Salzburg Festival and the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden.


CHARLES SY

A recent graduate of the University of Toronto, Toronto native Charles Sy has been recognized locally and nationally as a promising young artist.

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.

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


MICHAEL ROBERT-BRODER

Native to Vancouver, Michael Robert-Broder has established himself as one of Canada's most versatile young baritones.

Oratorio performances include Requiems by Mozart, Fauré, and Duruflé, major works by JS Bach, oratorios of GF Handel and Haydn. On the lyric stage, Robert-Broder has recently portrayed the roles of Lescaut in Massenet's Manon, Baron Scarpia in Puccini's Tosca, Il Conte and Figaro in Mozart's Le Nozze di Figaro, Bartolo in Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Sprecher in Die Zauberflöte, the title role of Bartok's Bluebeard's Castle, Peter in Hansel and Gretel, Don Pizarro in Beethoven's Fidelio and the title role of Donizetti's Don Pasquale.

Michael's principal training has been under the guidance of Bruce Pullan, Gary Relyea and Patrick Raftery. Upcoming engagements include Handel's Messiah, a handful of Bach Cantatas, Mozart's Requiem, a recording of lieder by Nikolai Medtner, and Dr Dulcamara in Donizetti's L'elisir d'amore.


DAVID TRUDGEN

The Chicago Tribune declared Canadian counter-tenor David Trudgen as "the next generation's answer to David Daniels" for his appearance as Medoro in Chicago Opera Theater's production of Handel's ORLANDO conducted by Raymond Leppard. This season Mr. Trudgen appears as Geoffredo in Pacific Opera Victoria's production of RINALDO, Bertarido in RODELINDA for VOICEBOX: Opera in Concert, as well as the workshop of BOUND with Against the Grain Theatre. Highlights of the 2015-2016 season included MESSIAH with the Pacific Symphony, Oberon in A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM with Pacific Opera Victoria and CARMINA BURANA for Chorus Niagara.

Additionally, Mr. Trudgen sang the title role in Michigan Opera Theatre's production of GIULIO CESARE and has also been heard in CARMINA BURANA with the Kingston Symphony and Victoria Symphony, MESSIAH for the Ann Arbor Symphony, Phoenix Symphony and the Winston-Salem Symphony and Pergolesi's STABAT MATER in a staged presentation by the National Ballet of Canada. Further credits include his Boston Baroque debut singing Armindo in Handel's PARTENOPE, the title role in ORLANDO for Toronto's Opera in Concert, MESSIAH with Chorus Niagara, Arcano in TESEO for Chicago Opera Theatre and the World Premiere of ALICE IN WONDERLAND for Opera Theatre of St. Louis.


ILANA ZARANKIN

Soprano Ilana Zarankin is a recent graduate of Dawn Upshaw's Bard College Conservatory Graduate Vocal Arts Program in the studio of Lorraine Nubar. Ilana completed her BMus in Voice Performance at the University of Toronto (Opera Division) studying with Mary Morrison. In the summer of 2010, Ilana won a Canada Council for the Arts Grant which allowed her to participate in the International Vocal Arts Institute in Tel Aviv as a Young Artist. She has also taken part in soprano Wendy Nielsen's Opera Workshop Intensive, the Queen of Puddings Contemporary Song course with John Hess and Dáirine Ní Mheadhra, the Vancouver International Song Institute. She was the recipient of the Kathy and Gonzalo de las Heras Vocal Scholarship in 2010 and 2011 and was the 2009 recipient of the Women's Musical Club of Toronto scholarship. Her studies are also supported by Horatio and Jackie Kemeny.

She has been featured in a number of Off Centre Music Salon concerts, has sung the role of Minka in the Toronto Opera Club's presentation of excerpts from Chabrier's LE ROI MALGÉ LUI, and recently made her international recital debut in Mexico. Ilana has also completed a degree in Drama and Theatre (McGill University).


back to top