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

Wayne Gooding, Opera Canada

CREATORS
Narmina Afandiyeva
Raisa Nakhmanovich
Kevin Mallon
Robert Cooper

PERFORMERS
Tonatiuh Abrego
Andrey Andreychik
Valérie Bélanger
Emilia Boteva
Diego Catala
Alexander Dobson
Anita Kraus
Marjorie Maltais
Dion Mazerolle
Michael Nyby
Caitlin Wood

Creators

NARMINA AFANDIYEVA
SHAKESPEARE 400
KHOVANSHCHINA

Pianist, Music Director

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

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

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


Raisa Nakhmanovich

RAISA NAKHMANOVICH
I CAPULETI E I MONTECCHI

Raisa Nakhmanovich has been a critically acclaimed Music Director of many successful seasons with Opera in Concert. STIFFELIO, SADKO, NABUCCO, MARIA STUARDA, L'AMOUR DES TROIS ORANGES, RUSLAN AND LUDMILA, and KING ROGER are among the memorable OIC productions.

Raisa has established a solid reputation as an esteemed collaborative pianist and expert vocal coach, working regularly with Toronto Operetta Theatre and local opera companies, as accompanist for rehearsals and masterclasses, and as music director for numerous concerts and festivals throughout Ontario, as well as in special events such as the Opera Canada Awards.

Raisa has for many years been a dedicated teacher and active performer in the Music Department at York University, as a member of both Voice and Piano faculties.


Kevin Mallon

KEVIN MALLON
L'ISOLA DISABITATA

Conductor: ARADIA ENSEMBLE

Conductor Kevin Mallon was brought up in Belfast, Northern Ireland. He studied at Chetham's School of Music, the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester, and at Dartington College of Arts, studying composition with Peter Maxwell Davies and conducting with John Eliot Gardiner, and specializing in baroque violin.

He became concertmaster with Le Concert Spirituel and Les Arts Florissants in Paris and led and directed The Irish Baroque Orchestra before moving to Canada to take up posts with Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra and the University of Toronto. In 1999 he founded the Aradia Ensemble, with whom he has toured widely, and became conductor of the Toronto Chamber Orchestra.

He has made over 50 recordings for naxos. With Toronto's Opera in Concert he has conducted ten baroque operas. From 2005-2009, he was Artistic Director of the Irish company Opera 2005. He is also Music Director of the Thirteen Strings Chamber Orchestra in Ottawa and as well as Conductor of New York's newly-formed West Side Chamber Orchestra. Kevin's most recent appointment is Music Director of Orchestra Toronto, based at the Toronto Centre for the Arts in North York.


Robert Cooper

ROBERT COOPER, C.M.
VOICEBOX CHORUS DIRECTOR

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

Chorus Director for the Black Creek Summer Festival.

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

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

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


Performers

TONATIUH ABREGO

Award-winning Tenor Tonatiuh Abrego's previous credits include: the leading roles Male Chorus and The Witch in Calgary Opera's productions of THE RAPE OF LUCRETIA and HANSEL AND GRETEL ; Nemorino in Opera Nuova's L'ELISIR D'AMORE and Don Ottavio and Mr. Craven in Banff Centre for the Arts' productions of DON GIOVANNI and THE SECRET GARDEN.

He was seen in many of Opera McGill's productions, including Britten's THE TURN OF THE SCREW, THE RAPE OF LUCRETIA, DON GIOVANNI. After having completed his Master's degree in Voice performance at McGill University under the tutelage of Maestro Stefano Algeri, Tonatiuh graduated from Calgary Opera's Emerging Artist program.


ANDREY ANDREYCHIK

Baritone, Andrey Andreychik graduated from Krasnoyarsk State University with a degree in International Economics. He also studied music at University of British Columbia (UBC) in Vancouver to start his formal education in voice.

His professional Operatic debut as Figaro in Rossini's "BARBER OF SEVILLE" in 2012 with Theater Hof, Germany.

Andrey is a laureate of several Russia National vocal competitions, the finalist in "XVII Concorso Internazionale per Cantanti Lirici "Spazio Musica" in Orvieto, Italy and winner of Jeunes Ambassadeurs Lyriques 2013 auditions.

His recent performances in Toronto including: Opera by Request, Toronto City Opera, "C.O.S.I Connection", Toronto Concert Orchestra and SOLT.


VALÉRIE BÉLANGER

Known for her warm tone and natural stage presence, Quebec soprano Valérie Bélanger has earned critical acclaim, "a star soubrette in the making".

Valérie starred as the feisty Adina in L'ELISIR D'AMORE with Jeunesses Musicales du Canada on tour. As Susanna (LE NOZZE DI FIGARO, Opera da Camera), Lev Bratishenko wrote that "Bélanger was magical as Susanna, a natural actress with a creamy voice and an easy, apparent joy..."

Recent and upcoming performances include Silvia in L'ISOLA DISABITATA with Thirteen Strings Chamber Orchestra, Gretel (HÄNSEL UND GRETEL) and Despina (COSÌ FAN TUTTE) with Opera Da Camera and Mozart's EXSULTATE JUBILATE with Montreal's SERENATA AT ST. JOHN'S chamber music concert series.


EMILIA BOTEVA

Award winning Canadian-Bulgarian mezzo-soprano Emilia Boteva was well-received in Chicago at the Grant Park Festival for ALEXANDER NEVSKY and also recently appeared for Edmonton Opera as Filipyevna in EUGENE ONEGIN, for Opera Tampa as Ulrica in BALLO IN MASCHERA and for Opéra de Montréal as Mary in DER FLIEGENDE HOLLÄNDER. Also on her schedule were DIE TOTE STADT for Calgary Opera and Mahler's Symphony No. 2 for the Winnipeg Symphony.

In addition to KHOVANSHCHINA for VOICEBOX, she looks forward to Pacific Opera Victoria's JENUFA. Further credits include engagements in Mexico City, Baton Rouge, LA, Lyon, Sofia (Bulgaria), Vancouver and in Spain.


DIEGO CATALA

Baritone Diego Catala recently performed the role of Frank Maurrant in the Kurt Weill's STREET SCENE with Opera in Concert and Escamillo in Bizet's CARMEN.

He is a graduate of the Glenn Gould School of the Royal Conservatory of Music. His roles include Germont (LA TRAVIATA), Felipe (LA REVOLTOSA), Don Giovanni (DON GIOVANNI), Ernest (LE LAUREAT), Mercurio (LA CALISTO), and Papageno (THE MAGIC FLUTE).

Diego has performed with conductors Uri Mayer and Darko Butorac and studies with Ermanno Mauro.


ALEXANDER DOBSON

British-Canadian baritone Alexander Dobson has been praised for his musical and dramatic artistry on both opera and concert stages. His portrayal of Wozzeck with Théâtre du Nouveau Monde and Orchestre Métropolitain was lauded for his "gripping embodiment of Wozzeck" (Journal Voir). Other roles of note include Guglielmo (COSÌ FAN TUTTE), Belcoré (L'ELISIR D'AMORE), Ned Keene (PETER GRIMES) and his recent performance as The Master in Coleman Lemieux & Compagnie's production of AGAINST NATURE.

Highlighting Dobson's 2016/17 season include: the title role in DON GIOVANNI at Milwaukee's Florentine Opera, Walton's BELSHAZZAR'S FEAST with the TSO, Handel's MESSIAH with Calgary Philharmonic, and Mozart's REQUIEM with Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra.


ANITA KRAUS

Celebrated for her gorgeous voice and impeccable musicianship, mezzo-soprano Anita Krause has performed with the Chicago Symphony, l'Orchestre symphonique de Montréal, the Baltimore Symphony, the Toronto Symphony, National Arts Centre Orchestra, Grant Park Symphony, Les Violons du Roy, Tafelmusik and the orchestras of Vancouver, Calgary, Québec, and Edmonton. She has collaborated with such leading conductors as Christoph Eschenbach, Charles Dutoit, Carlos Kalmar, Yannick Nézet-Séguin, Kent Nagano, Pinchas Zukerman, Bernard Labadie, and Bramwell Tovey.

2017 credits include Vancouver Opera (DEAD MAN WALKING and LE NOZZE DI FIGARO), ELIJAH (Chorus Niagara), Durufle's REQUIEM (The Florida Orchestra) and I CAPULETI E I MONTECCHI for Toronto's VOICEBOX|Opera in Concert. The British Columbia native also starred as Mother Abess in the Stratford Festival's SOUND OF MUSIC.


MARJORIE MALTAIS

Mezzo-soprano Marjorie Maltais completed her Master of Music in Literature and Performance at University of Western Ontario. Marjorie gained attention as a Finalist at the Canadian Opera Company's 2015 Centre Stage Competition for her dynamic stage presence and "fireworks of her remarkable coloratura".

A native of Clermont, Quebec, Marjorie attended Marilyn Horne's Music Academy of The West, performing excerpts from Handel's RINALDO under Maestro Nicholas McGegan.

Marjorie recently starred in TRAVELOGUE, premiering new operas with Toronto's innovative Bicycle Opera Project.

Concert engagements this season include ELIJAH with Pax Christi Chorale, Messiah with Montreal's McGill Chamber Orchestra and St. Matthew Passion with Ottawa's Thirteen Strings.


DION MAZEROLLE

Baritone Dion Mazerolle has received critical acclaim for his "smooth voice, assured and at once both thunderous and nuanced" (MESSIAH) and "great wit and charm" in the title role of Salieri's FALSTAFF with Toronto's VOICEBOX: Opera in Concert with Aradia Ensemble.

Dion recently starred as Ramos in the world premiere of THE TRIALS OF PATRICIA ISASA with Montreal's acclaimed contemporary opera company Chants Libres, and begins the current season as The Mandarin with Edmonton Opera's TURANDOT.

Concert performances in 2016/17 for Dion include CANTATA BWV 152 in "J.S.Bach on a Grand Scale" with Ensemble Caprice, MESSIAH with Menno Singers and Kitchener Waterloo Symphony, and Elgar's THE APOSTLES with Toronto's Pax Christi Chorale.


MICHAEL NYBY

A native of Hamilton, Ontario, Canadian-American baritone Michael Nyby has performed with the Vancouver Opera, the Santa Fe Opera, Minnesota Opera, the Caramoor Festival, Opera Atelier, Theatre Aquarius, Mayfield Dinner Theatre, Duluth Festival Opera, and others. Recent world premieres: Isis and Osiris (Togni/Singer) for VOICEBOX: Opera in Concert, Georgia Bottoms, a comic opera for the Alabama Symphony and Kuszmenko's Golden Harvest for the Winnipeg Symphony.

Recent and upcoming: Messiah (Winnipeg Symphony), Carmina Burana (Victoria and Edmonton symphonies), La Cenerentola (Edmonton Opera), The Chocolate Soldier (Toronto Operetta Theatre) and performances with the Windsor Symphony (La Boheme and Messiah), Kingston Symphony, and Niagara Symphony (Gilbert and Sullivan Concert).


CAITLIN WOOD

Soprano Caitlin Wood grew up in St. Albert, Alberta, is a Graduate of The University of Toronto Opera School, and in 2016 won First Prize at the Women's Musical Club of Winnipeg McLellan Competition. As a member of Vancouver Opera's Yulanda M. Faris Young Artist Program, Caitlin sang Johanna in SWEENEY TODD.

Recent highlights for this dazzling soprano include Mary in Pacific Opera Victoria's MARY'S WEDDING and CARMINA BURANA with Okanagan Symphony. As Despina in Against the Grain Theatre's updated A LITTLE TOO COZY Caitlin "almost stole the show".

This season, Caitlin received the Mary Morrison Scholarship as a selected participant in IRCPA's SONDRA RADVANOVSKY ENCOUNTER, and is thrilled to star as Susanna in Vancouver Opera Festival's MARRIAGE OF FIGARO in 2017.


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