Anastasia Pogorelova

Anastasia Pogorelova, coloratura soprano, was born in Moscow where she studied at the College of Musical and Theatrical Arts. In 2015 She obtained her Master’s degree in Opera and Chamber Music as well as Teaching from the Gnessin Russian Academy of Music in Moscow under the supervision of professor Valentina Levko. As a student, she regularly sang in Vishnevskaya Children’s Theatre performing in Italy, Spain, Bulgaria and throughout Russia. In 2012 she won the 2nd place in the Kabalevskiy International Competition in Moscow.

She has appeared in concerts in Florence, Italy (2013), Ischia, Italy (2013, 2014, 2015, 2016), and Salzburg, Austria (2014). During this period, she was an active participant in master classes with Ines Salazar, Janet Perry, Mikhail Hallak, Mary Pinto, David Bowser and Michael Paul.

While studying in the Academy Anastasia performed in Mozart’s “La nozze di Figaro” as Susanna and Barbarina. She sang several times at the Opera Night Project in Moscow under the direction of Haik Grigoryan (2013-2015). After graduating, Anastasia continued her vocal training with Maestro Michael Paul in New York. In 2016 she moved to Toronto and performs with the Belle Voci Ensemble as well as a recital artist.

Anastasia performed as a soloist in classical music concerts including one organized be Maestro Kerry Stratton with Polish saxophone virtuoso Ryszard Zoledziewski and pianist Anna Shalaykevych, Toronto, 2016, a Christmas concert with the Greater Toronto Philarmonic Orchestra conducted by Maestro P.Busato, Toronto, 2017, a Symphony in the gardens concert at Casa Loma, Toronto, 2018, a Christmas Concert with Toronto Concert Orchestra, Richmond Hill, 2018.

Anastasia’s repertoire consists of songs and arias of different genres and eras. She performs Baroque vocal music (Handel, Bach, Pergolesi), German, Italian, French arias and romances (Shubert, Strauss, Donizetti, Bellini, Arditi, Debussy, Poulenc) and Russian songs and Arias (Rimskiy-Korsakov, Varlamov and others). She enjoys singing Mozart, finding his music genial and very helpful for singers.

Anastasia is a native Russian speaker and is fluent in English, Spanish and Italian.

Rhian Merritt

Rhian Merritt is a young soprano from Upper Tantallon, Nova Scotia. Rhian has studied voice at the Maritime Conservatory of Performing Arts under the direction of Paula Phillips and now has continued her education at Acadia University (Wolfville, Nova Scotia). At Acadia, Rhian has just completed her third year in a Bachelor of Music where she is focusing in Vocal Performance with teachers Dr. Christianne Rushton and Dr. Jennifer Farrell.

Rhian has competed many times as a soloist in competitions such as the Nova Scotia Registered Music Teachers’ Association’s Scholarship Competition where she placed first in the Senior Class (2018). She has also competed in the Kiwanis Music Festival where she competed provincially in 2017 and will again in 2019. As well as solo singing, Rhian has been a member of several different Canadian choirs. In 2016, 2017, and 2018 Rhian represented Nova Scotia in the National Youth Choir of Canada. She also participated in the Nova Scotia Youth Choir and Xara Choral Theatre. In 2017 and 2018, Rhian was a performer in Xara Choral Theatre’s touring show ‘Fatty Legs’ that tells the true story of Olemaun Pokiak / Margaret Pokiak Fenton’s experiences before, during, and after attending residential school as a young Indigenous girl.

This summer Rhian is delighted to be performing in the Halifax Summer Opera Festival in both Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte and Offenbach’s The Tales of Hoffman. She is excited to learn from her peers and mentors and grow from this program in new and maybe unexpected ways! After completed her undergraduate degree, Rhian hopes to continue her studies in a Master’s degree and use her voice as a tool for healing, entertainment, reconciliation, unity, and empowerment.

Katherine Mayba

Praised as a “sophisticated artist” with a “gorgeous voice” and “stratospheric vocals” (Winnipeg Free Press), soprano Katherine Mayba is an exciting artist in the opera scene. A native of Winnipeg, Manitoba, she has performed with Manitoba Underground Opera as Ilia (Idomeneo) and Amore (L’incoronazione di Poppea), Manitoba Opera (Don Giovanni, Falstaff, Madama Butterfly) and has made regular appearances with Flipside Opera. She has also performed as a soloist with the WSO and through the Orville J. Derraugh Scholarship Competition, and has competed in the Winnipeg Music Festival winning several awards including the Rose Bowl. This season she joined the WSO on their Holiday Tour and future engagements include: Titania (The Fairy Queen), Queen of the Night (The Magic Flute) and the Ukrainian Art Song Project. Katherine studies at the University of Manitoba and is a student of Tracy Dahl. A multidisciplinary musician, she holds her ARCT Performance Diploma in Voice, Piano and Violin from The Royal Conservatory of Music.

Julia Kennific

Born and raised in Oakville, Ontario, Julia Kennific is a soprano who lives and studies in Montreal. A graduate of the Canadian Children’s Opera Chorus and the Canadian Opera Company’s Summer Youth Intensive, she is currently completing a BFA in Music (Performance Specialization) at Concordia University. Julia divides her career focus between opera and musical theatre; an accomplished actress, she has been described by reviewers as giving “standout performances” (Montreal Times), “expertly displaying her comedic and vocal chops” (BroadwayWorld). Her recent credits include an ensemble role in Riders to the Sea (Snowglobe Theatre), Adult Woman in Spring Awakening (AUTS), and Blanche Barrow in Bonnie & Clyde (Contact Theatre). She is overjoyed to be working with the Halifax Summer Opera Festival this summer. Julia would like to thank her family for their love and support.

Laura Curiale

Currently studying vocal performance at Western University, Laura Curiale has been growing her voice and exploring all avenues of performing under the guidance of soprano Bethany Hörst and vocal coach Charmaine Fopoussi.

Curiale has enjoyed singing  in the Amabile Choirs of London for twelve seasons and now sings with Western University’s Les Choristes. She frequently excels in competitions and showcases.  She placed first in the Kiwanis Music Festival London in 2015 and National Association of Teachers Regional Competition in 2016. In 2018, Laura organized and performed a recital featuring fellow music colleague, Josee Landry, and in 2019 received honours with distinction for her year-end recital.

Curiale is actively pursuing her performance career with enthusiasm. In the 2017-2018 school year, she portrayed the character Elena in Theatre Western’s production of If/Then and this past year enjoyed being a part of Western University Opera Workshop production of Le Nozze di Figaro. Curiale looks forward to all she will learn as a part of the Halifax Summer Opera Program and as Third Lady in their production of Die Zauberflöte.