Ariel Lefebvre fell in love with classical repertoire after his high school music teacher introduced him to Schubert. Lefebvre couldn’t get enough of Schubert’s “Erlköning,” which describes a child’s death.
“Erlköning can easily leave a strong impression on an angsty teenager,” Lefebvre said.
Ten years after first hearing Schubert, Lefebvre completed his Masters in Opera/Voice Performance at McGill University.
Though he calls himself a music kid (to this day, he still loves John William’s soundtrack to Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back), he also loves the stage. His involvement in high school productions allowed him to discover that he was a daring actor
This summer, at the Halifax Summer Opera Festival, Lefebvre will play Garibaldo in Handel’s Rodelinda. This role combines Lefebvre’s love of acting and singing because Garibaldo pretends to be a loyal counsellor to the new king of Milan, but secretly plans to steal the throne for himself. Not only does Garibaldo sing several beautiful, bass arias, but he also requires an actor who can act caring one scene, yet cutthroat the next.
His inspiration for his baritone voice is the French tenor Georges Thill. Lefebvre finds his singing technique to be flawless, and thus an amazing model for younger singers.
Yet Lefebvre’s love of music extends beyond his own voice. Since he began singing classical repertoire, he has loved the Queen of the Night’s aria because of its vocal acrobatics, as well as Tosca’s final lines before her death (which he once unsuccessfully attempted to sing).
“Most of my favourite singers have been dead for a long time since they belong to a bygone generation of singers from the first half of the 20th century,” he added.
By looking back at opera, Lefebvre believes we can improve opera’s reception today. In the 18th century, opera was a social event; now, it’s perceived as stuffy, with no food or drink allowed in opera theatres.
“For the last couple decades musicians have been trying to give historically accurate performances,” he said. “Why not try historically accurate audiences?”[/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][et_pb_column type=”1_3″][et_pb_blurb admin_label=”Blurb” url_new_window=”off” use_icon=”off” icon_color=”#94b594″ use_circle=”off” circle_color=”#94b594″ use_circle_border=”off” circle_border_color=”#94b594″ icon_placement=”top” animation=”top” background_layout=”light” text_orientation=”left” use_icon_font_size=”off” header_text_color=”#ffffff” body_text_color=”#ffffff” background_color=”#0c71c3″ use_border_color=”on” border_color=”#0c71c3″ border_style=”solid” custom_padding=”3px|3px|3px|3px”]
Bachelor and Masters of Vocal Performance, McGill University
Buoso’s Ghost 2015[/et_pb_blurb][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][/et_pb_section]
Lauren Halasz still has the recording of her first singing recital.
She can now compare that first recital to another first: singing in a full-length, fully staged opera at this year’s Halifax Summer Opera Festival.
“It’s amazing to hear how different I sound,” she said.
The incoming junior at the University of Western Ontario was lucky enough to have a grandmother who took her to the opera two to three times every year. In fact, much of Halasz’s love of both music and opera began as a small girl: at three-years-old, she began singing in choirs, then she began piano lessons, and throughout all that, she was watching the “Met Live in HD” series, where she discovered her idol, soprano Anna Netrebko.
To honour her Czech grandmother, who originally introduced her opera, Halasz dreams of playing Rusalka in Dvorak’s opera of the same name.
“I would really love to honour that part of my heritage by performing in Czech operas one day,” she said. “The music is also amazing, and who wouldn’t want to be a mermaid?”
As much as Halasz thinks like a performer, she also knows how important audience is to opera. With many operas containing racist and/or sexist sentiments, directors and cast members must learn how to deal with these challenges in a modern context. For instance, Cosi fan tutte, one of the operas being performed at this year’s HSOF, is based on the premise said by Don Alfonso: all women cheat on their partners. Halasz knows this premise is false, but she also understands that Cosi is entertainment and Don Alfonso is a delight to watch.
“I understand that a lot of these operas are products of their time period. The sentiments are those that most people, hopefully, do not agree with anymore,” she said. “I think that, as an audience member, as long as the production doesn’t try to present sexist and/or racist plot lines as truth, I understand that it is not a modern opinion.”[/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][et_pb_column type=”1_3″][et_pb_blurb admin_label=”Blurb” url_new_window=”off” use_icon=”off” icon_color=”#94b594″ use_circle=”off” circle_color=”#94b594″ use_circle_border=”off” circle_border_color=”#94b594″ icon_placement=”top” animation=”top” background_layout=”light” text_orientation=”left” use_icon_font_size=”off” body_text_color=”#ffffff” background_color=”#000000″ use_border_color=”on” border_color=”#000000″ border_style=”double” custom_margin_last_edited=”on|” custom_padding=”|||5px”]
Completing undergrad at the University of Western Ontario in Honours Voice Performance
Expected graduation date: 2018
Training from The Canadian Operatic Arts Academy
Cast of Gold Fever Follies, a professional summer stock theatre company that puts on an annual show based on the early gold rush days in Rossland, British Columbia
Played the Female Scarecrow in R. Murray Schafer’s music drama, The Spirit Garden (Cobourg, Ontario)