Opera recently came to Avon Maitland schools as the Aldeburgh Connection (a Toronto-based concert organization) presented workshops on behalf of the Foundation for Education.
The 50-minute program (the final workshop for the year) featured pianists and artistic directors, STEPHEN RALLS and BRUCE UBUKATA, and four recent graduates of prestigious opera programs in Canadian universities – soprano REBECCA COLLETT, mezzo JULIA BARBER, tenor GRAHAM THOMSON and baritone GEOFFREY SIRETT.
The intention of the workshop was to introduce students to the world of opera and classical song and to show students something of what a career in that world might mean. They performed a varied program of music in various languages clearly explained and presented them in a lively way with some simple staging. The presentation ended with a question and answer session. “This is often one of the most enjoyable features of the event!”, claims co-director Bruce Ubukata
REBECCA COLLETT (soprano) made her professional singing debut on Sesame Street Canada, when she was six. She recently graduated from the Opera School at the University of Toronto, where she performed Clarice in Haydn’s The World on the Moon, Paquette in Candide and Tatiana in Eugene Onegin.
JULIA BARBER (mezzo) has recently graduated from the Master’s degree in Opera at the University of Toronto. There she performed the roles of Hansel in Hansel and Gretel and Zerlina in Don Giovanni. Other roles across Canada include Stephano in Romeo and Juliet for Opera Nuova in Edmonton and Jo (Little Women) in Halifax.
GRAHAM THOMSON (tenor) comes from Prince Edward Island. He has recently been heard singing with baritone Brett Polegato, mezzo-soprano Kimberly Barber, and pianists Peter Tiefenbach and Robert Kortgaard in the “Saturday Night at the Opera” Gala at the Indian River Festival. He has sung leading roles for Jeunesses Musicales in The Barber of Seville and The Elixir of Love.
GEOFFREY SIRETT (baritone) has graduated from the MMus in Opera degree at the University of Toronto. He performed leading roles in Hansel and Gretel and Haydn’s The World on the Moon; most recently, he took the title role in Don Giovanni. Last summer he sang at the Aspen Opera Theater Center and he was regional finalist in the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions.
Find out more about The Aldeburgh Connection