Michaela Chiste is a young soprano hailing from Okotoks, Alberta. Originally trained as a stage actor, she spent most of her life studying and performing in the dramatic arts and musical theatre before crossing over to the world of classical singing in 2013. She studied vocal performance under the tutelage of John Tessier and completed her Bachelor of Music at the University of Alberta in 2017. She has performed as a concert soloist and recitalist both internationally and across Canada. As a choral soloist, she has served as a featured soprano soloist in works such as Benjamin Britten’s Rejoice in the Lamb and A Ceremony of Carols, and Bernstein’s Chichester Psalms. Her most notable work as a chamber musician is her premiering of The Dream, a cantata for soprano and pianoforte by Anders Muskins at the Alberta Mozart Festival in 2016. Some of her career highlights so far include singing the roles of Frasquita (Carmen), Emmie (Albert Herring), Mimi (City Workers in Love), The Dormouse (Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland), Mimi (City Workers in Love), Jennie Hildebrand (Street Scene), Gustave (Pomme d’Api ), and The Boy (Der Jasager).
Natalie Donnelly is acclaimed by Opera Canada as “a lovely, powerful soprano with a tremendous range,” and is quickly becoming one of Canada’s bright young opera stars. Since completing her Bachelor of Music in Voice Performance at the University of Toronto, and her Masters of Music in Literature and Performance at Western University, Natalie has appeared as a soloist and guest artist with various opera companies throughout the greater Toronto area. Within the past few years, Natalie has performed numerous operatic roles including the title roles in Suor Angelica and Madama Butterfly, Donna Anna in Don Giovanni and Mimì in La Bohème. Natalie made her international debut in 2010, singing Violetta in La Traviata at the Centre for Opera Studies in Sulmona, Italy. That summer, she participated in the Halifax Summer Opera Workshop, singing the lead role in Floyd’s Susannah. This marked her first return to Halifax, since performing the role of Contessa Almaviva in 2008 “with a full, fruity sound, hitting all the right emotional targets” (The Halifax Herald, 2008). She hopes to continue sharing her love of opera on national and international stages.
Abigail Freeman recently completed a Master of Music Degree in Voice Performance at Binghamton University, New York. Her engaging presence has lent itself well to such roles as Fanchette (Le mariage aux lanternes), Ilia (Idomeneo), Adina (L’elisir d’amore), Adele (Die Fledermaus), and Lakmé. The young Canadian soprano has also delighted listeners with her expressive singing in the soprano oratorio roles of Handel’s Messiah, Vivaldi’s Gloria, J.S. Bach’s St. Matthew Passion and J.S. Bach’s cantatas, Wachet, betet, betet, wachet and Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme. www.abigailfreeman.ca
Angela Gibbon is a full lyric soprano in the second year of her Master’s of Vocal Literature and Performance at Western, studying with Brian McIntosh. In June 2018, Angela performed the role of Fiordiligi in Mozart’s Così fan tutte with Long Reach Opera, directed by Anne-Marie Donovan. Angela was also a soloist in excerpts from Mozart’s Requiem with the Richmond Hill Philharmonic Orchestra in June. In July of 2018, Angela participated in the Saarburg Festival in Saarburg, Germany, where she sang the role of Gladys in an English adaptation of Edmund Eysler’s Blue Paradise. Angela performed the role of Micaëla in the Western University Opera Workshop’s production of Bizet’s Carmen in November 2017. Angela sang the role of Donna Anna in Mozart’s Don Giovanni in July 2017 at the Accademia Europea Dell’Opera in Lucca, Italy. This year, Angela will be a member of the Contemporary Music Studio at Western, directed by John Hess and Dárine Ní Mheadhra. Angela is very much looking forward to working with Arcady this season in their Emerging Artist Program.
Olivia Maldonado greatly enjoys exploring Renaissance to modern repertoire. In April of 2014, she completed her Honours Bachelor of Music with a minor in Biology and a Performance Diploma at McMaster University. She first received vocal training with Susan Lindsay in Stoney Creek and has continued her studies with Richard Cunningham. Olivia has been a Teaching Assistant for a music course at McMaster University since the Spring session of 2013 and has also assisted in a choral research project under the supervision and direction of Dr. Rachel Rensink-Hoff. Olivia has volunteered as a sight-singing examiner with the Hamilton Children’s Choir, was a student conductor for the McMaster Women’s Choir in the winter session of 2014, and has been involved as a chorister for Masters in this Hall under the direction of Richard Cunningham. She has also been the cantor at St. Eugene’s Parish in Hamilton for six years and greatly enjoys singing for masses and weddings. Olivia loves to share her passion for music with her students and her audience.
Sarah McQueen holds a Bachelor of Music from Dalhousie University and a Masters in Performance and Literature from the University of Western Ontario. She has performed Cleopatra in Handel’s Giulio Cesare in Egitto (Halifax Summer Opera Workshop), Drusilla in Monteverdi’s L’incoronazione di Poppea (UWOpera) and internationally as Agata in Cagnoni’s little-known gem Don Bucefalo (La Musica Lirica). Her oratorio performances include Handel’s Messiah with the Saint John Chorale, Mozart’s Vesperae solennes de confessore with the Festival Singers of Halifax, and Bach’s St John Passionwith the Dalhousie Chorale. As a vocal teacher in the Brantford area, Sarah loves to inspire and motivate her students with her love and knowledge of music. Sarah is a former Arcady Emerging Artist and now a leading mentor.
Gabrielle McLaughlin currently maintains a large vocal studio in Toronto. Under demand as a voice teacher and stylistic coach, Gabrielle lives in Toronto with her two children. In the past, Gabrielle has worked with Tafelmusik, Arbor Oak Trio and The Elmer Iseler Singers. She can be found gracing the stage with Arcady, Les Violons du Roy and La Chappelle de Québec as well as her primary ensemble I FURIOSI Baroque Ensemble, of which she is a founding member and programming coordinator.Gabrielle is heard frequently on CBC and BBC radio.
Elise Nacarrato is an emerging conductor and singer originally from Vancouver, BC. She began her musical journey with the Hamilton Children’s Choir under the leadership of Zimfira Poloz. She completed her Honours Bachelor in Music at McMaster University, all the while participating in the McMaster University Choirs, Ontario Youth Choir, and National Youth Choir. As a soloist, Elise has performed with the Halton-Mississauga Youth Orchestra, Orpheus Male Choir, and the Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra. With a passion for choral music, Elise completed her Masters in Music (Choral Conducting) at the University of Toronto. She has had the privilege of working with the U of T Women’s Chamber Choir, Apprentice Conductor for Arcady, and in the summer of 2016 was one of two conducting apprentices chosen for the 2016 Ontario Youth Choir under the highly regarded Robert Cooper, CM. In September 2017, Elise formed Burlington’s first women’s choir, Myriad. Elise also works as the Events Manager for Symphony on the Bay and Administrative Director for Chorus Niagara Children’s Choir. As an emerging conductor, this season Elise is humbled to continue to learn from Robert Cooper as the Apprentice Conductor for Orpheus Choir of Toronto and Chorus Niagara. In May 2018, Elise looks forward to working with Michael Zaugg in Edmonton as an Emerging Conductor with Pro Coro. To find out what Elise is currently up to, visit: www.elisenaccarato.com
Born in Ontario, Vanessa Oude-Reimerink is a young soprano who is quickly gaining recognition for her performances in opera, music theatre and contemporary collaborations. Vanessa was a member of Calgary Opera’s Emerging Artist Development Program last season where she made her mainstage debut as Barbarina in Le Nozze di Figaro. This summer, Vanessa makes her debut with the Toronto Summer Music Festival as Cathy in The Last Five Years and returns to Calgary reprise the role of Iset in Dean Burry’s The Scorpions’ Sting. Debuts for the upcoming season include the title role in Viardot’s Cendrillon with FestivalOpéra St. Eustache and Frasquita in Carmen with Edmonton Opera. Other roles include Tytania in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Susanna in Le Nozze di Figaro, Pamina and Papagena in Die Zauberflöte, Miss Wordsworth in Albert Herring, Clara in The Light in the Piazza, Rapunzel in Into the Woods, Aurore in Le Portrait de Manon and the Canadian première of Volpone by John Musto. Vanessa holds a Master’s Degree from the Schulich School of Music at McGill University, where she studied with Professor Sanford Sylvan. She has received additional training from Centre d’Arts Orford, COSI, Opera NUOVA, Opera on the Avalon, the St. Andrews Opera Workshop, and Western University. Vanessa is a recipient of numerous awards, including the prestigious Joseph-Armand Bombardier Canada Graduate Scholarship, an Encouragement Award from the Metropolitan Opera Western Canada District and the University of Western Ontario Gold Medal.
Terri-Lyn Paterson grew up in the Kitchener area. During her formative years, she studied accordion, piano and voice. To date, she has performed seven of the G&S operettas. Continuing with her love of music, she graduated from Wilfrid Laurier University with a Bachelor of Music degree in Voice Performance. Terri-Lyn has sung with various groups – including Opera Hamilton, John Laing Singers, K-W Oktoberfest Productions – and is now singing with Arcady. From solo recitals to ensemble choirs, Terri-Lyn continues to sing and is now training a future generation of singers – her own two daughters Bronwyn and Tamara.
Cristina Pisani is a vibrant soprano hailing from Mississauga, Ontario. She began her musical training with her mother at the age of three and completed her MMus in Vocal Performance and Literature at Western University in the spring of 2016. Upcoming engagements include the title role in a touring production of Verdi’s La Traviata with Jeunesses Musicales Canada. Recent performances include the title role in Puccini’s Suor Angelica (Accademia Europe a dell’Opera) and Alice Ford in Falstaff (UWOpera). Prior to commencing her studies at Western, Cristina spent two years in Shreveport, Louisiana. There, she cultivated both her love of opera and her southern accent. Credits with the Shreveport Opera chorus include I Pagliacci, Rigoletto, L’elisir d’amore, The Mikado, and Turandot, as well as an understudy of Peep-Bo in The Mikado. In the few hours she is away from music, Cristina loves to spend time with her family, friends and pets.Since playing the role of Orpah in Arcady’s production of Ronald Beckett’s opera Ruth two years ago, she has performed the lead roles in Britten’s Turn of the Screw, Leoncavallo’s La Boheme, Puccini’s Suor Angelica, Verdi’s Falstaff and Nabucco, and Mozart’s Marriage of Figaro and Don Giovanni. She recently did a recital of Beckett’s songs in Mississauga. Cristina was an Arcady Emerging Artist in both Ruth International in 2017 and for the following season.
Heather Plewes , soprano, holds a BA Honours Music from the University of Western Ontario. She has appeared with Opera Hamilton, Boris Brott and the National Academy Orchestra, the Canadian Orpheus Male Choir (COMC), the Hamilton Children’s Choir, the Vox Nouveau Singers and Project Sing. Heather has been a regular soloist with the COMC since 2008 and enjoys a busy schedule as a soloist for events and concerts all over the GTA. In 2009, Heather can be heard performing with Opera Hamilton in Puccini’s ‘Madama Butterfly’ with the COMC at many of their concerts, in performances of Handel’s Messiah with Arcady, and Haydn’s Missa Brevis in F with Central Presbyterian Church choir in Brantford. Heather’s sensitive and insightful interpretations and her clear, sweet tone have earned her praise as an artist on the rise. She is thrilled to have been selected as an Arcady Young Artist of 2009.
Marion Samuel-Stevens a graduate of the University of Toronto’s Voice Performance is building a reputation as a performer of new music as well as oratorio. Marion is an avid supporter of new music and has performed Grigori Frid’s Diary of Anne Frank as Anne, Mark Adamo’s Little Women as Beth, as well as David Del-Tredici’s Alice with the National Ballet of Canada Orchestra. As a semi-finalist in the 2008 Eckhardt-Gramatte competition Marion will travel to Brandon, Manitoba to compete and perform a programme of new Canadian works. Operatic roles include Elle in La Voix Humaine by Poulenc, Helene in Shostakovich’s Hin und Zuruck and Estelle in The Stronger by Hugo Weisgall, Queen of the Night in The Magic Flute by Mozart and Titania in Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Marion has performed the title role in Ruth by Ronald Beckett and has enjoyed many collaborations with Elora composer Peter Skoggard. Oratorio highlights include Mozart’s Coronation Mass and Vespers, Haydn’s Paukenmesse and Lord Nelson Mass, Vivaldi’s Gloria and Magnificat, Gounod’s St. Cecilia Mass, Faure’s Requiem, Handels’ Messiah and Vaughan Williams’ Sea Symphony, Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater and Haydn’s Creation. www.marionsamuelstevens.com
Paula Thomas is a soprano from St. Thomas, Ontario, where she began studying voice and piano, and sang with the St. Thomas Youth Choir. She continued to study with Richard Cunningham at McMaster University where she graduated with an Honours Bachelor of Music and a Performance Diploma in 2012. Paula is now studying with Lesley Andrew in London Ont. and singing with the Grand River Chorus, Choral Connection, and the choir at First United in St. Thomas where she is assistant music director and a frequent soloist. Paula began her performing career in 1999 with the travelling contemporary Christian harmony group “Circle of Friends”” She has a wide variety of musical interests which include providing music for weddings, church services, and dinner music. She also sings with a Niagara-based Motown revue. Paula has a growing voice and piano studio in St. Thomas. She hopes to continue teaching and working with children. Paula feels extremely honoured to starting her post-university career with Arcady’s Young Artist Program.
Allison Walmsley was honoured and thrilled to be part of the Arcady team as an Emerging Artist in 2016. She was introduced to Arcady as a member of the Emerging Artist cast of Ruth International in June 2017. Hailing from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan she completed her Bachelor’s degree in voice performance at the University of Saskatchewan, studying under Dr. Garry Gable and Kathleen Lohrenz Gable. Since completing her degree, Allison has received many awards and partaken in various performance opportunities across Canada. In 2016 and 2014 respectively, she won the Gordon Wallis Opera competition and the CFMTA Young Artist competition and tour in her home province. Recent projects include Queen of the Night in Opera Kelowna’s production of Die Zauberflöte, Nanetta in Western University’s production of Falstaff, Emily in Opera NUOVA’s production of Our Town, Lucy in the U of S Music Theatre ensemble’s The Beggars Opera. Allison is now in the final year of her Masters of Music degree in performance and literature at Western University under the tutelage of soprano Jackie Short. Nurturing her love of contemporary Canadian music, she looks forward to participating in Western University’s contemporary ensemble under the direction of John Hess and Dáirine Ní Mheadhra. In 2017, Allison will be reprising the role of Queen of the Night in Western Opera’s production of Die Zauberflöte and performing in Messiah with Regina Symphony Orchestra.
Kelly Wrigglesworth is a graduate of the University of Western Ontario in the Music Education program. She has studied voice with Alvin Reimer and was also a member of the Faculty Singers and the Early Music Studio at UWO.She has been performing with the ensemble since its founding, and in that time she has performed the lead role in staged performances of Dido and Aeneas, Acis and Galatea, and Ruth. Kelly has also performed featured roles in John, I Am… and The Magic Flute with this ensemble. She is a former recipient of the Governor General’s Medal, the University Women’s Club Scholarship and a co-winner of the P.G. Marshall Memorial Scholarship.
Tammy Whetham holds an Honours Bachelor of Music in voice from Wilfrid Laurier University where she studied under the direction of Daniel Lichti and Kathleen Brett. Tammy’s love and passion for storytelling has taken her down many avenues as a singer, actor, dancer, voice-artist, and educator. Tammy attended the Banff Professional Musical Theatre Training Intensive (2012, 2013) and the NYU Steinhardt: Summer Study in Musical Theatre (2009) where she worked with many NYC choreographers, directors, and voice teachers. Tammy has had the pleasure of performing in Josh Groban’s chorus at the Sony Centre as part of his Stages tour. In 2010 Tammy worked as the lead female singer in the production cast onboard the Pacific Venus, Japan Cruise Line. She has appeared as a featured soloist with the Richmond Hill Philharmonic Orchestra, The Habourtown Sound, at the Cambridge Mayor’s Celebration of the Arts, and The Women of Musical Theatre Festival. Tammy has studied voice pedagogy with Jeanie LoVetri through Somatic Voicework℠ The LoVetri Method (2012) and with Dr. Brian Gill at the NYU Summer Vocal Pedagogy Intensive (2015). Tammy wears many hats as a performer, teacher, director, and publicist. She teaches voice from her private studios in Toronto and Cambridge. www.tammywhetham.com