2018 Artists


Arnalta in Poppea
Canadian mezzo-soprano Sarah Kaye Klapman grew up in Toronto and received her Bachelor's degree in Voice from Mount Allison University, where she studied under Sally…

Zerlina in Don Giovanni
With a shimmering young soprano voice, warm timbre, and captivating stage presence, Emily Rocha is an 18-year-old soprano from Courtice, Ontario. Although this is her…

Quince in Dream
Gabriel Shapiro holds a master’s degree in cello performance from Boston University and has studied voice for the past ten years. He has sung in…

Valetto and Venere in Poppea
Kira Vandermeulen is an expressive and youthful Canadian soprano, born in Red Deer, Alberta. She most recently studied under Dr. Blaine Hendsbee at the University…

Oberon in Dream
Logan Tanner, American Countertenor, is an up-and-coming, versatile singer praised for his musicality, daring ornamentation and beautiful vocal quality. In September 2017, Logan received first…

Cobweb in Dream
Soprano Meggie McKay is a vibrant and passionate performer, who is at home performing in recitals, operas, and musical theatre. She graduated with a Bachelor…

Peaseblossom in Dream
Soprano Meagan Adams is proud to be working again with the Halifax Summer Opera Festival. Meagan has just completed her Bachelor of Music in Vocal…

Don Giovanni in Don Giovanni
A native from Bromont, QC, Ariel Lefebvre is a young lyric baritone specializing in French repertoire. Holder of a Master of Music in Voice and…

Zerlina in Don Giovanni
Shanice Skinner is a soprano hailing from New Glasgow, Nova Scotia. She graduated from Wilfrid Laurier University with an Honours Bachelor of Music in Vocal…

Donna Anna in Don Giovanni
Heather McConnell (Donna Anna) is a dynamic, young American soprano who is thrilled to make her Canadian debut with the Halifax Summer Opera Festival! Ms.…

Drusilla in Poppea
Tara Venkatesan (soprano) has performed as a soloist with the Vienna Chamber Orchestra, with the American Baroque Orchestra, at the Closing Ceremony of the 2010 Commonwealth Games,…

Demetrius in Dream
Native of La Sarre in Abitibi-Temiscamingue, Québec, MarKo Hubert received his formation in voice performance at the Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM) in the…

Tytania in Dream
Sarah Dufresne is a Canadian Soprano currently attending McGill University in the Masters of Music- Voice and Opera program, studying with Tracy Smith Bessette. Sarah…

Hermia in Dream
Mezzo-Soprano Tess Clark is a first-year undergraduate student at the Peabody Institute in the studio of Stanley Cornett. Upcoming performances include the role of Hermia…

Amore in Poppea
Soprano Taylor R. Reeves is excited to make her international debut at the Halifax Summer Opera Festival as Amore. Classically trained, Taylor is a current…

Amore in Poppea
Canadian soprano Rachel Ross is currently pursuing their Bachelor of Music at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music under esteemed professor Lorraine Manz. Their work is…

Mustardseed in Dream
The Swiss-Canadian soprano Patricia Weber is a native of Warwick, Québec. She obtained a bachelor degree in voice performance at Université de Montréal and recently…

Moth in Dream
Gabrielle de Grandmont is a 20-year-old lyric mezzo-soprano currently pursuing her undergraduate degree at Western University (BMus. Voice) under the guidance of Todd Wieczorek. Originally…

Flute in Dream
Joseph Adams is an emerging tenor hailing from Lethbridge, Alberta. He is currently pursuing a Bachelor’s of Music in Vocal Performance under the study of…

Nerone in Poppea
Countertenor Sean Jordan is a first year Master's student at McGill University’s Schulich School of Music, studying under baritone Nathaniel Watson. Originally from Jamison, Pennsylvania,…

Masetto in Don Giovani and Seneca in Poppea
Bass Drew Comer, a native of Brownsburg, Indiana, is pursuing a Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music.…

Mustardseed in Dream
Born in Nassau, Bahamas, Chanel Rolle’s love for music became evident at an early age. Her musical journey began in elementary school where she was…

Seneca in Poppea and Commendatore in Don Giovanni
Jordan Delage started his voice lessons and musical training at Cégep St-Laurent in Montreal. His first two roles were Sarastro (Die Zauberflöte) and Baron Popoff…

Don Ottavio in Don Giovanni
Jeffrey is a Toronto based light tenor that appeared at HSOF in 2017 as Egisto in Cavali’s L’Egisto. As well as performing Don Ottavio, he…

Leporello in Don Giovanni
Brazilian bass-baritone Flávio Lauria lives in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Studied under Ricardo Tuttmann at Federal University of Rio de Janeiro where he graduated with…

Commendatore in Don Giovanni and Snug in Dream
David Piper began his professional life as a choral singer in England. He studied voice (bass-baritone) and piano at the Royal College of Music in…

Damigella and La Fortuna in Poppea
Emily Steers is a soprano in the third year of her Bachelor of Music degree at Mount Allison University in New Brunswick, studying with Dr.…

Poppea in Poppea
Hailing from Ottawa, Ontario, Thera Barclay is currently pursuing her Master of Music degree in Opera at the University of British Columbia. She is the…

Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni
Soprano, Skylar Cameron is a recent Bachelor of Music graduate from Mount Allison University and currently studying with Vicki St. Pierre in Sackville, NB. Skylar…

Ottavia in Poppea
This Ontario-born, mezzo-soprano discovered her love of music and performing when she attended an older cousin’s high school production of Annie. She began taking private…

Hermia in Dream
Mezzo-soprano Christina Yun comes from Mississauga, Ontario and received her Bachelor of Music at Wilfrid Laurier University for Voice Performance with exceptional Canadian soprano Leslie…

Poppea in Poppea
Kingston Ontario soprano, Kathryn Rose Johnston, has finished her second year of the Bachelor of Music program in Voice Performance at the University of Toronto,…

Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni
Born and raised in Shelburne, Nova Scotia, Michelle Riley displayed musical promise from an early age. Her parents enrolled her in piano lessons at age 6, and as she…

Snout in Dream and Soldato I and Lucano in Poppea
Eli Aronson, tenor, is a freshmen student at Simpson College where he is majoring in Vocal Performance and minoring in German. Originally from Minneapolis, Minnesota,…

Arnalta in Poppea

Sarah Kaye Klapman

Canadian mezzo-soprano Sarah Kaye Klapman grew up in Toronto and received her Bachelor’s degree in Voice from Mount Allison University, where she studied under Sally Dibblee and Monette Gould. While at Mount Allison, she was awarded the Isabel (Munro) Pace Scholarship and Music Faculty Artist Scholarship, amongst others. Recent projects include performances as Florence Pike in Halifax Summer Opera Festival’s 2017 production of Albert Herring, singing with Mount Allison University’s Elliott Chorale, Symphonic Band and Jazz Band. With Mount Allison’s Opera Workshop, under the direction of Dr. Vicki St. Pierre, she has performed scenes and excerpts from Mozart, Monteverdi, Menotti, and Handel.

This summer, Sarah will travel to Edmonton to perform in Opera NUOVA’s productions of Neil Weisensel’s City Workers in Love (Mrs. Demers) and Stephen Sondheim’s Into the Woods (Cinderella’s Stepmother, Baker’s Wife [cover]). She is excited to return to HSOF this summer for Monteverdi’s L’incoronazione di Poppea, in which she plays Arnalta, her favourite kind of saucy old lady. Upcoming plans include returning to Mount Allison in the fall to complete her Psychology degree, and finally getting her driver’s license.

Zerlina in Don Giovanni

Emily Rocha

With a shimmering young soprano voice, warm timbre, and captivating stage presence, Emily Rocha is an 18-year-old soprano from Courtice, Ontario. Although this is her first operatic role, she is no stranger to the stage.

She attended O’Neill CVI’s performing arts program, where she performed the role of Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz. At Oshawa Little Theatre, she performed inOliver! (Widow Corney), Mary Poppins (Ensemble), and The Miracle Worker (Blind Girl). In summer of 2014, she performed in Guys and Dolls (Sarah Brown) with Simply Theatre Switzerland, and in 2015, she attended the Singing Taster Course at Guildhall in London, England with Marilyn Rees. In her last year of high school she participated in the Phil and Eli Taylor Performance Academy at the RCM, Toronto, where she studied with Dr. Robert Loewen.

In 2017 she was a First Prize Winner with the American Protégé Vocal Competition, earning her the opportunity to perform in Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall, NYC. She received 3rd Prize in the OMFA Provincials for Grade 9 Voice, Best in Voice at the Pickering Rotary Music Festival, Intermediate Voice Award with the Oshawa-Whitby Kiwanis Music Festival, and an Outstanding Performance Award from ORMTA GTA. She was the 2017 recipient of the Marianne Turner Memorial Scholarship from the Durham Philharmonic Choir.

During the summer of 2017 she participated in the High School Voice Intensive at the Royal Conservatory of Music, and the Académie Internationale D’Été de Nice, France, with Juilliard’s Lorraine Nubar.

In fall 2017 she received the Senior Voice Award in the Contemporary Showcase Festival, and performed Laudate Dominum (Mozart) as a soloist with the Durham Youth Orchestra. She will be performing Mozart’s The Magic Flute (Ensemble) with her studio in early spring.

Emily studies with Lorna MacDonald at the University of Toronto.

Quince in Dream

Gabriel Shapiro

Gabriel Shapiro holds a master’s degree in cello performance from Boston University and has studied voice for the past ten years. He has sung in several productions with Opéra immédiat in Montreal and recently sang in the premier of Maisonneuve & Mance, a historic opera commissioned to mark the 375th anniversary of the founding of the city of Montreal. In addition to musical performances, he took part in four student productions of the University of Montreal Theatre, where he was awarded the student engagement prize for his portrayal of Dr. Chemla in Yasmina Reza’s Heureux les heureux.

Gabriel studied voice with Colette Boky and Marie-Annick Béliveau at the University of Quebec at Montreal before completing a graduate diploma at the University of Sherbrooke, Canada, where he sang the role of Ben in Menotti’s The Telephone. In the summer of 2017 he sang the roles of Masetto and the Commendatore in Don Giovanni at the Accademia Europea Dell’Opera in Lucca, Italy. He is currently pursuing a master’s degree in vocal performance at the University of Ottawa, where he studies with Sandra Graham. In addition to musical studies, Gabriel holds certificates in German and Italian language and culture and a Ph.D. in public health from the University of Montreal.

Valetto and Venere in Poppea

Kira Vandermeulen

Kira Vandermeulen is an expressive and youthful Canadian soprano, born in Red Deer, Alberta. She most recently studied under Dr. Blaine Hendsbee at the University of Lethbridge, where she completed her bachelor of music. Kira very much enjoys the communicative aspect of performance and eagerly seeks opportunities to further develop her dramatic presence and vocal technique. In past years, she has been an active performer in the arts community through both Red Deer and Lethbridge’s Festival of the Performing Arts, as well as through the University of Lethbridge’s opera workshop program. Within this program, Kira has performed roles such as Nora (Riders to the Sea), Molly Brazen (Beggars Opera), as well as Seconda Sorella Cercatrice (Suor Angelica). In the future, Kira hopes to continue her vocal studies at the master’s level.

Oberon in Dream

Logan Tanner

Logan Tanner, American Countertenor, is an up-and-coming, versatile singer praised for his musicality, daring ornamentation and beautiful vocal quality. In September 2017, Logan received first place in the New York Classical Music Society’s Artist International Competition and in October of 2017 Logan was named the Winner of the Choralis Young Artist Competition. Logan regularly performs as soloist around the United States and made his New York City debut with the New York Repertory Orchestra in November of 2017 at Merkin Concert Hall. Upcoming 2018 engagements include a concert with the Philharmonic of Southern New Jersey, soloist in Handel’s Messiah with Choralis and orchestra, and a concert debut with the Henry Purcell Society of Boston as soloist in Purcell’s “Come Ye Sons of Art.” Logan will also appear in several solo recitals around the United States and will be a featured soloist in Bernstein’s Chichester Psalms at the Axelrod Performing Arts Center. Additionally Logan will perform the role of Ruggiero in the Hawaii Performing Arts Festival 2018 production of Alcina as a Professional Fellow before making his Canadian debut this August when he performs the role of Oberon, King of the fairies, in Benjamin Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, at the Halifax Summer Opera Festival.

Cobweb in Dream

Meggie McKay

Soprano Meggie McKay is a vibrant and passionate performer, who is at home performing in recitals, operas, and musical theatre. She graduated with a Bachelor of Music in Voice Performance from Acadia University in 2016, studying under Christianne Rushton. She is currently pursuing a Master of Arts in Musicology with a concentration in Women and Gender Studies. Her thesis focuses on representations of women in power in two of Gilbert and Sullivan’s operettas: Iolanthe and Princess Ida. Meggie is currently studying voice with Susan Blyth-Schofield in Ottawa.

Meggie enjoys acting as well as singing and has performed for many years with Quick as a Wink Theatre Society in her hometown of Windsor, Nova Scotia. Her roles include: Lucy Van Pelt, You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown; Rose Lennox, The Secret Garden; Arabella Stannus, Glory Days; and Bertha Mason, Jane Eyre: the Musical. She has also performed as a guest soloist for the Bedford-based Enchor East Chorus, the Eastern Shore Summer Arts Festival, and for the North Grenville Concert Choir in Kemptville, Ontario. She previously performed with the Acadia University Singing Theatre Company and the Acadia University Chorus. In August 2015, Meggie performed the role of Evangeline in the Canadian Premiere of Gwyneth Walker’s opera Evangeline, in the historic Covenanter Church in Grand Pre.

Meggie enjoys stage managing and assisting behind-the-scenes. During her musicology studies, Meggie was a Teaching Assistant for the University of Ottawa’s Opera Productions of Bizet’s Carmen in 2017 and Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro in 2018.

Meggie has won several provincial awards and Equine Canada bronze level championships with her Paint Horse, Jigs. She is passionate about animals and is known around her hometown for her eclectic collection of misfit critters. Meggie lives with her wonderful fiancée who is currently pursuing a conducting career.

Peaseblossom in Dream

Meagan Adams

Soprano Meagan Adams is proud to be working again with the Halifax Summer Opera Festival. Meagan has just completed her Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance at Acadia University under the tutelage of Paula Rockwell and plans on pursuing further studies in music in the fall. She is the recipient of the Lois Duffy Award, and the Prof. Owen Stephens Award. Meagan has recently appeared in the role of Pélagie in the musical theatre production Pélagie at Acadia University. Her past roles with HSOF has been as La Conversa & Suor Dolcina in Suor Angelica and Goddess Hebe in Orpheus in the Underworld. Meagan has attended summer programs at the Stratford Shakespeare School in Stratford, Ontario and the CATT theatre program in Ireland and Italy. Meagan would like to thank her family for all of their support and the HSOF for this wonderful opportunity.

Don Giovanni in Don Giovanni

Ariel Lefebvre

A native from Bromont, QC, Ariel Lefebvre is a young lyric baritone specializing in French repertoire. Holder of a Master of Music in Voice and Opera Performance from McGill University, he has studied under Heldentenor Stefano Algieri’s tutelage, and has worked with renowned personalities from the musical scene, such as Hank Knox, a founding member of Arion Baroque Orchestra, as well as conductor Jordan de Souza. A polyvatent artist, Ariel performs in a wide variety of musical genres, ranging from contemporary works to repertoire from the renaissance and baroque era, which he has extensively explored during his studies. In 2015, he performed in the Canadian premiere of Buoso’s Ghost by American composer Micheal Ching with Opera McGill, in which he sang the role of Marco Donati. In 2016, Ariel took part in Händel’s Rodelinda at the Halifax Summer Opera Festival, during which he also performed as Simone Donati in their production of Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi. An avid recitalist, Ariel also regularly performs romantic and modern vocal works in chamber music concerts. In 2014, he sang in a whole new staged version of Schubert’s Die Schöne Müllerin, working with stage director François Racine. Always striving to refine his stage presence, Ariel has also explored theater and stage techniques at the Scuola Internazionale di Teatro Italiano “Giovanni Grasso”. It is with great pleasure that he will be giving the acting workshop during the 2018 edition of HSOF. Recipient of multiple scholarships and competition awards, Ariel recently took part in the pretigious Canadian Music Competition, where was selected as a provincial finalist. He also sang at the Festival de musique du Royaume, in Saguenay, QC, where he was awarded first place in the vocal category and third place in the general competition.

Zerlina in Don Giovanni

Shanice Skinner

Shanice Skinner is a soprano hailing from New Glasgow, Nova Scotia. She graduated from Wilfrid Laurier University with an Honours Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance in 2017. Shanice was Nova Scotia’s alto selection for the 2014 National Youth Choir, which took place in her home province. She was again selected for the 2016 National Youth Choir tour in Alberta but as Nova Scotia’s soprano. During the 2016 tour, Shanice performed the soprano solo in the world premiere of Kristofer Fulton’s O Seeker of Dreams at The Winspear in Edmonton, Alberta. In July of 2016, Shanice attended the Franco-American Vocal Academy opera program in Périgueux, France, performing the role of Gustave in Offenbach’s Pomme d’Api. Throughout her degree, Shanice has performed scene work with Opera Laurier in the roles of Giulietta in Offenbach’s Les contes d’Hoffmann, Kitty Hart in Heggie’s Dead Man Walking and Cendrillon in Massenet’s Cendrillon. Shanice is a 2016 and 2018 Nova Scotia Talent Trust scholarship recipient, and was the 2016 special award winner of the Portia White Award.

Donna Anna in Don Giovanni

Heather McConnell

Heather McConnell (Donna Anna) is a dynamic, young American soprano who is thrilled to make her Canadian debut with the Halifax Summer Opera Festival! Ms. McConnell is currently pursuing her Master of Music in Voice Performance at Temple University, having recently received her Bachelor of Music, summa cum laude from Gettysburg College. Ms. McConnell’s latest opera credits include Così fan tutte (Fiordiligi), Dido and Aeneas (Dido), and The Pirates of Penzance (Mabel), as well as scenes from Susannah (Susannah), Die Zauberflöte (Pamina), and The Merry Wives of Windsor (Alice Ford). A versatile performer, Ms. McConnell has also appeared in a wide variety of theatre, including How to Succeed… (Miss Jones), Into the Woods (Cinderella), In the Next Room… (Catherine Givings), and The Scarlet Pimpernel (Marguerite). Ms. McConnell has received awards from the Allegheny Mountain Chapter of the National Association of Teachers of Singing, the Presser Foundation, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Sunderman Conservatory, and the Chester County Choral Society.

Drusilla in Poppea

Tara Venkatesan

Tara Venkatesan (soprano) has performed as a soloist with the Vienna Chamber Orchestra, with the American Baroque Orchestra, at the Closing Ceremony of the 2010 Commonwealth Games, for the Dalai Lama, for the President of Austria, for the Prime Minister of India, and as recording artist for Walt Disney.

Past opera credits include Clori (lead) in F. Cavalli’s L’Egisto (Yale Baroque Opera Project, 2018), Galatea (lead) in Galatea, a new G.F. Handel pastiche (Yale University, 2017), Cassandra in F. Cavalli’s La Didone (Yale Baroque Opera Project, 2017), and Thalia in a S. Landi and D. Belli pastiche opera, La Lira Muta (Elm City Consort, 2017).

She has had the privilege of studying voice under Gerald Wirth (Artistic Director of the Vienna Boys Choir) and Sally Sanford (DMA, Stanford University). She was also a member of the pre-college Young Artist Programme at the Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music, Singapore.

In addition to studying voice, she loves learning languages and speaks Italian, Spanish, French, Hindi and Tamil. She has done original supertitle translations for baroque Italian operas, such as La Lira Muta, La Didone, and L’Egisto.

She graduated this May with a B.S. in Cognitive Science from Yale University and has spent the last several years conducting music cognition research at labs in Yale and Harvard University. She looks forward to starting her PhD in Experimental Psychology at Oxford University studying music perception this fall.

She is obsessed with early music and is extremely excited about performing in Monteverdi’s L’Incoronazione di Poppea at the Halifax Summer Opera Festival!

Demetrius in Dream

MarKo Hubert

Native of La Sarre in Abitibi-Temiscamingue, Québec, MarKo Hubert received his formation in voice performance at the Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM) in the studio of Colette Boky and later continued his studies with Robert Savoie, Stuart Graham, Lyne Fortin and Jason Davis. Since then he has enjoyed a varied artistic life that has seen him on the dramatic, operatic and concert stages as well as the small and large screen with various productions for film and television throughout the province of Québec. Some of his performance credits include a miner from QUELQUE CHOSE D’ORGANIQUE (Bonello), Sparfucille from RIGOLETTO (Verdi), Alvadoro/Général-Marquis d’Urfé/un Ange from LE MANUSCRIPT TROUVÉ À SARAGOSSE (Evangelista), Louchard from LA FILLE MME. ANGOT (Lecocq), the Grand Inquisitor of Spain from THE GONDOLIERS (Gilbert & Sullivan), Antonio from UN MARIAGE DE RAISON (Thomas), la Duchesse from LA DUCHESSE DE
LANGEAIS (Tremblay), and finally in 2017 he had the opportunity to sing Moralez and le DancaÏre from Carmen by Bizet with the Halifax Summer Opera Festival. This year MarKo Hubert will perform the roles of Benoît and Alcindoro from Puccini’s La Bohème with the Maritime Concert Opera Society and will return to the Halifax Summer Opera Festival as Demetrius in A Midsummer Night’s Dream by Britten.

MarKo Hubert has interest in staging and teaching an acting master class in the future.

Tytania in Dream

Sarah Dufresne

Sarah Dufresne is a Canadian Soprano currently attending McGill University in the Masters of Music- Voice and Opera program, studying with Tracy Smith Bessette. Sarah has recently completed her Bachelor of Music Honours performance degree at Wilfrid Laurier University. This summer Sarah will sing the role of “Tytania” in Benjamin Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. (Halifax Summer Opera Festival) This past year Sarah sang the role of “Aspesie” in Jacques Offenbach’s Une Demoiselle en Lotterie, and also covered the roles of “Ginevra” in Ariodante and “Cunegonde” in Candide. (Opera McGill) Her other credits include the role of “Morgana” in Alcina, “Zerlina” (cover) in Don Giovanni (Accademia Europea dell’Opera) “Vixen Sharpears,” in The Cunning Little Vixen (Opera Laurier) as well as the roles of “Gabriel” and “Eve” in The Creation. (Waterloo Chamber Players) Sarah’s extra training includes the Accademia Europea dell’Opera (Lucca, Italy) as well as the Stratford Summer Vocal Academy. (Stratford, Ontario) Sarah also enjoys taking part in the ‘Early music Ensembles’ at McGill. In the past Sarah has won the Wilfrid Laurier University Concerto Competition, as well as been a young performer featured on WNED radio Buffalo/Toronto. This summer, Sarah looks forward to spending time on the East Coast of Canada and studying the beautiful music of Benjamin Britten with the Halifax Summer Opera Festival.

Hermia in Dream

Tess Clark

Mezzo-Soprano Tess Clark is a first-year undergraduate student at the Peabody Institute in the studio of Stanley Cornett. Upcoming performances include the role of Hermia in Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream with Halifax Summer Opera Festival. Programs she has attended include the Boston University of Tanglewood Young Artists Vocal Program, Washington National Opera Institute, and Crittenden Opera Institute. Previously, she studied with tenor John Aler. She is the recipient the William W. More PhD Scholarship and the Fanny B Thalheimer Memorial Scholarship. She has won both 1 st and 3 rd place in Virginia State-Wide Bland Competition.

Amore in Poppea

Taylor R. Reeves

Soprano Taylor R. Reeves is excited to make her international debut at the Halifax Summer Opera Festival as Amore. Classically trained, Taylor is a current Masters candidate at Temple University studying with Dr. Lorie Gratis-Harris. Most recently playing Giulietta in I Capuleti e i Montecchi with the West Chester University Opera Theater, Taylor hails from a small town in Southern Delaware and much enjoys her new-found city life in Philadelphia, PA.

Other roles include Laetitia, The Old Maid and the Thief (Temple Opera Workshop scenes); Cunegonde, Candide (Temple Opera Workshop scenes); and Venus, Orphée aux enfers. Ms. Reeves has also worked in oratorio and choral music singing as Soprano Soloist in Handel’s Messiah, Vivaldi’s Gloria, Mozart’s Requiem, and Britten’s Te Deum.

Amore in Poppea

Rachel Ross

Canadian soprano Rachel Ross is currently pursuing their Bachelor of Music at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music under esteemed professor Lorraine Manz. Their work is diverse and eclectic both on and off the operatic stage. They have excelled in contemporary music projects such as a staged version of Philip Glass’ Songs from Liquid Days (Oberlin Opera Theatre, 2017) and singing with Oberlin’s Contemporary Music Ensemble under the baton of Timothy Weiss. In May 2017 along with Oberlin’s CME, they were invited to Brooklyn, New York for Bang On A Can’s 30th Anniversary Marathon Concert, where they performed De Staat by Louis Andriessen and the premiere of No Anthem by Michael Gordon.

Previous operatic engagements include the role of Anna I in Kurt Weill’s Seven Deadly Sins (Oberlin Opera Theatre, 2018), the roles of Woodsprite I and Kitchenboy in Dvořak’s Rusalka (Toronto Summer Opera Workshop, 2018), and the choruses of Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro (Oberlin Opera Theatre, 2017) and Wagner’s Der fliegende Holländer (Calgary Opera, 2014).

Born and raised in Calgary, Rachel sang with the internationally acclaimed Cantaré Children’s Choir for twelve years and was hand selected to sing in the Alberta Youth Choir for two years in a row. Their love for ensemble work has fuelled recent studies in conducting. Along with choral music, Rachel has a passion for Lieder and the German language. In June 2017 they travelled to Vienna, Austria to participate in Westminster Choir College’s Language of Lieder program, where they studied the lieder of Schubert, Mozart, Mendelssohn, and Josephine Lang. In addition to singing, Rachel is an accomplished pianist, having studied since the age of five.

 

Mustardseed in Dream

Patricia Weber

The Swiss-Canadian soprano Patricia Weber is a native of Warwick, Québec. She obtained a bachelor degree in voice performance at Université de Montréal and recently obtained a D.E.S.S. at Université de Sherbrooke. To date, her roles include Gabrielle and Pauline in La vie parisienne, Diane in Orphée aux enfers (Offenbach), Amahl in Amahl and The Night Visitors, Lucy in The Telephone (Menotti), as well as Mabel in Gilbert&Sullivan’s The Pirates of Penzance. She was 3rd place finalist for the Festival-Concours de Musique de Sherbrooke in 2015 and came first place in her category in the Canadian Music Competition in 2017.

Moth in Dream

Gabrielle de Grandmont

Gabrielle de Grandmont is a 20-year-old lyric mezzo-soprano currently pursuing her undergraduate degree at Western University (BMus. Voice) under the guidance of Todd Wieczorek. Originally from Ottawa, Ontario, Gabrielle began her singing journey in the Ottawa Catholic School Board Children’s and Chamber Choirs in 2008. She went on to take private voice lessons from 2012 with mezzo-soprano, Arminè Kassabian. That same year, Gabrielle was accepted into Arts Canterbury’s Music Program in the Vocal Department under the direction of James Caswell. There she gained experience and knowledge in music theory and history, keyboard skills and singing in large and small ensembles as well as solo recitals.

Gabrielle has participated in a number of summer music programs including the Royal Conservatory of Music Summer Voice Intensive (2016), Ottawa Recitalists Art Song Academy (2016) and the Canadian Operatic Arts Academy (2017), wherein she performed such roles as Dorabella in Così fan tutte (Act I finale) and title roles in Bizet’s Carmen (Act II quintet) and Britten’s The Rape of Lucretia (Act I, Scene II). She has also participated in masterclasses with Dr. Victoria Holland (D. Mus., Northwestern University, lyric soprano), Denis Boudreault (Voice Professor at University of Ottawa, tenor), Francesco Milioto (Conductor at Lyric Opera of Chicago) and Nathalie Paulin (Voice Professor at University of Toronto, Soprano).

Gabrielle is very grateful to have had the opportunity to study music from a young age and would like to extend a huge thank you to her family and friends for their unconditional support, and to her teachers Arminè, James and Todd, without whom she would not have discovered passion and the talent for singing that she now has today.

Flute in Dream

Joseph Adams

Joseph Adams is an emerging tenor hailing from Lethbridge, Alberta. He is currently pursuing a Bachelor’s of Music in Vocal Performance under the study of Dr. Blaine Hendsbee at the University of Lethbridge. Joe is best known amongst his peers for his rapid coloratura and “supersonic” high range. He is fortunate enough to have had several major performances with the Lethbridge Symphony through the U of L Opera Workshop program; performing such roles as Filch in the Beggars Opera and Paris in 10 Belles and No Ring. Joe has a great passion for choral music and is a member of the U of L Singers on top of working seasonally with the Southminster United Church Chancel Choir. These positions often grant him additional opportunities for performing solo repertoire as well. He has been singing all his life and is a keen and versatile actor on the stage. When he’s not singing Joe is found playing guitar or practicing martial arts. He is entirely self-taught on guitar and occasionally enjoys playing the ukulele as well. The Japanese art of Kendo is his martial art of choice; in March, he recently acquired the rank of Ikkyu. His next goal with Kendo is to achieve the rank of Shodan (Black Belt). With an ever-positive attitude, he searches tirelessly for ways to improve his abilities and approach to singing. Joe hopes to become a professional singer and voice instructor following his Undergraduate and Masters degrees.

Nerone in Poppea

Sean Jordan

Countertenor Sean Jordan is a first year Master’s student at McGill University’s Schulich School of Music, studying under baritone Nathaniel Watson. Originally from Jamison, Pennsylvania, he holds a B.M. in Vocal Performance and a B.A. in Music History and Cultures from Syracuse University. Previous roles from Syracuse University operas include Prince Orlofsky in Strauss’ Die Fledermaus, Sorceress in Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas, and Thyrsis in Serpa’s Thyrsis and Amaranth.

He began his singing career at the age of seven with the Philadelphia Boys Choir & Chorale, and had the opportunity to tour Europe, Asia, and Central America. It was with the Boys Choir, that he fell in love with singing and connecting with audiences through music.

While at Holy Ghost Preparatory School in Bensalem, Pennsylvania, Sean discovered the art of Forensics. Better known as Speech and Debate, Forensics would define much of his young adult life, as it allowed him to travel across the United States and meet fellow actors and acting coaches. Competing in Humorous Interpretation of Literature and DUO Interpretation of Literature, Mr. Jordan would go on to hold three State Champion titles and a National Champion title in 2013.

Though performing is his greatest passion, Mr. Jordan’s work in musicological research has also shaped him as a singer. At Syracuse University, he presented research papers dealing with staging Handel operas, and on a fach system of the countertenor voice, while he also assisted Dr. Amanda Eubanks Winkler in research for her book on Baroque performance on the London Stage.

Sean will be singing Nerone in Monteverdi’s L’Incoronazione di Poppea. He is beyond excited and honored to be able to portray this iconic emperor, and is so grateful to work with his amazing cast at the 2018 Halifax season.

Masetto in Don Giovani and Seneca in Poppea

Drew Comer

Bass Drew Comer, a native of Brownsburg, Indiana, is pursuing a Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music. He has also received a minor in the Spanish language. During his time at the Jacobs School, he has been seen in the choruses of Lucia di Lammermoor, The Music Man, Florencia en el Amazonas, Oklahoma!, and The Barber of Seville. He recently sang in the chorus of Krzysztof Penderecki’s St. Luke Passion and has performed scenes from Mozart’s La Clemenza di Tito and Die Zauberflöte in Katherine Jolly’s Opera Workshop. He is recognized as an Indiana University Founder’s Scholar and is the recipient of the Indiana Premiere Young Talent Scholarship and the William and Emma Horn Scholarship. He coaches with Gary Arvin and Walter Huff and is a student of Patricia Stiles.

Mustardseed in Dream

Chanel Rolle

Born in Nassau, Bahamas, Chanel Rolle’s love for music became evident at an early age. Her musical journey began in elementary school where she was first introduced to music theory, as well as the recorder and steel pan. Consistently studying music throughout her primary and junior years, she continued her studies at the high school level at C.V. Bethel Senior High School. There, she was exposed to the world of classical music, instantly falling in love with it and led to her decision to study classical singing in depth. She went to the College of The Bahamas where she studied voice with Mrs. Audrey Dean Wright. While at the College she was a member of The College of The Bahamas Concert Band and Choir Soprano. Chanel Rolle, received her Associates of Arts Degree from The College of The Bahamas, Nassau in May 2014. Upon receiving a scholarship from the Nassau Music Society, in August 2016, she went on to continue her music studies at Memorial University of Newfoundland, Canada where she is currently majoring in Vocal Performance and Musicology. Throughout her career, Chanel has been a member of several national organizations such as the award-winning Bahamas Allstar Band directed by Yonell Justilien, the Bahamas National Children’s Choir and Youth Choir under the direction of the late Patricia Bazard and Cleophas R.E. Adderley respectively, and she was also a member of The Highgrove Singers directed by Adrian Archer. She has taken part in the Southeastern African-American Collegiate (SEAAC) Music Festival (2014), the America Cantat 8 (2016), the Harrower Opera Workshop, and looks forward to star in the role as Mustardseed in Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream at the Halifax Opera Summer Program.

Seneca in Poppea and Commendatore in Don Giovanni

Jordan Delage

Jordan Delage started his voice lessons and musical training at Cégep St-Laurent in Montreal. His first two roles were Sarastro (Die Zauberflöte) and Baron Popoff (La Veuve Joyeuse). During his years of study in voice performance at Université de Montréal (Bachelor and Master degrees), Jordan sung many bass roles such as Betto Di Signa (Gianni Schicchi), Siroco (L’Étoile), Bartolo (Le Nozze Di Figaro), and Snug (A Midsummer Night’s Dream). His voice teachers were John Fanning, Julie Daoust and Claude Grenier. In summer 2017 he sung the role of Leporello (Don Giovanni) in Lucca, Italy with the Accademia Europea Dell’Opera. He gained significant experience working with coaches like Enza Ferrari, James Vaughan (Teatro alla Scala) and Simone Luti. Jordan Delage is now part of the Opéra de Montréal chorus since 2016. His musicianship and acting is always growing. With his rich voice and low timbre, he is now ready to master both dramatic and comic roles.

Don Ottavio in Don Giovanni

Jeffrey Smith

Jeffrey is a Toronto based light tenor that appeared at HSOF in 2017 as Egisto in Cavali’s L’Egisto. As well as performing Don Ottavio, he will be performing the role of Ferrando in Cosi fan tutte at Long Reach Opera Workshop (LROW) . Last year, he was Mosquito in Janáček’s Cunning Little Vixen, and Bunthorne, in Gilbert and Sullivan’s Patience. He has also appeared as Luiz, from G&S’s Gondoliers at The International Gilbert and Sullivan Festival in Buxton, England. Jeffrey has appeared on stage, in the chorus, with Toronto Operetta Theatre, Opera in Concert, and Opera Atelier.

Leporello in Don Giovanni

Flávio Lauria

Brazilian bass-baritone Flávio Lauria lives in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Studied under Ricardo Tuttmann at Federal University of Rio de Janeiro where he graduated with a Bachelor Degree of Singing. Now he is developing his singing skills under Indiana’s Doctor of Music, dramatic baritone MarceIo Ferreira in Brazil. Flávio had his début as Uberto in Pergolesi’s La serva padrona at Leopoldo Miguez Theatre in Rio de Janeiro, as Don Alfonso and Figaro in Mozart’s Così fan tutte and Le nozze di Figaro at Vancouver Summer Opera Studio, as Seneca in Monteverdi’s L’incoronazione di Poppea at Planetarium’s Carl Sagan Dome in Rio de Janeiro, as Comus in Charpentier’s Les plaisirs de Versailles at Maison de France Theatre in Rio de Janeiro, as Aeneas in Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas at Palácio das Artes in Belo Horizonte (Brazil), as Giove in Cavalli’s La Calisto at John McIntosh Arts Centre in London (UK), as Leporello in Mozart’s Don Giovanni at St. Mary in the Castle in Hastings (UK), amongst other roles of the operatic repertoire. In 2014 he made his Halfifax Summer Opera Festival début as Vodník in Dvorak’s Rusalka at Sir James Dunn Theatre. In the off-opera repertoire, Flávio has performed the solo parts of Villa-Lobos’ cantata Vida Pura at Cecilia Meirelles Hall in Rio de Janeiro, Bach’s cantata BWV 182 at Leopoldo Miguez Theatre in Rio de Janeiro and Vivaldi’s Magnificat at Adamastor Theatre in Guarulhos (Brazil). Has performed under baton of conductors André Cardoso, Emiliano Patarra, Roberto Duarte, Márcio da Silva and Valéria Mattos and regisseurs André Heller-Lopes, Andy Maton, Andrew Pelrine, Lígia Tourinho, Graciela Araya, amongst others.

Commendatore in Don Giovanni and Snug in Dream

David Piper

David Piper began his professional life as a choral singer in England. He studied voice (bass-baritone) and piano at the Royal College of Music in London for two years, before winning a Choral Scholarship to St. John’s College, Cambridge University. While at Cambridge, he sang in a number of recordings the choir made with the St. Martin’s Academy under Neville Mariner, including masses by Haydn, Byrd, and Palestrina. He also sang in several operas with the university opera company, as well as directing a performance of Handel’s Ariodante. Following graduation, he taught English and Music at St. Paul’s School in London for two years before accepting a Windsor Scholarship, which enabled him to pursue his academic interests at Reading University while singing in the choir of St. George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle. Following this, he opted for the regular salary provided by an academic career in Canada, where he has lived for the past forty years, teaching at UBC, the University of Calgary, St. Mary’s University, and Acadia University. In Canada, he has sung with several small groups in Vancouver, Calgary, and Halifax, and has recently decided to return to the challenges of vocal studies and musical performance as a way of making his life more meaningful. He continues to teach in the areas of educational psychology, counselling psychology, and applied linguistics, but will gladly retire to sing and play the piano at the earliest opportunity. His current musical ambitions are to continue studying voice at the Halifax Conservatory of Music and to audition for any ‘senior’ roles in the operas of Mozart, Verdi, and others that may come available.

Damigella and La Fortuna in Poppea

Emily Steers

Emily Steers is a soprano in the third year of her Bachelor of Music degree at Mount Allison University in New Brunswick, studying with Dr. Vicki St. Pierre.

At Mount Allison, she has performed in the Opera Workshop’s scene productions, performing excerpts from Alcina, Iolanthe, and L’incoroazione di Poppea. She recently participated in Opera NUOVA’s 2017 program, appearing as Louise in R&H’s Carousel, Pépik and Kobylka in Janáček’s Cunning Little Vixen, and chorus in G&S’sPatience.

This summer she is excited to perform at Halifax Summer Opera Festival and explore her interest in early music, as La Fortuna and Damigella in L’Incoroazione di Poppea. She is also working with Long Reach Opera Workshop in their production of Così fan tutte, singing excerpts as Fiordiligi, as well as singing in the chorus.

Emily comes from a choral background, having been introduced to classical music through the Guelph Youth Singers and church choirs. She has also competed in the National Association of Teachers of Singing competition for the past three years, as well as the Ontario Registered Music Teacher’s Association and Kiwanis festivals.

Poppea in Poppea

Thera Barclay

Hailing from Ottawa, Ontario, Thera Barclay is currently pursuing her Master of Music degree in Opera at the University of British Columbia. She is the recipient of numerous scholarships and awards for her achievements in music, including the Lillian and Don Wright National Voice Travel and Study Scholarship, various prizes in the Kiwanis Music Festival and NATS Competition, and other scholarships and bursaries based on performance ability and academic achievement.

Thera has a variety of stage experience, with her repertoire including complete works such as Suor Angelica, L’elisir d’amore, Susannah, Gianni Schicchi, Giiwedin (an Indigenous, Canadian, contemporary work), and The Marriage of Figaro, along with a variety of operatic excerpts. Thera is dedicated to her craft, and she finds purpose in the powerful storytelling in the music and drama that bring such great meaning to our lives.

Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni

Skylar Cameron

Soprano, Skylar Cameron is a recent Bachelor of Music graduate from Mount Allison University and currently studying with Vicki St. Pierre in Sackville, NB. Skylar has been previously recommended to the National Music Festival and chosen as alternate for both Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. She has participated and placed top in voice at the Atlantic National Association of Teacher's Songfest 2015 & 2016. Skylar placed second in Voice at the ENKOR International Music Competition, 2017. She has participated in master classes with renowned Canadian soprano Measha Brueggergosman, baritone John McMaster, baritone Mel Braun and most recently with tenors Darryl Edwards and Kevin McMillan.

Skylar has been featured as soloist in Mendelssohn’s Elijah, Bach’s Magnificat in C, and Castelnuovo-Tedesco’s Romancero Gitano with Mount Allison University’s Choral Society. At Mount Allison, she has performed in Opera Workshop’s scene productions, including excerpts from Mozart’s Don Giovanni, Cosi Fan Tutte, The Magic Flute, Gluck’s Paride ed Elenna, and Moteverdi’s L’Incoronazione di Poppea. In 2016, she performed the role of Cendrillon in Opera Workshop’s production of Cendrillon by Pauline Viardot. Skylar has also performed the roles of Sister Dolcina in Puccini's Suor Angelica at the Centre for Opera Studies in Italy and Venere in Cavalli’s L’Egisto at HSOF (Halifax Summer Opera Festival). This summer, Skylar takes on the role of Donna Elvira in Mozart’s Don Giovanni at HSOF.

Skylar will be attending Western University in the fall of 2018 for her Masters of Music in Literature and Performance.

Ottavia in Poppea

Sarah LaBine

This Ontario-born, mezzo-soprano discovered her love of music and performing when she attended an older cousin’s high school production of Annie. She began taking private voice and piano lessons at the age of 8 and went on to attend a performing arts high school, Mayfield SS. Although she wasn’t clear on the path music would take her, she began her studies at Western University in voice to explore her options. Sarah LaBine has just completed her Undergrad in Voice Performance at Western University and is looking forward to beginning her Master’s degree in Performance and Literature in the fall. She is excited to be continuing her studio studies with Professor, Jackie Short and collaborative pianist, Paul Digout. LaBine has appeared in various productions, beginning with performing assorted scenes such as Ms. Grose in Turn of The Screw’s, Fidalma in Il Matrimonio Segreto’s, and Bianca in The Rape of Lucretia, during Canadian Operatic Art Academy in the spring of 2017. This year LaBine performed in her first fully costumed and staged productions as a chorus member in Western’s productions of Carmen, and The Pirates of Penzance. She is excited to be here in Halifax for the first time to perform the role of Ottavia in Halifax Summer Opera Festival’s L’incoronazione di Poppea!

Hermia in Dream

Christina Yun

Mezzo-soprano Christina Yun comes from Mississauga, Ontario and received her Bachelor of Music at Wilfrid Laurier University for Voice Performance with exceptional Canadian soprano Leslie Fagan. She received the Adrianne Pzeconka Most Outstanding Vocalist scholarship in the gala competition of the Rotary Burlington Music Festival in fall 2017, among other scholarships.

She was La Maestra della novize in Puccini’s Suor Angelica in Darryl Edwards’ Centre of Opera Studies in Italy (CO-SI) in summer 2017. Yun was also part of the inaugral quartet for CO-SI’s new composition program, now called the Opera Creation Lab. She received first place in the fourth-year women’s class at the NATS Ontario Auditions in November 2015.

In the 2014 summer season, Yun performed the role of Third Wood Sprite in Halifax Summer Opera Festival’s production of Rusalka as well as a chorus member and Vera Boronel in an excerpt from The Consul in HSOF’s 10-year anniversary gala. In the academic 2013-2014 season, she has performed with Opera Laurier as Cobweb from Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Tisbe from La Cenerentola in their fall opera excerpts. Yun also performed her first complete opera with Opera Laurier’s production of Giiwedin in contralto role Mahkwa. She was the Head of Student Marketing for Opera Laurier in their 2013-2014 season and was also a marketing consultant and talent scout for non-profit organization Musicians Without Borders Canada with colleague and CEO Ben Kim from 2012-2014.

Yun has performed in numerous benefit concerts with Musicians Without Borders Canada and as well with colleagues participating in the Global Partnership program with Intervarsity Christian Fellowship throughout the GTA. She served as a section leader and soloist with the congregations of Knox Waterloo Presbyterian Church and is now singing with the choir of St. Stephen’s-on-the-Hill United Church (Mississauga) for their sacred music needs.

Poppea in Poppea

Kathryn Rose Johnston

Kingston Ontario soprano, Kathryn Rose Johnston, has finished her second year of the Bachelor of Music program in Voice Performance at the University of Toronto, studying with Professor Darryl Edwards.

Notable performances include a masterclass with Karen Cargill, performing a Canada 150 concert at the Canadian Music Centre, performing at two COSI (Centre for Opera Studies in Italy) fundraisers at George’s Restaurant and performing in several concerts with the University of Toronto Faculty of Music. She performed in the University of Toronto Women’s Chamber Choir and is now singing with the McMillan Singers, both directed by Dr. Hilary Apfelstadt. This March she travelled to New York with the McMillan Singers to perform at Lincoln Centre.

Kathryn sang with the Cantabile Choirs of Kingston for 6 years with conductor Dr. Mark Sirett and worked with many guest conductors including Rollo Dilworth and Jonathan Wilcox. In 2014, she sang with the Heritage Festival of Gold Honors Choir in Washington D.C., with directors Sigrid Johnson and Edith Copley.

Her awards, workshops and accolades are many, including the Moir Prize for Voice and the Moir Voice Award at the Kingston Kiwanis Music Festival in 2016, Grade 8 Voice RCM, Advanced Rudiments RCM, Award and the Sear’s Festival Award of Merit for Acting. She participated in the Theatre Performance Intensive at the Stratford Festival and participated in a Canadian Opera Company workshop with Aria Umezawa.

Kathryn is an avid performer of both musical theatre and operetta. Her highlights include Mabel in The Pirates of Penzance (RND Drama), Pitti-Sing in The Mikado (Orchestra Kingston), Rose Maybud in Ruddigore (COSI Connection) and Anne Shirley in Anne of Green Gables (Kingston Meistersingers).

Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni

Michelle Riley

Born and raised in Shelburne, Nova Scotia, Michelle Riley displayed musical promise from an early age. Her parents enrolled her in piano lessons at age 6, and as she matured, she became increasingly interested in vocal performance. Michelle began formal voice training at age 16 in 2011. She represented the South Shore region in the Nova Scotia Provincial Music Festival and presented her first half-recital just two years later in 2013, and began her studies in voice with Monette Gould at Mount Allison University that September. In 2014 she had the opportunity to perform another recital under the Nautilis series, presented by the Osprey Arts Centre in her hometown, and presented two more recitals at Mount Allison in 2016 and 2017. Michelle interpreted the role of Hope Harcourt in the Garnet and Gold Musical Theatre Society’s production of Anything Goes in 2015, and participated in the Mount Allison Opera Workshop productions. In 2016 she began her studies with Vicki St. Pierre, and appeared as Vivienne Kensington in the Garnet and Gold Musical Theatre Society’s production of Legally Blonde in January 2017. In July 2017, she performed with the Centre for Opera Studies in Italy (COSI) singing the role of “Lay Sister” in Puccini’s Suor Angelica. She joined the Halifax Summer Opera Festival’s 2017 season performing the roles of L’Aurora, Semele and Ora 1 in Cavalli’s L’Egisto. Michelle is continuing her studies in voice at the Master’s degree level with Torin Chiles at the University of Western Ontario. Most recently, she appeared as Frasquita in Carmen presented by Western Opera and has just presented her first of two recitals in partial fulfillment of the degree. She is ecstatic to be returning to HSOF for their 2018 season to sing her dream role: Donna Elvira in Mozart’s Don Giovanni!

Snout in Dream and Soldato I and Lucano in Poppea

Eli Aronson

Eli Aronson, tenor, is a freshmen student at Simpson College where he is majoring in Vocal Performance and minoring in German. Originally from Minneapolis, Minnesota, he has performed with the MacPhail Center of Music, the Oratorio Society of Minnesota, and the Angelica Cantanti Singers. In 2017, the Hennepin Theatre Trust named him as a Triple-Threat Finalist, one of only twelve teenage men in the state of Minnesota. In the 2017-2018 season he was a Young Artist with Cedar Rapids Opera Theatre and sang in the Chorus of Turandot and the role of Stuart Dalrymple in Brigadoon. This summer, he will be singing the roles of Snout in A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Lucano/Soldato in L’incoronazione di Poppea with the Halifax Opera Festival. At Simpson College, he studies with Dr. Kimberly Roberts and was named the recipient of the Douglas Duncan Award.

Arnalta in Poppea

Sarah Kaye Klapman

Canadian mezzo-soprano Sarah Kaye Klapman grew up in Toronto and received her Bachelor’s degree in Voice from Mount Allison University, where she studied under Sally Dibblee and Monette Gould. While at Mount Allison, she was awarded the Isabel (Munro) Pace Scholarship and Music Faculty Artist Scholarship, amongst others. Recent projects include performances as Florence Pike in Halifax Summer Opera Festival’s 2017 production of Albert Herring, singing with Mount Allison University’s Elliott Chorale, Symphonic Band and Jazz Band. With Mount Allison’s Opera Workshop, under the direction of Dr. Vicki St. Pierre, she has performed scenes and excerpts from Mozart, Monteverdi, Menotti, and Handel.

This summer, Sarah will travel to Edmonton to perform in Opera NUOVA’s productions of Neil Weisensel’s City Workers in Love (Mrs. Demers) and Stephen Sondheim’s Into the Woods (Cinderella’s Stepmother, Baker’s Wife [cover]). She is excited to return to HSOF this summer for Monteverdi’s L’incoronazione di Poppea, in which she plays Arnalta, her favourite kind of saucy old lady. Upcoming plans include returning to Mount Allison in the fall to complete her Psychology degree, and finally getting her driver’s license.

Zerlina in Don Giovanni

Emily Rocha

With a shimmering young soprano voice, warm timbre, and captivating stage presence, Emily Rocha is an 18-year-old soprano from Courtice, Ontario. Although this is her first operatic role, she is no stranger to the stage.

She attended O’Neill CVI’s performing arts program, where she performed the role of Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz. At Oshawa Little Theatre, she performed inOliver! (Widow Corney), Mary Poppins (Ensemble), and The Miracle Worker (Blind Girl). In summer of 2014, she performed in Guys and Dolls (Sarah Brown) with Simply Theatre Switzerland, and in 2015, she attended the Singing Taster Course at Guildhall in London, England with Marilyn Rees. In her last year of high school she participated in the Phil and Eli Taylor Performance Academy at the RCM, Toronto, where she studied with Dr. Robert Loewen.

In 2017 she was a First Prize Winner with the American Protégé Vocal Competition, earning her the opportunity to perform in Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall, NYC. She received 3rd Prize in the OMFA Provincials for Grade 9 Voice, Best in Voice at the Pickering Rotary Music Festival, Intermediate Voice Award with the Oshawa-Whitby Kiwanis Music Festival, and an Outstanding Performance Award from ORMTA GTA. She was the 2017 recipient of the Marianne Turner Memorial Scholarship from the Durham Philharmonic Choir.

During the summer of 2017 she participated in the High School Voice Intensive at the Royal Conservatory of Music, and the Académie Internationale D’Été de Nice, France, with Juilliard’s Lorraine Nubar.

In fall 2017 she received the Senior Voice Award in the Contemporary Showcase Festival, and performed Laudate Dominum (Mozart) as a soloist with the Durham Youth Orchestra. She will be performing Mozart’s The Magic Flute (Ensemble) with her studio in early spring.

Emily studies with Lorna MacDonald at the University of Toronto.

Quince in Dream

Gabriel Shapiro

Gabriel Shapiro holds a master’s degree in cello performance from Boston University and has studied voice for the past ten years. He has sung in several productions with Opéra immédiat in Montreal and recently sang in the premier of Maisonneuve & Mance, a historic opera commissioned to mark the 375th anniversary of the founding of the city of Montreal. In addition to musical performances, he took part in four student productions of the University of Montreal Theatre, where he was awarded the student engagement prize for his portrayal of Dr. Chemla in Yasmina Reza’s Heureux les heureux.

Gabriel studied voice with Colette Boky and Marie-Annick Béliveau at the University of Quebec at Montreal before completing a graduate diploma at the University of Sherbrooke, Canada, where he sang the role of Ben in Menotti’s The Telephone. In the summer of 2017 he sang the roles of Masetto and the Commendatore in Don Giovanni at the Accademia Europea Dell’Opera in Lucca, Italy. He is currently pursuing a master’s degree in vocal performance at the University of Ottawa, where he studies with Sandra Graham. In addition to musical studies, Gabriel holds certificates in German and Italian language and culture and a Ph.D. in public health from the University of Montreal.

Valetto and Venere in Poppea

Kira Vandermeulen

Kira Vandermeulen is an expressive and youthful Canadian soprano, born in Red Deer, Alberta. She most recently studied under Dr. Blaine Hendsbee at the University of Lethbridge, where she completed her bachelor of music. Kira very much enjoys the communicative aspect of performance and eagerly seeks opportunities to further develop her dramatic presence and vocal technique. In past years, she has been an active performer in the arts community through both Red Deer and Lethbridge’s Festival of the Performing Arts, as well as through the University of Lethbridge’s opera workshop program. Within this program, Kira has performed roles such as Nora (Riders to the Sea), Molly Brazen (Beggars Opera), as well as Seconda Sorella Cercatrice (Suor Angelica). In the future, Kira hopes to continue her vocal studies at the master’s level.

Oberon in Dream

Logan Tanner

Logan Tanner, American Countertenor, is an up-and-coming, versatile singer praised for his musicality, daring ornamentation and beautiful vocal quality. In September 2017, Logan received first place in the New York Classical Music Society’s Artist International Competition and in October of 2017 Logan was named the Winner of the Choralis Young Artist Competition. Logan regularly performs as soloist around the United States and made his New York City debut with the New York Repertory Orchestra in November of 2017 at Merkin Concert Hall. Upcoming 2018 engagements include a concert with the Philharmonic of Southern New Jersey, soloist in Handel’s Messiah with Choralis and orchestra, and a concert debut with the Henry Purcell Society of Boston as soloist in Purcell’s “Come Ye Sons of Art.” Logan will also appear in several solo recitals around the United States and will be a featured soloist in Bernstein’s Chichester Psalms at the Axelrod Performing Arts Center. Additionally Logan will perform the role of Ruggiero in the Hawaii Performing Arts Festival 2018 production of Alcina as a Professional Fellow before making his Canadian debut this August when he performs the role of Oberon, King of the fairies, in Benjamin Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, at the Halifax Summer Opera Festival.

Cobweb in Dream

Meggie McKay

Soprano Meggie McKay is a vibrant and passionate performer, who is at home performing in recitals, operas, and musical theatre. She graduated with a Bachelor of Music in Voice Performance from Acadia University in 2016, studying under Christianne Rushton. She is currently pursuing a Master of Arts in Musicology with a concentration in Women and Gender Studies. Her thesis focuses on representations of women in power in two of Gilbert and Sullivan’s operettas: Iolanthe and Princess Ida. Meggie is currently studying voice with Susan Blyth-Schofield in Ottawa.

Meggie enjoys acting as well as singing and has performed for many years with Quick as a Wink Theatre Society in her hometown of Windsor, Nova Scotia. Her roles include: Lucy Van Pelt, You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown; Rose Lennox, The Secret Garden; Arabella Stannus, Glory Days; and Bertha Mason, Jane Eyre: the Musical. She has also performed as a guest soloist for the Bedford-based Enchor East Chorus, the Eastern Shore Summer Arts Festival, and for the North Grenville Concert Choir in Kemptville, Ontario. She previously performed with the Acadia University Singing Theatre Company and the Acadia University Chorus. In August 2015, Meggie performed the role of Evangeline in the Canadian Premiere of Gwyneth Walker’s opera Evangeline, in the historic Covenanter Church in Grand Pre.

Meggie enjoys stage managing and assisting behind-the-scenes. During her musicology studies, Meggie was a Teaching Assistant for the University of Ottawa’s Opera Productions of Bizet’s Carmen in 2017 and Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro in 2018.

Meggie has won several provincial awards and Equine Canada bronze level championships with her Paint Horse, Jigs. She is passionate about animals and is known around her hometown for her eclectic collection of misfit critters. Meggie lives with her wonderful fiancée who is currently pursuing a conducting career.

Peaseblossom in Dream

Meagan Adams

Soprano Meagan Adams is proud to be working again with the Halifax Summer Opera Festival. Meagan has just completed her Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance at Acadia University under the tutelage of Paula Rockwell and plans on pursuing further studies in music in the fall. She is the recipient of the Lois Duffy Award, and the Prof. Owen Stephens Award. Meagan has recently appeared in the role of Pélagie in the musical theatre production Pélagie at Acadia University. Her past roles with HSOF has been as La Conversa & Suor Dolcina in Suor Angelica and Goddess Hebe in Orpheus in the Underworld. Meagan has attended summer programs at the Stratford Shakespeare School in Stratford, Ontario and the CATT theatre program in Ireland and Italy. Meagan would like to thank her family for all of their support and the HSOF for this wonderful opportunity.

Don Giovanni in Don Giovanni

Ariel Lefebvre

A native from Bromont, QC, Ariel Lefebvre is a young lyric baritone specializing in French repertoire. Holder of a Master of Music in Voice and Opera Performance from McGill University, he has studied under Heldentenor Stefano Algieri’s tutelage, and has worked with renowned personalities from the musical scene, such as Hank Knox, a founding member of Arion Baroque Orchestra, as well as conductor Jordan de Souza. A polyvatent artist, Ariel performs in a wide variety of musical genres, ranging from contemporary works to repertoire from the renaissance and baroque era, which he has extensively explored during his studies. In 2015, he performed in the Canadian premiere of Buoso’s Ghost by American composer Micheal Ching with Opera McGill, in which he sang the role of Marco Donati. In 2016, Ariel took part in Händel’s Rodelinda at the Halifax Summer Opera Festival, during which he also performed as Simone Donati in their production of Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi. An avid recitalist, Ariel also regularly performs romantic and modern vocal works in chamber music concerts. In 2014, he sang in a whole new staged version of Schubert’s Die Schöne Müllerin, working with stage director François Racine. Always striving to refine his stage presence, Ariel has also explored theater and stage techniques at the Scuola Internazionale di Teatro Italiano “Giovanni Grasso”. It is with great pleasure that he will be giving the acting workshop during the 2018 edition of HSOF. Recipient of multiple scholarships and competition awards, Ariel recently took part in the pretigious Canadian Music Competition, where was selected as a provincial finalist. He also sang at the Festival de musique du Royaume, in Saguenay, QC, where he was awarded first place in the vocal category and third place in the general competition.

Zerlina in Don Giovanni

Shanice Skinner

Shanice Skinner is a soprano hailing from New Glasgow, Nova Scotia. She graduated from Wilfrid Laurier University with an Honours Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance in 2017. Shanice was Nova Scotia’s alto selection for the 2014 National Youth Choir, which took place in her home province. She was again selected for the 2016 National Youth Choir tour in Alberta but as Nova Scotia’s soprano. During the 2016 tour, Shanice performed the soprano solo in the world premiere of Kristofer Fulton’s O Seeker of Dreams at The Winspear in Edmonton, Alberta. In July of 2016, Shanice attended the Franco-American Vocal Academy opera program in Périgueux, France, performing the role of Gustave in Offenbach’s Pomme d’Api. Throughout her degree, Shanice has performed scene work with Opera Laurier in the roles of Giulietta in Offenbach’s Les contes d’Hoffmann, Kitty Hart in Heggie’s Dead Man Walking and Cendrillon in Massenet’s Cendrillon. Shanice is a 2016 and 2018 Nova Scotia Talent Trust scholarship recipient, and was the 2016 special award winner of the Portia White Award.

Donna Anna in Don Giovanni

Heather McConnell

Heather McConnell (Donna Anna) is a dynamic, young American soprano who is thrilled to make her Canadian debut with the Halifax Summer Opera Festival! Ms. McConnell is currently pursuing her Master of Music in Voice Performance at Temple University, having recently received her Bachelor of Music, summa cum laude from Gettysburg College. Ms. McConnell’s latest opera credits include Così fan tutte (Fiordiligi), Dido and Aeneas (Dido), and The Pirates of Penzance (Mabel), as well as scenes from Susannah (Susannah), Die Zauberflöte (Pamina), and The Merry Wives of Windsor (Alice Ford). A versatile performer, Ms. McConnell has also appeared in a wide variety of theatre, including How to Succeed… (Miss Jones), Into the Woods (Cinderella), In the Next Room… (Catherine Givings), and The Scarlet Pimpernel (Marguerite). Ms. McConnell has received awards from the Allegheny Mountain Chapter of the National Association of Teachers of Singing, the Presser Foundation, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Sunderman Conservatory, and the Chester County Choral Society.

Drusilla in Poppea

Tara Venkatesan

Tara Venkatesan (soprano) has performed as a soloist with the Vienna Chamber Orchestra, with the American Baroque Orchestra, at the Closing Ceremony of the 2010 Commonwealth Games, for the Dalai Lama, for the President of Austria, for the Prime Minister of India, and as recording artist for Walt Disney.

Past opera credits include Clori (lead) in F. Cavalli’s L’Egisto (Yale Baroque Opera Project, 2018), Galatea (lead) in Galatea, a new G.F. Handel pastiche (Yale University, 2017), Cassandra in F. Cavalli’s La Didone (Yale Baroque Opera Project, 2017), and Thalia in a S. Landi and D. Belli pastiche opera, La Lira Muta (Elm City Consort, 2017).

She has had the privilege of studying voice under Gerald Wirth (Artistic Director of the Vienna Boys Choir) and Sally Sanford (DMA, Stanford University). She was also a member of the pre-college Young Artist Programme at the Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music, Singapore.

In addition to studying voice, she loves learning languages and speaks Italian, Spanish, French, Hindi and Tamil. She has done original supertitle translations for baroque Italian operas, such as La Lira Muta, La Didone, and L’Egisto.

She graduated this May with a B.S. in Cognitive Science from Yale University and has spent the last several years conducting music cognition research at labs in Yale and Harvard University. She looks forward to starting her PhD in Experimental Psychology at Oxford University studying music perception this fall.

She is obsessed with early music and is extremely excited about performing in Monteverdi’s L’Incoronazione di Poppea at the Halifax Summer Opera Festival!

Demetrius in Dream

MarKo Hubert

Native of La Sarre in Abitibi-Temiscamingue, Québec, MarKo Hubert received his formation in voice performance at the Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM) in the studio of Colette Boky and later continued his studies with Robert Savoie, Stuart Graham, Lyne Fortin and Jason Davis. Since then he has enjoyed a varied artistic life that has seen him on the dramatic, operatic and concert stages as well as the small and large screen with various productions for film and television throughout the province of Québec. Some of his performance credits include a miner from QUELQUE CHOSE D’ORGANIQUE (Bonello), Sparfucille from RIGOLETTO (Verdi), Alvadoro/Général-Marquis d’Urfé/un Ange from LE MANUSCRIPT TROUVÉ À SARAGOSSE (Evangelista), Louchard from LA FILLE MME. ANGOT (Lecocq), the Grand Inquisitor of Spain from THE GONDOLIERS (Gilbert & Sullivan), Antonio from UN MARIAGE DE RAISON (Thomas), la Duchesse from LA DUCHESSE DE
LANGEAIS (Tremblay), and finally in 2017 he had the opportunity to sing Moralez and le DancaÏre from Carmen by Bizet with the Halifax Summer Opera Festival. This year MarKo Hubert will perform the roles of Benoît and Alcindoro from Puccini’s La Bohème with the Maritime Concert Opera Society and will return to the Halifax Summer Opera Festival as Demetrius in A Midsummer Night’s Dream by Britten.

MarKo Hubert has interest in staging and teaching an acting master class in the future.

Tytania in Dream

Sarah Dufresne

Sarah Dufresne is a Canadian Soprano currently attending McGill University in the Masters of Music- Voice and Opera program, studying with Tracy Smith Bessette. Sarah has recently completed her Bachelor of Music Honours performance degree at Wilfrid Laurier University. This summer Sarah will sing the role of “Tytania” in Benjamin Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. (Halifax Summer Opera Festival) This past year Sarah sang the role of “Aspesie” in Jacques Offenbach’s Une Demoiselle en Lotterie, and also covered the roles of “Ginevra” in Ariodante and “Cunegonde” in Candide. (Opera McGill) Her other credits include the role of “Morgana” in Alcina, “Zerlina” (cover) in Don Giovanni (Accademia Europea dell’Opera) “Vixen Sharpears,” in The Cunning Little Vixen (Opera Laurier) as well as the roles of “Gabriel” and “Eve” in The Creation. (Waterloo Chamber Players) Sarah’s extra training includes the Accademia Europea dell’Opera (Lucca, Italy) as well as the Stratford Summer Vocal Academy. (Stratford, Ontario) Sarah also enjoys taking part in the ‘Early music Ensembles’ at McGill. In the past Sarah has won the Wilfrid Laurier University Concerto Competition, as well as been a young performer featured on WNED radio Buffalo/Toronto. This summer, Sarah looks forward to spending time on the East Coast of Canada and studying the beautiful music of Benjamin Britten with the Halifax Summer Opera Festival.

Hermia in Dream

Tess Clark

Mezzo-Soprano Tess Clark is a first-year undergraduate student at the Peabody Institute in the studio of Stanley Cornett. Upcoming performances include the role of Hermia in Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream with Halifax Summer Opera Festival. Programs she has attended include the Boston University of Tanglewood Young Artists Vocal Program, Washington National Opera Institute, and Crittenden Opera Institute. Previously, she studied with tenor John Aler. She is the recipient the William W. More PhD Scholarship and the Fanny B Thalheimer Memorial Scholarship. She has won both 1 st and 3 rd place in Virginia State-Wide Bland Competition.

Amore in Poppea

Taylor R. Reeves

Soprano Taylor R. Reeves is excited to make her international debut at the Halifax Summer Opera Festival as Amore. Classically trained, Taylor is a current Masters candidate at Temple University studying with Dr. Lorie Gratis-Harris. Most recently playing Giulietta in I Capuleti e i Montecchi with the West Chester University Opera Theater, Taylor hails from a small town in Southern Delaware and much enjoys her new-found city life in Philadelphia, PA.

Other roles include Laetitia, The Old Maid and the Thief (Temple Opera Workshop scenes); Cunegonde, Candide (Temple Opera Workshop scenes); and Venus, Orphée aux enfers. Ms. Reeves has also worked in oratorio and choral music singing as Soprano Soloist in Handel’s Messiah, Vivaldi’s Gloria, Mozart’s Requiem, and Britten’s Te Deum.

Amore in Poppea

Rachel Ross

Canadian soprano Rachel Ross is currently pursuing their Bachelor of Music at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music under esteemed professor Lorraine Manz. Their work is diverse and eclectic both on and off the operatic stage. They have excelled in contemporary music projects such as a staged version of Philip Glass’ Songs from Liquid Days (Oberlin Opera Theatre, 2017) and singing with Oberlin’s Contemporary Music Ensemble under the baton of Timothy Weiss. In May 2017 along with Oberlin’s CME, they were invited to Brooklyn, New York for Bang On A Can’s 30th Anniversary Marathon Concert, where they performed De Staat by Louis Andriessen and the premiere of No Anthem by Michael Gordon.

Previous operatic engagements include the role of Anna I in Kurt Weill’s Seven Deadly Sins (Oberlin Opera Theatre, 2018), the roles of Woodsprite I and Kitchenboy in Dvořak’s Rusalka (Toronto Summer Opera Workshop, 2018), and the choruses of Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro (Oberlin Opera Theatre, 2017) and Wagner’s Der fliegende Holländer (Calgary Opera, 2014).

Born and raised in Calgary, Rachel sang with the internationally acclaimed Cantaré Children’s Choir for twelve years and was hand selected to sing in the Alberta Youth Choir for two years in a row. Their love for ensemble work has fuelled recent studies in conducting. Along with choral music, Rachel has a passion for Lieder and the German language. In June 2017 they travelled to Vienna, Austria to participate in Westminster Choir College’s Language of Lieder program, where they studied the lieder of Schubert, Mozart, Mendelssohn, and Josephine Lang. In addition to singing, Rachel is an accomplished pianist, having studied since the age of five.

 

Mustardseed in Dream

Patricia Weber

The Swiss-Canadian soprano Patricia Weber is a native of Warwick, Québec. She obtained a bachelor degree in voice performance at Université de Montréal and recently obtained a D.E.S.S. at Université de Sherbrooke. To date, her roles include Gabrielle and Pauline in La vie parisienne, Diane in Orphée aux enfers (Offenbach), Amahl in Amahl and The Night Visitors, Lucy in The Telephone (Menotti), as well as Mabel in Gilbert&Sullivan’s The Pirates of Penzance. She was 3rd place finalist for the Festival-Concours de Musique de Sherbrooke in 2015 and came first place in her category in the Canadian Music Competition in 2017.

Moth in Dream

Gabrielle de Grandmont

Gabrielle de Grandmont is a 20-year-old lyric mezzo-soprano currently pursuing her undergraduate degree at Western University (BMus. Voice) under the guidance of Todd Wieczorek. Originally from Ottawa, Ontario, Gabrielle began her singing journey in the Ottawa Catholic School Board Children’s and Chamber Choirs in 2008. She went on to take private voice lessons from 2012 with mezzo-soprano, Arminè Kassabian. That same year, Gabrielle was accepted into Arts Canterbury’s Music Program in the Vocal Department under the direction of James Caswell. There she gained experience and knowledge in music theory and history, keyboard skills and singing in large and small ensembles as well as solo recitals.

Gabrielle has participated in a number of summer music programs including the Royal Conservatory of Music Summer Voice Intensive (2016), Ottawa Recitalists Art Song Academy (2016) and the Canadian Operatic Arts Academy (2017), wherein she performed such roles as Dorabella in Così fan tutte (Act I finale) and title roles in Bizet’s Carmen (Act II quintet) and Britten’s The Rape of Lucretia (Act I, Scene II). She has also participated in masterclasses with Dr. Victoria Holland (D. Mus., Northwestern University, lyric soprano), Denis Boudreault (Voice Professor at University of Ottawa, tenor), Francesco Milioto (Conductor at Lyric Opera of Chicago) and Nathalie Paulin (Voice Professor at University of Toronto, Soprano).

Gabrielle is very grateful to have had the opportunity to study music from a young age and would like to extend a huge thank you to her family and friends for their unconditional support, and to her teachers Arminè, James and Todd, without whom she would not have discovered passion and the talent for singing that she now has today.

Flute in Dream

Joseph Adams

Joseph Adams is an emerging tenor hailing from Lethbridge, Alberta. He is currently pursuing a Bachelor’s of Music in Vocal Performance under the study of Dr. Blaine Hendsbee at the University of Lethbridge. Joe is best known amongst his peers for his rapid coloratura and “supersonic” high range. He is fortunate enough to have had several major performances with the Lethbridge Symphony through the U of L Opera Workshop program; performing such roles as Filch in the Beggars Opera and Paris in 10 Belles and No Ring. Joe has a great passion for choral music and is a member of the U of L Singers on top of working seasonally with the Southminster United Church Chancel Choir. These positions often grant him additional opportunities for performing solo repertoire as well. He has been singing all his life and is a keen and versatile actor on the stage. When he’s not singing Joe is found playing guitar or practicing martial arts. He is entirely self-taught on guitar and occasionally enjoys playing the ukulele as well. The Japanese art of Kendo is his martial art of choice; in March, he recently acquired the rank of Ikkyu. His next goal with Kendo is to achieve the rank of Shodan (Black Belt). With an ever-positive attitude, he searches tirelessly for ways to improve his abilities and approach to singing. Joe hopes to become a professional singer and voice instructor following his Undergraduate and Masters degrees.

Nerone in Poppea

Sean Jordan

Countertenor Sean Jordan is a first year Master’s student at McGill University’s Schulich School of Music, studying under baritone Nathaniel Watson. Originally from Jamison, Pennsylvania, he holds a B.M. in Vocal Performance and a B.A. in Music History and Cultures from Syracuse University. Previous roles from Syracuse University operas include Prince Orlofsky in Strauss’ Die Fledermaus, Sorceress in Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas, and Thyrsis in Serpa’s Thyrsis and Amaranth.

He began his singing career at the age of seven with the Philadelphia Boys Choir & Chorale, and had the opportunity to tour Europe, Asia, and Central America. It was with the Boys Choir, that he fell in love with singing and connecting with audiences through music.

While at Holy Ghost Preparatory School in Bensalem, Pennsylvania, Sean discovered the art of Forensics. Better known as Speech and Debate, Forensics would define much of his young adult life, as it allowed him to travel across the United States and meet fellow actors and acting coaches. Competing in Humorous Interpretation of Literature and DUO Interpretation of Literature, Mr. Jordan would go on to hold three State Champion titles and a National Champion title in 2013.

Though performing is his greatest passion, Mr. Jordan’s work in musicological research has also shaped him as a singer. At Syracuse University, he presented research papers dealing with staging Handel operas, and on a fach system of the countertenor voice, while he also assisted Dr. Amanda Eubanks Winkler in research for her book on Baroque performance on the London Stage.

Sean will be singing Nerone in Monteverdi’s L’Incoronazione di Poppea. He is beyond excited and honored to be able to portray this iconic emperor, and is so grateful to work with his amazing cast at the 2018 Halifax season.

Masetto in Don Giovani and Seneca in Poppea

Drew Comer

Bass Drew Comer, a native of Brownsburg, Indiana, is pursuing a Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music. He has also received a minor in the Spanish language. During his time at the Jacobs School, he has been seen in the choruses of Lucia di Lammermoor, The Music Man, Florencia en el Amazonas, Oklahoma!, and The Barber of Seville. He recently sang in the chorus of Krzysztof Penderecki’s St. Luke Passion and has performed scenes from Mozart’s La Clemenza di Tito and Die Zauberflöte in Katherine Jolly’s Opera Workshop. He is recognized as an Indiana University Founder’s Scholar and is the recipient of the Indiana Premiere Young Talent Scholarship and the William and Emma Horn Scholarship. He coaches with Gary Arvin and Walter Huff and is a student of Patricia Stiles.

Mustardseed in Dream

Chanel Rolle

Born in Nassau, Bahamas, Chanel Rolle’s love for music became evident at an early age. Her musical journey began in elementary school where she was first introduced to music theory, as well as the recorder and steel pan. Consistently studying music throughout her primary and junior years, she continued her studies at the high school level at C.V. Bethel Senior High School. There, she was exposed to the world of classical music, instantly falling in love with it and led to her decision to study classical singing in depth. She went to the College of The Bahamas where she studied voice with Mrs. Audrey Dean Wright. While at the College she was a member of The College of The Bahamas Concert Band and Choir Soprano. Chanel Rolle, received her Associates of Arts Degree from The College of The Bahamas, Nassau in May 2014. Upon receiving a scholarship from the Nassau Music Society, in August 2016, she went on to continue her music studies at Memorial University of Newfoundland, Canada where she is currently majoring in Vocal Performance and Musicology. Throughout her career, Chanel has been a member of several national organizations such as the award-winning Bahamas Allstar Band directed by Yonell Justilien, the Bahamas National Children’s Choir and Youth Choir under the direction of the late Patricia Bazard and Cleophas R.E. Adderley respectively, and she was also a member of The Highgrove Singers directed by Adrian Archer. She has taken part in the Southeastern African-American Collegiate (SEAAC) Music Festival (2014), the America Cantat 8 (2016), the Harrower Opera Workshop, and looks forward to star in the role as Mustardseed in Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream at the Halifax Opera Summer Program.

Seneca in Poppea and Commendatore in Don Giovanni

Jordan Delage

Jordan Delage started his voice lessons and musical training at Cégep St-Laurent in Montreal. His first two roles were Sarastro (Die Zauberflöte) and Baron Popoff (La Veuve Joyeuse). During his years of study in voice performance at Université de Montréal (Bachelor and Master degrees), Jordan sung many bass roles such as Betto Di Signa (Gianni Schicchi), Siroco (L’Étoile), Bartolo (Le Nozze Di Figaro), and Snug (A Midsummer Night’s Dream). His voice teachers were John Fanning, Julie Daoust and Claude Grenier. In summer 2017 he sung the role of Leporello (Don Giovanni) in Lucca, Italy with the Accademia Europea Dell’Opera. He gained significant experience working with coaches like Enza Ferrari, James Vaughan (Teatro alla Scala) and Simone Luti. Jordan Delage is now part of the Opéra de Montréal chorus since 2016. His musicianship and acting is always growing. With his rich voice and low timbre, he is now ready to master both dramatic and comic roles.

Don Ottavio in Don Giovanni

Jeffrey Smith

Jeffrey is a Toronto based light tenor that appeared at HSOF in 2017 as Egisto in Cavali’s L’Egisto. As well as performing Don Ottavio, he will be performing the role of Ferrando in Cosi fan tutte at Long Reach Opera Workshop (LROW) . Last year, he was Mosquito in Janáček’s Cunning Little Vixen, and Bunthorne, in Gilbert and Sullivan’s Patience. He has also appeared as Luiz, from G&S’s Gondoliers at The International Gilbert and Sullivan Festival in Buxton, England. Jeffrey has appeared on stage, in the chorus, with Toronto Operetta Theatre, Opera in Concert, and Opera Atelier.

Leporello in Don Giovanni

Flávio Lauria

Brazilian bass-baritone Flávio Lauria lives in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Studied under Ricardo Tuttmann at Federal University of Rio de Janeiro where he graduated with a Bachelor Degree of Singing. Now he is developing his singing skills under Indiana’s Doctor of Music, dramatic baritone MarceIo Ferreira in Brazil. Flávio had his début as Uberto in Pergolesi’s La serva padrona at Leopoldo Miguez Theatre in Rio de Janeiro, as Don Alfonso and Figaro in Mozart’s Così fan tutte and Le nozze di Figaro at Vancouver Summer Opera Studio, as Seneca in Monteverdi’s L’incoronazione di Poppea at Planetarium’s Carl Sagan Dome in Rio de Janeiro, as Comus in Charpentier’s Les plaisirs de Versailles at Maison de France Theatre in Rio de Janeiro, as Aeneas in Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas at Palácio das Artes in Belo Horizonte (Brazil), as Giove in Cavalli’s La Calisto at John McIntosh Arts Centre in London (UK), as Leporello in Mozart’s Don Giovanni at St. Mary in the Castle in Hastings (UK), amongst other roles of the operatic repertoire. In 2014 he made his Halfifax Summer Opera Festival début as Vodník in Dvorak’s Rusalka at Sir James Dunn Theatre. In the off-opera repertoire, Flávio has performed the solo parts of Villa-Lobos’ cantata Vida Pura at Cecilia Meirelles Hall in Rio de Janeiro, Bach’s cantata BWV 182 at Leopoldo Miguez Theatre in Rio de Janeiro and Vivaldi’s Magnificat at Adamastor Theatre in Guarulhos (Brazil). Has performed under baton of conductors André Cardoso, Emiliano Patarra, Roberto Duarte, Márcio da Silva and Valéria Mattos and regisseurs André Heller-Lopes, Andy Maton, Andrew Pelrine, Lígia Tourinho, Graciela Araya, amongst others.

Commendatore in Don Giovanni and Snug in Dream

David Piper

David Piper began his professional life as a choral singer in England. He studied voice (bass-baritone) and piano at the Royal College of Music in London for two years, before winning a Choral Scholarship to St. John’s College, Cambridge University. While at Cambridge, he sang in a number of recordings the choir made with the St. Martin’s Academy under Neville Mariner, including masses by Haydn, Byrd, and Palestrina. He also sang in several operas with the university opera company, as well as directing a performance of Handel’s Ariodante. Following graduation, he taught English and Music at St. Paul’s School in London for two years before accepting a Windsor Scholarship, which enabled him to pursue his academic interests at Reading University while singing in the choir of St. George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle. Following this, he opted for the regular salary provided by an academic career in Canada, where he has lived for the past forty years, teaching at UBC, the University of Calgary, St. Mary’s University, and Acadia University. In Canada, he has sung with several small groups in Vancouver, Calgary, and Halifax, and has recently decided to return to the challenges of vocal studies and musical performance as a way of making his life more meaningful. He continues to teach in the areas of educational psychology, counselling psychology, and applied linguistics, but will gladly retire to sing and play the piano at the earliest opportunity. His current musical ambitions are to continue studying voice at the Halifax Conservatory of Music and to audition for any ‘senior’ roles in the operas of Mozart, Verdi, and others that may come available.

Damigella and La Fortuna in Poppea

Emily Steers

Emily Steers is a soprano in the third year of her Bachelor of Music degree at Mount Allison University in New Brunswick, studying with Dr. Vicki St. Pierre.

At Mount Allison, she has performed in the Opera Workshop’s scene productions, performing excerpts from Alcina, Iolanthe, and L’incoroazione di Poppea. She recently participated in Opera NUOVA’s 2017 program, appearing as Louise in R&H’s Carousel, Pépik and Kobylka in Janáček’s Cunning Little Vixen, and chorus in G&S’sPatience.

This summer she is excited to perform at Halifax Summer Opera Festival and explore her interest in early music, as La Fortuna and Damigella in L’Incoroazione di Poppea. She is also working with Long Reach Opera Workshop in their production of Così fan tutte, singing excerpts as Fiordiligi, as well as singing in the chorus.

Emily comes from a choral background, having been introduced to classical music through the Guelph Youth Singers and church choirs. She has also competed in the National Association of Teachers of Singing competition for the past three years, as well as the Ontario Registered Music Teacher’s Association and Kiwanis festivals.

Poppea in Poppea

Thera Barclay

Hailing from Ottawa, Ontario, Thera Barclay is currently pursuing her Master of Music degree in Opera at the University of British Columbia. She is the recipient of numerous scholarships and awards for her achievements in music, including the Lillian and Don Wright National Voice Travel and Study Scholarship, various prizes in the Kiwanis Music Festival and NATS Competition, and other scholarships and bursaries based on performance ability and academic achievement.

Thera has a variety of stage experience, with her repertoire including complete works such as Suor Angelica, L’elisir d’amore, Susannah, Gianni Schicchi, Giiwedin (an Indigenous, Canadian, contemporary work), and The Marriage of Figaro, along with a variety of operatic excerpts. Thera is dedicated to her craft, and she finds purpose in the powerful storytelling in the music and drama that bring such great meaning to our lives.

Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni

Skylar Cameron

Soprano, Skylar Cameron is a recent Bachelor of Music graduate from Mount Allison University and currently studying with Vicki St. Pierre in Sackville, NB. Skylar has been previously recommended to the National Music Festival and chosen as alternate for both Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. She has participated and placed top in voice at the Atlantic National Association of Teacher's Songfest 2015 & 2016. Skylar placed second in Voice at the ENKOR International Music Competition, 2017. She has participated in master classes with renowned Canadian soprano Measha Brueggergosman, baritone John McMaster, baritone Mel Braun and most recently with tenors Darryl Edwards and Kevin McMillan.

Skylar has been featured as soloist in Mendelssohn’s Elijah, Bach’s Magnificat in C, and Castelnuovo-Tedesco’s Romancero Gitano with Mount Allison University’s Choral Society. At Mount Allison, she has performed in Opera Workshop’s scene productions, including excerpts from Mozart’s Don Giovanni, Cosi Fan Tutte, The Magic Flute, Gluck’s Paride ed Elenna, and Moteverdi’s L’Incoronazione di Poppea. In 2016, she performed the role of Cendrillon in Opera Workshop’s production of Cendrillon by Pauline Viardot. Skylar has also performed the roles of Sister Dolcina in Puccini's Suor Angelica at the Centre for Opera Studies in Italy and Venere in Cavalli’s L’Egisto at HSOF (Halifax Summer Opera Festival). This summer, Skylar takes on the role of Donna Elvira in Mozart’s Don Giovanni at HSOF.

Skylar will be attending Western University in the fall of 2018 for her Masters of Music in Literature and Performance.

Ottavia in Poppea

Sarah LaBine

This Ontario-born, mezzo-soprano discovered her love of music and performing when she attended an older cousin’s high school production of Annie. She began taking private voice and piano lessons at the age of 8 and went on to attend a performing arts high school, Mayfield SS. Although she wasn’t clear on the path music would take her, she began her studies at Western University in voice to explore her options. Sarah LaBine has just completed her Undergrad in Voice Performance at Western University and is looking forward to beginning her Master’s degree in Performance and Literature in the fall. She is excited to be continuing her studio studies with Professor, Jackie Short and collaborative pianist, Paul Digout. LaBine has appeared in various productions, beginning with performing assorted scenes such as Ms. Grose in Turn of The Screw’s, Fidalma in Il Matrimonio Segreto’s, and Bianca in The Rape of Lucretia, during Canadian Operatic Art Academy in the spring of 2017. This year LaBine performed in her first fully costumed and staged productions as a chorus member in Western’s productions of Carmen, and The Pirates of Penzance. She is excited to be here in Halifax for the first time to perform the role of Ottavia in Halifax Summer Opera Festival’s L’incoronazione di Poppea!

Hermia in Dream

Christina Yun

Mezzo-soprano Christina Yun comes from Mississauga, Ontario and received her Bachelor of Music at Wilfrid Laurier University for Voice Performance with exceptional Canadian soprano Leslie Fagan. She received the Adrianne Pzeconka Most Outstanding Vocalist scholarship in the gala competition of the Rotary Burlington Music Festival in fall 2017, among other scholarships.

She was La Maestra della novize in Puccini’s Suor Angelica in Darryl Edwards’ Centre of Opera Studies in Italy (CO-SI) in summer 2017. Yun was also part of the inaugral quartet for CO-SI’s new composition program, now called the Opera Creation Lab. She received first place in the fourth-year women’s class at the NATS Ontario Auditions in November 2015.

In the 2014 summer season, Yun performed the role of Third Wood Sprite in Halifax Summer Opera Festival’s production of Rusalka as well as a chorus member and Vera Boronel in an excerpt from The Consul in HSOF’s 10-year anniversary gala. In the academic 2013-2014 season, she has performed with Opera Laurier as Cobweb from Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Tisbe from La Cenerentola in their fall opera excerpts. Yun also performed her first complete opera with Opera Laurier’s production of Giiwedin in contralto role Mahkwa. She was the Head of Student Marketing for Opera Laurier in their 2013-2014 season and was also a marketing consultant and talent scout for non-profit organization Musicians Without Borders Canada with colleague and CEO Ben Kim from 2012-2014.

Yun has performed in numerous benefit concerts with Musicians Without Borders Canada and as well with colleagues participating in the Global Partnership program with Intervarsity Christian Fellowship throughout the GTA. She served as a section leader and soloist with the congregations of Knox Waterloo Presbyterian Church and is now singing with the choir of St. Stephen’s-on-the-Hill United Church (Mississauga) for their sacred music needs.

Poppea in Poppea

Kathryn Rose Johnston

Kingston Ontario soprano, Kathryn Rose Johnston, has finished her second year of the Bachelor of Music program in Voice Performance at the University of Toronto, studying with Professor Darryl Edwards.

Notable performances include a masterclass with Karen Cargill, performing a Canada 150 concert at the Canadian Music Centre, performing at two COSI (Centre for Opera Studies in Italy) fundraisers at George’s Restaurant and performing in several concerts with the University of Toronto Faculty of Music. She performed in the University of Toronto Women’s Chamber Choir and is now singing with the McMillan Singers, both directed by Dr. Hilary Apfelstadt. This March she travelled to New York with the McMillan Singers to perform at Lincoln Centre.

Kathryn sang with the Cantabile Choirs of Kingston for 6 years with conductor Dr. Mark Sirett and worked with many guest conductors including Rollo Dilworth and Jonathan Wilcox. In 2014, she sang with the Heritage Festival of Gold Honors Choir in Washington D.C., with directors Sigrid Johnson and Edith Copley.

Her awards, workshops and accolades are many, including the Moir Prize for Voice and the Moir Voice Award at the Kingston Kiwanis Music Festival in 2016, Grade 8 Voice RCM, Advanced Rudiments RCM, Award and the Sear’s Festival Award of Merit for Acting. She participated in the Theatre Performance Intensive at the Stratford Festival and participated in a Canadian Opera Company workshop with Aria Umezawa.

Kathryn is an avid performer of both musical theatre and operetta. Her highlights include Mabel in The Pirates of Penzance (RND Drama), Pitti-Sing in The Mikado (Orchestra Kingston), Rose Maybud in Ruddigore (COSI Connection) and Anne Shirley in Anne of Green Gables (Kingston Meistersingers).

Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni

Michelle Riley

Born and raised in Shelburne, Nova Scotia, Michelle Riley displayed musical promise from an early age. Her parents enrolled her in piano lessons at age 6, and as she matured, she became increasingly interested in vocal performance. Michelle began formal voice training at age 16 in 2011. She represented the South Shore region in the Nova Scotia Provincial Music Festival and presented her first half-recital just two years later in 2013, and began her studies in voice with Monette Gould at Mount Allison University that September. In 2014 she had the opportunity to perform another recital under the Nautilis series, presented by the Osprey Arts Centre in her hometown, and presented two more recitals at Mount Allison in 2016 and 2017. Michelle interpreted the role of Hope Harcourt in the Garnet and Gold Musical Theatre Society’s production of Anything Goes in 2015, and participated in the Mount Allison Opera Workshop productions. In 2016 she began her studies with Vicki St. Pierre, and appeared as Vivienne Kensington in the Garnet and Gold Musical Theatre Society’s production of Legally Blonde in January 2017. In July 2017, she performed with the Centre for Opera Studies in Italy (COSI) singing the role of “Lay Sister” in Puccini’s Suor Angelica. She joined the Halifax Summer Opera Festival’s 2017 season performing the roles of L’Aurora, Semele and Ora 1 in Cavalli’s L’Egisto. Michelle is continuing her studies in voice at the Master’s degree level with Torin Chiles at the University of Western Ontario. Most recently, she appeared as Frasquita in Carmen presented by Western Opera and has just presented her first of two recitals in partial fulfillment of the degree. She is ecstatic to be returning to HSOF for their 2018 season to sing her dream role: Donna Elvira in Mozart’s Don Giovanni!

Snout in Dream and Soldato I and Lucano in Poppea

Eli Aronson

Eli Aronson, tenor, is a freshmen student at Simpson College where he is majoring in Vocal Performance and minoring in German. Originally from Minneapolis, Minnesota, he has performed with the MacPhail Center of Music, the Oratorio Society of Minnesota, and the Angelica Cantanti Singers. In 2017, the Hennepin Theatre Trust named him as a Triple-Threat Finalist, one of only twelve teenage men in the state of Minnesota. In the 2017-2018 season he was a Young Artist with Cedar Rapids Opera Theatre and sang in the Chorus of Turandot and the role of Stuart Dalrymple in Brigadoon. This summer, he will be singing the roles of Snout in A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Lucano/Soldato in L’incoronazione di Poppea with the Halifax Opera Festival. At Simpson College, he studies with Dr. Kimberly Roberts and was named the recipient of the Douglas Duncan Award.

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