Highlands Opera Studio


TWITTER  @HighlandsOpera

FACEBOOK  HighlandsOperaStudio

INSTAGRAM @HighlandsOpera








Richard MargisonHailed for his ringing top notes and spine-tingling power, Canadian tenor, Richard Margison, is one of the most critically acclaimed opera singers Canada has ever produced. An Officer of the Order of Canada, the recipient of three honorary doctorates (McMaster University, University of Victoria, and University of British Columbia), two life-time achievement awards (Giulio Gari Foundation, Licia Albanese-Puccini Foundation), and the Royal Conservatory of Music's highest honour, the Honorary Fellowship, Richard has performed regularly as a principal artist over the past 2 1/2 decades in all of the worlds leading opera houses at home and abroad, including fifteen consecutive years at the Metropolitan Opera, La Scala, the Royal Opera House Covent Garden, Deutsche Oper Berlin, Vienna Staatsoper, San Francisco Opera, Opera Australia (Sydney Opera House), the Liceu (Barcelona), La Monnaie (Brussels), Opera de Montreal, Opera de Quebec, Vancouver Opera, Calgary Opera, Manitoba Opera, Edmonton Opera, and the Canadian Opera Company, where he most recently performed the role of Herod in Salome.

In recent years Richard has been devoting more time to his passion for teaching, helping the next generation of artists within his industry, and giving back to the community at large. He is sought after across Canada and internationally as a master class and private professor of voice, and, although still performing professionally, continues to offer his services for a variety of charitable organizations.

Since 2013, Richard has been enjoying performing regularly across Canada with his daughter, Lauren Margison, also a singer, in their duo act, "Back to Back". Richard and Lauren turn their combined talents to classical arias, art song, Neapolitan love songs, jazz, pop, and a little Gordon Lightfoot.

Recent seasons included performances of Electra (Aegisthus), with Michigan Opera Theatre, as well as being featured as the title role of  'Abraham' in the world premiere of an important new, multi-cultural and multi-denominational oratorio written and conducted by Canadian composer and music theatre legend, David Warrack, and performed at Metropolitan United Church in Toronto. Other performances included Beethoven's 9th Symphony with the Victoria Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Tania Miller.

In recent years Richard has been celebrating his Canadian roots with performances across the country including Herod in Salome (Canadian Opera Company), Turiddu and  Canio in Cavalleria Rusticana/I Pagliacci (Edmonton Opera), and his signature roles of Calaf, in Puccini's Turandot (Opera Lyra Ottawa),  Manrico in Verdi's Il Trovatore (L'Opera de Quebec), Cavaradossi in Puccini's Tosca (Manitoba Opera), and Bacchus in Strauss' Ariadne auf Naxos (Canadian Opera Company). Concert appearances included Mahler's, 'Das Lied von der Erde', with the Victoria Symphony, Mahler's Symphony No. 8, with the Toronto Symphony, and a 15-concert solo recital tour of British Columbia with acclaimed pianist, Kinza Tyrell. Richard was proud to have had his debut performance in the new Four Seasons' Centre for the Performing Arts in Toronto with the National Ballet of Canada, performing Mahler's, 'Das Lied von der Erde' with the company.

Highlights from previous seasons include performances as Bacchus in Strauss's Ariadne auf Naxos at the Teatro Campoamor in Oviedo, Spain, the reprise of his celebrated role as O'Brien in Lorin Maazel's 1984 in Valencia, Spain,  Radamès in Verdi's Aida at the Metropolitan Opera, as Pollione in Bellini's Norma with the Vancouver Opera, and in a series of concerts for Arizona Opera. A highlight of his 2009-2010 season was his trip to China for the opening of the new Guangzhou Opera House where Richard appeared in one of his most celebrated roles, Calaf, in Puccini's Turandot, conducted by Lorin Maazel: "As a rare, true lyrico spinto, a lyric tenor with the capacity to [sing] the heavier dramatic roles, Margison is the heir to Placido Domingo...Margison colors his voice with an ease and spontaneity that almost seems conversational, and he rides over the big Turandot orchestra, with its extra complement of exotic-sounding percussion, with ease and beauty." (Financial Times, May 2010)

Other highlights include Richard's debut as Aegisthus in Strauss's Elektra with the Seattle Opera and the New York Philharmonic, his debut at Milan's famed La Scala as O'Brien in Lorin Maazel's 1984, a role he originated at the ROH Covent Garden in 2005, recently released on DVD. Renowned for his interpretations of Verdi, Puccini, Strauss and Beethoven, recent seasons have featured performances of Un Ballo in Maschera (l'Opéra de Montréal, Hamburg, the ROH Covent Garden), Turandot (New York, Barcelona, Toronto), Aida (New York, Cincinnati, l'Opéra de Montréal, Chicago, Orviedo), Ariadne auf Naxos (Madrid, London, Hamburg, New York), Fidelio (Seattle, Vancouver), Il Trovatore (New York, Toronto, Berlin, San Francisco), La Gioconda (Barcelona) and Don Carlo (New York).

A much sought after concert artist, Richard has garnered such praise as "…it is an important experience to hear Margison live, simply to come into contact with the physical presence of the voice. It has both brass and beauty, and its power is so forceful and concentrated that you have to remind yourself that its source is a human throat…" (Globe and Mail). He has appeared with the Royal Philharmonic in London, the Philadelphia Orchestra, the San Francisco Symphony, the Montreal, Vancouver and Toronto Symphony Orchestras, the National Arts Centre Orchestra in Ottawa and at the Ravinia Festival. He has also performed with Bryn Terfel at his opera gala at the Faenol Festival in Wales.

Richard's discography includes an all-Verdi recording on CBC Records and the highly acclaimed recording of Beethoven's Fidelio with Christine Brewer on Chandos. He has also recorded Lanza (Warner Music), made for the film on the life of Mario Lanza, in which he sings the title role. Other recordings include Verdi's Don Carlo with the Royal Opera House Orchestra and Chorus under the direction of Bernard Haitink (Philips) and Tchaikovsky's Mazeppa with the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Neeme Järvi (Deutsche Grammophon). He made three recordings with the late Richard Bradshaw and the Canadian Opera Company Orchestra: a solo album of French and Italian Arias (CBC Records), Rarities by Rossini and Verdi, with Gary Relyea (CBC Records) and Aria, une sélection de Radio-Canada with Anita Krause, Wendy Nielson and Gary Relyea (CBC Records). Richard is also a featured artist on the Millennium Opera Gala recording released by CBC Records.

Richard's DVD recordings include his highly acclaimed appearance as Bacchus in the Metropolitan Opera production of Ariadne auf Naxos with Deborah Voigt and Natalie Dessay (Virgin Classics), his roles as Cavaradossi in Tosca and as O'Brien in Lorin Maazel's 1984 (both on Decca), and as Enzo in Ponchielli's La Gioconda (TDK).

Richard's rise to the top of the opera world did not follow the traditional path – his career began in the coffee houses and clubs of Victoria, BC, where he performed with his own rock band for ten years. Since making his debut in 1980 with Pacific Opera Victoria, he has gone on to take the opera world by storm while not neglecting his roots, enthusiastically performing songs by Gordon Lightfoot or Stan Rogers whenever possible. In January 2010, Bravo! presented a documentary (Harbinger Films) on Richard called the 'Folk-Singing Opera Star'. Now available on DVD, the documentary features him in a musical collaboration with Bruce Cockburn, in major performances and in discussion about his life and career. www.thefolksingingoperastar.com

In the summer of 2007, Richard Margison and Opera Director, Valerie Kuinka, founded the Highlands Opera Studio, a very advanced professional training program for emerging operatic professionals, which provides training of the highest level for 20 to 25 talented singers and 1 collaborative pianist, between the ages of 19 and 35, chosen through competitive audition from across Canada with the main objective to provide these singers with the necessary skills to embark on a career in opera. Richard and Valerie feel that these extremely talented young people should no longer be expected to pay for a summer program, and, therefore, offer the 5 – 6 week program at no charge for those accepted. Looking forward to its 13th season in August 2019, the program includes vocal master classes, individual voice lessons, movement classes, professional development and networking opportunities, stagecraft coaching and staging rehearsals for 2-3 fully staged productions. The faculty includes renowned opera professionals from Canada and around the world.

Although Richard is in great demand on the great opera stages of the world, he gives generously of his time to support a number of causes. He has generously given of his talent at benefits in Chicago, for the Metropolitan Opera, Leukaemia Research (Ontario), LOFT Community housing (Toronto), the Children's Opera Chorus (Toronto), the Royal Conservatory of Music, and many others.

He has been particularly active in his former home province of British Columbia, where he has raised more than two million dollars through benefit concerts including Victoria Symphony, Pacific Opera Victoria, the Victoria Conservatory of Music, Vancouver Symphony, Vancouver Opera and the Rotary Club.

Richard Margison was named an Officer of the Order of Canada in 2001 not only in honour of his contribution to musical life in Canada but in recognition of his accomplishments on the international stage. In 2002 Richard received the Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medal. Richard received and Honorary Fellowship from the Royal Conservatory of Music as well as being inducted into the Canadian Opera Hall of Fame. In October of 2007, Richard was awarded an Opera Canada Ruby Award.  In October 2009 he received Lifetime Achievement Awards from both the The Giulio Gari Foundation and The Licia Albanese-Puccini Foundation. In 2012 he was awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal for his service to Canada. Richard  also holds Honorary Doctorates from the University of Victoria (DMus), University of British Columbia (D.Litt) and McMaster University (D.Litt).

An Ontario resident for twenty-six years, Richard splits his time between his homes in Stouffville and Minden with his wife, opera director, Valerie Kuinka, and his daughter, Lauren Margison.



Mark RuckerFrom the time of his debut as Renato in Un Ballo in Maschera with Luciano Pavarotti for the Opera Company of Philadelphia, the American baritone has been in demand in opera houses and on concert stages throughout the world. His return to the Wiener Staatsoper in the role of Stankar in Stiffelio resulted in “Cheers of Jubilation”… Wiener Zeitung.

Mr. Rucker made his Metropolitan Opera debut as Amonasro in Aida and has since been heard at the Met as Don Carlo in La Forza del Destino, Tonio in I Pagliacci and as Rigoletto for the Met in the Parks and continues to be part of the Met roster.

He sang the major baritone roles in Rigoletto,  Macbeth,  Nabucco,  Un Ballo  in Maschera, La Traviata, Stiffelio, II Trovatore,  Cavalleria Rusticana/I Pagliacci, Samson et Dalila and Die Fliegende

Hollander for companies such as: Arena di Verona, Wiener Staatsoper, Staatsoper Unter den Linden, Teatro Comunale, Bologna,Netherlands Opera, Greek National Opera, Opera de Wallonie, Bregenz, Savonlinna, Santander, Michigan Opera Theater, Florida Grand, L'Opera Montreal and numerous other companies. He has worked with celebrated Maestri, including, Richard Bonynge, Riccardo Chailly, Fabio Luisi, Daniele Gatti, Carlo Rizzi, Gianandrea Noseda, Bruno Campanella and Paolo Arrivabeni.

Mark made his Carnegie Hall debut to great acclaim as Don Carlo in La Forza del Destino. His other concert credits include Linda di Chamounix and Jerusalem with the Concertgebouw, Rigoletto with the Israel and Rotterdam Philharmonics. Recently performances include Jack Rance in La Fanciulla del West for Opera Colorado, Macbeth for Opera Tampa, Belshazzar's Feast for the Flint Symphony, Elijah for MSU, Amonasro in Aida for Teatro Colon, Buenos Aires and Paolo in Simon Boccanegra for Royal Opera House Covent Garden, La Traviata for Opera Grand Rapids and Macbeth for Toledo Opera and Opera Carolina. In Spring of 2019 he sang the baritone solo for MSU’s performance of Shostakovich’s Babi Yar.  Recordings include Mark Rucker Sings Lena Mclin's Songs for Voice and Piano; Amonasro in Aida for Naxos and Cambro in Opera Ebony's recording of Fosca by A. Carlos Gomes.

Mr. Rucker serves as professor of voice at MSU's College of Music and is the Administrative/Artistic  Director for the Martina Arroyo Foundation’s Celebrated Young Artist Program, Prelude to Performance since 2005 and Artistic Director since 2015.



Valerie KuinkaHaving worked within the realm of alternative multi-disciplinary theatre to grand opera for over 25 years, Canadian director Valerie Kuinka brings a wealth of experience and unique creativity to her work. The list of highly accomplished artists with whom she has collaborated is extensive: Placido Domingo, Anna Netrebko, Roberto Alagna, Richard Margison, Jose Cura, Nathan Gunn, Matthew Polenzani, Rex Harrington, Quartetto Gelato, Alannah Myles, Frank Moore, and Shauna Rolston, to name but a few.

August 2020 marks the fourteenth season of The Highlands Opera Studio, a summer ensemble and professional training program for highly accomplished emerging operatic artists, in which she acts as General & Co-Artistic Director along with her husband, Artistic Director and operatic tenor, Richard Margison.

A stage director at the Metropolitan Opera in New York for four seasons (2004–08), Valerie was on the stage directing team of Romeo et Juliette (2005–06) and its revival (2007–08) as well as the revivals of Samson et Dalilah (2004–05, 2005–06), Idomeneo (2006–07) and Cavalleria Rusticana/Pagliacci (2006–07).

In 1996, Valerie established her own Toronto-based multi-disciplinary theatre company, COLLABORATIONS, and during its nine-year existence wrote, produced, directed, and often performed in 14 productions. “Kuinka has established no small reputation for creating exciting seamless theatrical collage” – Geoff Chapman (Toronto Star, 2003); “It was Kuinka’s instinct for elision that held everything together.” – William Littler (Toronto Star, 2004)

Valerie has also directed productions for Edmonton Opera, Manitoba Opera, Opera de Quebec, Pacific Opera Victoria, Opera Hamilton, Opera Lyra Ottawa, Quartetto Gelato, International Vocal Arts Festival (Tel-Aviv), The Banff Centre, The Glenn Gould School (Toronto), Opera Mississauga, The Canadian Childrens’ Opera Chorus (Toronto), and has assisted at the New York City Opera and the Vlaamse Opera in Antwerp.

“In so many ways, that it is hard to know where to begin or end, Kuinka laid bare, framed and illustrated the essence of this drama with exquisite skill and technical savvy... With video and her own consummate inventiveness Kuinka created a fresh, new and vibrantly alive Trovatore.” – Hugh Fraser (Hamilton Spectator, 2012)

Beginning her career as a classical violist, Valerie has been (and continues to be) active as a chamber, orchestral, studio, and performance artist for over thirty years. She was a member of the orchestras of the Canadian Opera Company (since 1986) and the National Ballet of Canada (since 1984), playing every position from section to principal before her retirement from the Canadian Opera Company Orchestra in June 2005. She remains a member of the National Ballet of Canada Orchestra.

In recent years, Valerie has been devoting most of her time to working with emerging operatic artists as a dramatic/musicianship coach and career consultant and to building and running Highlands Opera Studio. Often working in tandem with her husband, Richard Margison, she is a regular guest coach and masterclass teacher with L'Atelier Lyrique (L'Opera de Montreal), and other national and international vocal institutions.



Philip MoreheadPhilip Morehead recently retired as Head of Music Staff of the Lyric Opera of Chicago and the Ryan Opera Center. a position he had held since 1991. His previous positions at Lyric have included Music Administrator, Chorus Master and Assistant Conductor. In recent years Mr. Morehead has been cover conductor at Lyric Opera for Die Meistersinger, Jenůfa, Der fliegende Holländer, Sweeney Todd, Billy Budd and many others. He conducted regular season performances of Die Fledermaus, Un ballo in maschera and The Mikado and the premiere production of Anthony Davis’s Amistad and student performances of La Traviata, The Cunning Little Vixen,  Carmen, Die Zauberflöte and Pagliacci. In January 2015 he conducted the first edition of Lyric Unlimited’s The Magic Victrola, a program introducing young children to opera with excerpts sung by members of the Ryan Opera Center at Lyric Opera of Chicago. In addition to repertoire coaching and work in preparation of Lyric Opera and Ryan Opera Center productions, he conducted performances of Rossini’s La Cenerentola for the Center. In the summer of 2008 he conducted Il barbiere di Siviglia for the Lyrique-en-Mer Festival on Belle-Ile, France, and returned to the Festival the summer of 2011 to conduct L’elisir d’amore. During the 2010-11 season Mr. Morehead conducted performances of Un ballo in maschera (with Sondra Radvanovsky, Frank Lopardo, and Mark Delavan), The Mikado (with James Morris, Stephanie Blythe, Neal Davies, Andriana Chuchman, and Andrew Shore), and Carmen (with Katharine Goeldner and Richard Cox). He is a member of  the board of the Conductors’ Guild and a member of the selection panel for the Solti Foundation U.S. awards.

When not engaged in his Lyric Opera duties Mr. Morehead is a conductor, coach, pianist, and harpsichordist. His conducting work has included Boulez’ Improvisations sur Malarmé for the Contemporary Chamber Players at The University of Chicago and Gounod’s Faust at Illinois State University. He was a founding member of CUBE, a Chicago-based chamber ensemble specializing in the performance of new music. From 1987 to 2013 with the CUBE ensemble he performed as pianist in a wide variety of repertoire and conducted the ensemble in world premieres of William Ferris's An Eden Garden, Sebastian Huydts's Three Serious Songs, Russ Grazier's Leaving, Arriving, Ilya Levinson's The Tell-Tale Heart, and other works. Mr. Morehead has given vocal masterclasses in conjunction with Elgin Opera  and is a member of the faculty of the Bel Canto Institute in Florence, Italy.

In addition to his musical activities, Mr. Morehead is the editor of revised versions of the New American Roget’s College Thesaurus, The New American Webster’s Handy College Dictionary and Hoyle’s Rules of Games. He is author of The New International Dictionary of Music and the Penguin Thesaurus.



John FisherJohn Fisher studied at Glasgow University and the Royal Academy of Music & Drama and The London Opera Centre. His career, which began as Music Director of Welsh National Opera’s ‘Opera for All’ project, has included work at the Théâtre à la Monnaie (Brussels), Nederlands Opera (Amsterdam), La Scala (Milan), where he was also Artistic Administrator, and as the first non-Italian to be appointed Artistic Director in a state-funded Italian opera house, at the Teatro alla Fenice (Venice). He was Director of Opera and Vocal Productions and Executive Producer at Deutsche Grammophon Gesellschaft, Hamburg, and Director of Music Administration at the Metropolitan Opera, New York. In 2006, he took up the post of Chief Executive and Artistic Director at Welsh National Opera, a role he held for five years. He subsequently returned to the Metropolitan opera as Assistant General Manager.

John has collaborated throughout his career with the industry’s most distinguished conductors, including Claudio Abbado, Carlos Kleiber and Sir Georg Solti. He has also worked extensively with many of the world’s greatest opera stars, notably José Carreras, Marilyn Horne, Luciano Pavarotti and Dame Joan Sutherland. John’s recent work in New York has also featured engagement with the Young Artists programme at the Metropolitan Opera and at the world-renowned Juilliard School. As Hodge International Chair in Opera since 2015 he has been a regular visiting artist at the Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama working with many young singers on the College’s Masters programme in Advanced Opera Performance.



Anthony ManoliPianist and Coach Anthony V. Manoli has worked with some of the leading opera companies throughout the world including the Theatre Des Champs-Elysees, Gran Teatre del Liceu, Opera Lausanne and L’Opera Du Rhin as assistant conductor and coach.  In addition, the Spoleto Festival in both Italy and the United States, The Los Angeles Opera, The Washington National Opera, Opera New England, Lake George Opera Festival and L’Opera Francais de New York have engaged him as both conductor and pianist/coach.  Other duties for Mr. Manoli include prompting for The Washington National Opera and the Palau De Les Arts, Valencia Spain.  He has been summer faculty for Dolora Zajick’s Institute for Young Dramatic Voice, The Miami Summer Music Festival and this season at the Highlands Opera Festival in Canada. Mr. Manoli was a Fellowship coach at the Tanglewood Festival and has worked with conductors such as Leonard Slatkin, Seiji Ozawa, Claudio Abbado, Robert Shaw, Sir Andrew Davis, Richard Bonygne and Sir Colin Davis.  Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, Mirella Freni, Jose Carreras, Rockwell Blake, Edita Gruberova and Barbara Frittoli are just some of the singers with whom he has worked.


Mr. Manoli has given master classes in London, France for the Foundation Royaumont, Denver Opera, the USC School of Music, The Miami Summer Music Festival and at the SIVAM Institute in Mexico City.  He received his musical training at the New England Conservatory of Music and the Juilliard School where he was a staff member.  His teachers have included Patricia Zander and Herbert Stessin for piano studies and Alberta Masiello for opera studies.


Mr. Manoli has coached for the Cafritz Washington National Opera’s Young Artist Program, the Los Angeles Opera’s Young Artist Program and more recently at the Palm Beach Opera company for their Young Artist Program.  He has also worked at the Canadian Opera Companies Young Artist Ensemble and for the New National Theater’s Young Artist Program in Tokyo where he conducted a series of concerts.  Mr. Manoli has been guest faculty for the Dallas Opera’s Hart Institute for Women Conductors.  He is a faculty member of The New School/Mannes College of Music in New York City where he lives and maintains an active coaching studio.  He appears frequently in recital with prominent singers worldwide and has been seen on the A&E channel in performance with Mezzo-Soprano Dolora Zajick along with performances on television and throughout Asia with Soprano YoungOk Shin.  Other performances include concerts in the United States with Tenor Stephen Costello, Mexico with Tenor David Lomeli and frequent collaboration with Soprano Sondra Radvanovsky in the United States, London, Canada, Mexico, Spain and France. He is an associate producer for recordings that appear on the Telarc and Naxos labels and is heard on the soundtrack for the Miramax film “The Talented Mr. Ripley.”



Jennifer SzetoMiss Szeto is a recent graduate of the San Francisco Opera Adler Fellowship and the 2016 Merola Opera Program. Praised for her “rock-solid rhythm and a great variety of color” (Bachtrack), she was an Intern Coach at the Canadian Opera Company Ensemble Studio, where she assisted in seven productions and appeared in over 15 recitals at the Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre Noon Concert Series over a two year period. Previously, she was an Artist-in-Residence the Atelier Lyrique at Opéra de Montréal, where she performed in productions of Hansel & GretelOld Maid and the Thief, and Amahl and the Night Visitors.

In 2018-2019, she was Assistant Conductor for John’s Estacio’s Ours at Opera on the Avalon, joined the vocal coaching staff at University of Ottawa, served as Head Coach for the Banff Centre for the Arts and Creativity as part of “Opera in the 21st Century”, and returned to Calgary’s Cowtown Opera Academy as a Principal Coach. In May 2019, she makes a recital appearance for the Société d’art vocal Montréal alongside Canadian baritone Elliot Madore.

Elsewhere, Miss Szeto has held staff positions with the Calgary Opera, International Vocal Arts Institute (Tel Aviv), Canadian Vocal Arts Institute (Montreal), and serves as accompaniment staff for McGill University’s Schulich School of Music. As a music director, She has previously led productions of Cosi fan tutte and Elixir of Love for MYOpera in Toronto, as well as performances of four One Acts in English for the Halifax Summer Opera Festival.

In addition to her work as a performer, Miss Szeto is co-founder of Musique 3 Femmes, which in 2018 launched the Mécénat Musica Prix 3 Femmes – a $25,000 award supporting the creation of operas by women in Canada. The prize is awarded biennially to teams of emerging female composers and librettists and includes seed funding for new works, mentorship opportunities, and subsequent workshops and performances of new pieces. In 2019, Musique 3 Femmes is an Ensemble-In-Residence at Queen’s University’s DAN School of Music and Mount Allison University, with performances at Opera.ca’s Opera: Changing Worlds summit, Tapestry Opera’s Ernest Balmer Studio, and at the Canadian Opera Company’s Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre.

Miss Szeto holds a M.Mus. in Piano Accompaniment from McGill University, a B.Mus Performance from University of Toronto, and has received additional training from SongFest, Green Mountain Opera Festival (Vermont), Center for Opera Studies in Italy, Opera NUOVA Vocal Arts Festival (Edmonton), and the Franz Schubert Institut in Baden-bei-Wien, Austria.



Michael ShannonCanadian pianist, Michael Shannon, is quickly earning a reputation as one of the most sought-after vocal coaches and répétiteurs in a new generation of Canadian opera professionals. A member of the Canadian Opera Company's music staff and graduate of the COC Ensemble Studio, he has served as a rehearsal pianist and vocal coach for over 15 COC productions. In 2018/19 he returned as Head Coach for the world premiere of Rufus Wainwright’s new opera “Hadrian”, starring Thomas Hampson, Karita Mattila, and Ben Heppner, in addition to Cosi fan tutte, and Verdi’s Otello. This coming season, he will return for his 7th season with the COC, where he will join the music staffs of Turandot, The Barber of Seville, in addition to a recital with American soprano, Marjorie Owens.

Michael studied voice at McGill University, where he also played piano for numerous operas. He also spent three summers at Opera NUOVA studying with Michael McMahon and at the Brevard Music Center with Patrick Hansen. While at Brevard, he was the music director for the American musical revue “Tintypes”. Previously, Michael has served as resident artist coach and répétiteur with Syracuse Opera and as répétiteur for Calgary Opera’s productions of “Gianni Schicchi”, “Pagliacci”, and “La traviata”. Michael is a proud alum of San Francisco Opera’s Merola Opera Program.

A proponent of new and living opera, Michael maintains a fruitful relationship with Tapestry Opera in Toronto. This past season, he prepared music for the short opera “Bandits in the Valley” (Roark/Tepperman), Winter “Opera Briefs”, and directed music for a new opera by Afarin Mansouri and Donna Michelle St-Bernard, fusing traditional opera with Persian classical music, spoken word, and hip hop. Recently, he conducted and played the Canadian premieres of two one-act Holocaust operas by American composer Jake Heggie, “Another Sunrise” and “Farewell Auschwitz” at Beth Tzedec Congregation, North America’s largest conservative Jewish congregation.

Michael made his music staff debut at the Opera Theater of Saint Louis in their 2018 production of Gluck’s “Orfeo and Euridice”. He returned to OTSL in 2019 as coach for “The Marriage of Figaro”, and will return for the 2020 season for "Die Fledermaus".



Dietlinde MaazelDietlinde Turban’s first stage appearance at the age of 19 as Gretchen in Goethe’s Faust at the Residenztheater in Munich brought her national fame. In rapid succession she starred in Lessing’s Minna von Barnhelm (as Minna), Shakespeare’s Othello (as Desdemona) which earned her the Bad Hersfeld Festival Prize for Best Actress, and in works of Anouilh, Brecht, Giraudoux, Goethe, Pinter, Rattigan. She appeared as guest star at the State Theater in Bonn and the Josefstadt-Theater in Vienna.

Thanks to scores of films and plays filmed for television, Mrs. Turban won Germany’s coveted Bambi Award as Best Actress of the Year (1983). Among her film credits: the title role in Goethe’s Stella and Schiller’s Love and Intrigue (Luise), the role of Mozart’s sister-in-law Aloysia in the French film biography of the composer, a starring role in Sidney Sheldon’s American thriller Bloodline, and the part of Euridice in the Jean-Pierre Ponnelle/Harnoncourt film adaptation of Monteverdi’s Orfeo, the lead-roles in Die Kalte Heimat, Die Undankbare, Peter Schamoni’s The Castle in Königswald and the World War II story Mussolini and I, starring opposite Anthony Hopkins.

In 2004 Ms. Turban performed her first One Woman Play Constantly Risking Absurdity at the Cherry Lane Theatre, New York, at the George Mason University, VA, and for the American Austrian Foundation in Salzburg at the inauguration of Schloss Arenberg in 2005.

Ms. Turban appeared as soloist/narrator with the New York Philharmonic, the Pittsburgh Symphony, the National Symphony Orchestra DC and the Bavarian Radio Orchestra, Munich. Ms. Turban has recorded a number of audio books (Naxos) as well as CDs in collaboration with young composers. She also performs dramatic readings of literary masterpieces both in the United States and in Europe and tours with recitals based on works by Andersen, Fontane, Heine, Kafka, Rilke, Schiller, Thomas Mann (“Das Teufelsgespräch” from Doktor Faustus), and a portrayal of Lou Andreas Salomé.

Ms. Turban studied violin, classical dance and voice in Munich (Musikhochschule), New York (Dorothee Delay) and Aspen. Her theatre studies include Master Classes with Peter Brook, Lee Strasberg and the T. Schreiber Studio, NY.

In 1996 she founded a private school for low-income families on her Virginia Estate and developed a pilot educational project designed to explore new ways of integrating vital artistic and aesthetic values into school curricula, inspired by Rudolf Steiner.

In 2009 Ms. Turban co-founded the Castleton Festival with her husband, Maestro Lorin Maazel. After his passing in 2014 she took over as Artistic Director and CEO. In addition to overseeing a year-round performance season at the Castleton Theatre (CiP) she works as a private performance coach in Manhattan and teaches every summer at the “Castleton Artists Training Seminar” (CATS), the Castleton Festival’s Young Artist Program.

In the summer 2013 she performed Jean Cocteau’s La Voix Humaine at the Castleton Festival. She made her directorial debut in 2015 with Thornton Wilder’s Our Town. She is on faculty at Rutgers University where she created a new course “Acting for Singers” for the Mason Gross School of the Arts. She also gives seasonal masterclasses at the T. Schreiber Studio, NY.



Steven LeighLyric Diction Coach, Steven Leigh, is a PhD Candidate at the University of Toronto’s Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE).  As one of the core trainers of the COC's Ensemble Studio, Steven works with the singers and apprentice coaches in both one-on-one and collaborative group sessions with the other core trainers. Informed by his diverse background in the languages and dialects of multiple language groups including Romance, Celtic, Germanic, Semitic, Hellenic, he is able to work with Ensemble Studio members of various linguistic backgrounds assisting them in achieving a Standard stage-language pronunciation in the Italian, German, French, and English repertoire.

Steven's doctoral thesis, Examining Opera Lyric Diction Pedagogical Content Knowledge (Shulman, 1986; 1987): A Search for Instructor Qualifications is empirically testing an approach to lyric diction instruction which he developed based on theories of second language acquisition, pronunciation perception and production, language-specific phonetics and phonology, and language curriculum design. Steven's unique approach to Lyric Diction Instruction combines these theories with his background as a linguist and former...professional opera singer.


Life Coach

Rebecca HassRebecca Hass is a woman of many creative passions. A certified Life Coach and meditation instructor, she has been a mentor and resource for performing artists seeking balance and career support since 2007. A graduate of Wilfrid Laurier University with an Honours Bachelor in Music performance and the Canadian Opera Company Ensemble, Rebecca, a mezzo-soprano,  devoted the much of the last thirty years to a professional singing career. From her early career, appearing with major opera companies and symphonies across Canada which included a stint with The Phantom of the Opera in Toronto as a swing, she later moved into acting, writing and producing a broad range of creative projects (The Belfry, Theatre Skam, Victoria Fringe Festival) and several intimate cabarets (Wanna Sing a Showtune). Rebecca is also a voice clinician, adjudicator and has given artist-centered health and wellness workshops for the Canadian Opera Company Ensemble, Calgary Opera, Pacific Opera Victoria , the Universities of British Columbia, Toronto, Ottawa and Wilfrid Laurier Opera Nuova,  St. Andrews Arts Council Opera Workshop, The Canadian College of Performing Arts and the Victoria Conservatory of Music. A writer and broadcaster, she has been a regular guest host and documentary maker on CBC Radio One and Two. Currently she is the Director of Community Engagement for Pacific Opera and is the winner of the 2019 Arts and Culture award for Community work from Leadership Victoria specifically for her work in addressing inclusion and diversity. Her programming includes curating young artist training, education programming and traditional music based programming as well as connecting the opera to socially relevant issues. A proud Metis, Rebecca is currently producing a video project with a local Indigenous Theatre Collective, that bridges her European and Indigenous ancestry musically and is a member of the all -female drum group ANSWER.  Rebecca lives in Victoria with her family and rescue pooch, Rye Rye.



Artist Manager, Harrison/Parrot Ltd. Artist Management

Zoe BandZoe Band is an Artist Manager in the vocal division of HarrisonParrott, operating from their London office. Prior to this, Zoe was with Dean Artists Management in Toronto as an Artist Manager in the opera division. Upon completion of her graduate studies at the Peabody Institute of The Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Zoe was launched in the field of artist management through a mentorship with Ana De Archuleta of ADA Artist Management in New York. She brings to her clients an understanding of and experience in the world of opera. In 2014, she was a finalist in the Canadian Opera Company’s Centre Stage competition. Later that year, as a Vocal Fellow at the Tanglewood Music Festival, she appeared as Idamante alongside Dawn Upshaw as Ilia in scenes from Idomeneo conducted by Ken-David Masur, and debuted both David Lang’s Where you go, and Michael Gandolfi’s Carroll in Numberland. Zoe also has a strong grasp of repertoire, and served as a teaching assistant for Peabody’s Opera Literature course.  She is particularly passionate about helping young professional singers understand and learn how to be their own CEOs.

General Director, Opéra de Montréal

Patrick CorriganOriginally from Montréal and bilingual, Patrick Corrigan has over 25 years of experience in the musical field, including 16 years as a member of the management team of POV, where he has been CEO since 2010. His vast knowledge of opera and the Canadian cultural community, his numerous accomplishments at the helm of POV in terms of revenue growth, private and public fundraising, philanthropy, company positioning and outreach within the community have distinguished him on the national and North American stage.

After solid musical training, Patrick Corrigan began his career in 1990 as an opera singer. In 1996, he joined the Pacific Opera Victoria company (POV) as Stage Manager, a position he held until 2000. In this period, from 1998 to 2000, he also worked at the Victoria Conservatory of Music, as House Manager of the Alix Goolden Hall and as Program Manager at the Opera Studio. In 2000, he was appointed Director of Marketing and Development at POV, a position he held until 2010, the year he became CEO of the company. From 2012 to 2015, he served as Chair of Opera.ca, the national association for opera in Canada.

Mr. Corrigan holds an MBA (Masters of Business Administration) from Royal Roads University and musical training from various Canadian institutions, including the Victoria Conservatory of Music, The Banff Centre for the Arts and McGill University.




Christine GoerkeSoprano Christine Goerke has appeared in the major opera houses of the world including the Metropolitan Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, San Francisco Opera, Santa Fe Opera, Washington National Opera, Houston Grand Opera, Seattle Opera, Opera Company of Philadelphia, Pittsburgh Opera , New York City Opera, Glimmerglass Opera, Royal Opera House Covent Garden, Paris Opera, Théâtre du Châtelet, Théâtre du Capitole in Toulouse, Deutsche Oper Berlin, La Scala, Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, Teatro

Real in Madrid, Teatro Municipal de Santiago, and the Saito Kinen Festival. She has sung much of the great soprano repertoire, starting with the Mozartand Handel heroines and now earning critical acclaim for the dramatic Strauss and Wagner roles. She has received praise for her portrayals of the title roles in Elektra, Turandot, and Ariadne auf Naxos, Brünnhilde in the Ring Cycle, Kundry in Parsifal, Ortrud in Lohengrin, Leonora in Fidelio, Eboli in Don Carlos, The Dyer's Wife in Die Frau ohne Schatten, Cassandre in Les Troyens, Ellen Orford in Peter Grimes, Female Chorus in The Rape of Lucretia, Alice in Falstaff, and Madame Lidoine in Dialogues des Carmelites.

Ms. Goerke has also appeared with a number of the leading orchestras including the New York Philharmonic Orchestra, Boston Symphony Orchestra (in Boston, Carnegie Hall, and the Tanglewood Festival), Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Cleveland Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, National Symphony Orchestra, Radio Vara (at the Concertgebouw), Sydney Symphony, New Zealand Symphony, the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, the BBC Symphony Orchestra at the BBC Proms, and the Hallé Orchestra at the Edinburgh International Festival. She has worked with some of the world's foremost conductors including James Conlon, Sir Andrew Davies, Sir Mark Elder, Christoph Eschenbach, Claus Peter Flor, James Levine, Sir Charles Mackerras, Kurt Masur, Zubin Mehta, Andris Nelsons, Seiji Ozawa, David Robertson, Donald Runnicles, Esa-Pekka Salonen, the late Robert Shaw, Patrick Summers, Jeffery Tate, Christian Thielemann, Michael Tilson Thomas, and Edo de Waart.

Ms. Goerke's recording of Vaughan Williams’ A Sea Symphony with Robert Spano and the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra won the 2003 Grammy Award for Best Classical Recording and Best Choral Performance. Her close association with Robert Shaw yielded several recordings including Brahms' Liebeslieder Waltzes, Poulenc's Stabat Mater, Szymanowski's Stabat Mater, and the Grammy-nominated recording of Dvorak's Stabat Mater. Other recordings include the title role in Iphigenie en Tauride for Telarc and Britten’s War Requiem, which won the 1999 Grammy Award for Best Choral Performance.

This season, Ms. Goerke returns to the Lyric Opera of Chicago for Siegfried, the Canadian Opera Company for Elektra, and to the Metropolitan Opera for the complete Ring Cycle. She also appears in concert with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra and the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra.

Ms. Goerke was the recipient of the 2001 Richard Tucker Award, the 2015 MusicalAmerica Vocalist of the Year Award, and the 2017 Opera News Award.



Executive Vice President – Global Head of Voice,
IMG Artist Management

Matthew HornerMatthew Horner is currently Senior Vice President and Director of the vocal division of IMG Artists, New York where he has worked since 2000. His roster includes such international singers as Eric Owens, Susan Graham, Lawrence Brownlee, Catherine Malfitano, Frederica von Stade, David Daniels, Alice Coote, Danielle de Niese, Angela Meade, Susanna Phillips, Albina Shagimuratova, Kyle Ketelsen, Amber Wagner, Brian Mulligan, Brandon Jovanovich, and James Valenti as well as many important erging young American singers. He has served as a judge for numerous vocal competitions including the Metropolitan Opera National Council (both District and Regional levels), Palm Beach Opera Competition, the McCammon Competition in Ft. Worth, the Juilliard Honors Recital, the Alice Tully Hall Debut Recital Competition, the Joy in Singing Competition, and the Jenny Lind Competition. He presents regular classes and audition seminars at the Curtis Institute of Music, Yale University, Mannes College of Music, Bard College, the Canadian Opera Company, the Santa Fe Opera, the Sarasota Opera, and others. He is a member of the Board of Directors of the George London Foundation for Singers and the advisory board of ASTRAL Artistic Services and served as Artistic Consultant to Palm Beach Opera. He is also a twenty-two year member of the choir at St. Patrick's Cathedral, New York City where he has sung on recordings, frequent national telecasts and for Popes John Paul II in 1995 and Benedict XVI in 2008, 2010, and 2011, the latter two at St. Peter's Basilica in Rome. Matthew Horner received his undergraduate education at Oberlin College, double majoring in art history and history. While there, he was a member of numerous organizations, including being a two-year chair of the History Majors Committee and a member of the Art Majors Committee. He served as a tutor in Spanish, Italian, and art history. He was a member of the Committee to Restructure Student Government and the academic Regulations Committee. He sang for four years in the acclaimed Oberlin College Choir including national tours. He also presented a weekly opera show on the radio station WOBC. His graduate work at the Institute of Fine Arts at New York University was also in art history, and he completed both the master of arts and doctoral course work there. He was the recipient of a Levy Travel Fellowship and chaired the Silverberg Lecture Series. He served as research assistant to Professors Kathleen Weil-Garris Brandt and Donald Posner and was also a student of the legendary Sir John Pope-Hennessey. He worked on the scholarly team that examined the Sistine Chapel during itSemperiod of restoration as well as being part of a study group in Rome for several summers. Matthew Horner graduated from Westmont High School in Johnstown, PA in 1987. Among his awards were the academic Top Ten, the Patrick Gleason Award for achievement in American government courses, the National School Orchestra Award, a National Merit Scholarship finalist, the Outstanding Foreign Language Student in Pennsylvania Award, and the West End Lions Award. He was also a member of the National Honor Society. He served as captain of the Scholastic Quiz team, was a two-time district forensics champion and one of the founders of the annual academic Honors Banquet. He served as president of the Youthemeducation Association for two years and was part of Student Council, the Debate Club and took part in County, District, Regional, and All State Orchestra and Chorus. He spoke at the 1995 academic Honors Banquet in commemoration of its 10th anniversary and was the school's commenc ent speaker in 2001. Matthew Horner was born in the Canal Zone, Panama, and resides in New York City.






Sondra RadvanovskySoprano Sondra Radvanovsky is a globally celebrated artist. The depth and exquisite color of her voice are matched by her dramatic acting ability and versatility across a remarkable range of repertoire, from the title roles in Rusalka and Lucrezia Borgia, to Roxanne in Cyrano de Bergerac and the title role in Manon Lescaut. She is widely regarded as one of the premiere Verdi sopranos alive today, as well as one of the premiere interpreters of bel canto.

Radvanovsky begins the 2019-20 season in the title role of a production of Sir David McVicar’s Rusalka at the Canadian Opera Company. She then performs in concert and recital in Vancouver, San Juan (Puerto Rico), Ã Coruña (Spain) and Baden-Baden (Germany). Radvanovsky will sing a concert titled “The Three Queens” at the Chicago Lyric Opera, a concert featuring the last act of each of the three Queens trilogy. This will be followed by a concert version of Il Pirata at the Palais Garnier in Paris. In February 2020, the soprano will be singing Liza in Pique Dame at the Chicago Lyric Opera. This is followed by both the title role in Aida and Liza in Pique Dame at the Deutsche Oper Berlin. The season ends with Sondra Radvanovsky singing the title role of Aida at the Staatsoper in Vienna.

She has performed in every major opera house in the world, including the Royal Opera House, Teatro alla Scala, Opernhaus Zürich, and numerous others. Her signature interpretations of Verdi’s heroines include the title roles in Aïda and Luisa Miller, Elvira in Ernani, Elena in I Vespri Siciliani, Elisabeth de Valois in Don Carlo, Amelia in Simon Boccanegra, and Lina in Stiffelio, among others.

She trained at the Metropolitan Opera in the late 1990s in the Lindemann Young Artist Development Program. After performances in smaller roles there, Radvanovsky caught the attention of critics as Antonia in Les Contes d’Hoffmann and was singled out as a soprano to watch. On the concert platform, she has sung with the Boston Symphony Orchestra and the Verbier Festival Orchestra, both with James Levine; with the Chicago Symphony and David Zinman; with the San Francisco Symphony and James Conlon, and with the Bayerische Staatsoper and Zubin Mehta.

Radvanovsky’s debut recording, Verdi Arias, was released in April 2010 on the Delos label. The album quickly became a critical hit and made several season-best lists, including those of NPR and The New Yorker. In 2011 Delos released a CD of Verdi opera scenes with Radvanovsky and her frequent artistic partner Dmitri Hvorostovsky to coincide with the pair’s return to the Met stage in Il Trovatore. The disc was recorded with the Philharmonia of Russia and Constantine Orbelian.

Radvanovsky is no stranger to the screen. She stars in a Naxos DVD of Cyrano de Bergerac alongside Plácido Domingo, and in Il Trovatore, Un Ballo in Maschera, and Roberto Devereux for the wildly popular “Met: Live in HD” series. She has also been an enthusiastic host for the “Live in HD” transmissions of La Fanciulla del West, Otello, and Francesca da Rimini.

Born just outside Chicago, Radvanovsky now makes her home with her husband near Toronto and has dual citizenship.

General Director, Seattle Opera

Christine ScheppelmannBorn in Hamburg, Germany, Christina Scheppelmann is the fourth General Director to lead Seattle Opera.

As the Artistic Director General at the Gran Teatre del Liceu in Barcelona, a position she held from 2015-2019, Scheppelmann was responsible for programming, casting, and overall artistic direction.

Prior to that, she was the first Director General of the Royal Opera House Muscat (Oman), the first theater of its kind in the Gulf Region, where her mission was to present high-quality music, opera, and dance from around the world. Under her leadership, ROHM established an excellent reputation as a cultural destination in Oman and opened doors for international musical and cultural relations.

As Director of Artistic Operations at Washington National Opera, Scheppelmann oversaw the artistic planning for 11 years. She was instrumental in fundraising efforts, leading to grants for individual productions, ongoing projects and renovations. Her passion for the artform and interest to see it flourish into the future led her to conceive of and secure funding for WNO’s American Opera Initiative, offering young composers and librettists a developmental forum in which to bridge the gap between conservatory training and full-length commissions.

A long-time champion of young artists, she has led masterclasses, lectured at artist training programs, and judged vocal competitions around the world.

Scheppelmann began her career in the arts early-on, performing in the children’s choir of the Hamburg State Opera. After completing a degree in banking, she left her home country of Germany in 1988 to work in an Artist Management agency in Milan. Fluent in five languages, she quickly became known for her communication skills and was soon offered a job in arts administration at the Gran Teatre del Liceu.

In 1994, she was recruited by Lotfi Mansouri to assist him at San Francisco Opera where, as one of the youngest artistic administrators at the time, she continued her work in planning seasons and hiring singers, conductors, directors and designers. Ms. Scheppelmann prides herself on having built solid collaborative relationships with union and civic leaders, members of the diplomatic corps, and national and international press.

Scheppelmann was previously awarded the rank of Commendatore in the Order of the Star of Solidarity by the Italian government for her career-long work promoting opera and Italian culture. She also served as the Vice President for the board of Opera Europa, the professional organization of opera houses and festivals.


Financial Health for Artists

William Smith has been a Chartered Professional Accountant for 25 years. He started his career at Orenstein and Partners as a student and worked at that firm for several years before joining Arthur Gelgoot and Associates. William eventually left Arthur Gelgoot and Associates to work as a sole practitioner. His practice is primarily focused on the entertainment industry, with many of his clients working in the world of opera.

William holds a B.A. (Honours) in political science and history and a Master of Arts degree in history from York University.


Pianist | September 20, 2020 Haliburton Concert

Stephane MayerPianist and composer Stéphane Mayer has quickly been establishing himself as one of Canada's premier up and coming artists. A recent graduate of the COC ensemble, Stéphane has served as a rehearsal pianist and member of music staff for Norma, The Magic Flute, Louis Riel, Arabella, The Abduction from the Seraglio, Anna Bolena, Eugene Onegin, Cosi fan Tutte, La Boheme and Otello at the Canadian Opera Company. He has served as an opera répétiteur for productions of The Marriage of Figaro and Ariadne auf Naxos (Opera NUOVA) and Don Giovanni (Opera McGill). As a piano accompanist, he studied with noted interpreters of German Lied, including Elly Ameling, Robert Holl, Julius Drake, Andreas Schmidt and Roger Vignoles at the Franz-Schubert Institut in Baden bei Wien, Austria. Mr. Mayer also participated in the presentation of two world premieres: The Rocking Horse Winner (Tapestry Opera/Scottish Opera) and Ours (Opera on the Avalon). Last season, he collaborated with noted librettist Joel Ivany on an adaptation of Rossini's La Cenerentola entitled WOW Factor, for which he provided original music. Mr. Mayer's music has also been included in numerous recitals at the Richard Bradshaw Amphitheater at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts as well as featured at The Future of Art Song Symposium at the University of Toronto. A graduate of McGill University’s Schulich School of Music, Stéphane also worked as a vocal coach and accompanist at Western University.