Trudy Chalmers, artistic director, soprano black&white smile

Trudy Chalmers studied music and majored in voice at Capilano University and has since then gone on to forge a reputation as an opera and concert producer. Since starting Opulenza in 2014, Trudy has directed two fully-staged productions, with two more in the planning stages, along with numerous concerts, recitals, and workshops. A soprano herself, Trudy has sung in many local productions, most recently tackling the role of Giulietta in Offenbach’s “Tales of Hoffmann”. In addition, Trudy is the general manager and producer of City Opera Vancouver,  she teaches singing, conducts workshops in movement and voice, leads a community opera chorus with music director Roger Parton and is an administrator at Emily Carr University in the Audain Faculty of Art. She is dedicated to inspiring both audiences and singers alike to discover, and rediscover,  the riches of opera.

Roger Parton, music director, pianist 556709_10151293597026787_403140641_n

Roger Parton studied composition under Wolfgang Bottenberg (Concordia University) and piano with Laurie Altman (Concordia University) and Alice Enns (UBC). He has extensive experience across the Lower Mainland as a répétiteur, and works as a principal coach and music arranger with City Opera Vancouver. Roger worked as rehearsal pianist and orchestral musician for the world premiere of Brian Current’s “Missing”. When not coaching singers, he composes.

Samuel Chan, baritone

Named one of CBC Musics’ Top 30 Canadian Classical Musicians under 30, Calgary born Samuel Chan has been praised by critics for his “naturally produced, forwardly placed, attractive baritone” (Ludwig van Toronto). Most recently, Samuel made a surprise role debut at the Canadian Opera Company as the title character in Rossini’s Il barbiere di Siviglia, replacing an indisposed Vito Priante. Other recent season engagements include Dr. Falke in Die Fledermaus for Saskatoon Opera, Messiah for Kitchener Waterloo’s Grand Philharmonic Choir, and Faure’s Requiem for the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra. Past engagements include multiple roles with the COC, Elora Festival, The Festival of the Sound, Gala Cantos para Hermanar al Munro, Windsor Classic Chorale, Cincinnati Chamber Opera, Cincinnati Camerata, and City Opera Vancouver. Future engagements include company debuts with Pacific Opera Victoria, Tapestry Opera, Opera on the Avalon, and the Victoria Symphony Orchestra. He is a graduate of the Canadian Opera Company Ensemble Studio, received his Bachelor of Music from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, and has had further training with the National Arts Centre’s Young Artist Programme, Highlands Opera Studio, the Vancouver International Song Institute, Ravinia’s Steans Music Institute, and the Toronto Summer Music Festival. Competition highlights include 2nd place Lieder/ 3rd Place Oratorio with the 2019 Stella Maris International Vocal Competition, 2nd Place at the COC Centre Stage Competition, and district wins/encouragement awards with the Met National Council Auditions Western Canada/Ohio Districts.

Dae Hyun Justin Cho, tenor

Dae Hyun Justin Cho is a Korean-born tenor currently based in Vancouver, Canada. Justin received his bachelor’s degree from University of British Columbia in 2019 where he studied with Peter Barcza. During his time at UBC, he appeared on their mainstage as Franz in Les Contes d’Hoffmann, Jonathan Dale in Silent Night, and Don Ottavio in Don Giovanni. He has also taken part in UBC’s masterclasses, where he sang for Sumi Jo and Ben Heppner. Outside of UBC, he appeared as a soloist with Vancouver Symphony Orchestra in their Traditional Christmas Concert series. In summer of 2019, he travelled to the Czech Republic to perform Tamino in Die Zauberflöte with the European Music Academy. Most recently, he was an understudy for the co-production of Vancouver Opera in schools and Pacific Opera Victoria’s The Flight of the Hummingbird, where he made several appearances in lower-mainland schools and in Victoria.

Nadine Cornelius, mezzo

Nadine Cornelius was born and raised in South Africa where she was involved in music from a very young age. She sang with the South African National Youth Choir and toured across the continent performing and recording with African chamber groups in various movie soundtracks, chamber concerts and competitions. She has performed with many renowned South African artists including Lebo M, The Drakensburg boys choir and Katlego Maboe. It was only when she moved to Canada that she started studying opera under world renowned dramatic soprano Frances Ginzer, and went on to sing with the Calgary Opera Chorus for many years. Title roles include Maurya in Riders to the Sea and the Old Maid in Menotti’s Old Maid and the Thief with Mount Royal University, as well as small mainstage roles with Calgary Opera throughout her time with the chorus. Most recently Nadine has been involved in productions with Opera Opulenza, Burnaby Lyric Opera, and Heroic Opera.

Ming-Xuan Chung, tenor

Madison Craig, soprano

Southern Alberta-born soprano, Madison Craig, holds a Master of Music in Opera from the University of British Columbia and a Bachelor of Music from the University of Lethbridge. Her versatile voice has allowed her to perform in operatic works from baroque to contemporary. Most recently she appeared as Anna Sørenson in Kevin Puts’ Pulitzer Prize winning opera, Silent Night. Past highlights include her performance as Elvira in Rossini’s L’italiana in Algeri with the European Music Academy, Gretel in Humperdinck’s Hänsel und Gretel, and Soprano Soloist in Orff’s Carmina Burana. In addition to her concert and operatic work, Madison has also been the recipient of multiple awards, including third place at the Federation of Canadian Music Festival’s National Music Festival in 2017 and an Encouragement Award from the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions in 2016.

Julie Duerichen, soprano

Soprano Julie Duerichen is a scholarship recipient of Calgary Opera and a 2008 laureate of the Jeunes Ambassadeurs Lyriques programme in Montreal.  She was also a finalist in the Marie E. Crump Vocal Competition in Washington D.C. in 2002.

Julie holds a Master of Music Degree in Opera Performance from the University of Maryland, and a Bachelor of Music Degree from the University of Calgary, both graduating with honours. In 2005, she studied in Hannover and Cologne, Germany, and attended the International Bach Academy in Stuttgart. 

Julie recently appeared in East Van Opera’s premiere of Alma, singing the role of Kelsh.  She performs regularly with Burnaby Lyric Opera at the Pan Pacific Hotel in the Live Opera Buffet Concert.  She was also featured with Burnaby Opera as Euristene in the world premiere of La Spartana Generous and 
Musetta in highlights from La Boheme. Performances with Opera Pro Cantanti include the roles:  Lucia in Lucia di LammermoorGilda in Rigoletto, and Violetta in La Traviata.  She has also sung with Calgary Opera, Annapolis Opera, and Washington Opera in Washington, D.C.

Solo oratorio work includes Fauré’s Requiem with Vivaldi Chamber Choir, Mozart’s Great Mass in C Minor with the Capilano Unveristy Singers , and Messiah with the Abbotsford Symphony and Handel Music Society.Julie has trained with such international artists as:  Carol Richardson, Leon Major, Donald Bell, and Delores Ziegler.

Andrew Greenwood, baritone

Andy Greenwood headshotAndrew Greenwood has been praised internationally for his rich baritone and superb portrayals on European and North American stages. At home equally in opera and in oratorio, he brings elegance and panache to dramatic and concert stages here and abroad.

Andrew’s recent engagements include the “Four Villains” in Offenbach’s “Tales of Hoffmann” for Opera Opulenza; Frank in Die Fledermaus for Vancouver Opera; Amonasro in Aida for the Stadttheater Hildesheim; Zuniga in Carmen and The Doctor in Samuel Barber’s Vanessa for Pacific Opera Victoria; the title role in Rigoletto for the Stadttheater Hildesheim and the Stadttheater Wolfsburg; the roles of Prince Yamadori and The Imperial Commissioner in Madama Butterfly for Vancouver Opera; the role of the Emperor in Der Kaiser von Atlantis for City Opera Vancouver;  and guest appearances with UBC Opera in the title roles of Falstaff and Eugene Onegin.

Melissa Howell, mezzo

Brenda Katzeff, mezzo

Matthew Kim, baritone

Matthew Kim recently graduated from the University of British Columbia, earning his master’s degree in opera performance. In his time at UBC, Matthew studied with Dale Throness and Peter Barcza. His favourite roles have included Dr. Miracle/Lindorf (Les contes d’Hoffmann), Leporello (Don Giovanni), Harlekin (Ariadne auf Naxos), and Count Almaviva (Le nozze di Figaro).

Matthew enjoys singing contemporary works and telling new stories to current audiences. He had the unique opportunity to sing the roles of Edmund Bertram and William Dale in Mansfield Park and Silent Night – both composed in the last decade. He also has a strong fondness for classical and romantic opera and German lieder.

In addition to his performance pursuits, Matthew enjoys exploring culinary experiences both in the kitchen and out, playing video games, watching the UFC, working out, and discovering new movies. As the head counselor at UBC’s summer music institute for four years, Matthew has enjoyed working with youths to broaden their musical horizons.

Matthew began his professional singing career in the summer of 2020, singing outdoor concerts with local companies in Vancouver and Calgary. He looks forward to continuing his opera career by applying to young artist programs, participating in concerts, and collaborating with other musicians.

Leila Kirves, soprano

Matej Kockovsky, tenor

Matej Kockovsky, tenor, started singing in Ad Una Corda choir at the age of 22. While performing with the choir he decided to study singing. At the age of 23 he was accepted to Bratislava Conservatory to the class led by Gurgen Ovsepian. He is currently studying at the Academy of Performing Arts in Bratislava under the leadership of Dagmar Podkamenska-Bezacinska. At the same time he is completing his pedagogical training at the State Conservatory in Bratislava.

During his studies in the second grade he performed as a member of Slovak Philharmonic Choir at the prestigious festival BBC Proms at the Royal Albert Hall in London and in several performances of the opera Khovanshchina (M. P.  Mussorgsky) in Vienna State Opera and in Germany. He also took part in concert tours in Israel and Canada with Ad Una Corda choir. In 2018 he was awarded 1st prize in solo category over 21 years at a singing competition International Choral Kathaumixw in Powel River city in British Columbia, Canada. In the same year he studied the role of Dalis in a baroque opera Erindo by Johann Sigismund Kusser as part of the Opera Studio of Bratislava Conservatory. He also studied the role of Tamino from Mozart’s Magic flute, together with Child’s Opera Harmonia. In 2019 he participated in premiere performance of two Slovak operas. Moreover, he participated in ANTI-GONÉ by a contemporary composer Peter Graffinger as Haimon, and performed the role of Pilate and Isachar in minioperas Apokryfy by Lubos Bernath. In February he performed in a famous duet Libiamo ne’ lieti calici from Verdi’s La Traviata along with Symphonic orchestra of Bratislava Conservatory in the concert hall of Slovak Philharmonic.  Some of his latest performances include a concert at Austrian Culture Forum in Bratislava dedicated to 150th anniversary of Vienna State Opera. In August 2020 he taught singing classes as part of summer acting courses for children and youth at the Conservatory.

At present he has also been preparing for the role of Nemorino from L´elisir d´amore by Gaetano Donizetti which he is to perform at an opera studio in Teatro Palladium, Rome.

Thomas Lamont, tenor

Thomas Lamont is an up and coming tenor from New Westminster, British Columbia. He performs regularly across the lower mainland primarily as a classical repertory artist but studies other genres, keeping a diverse rotation of projects. Some of his recent engagements include Almaviva in Rossini’s Il barbiere di Siviglia with Burnaby Lyric Opera, soloist for Buxtehude’s Membra Jesu Nostri with Early Music Vancouver, Tamino in Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte with UBC Opera, soloist for Handel’s Messiah with the Chilliwack Symphony Orchestra, Orin Scrivello (The Dentist) in Little Shop of Horrors with Alchemy Theatre, Freddy in My Fair Lady with Royal City Musical Theatre, soloist for J.S Bach’s St. John’s Passion with the UBC Symphony Orchestra, and chorus in Vancouver Opera’s La Cenerentola. Thomas is on the roster of Burnaby Lyric Opera, Opera Opulenza, and City Opera Vancouver, and participates in public concerts, galas, and fundraisers. He is passionate about making opera and classical music accessible and enjoyable for all people of all backgrounds. Thomas studied music performance at the Vancouver Academy of Music and Kwantlen Polytechnic University before earning a Diploma of Musical Performance Studies at the University of British Columbia, studying under Nancy Hermiston and Dale Throness.

Sodam Lee, soprano

 Sodam Lee Milavic is a lyric coloratura who has a warm and colorful voice. Sodam has performed roles including Olympia in Les contes d’Hoffmann, Pamina in Die Zauberflöte with the production of UBC Opera, Rosalinde in Die Fledermaus, and Mimi in La Bohème. She has achieved success as a soloist in oratorios and mass settings including F.Poulenc’s Gloria, R.V.Williams’ Dona nobis pacem, W.A.Mozart’s Coronation Mass, J.E. Turner’s St. Cecilia Mass, and Jongchul Lee’s Mass. 

She won the Kyungpook National University President’s Award for Graduate of Honor as a top of her class, the People’s Favorite Choice Award in the Metropolitan Opera Council Auditions, Encouragement Award in the Korean Art Singing Competition and the Second Place in the Chung-ju University Singing Competition. She grew up in a very musical family; her father had been a professor in opera and her mother is a pianist. Sodam started to pursue opera with her father, Euichun Lee, when she was seventeen years old. She was able to establish the foundation of singing; skills of using breath and muscles. 

She studied with Professor Nancy Hermiston at University of British Columbia for the Master’s degree, and with Professor Soyoung Yoo at Kyungpook National University for the Bachelor. She completed her Bachelor’s in Opera at Kyungpook National University in South Korea and her Masters also in Opera at University of British Columbia. 

Currently, she performs as a professional opera singer and teaches voice not only operatic vocal but also musical and pop vocal, and piano as well. 

Yenny Lee, mezzo-soprano

Mezzo-soprano Yenny Yeeun Lee studied at the University of British Columbia under the direction of Dale Throness and director Nancy Hermiston. With the enthusiasm and talent for music, she participated many prestigious competitions and won awards from Kiwanise Festival Nationals 2014, 1st Place in Vancouver International Music Competition 2017, Honorable mention from the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions Western Canada district in both 2017 and 2018, became a Regional Winner of Belvedere International Competition 2018, and participated the Lindemann Young Artist Program audition in 2020. Her performance at various stages includes the Vancouver Bard on the Beach, UBC Symphony Orchestra performances of Bach Mass in G minor and St. John Passion, and UBC Opera productions where she sang roles of Hermia from A Midsummer night’s Dream, Sesto from Giulio Cesare, Olga from Eugene Onegin, Rossini’s two ladies Isabella and Rosina, Dritte Dame from Die Zauberflöte, and Hannah from modern opera Pasażerka(The Passenger). Her last trip before pandemic was in 2020 to Staatstheatre Nürnberg in Germany and the J. K. Tyl Theatre and Prague Municipal House in Czech Republic to meet the international audiences. She missed the memory of singing on stage and is looking forward to meeting the live audiences soon!

Katie McCullough, soprano

Canadian soprano Katie McCullough has always been passionate about connecting with others through music. Throughout her musical career Katie has explored many different genres of music such as opera, jazz, pop, musical theatre, and sacred music. Katie’s love for music led her to complete a Diploma in Voice Performance at Mount Royal University, a Bachelor of Arts in Music at Ambrose University College, and a Master’s Degree in Opera Performance at the University of British Columbia. As well, she attended The Centre for Opera Studies in Sulmona, Italy and the European Music Academy in the Czech Republic. She has performed the roles of: Despina (Così fan tutte), Antonia (Les Contes d’Hoffmann), Anna Maurrant (Street Scene), Frasquita (Carmen), Nannetta (Falstaff), Rosina (The Barber of Cowtown), and Suor Dolcina (Suor Angelica). In addition to operatic roles, Katie has performed concert repertoire with the Calgary Civic Symphony, The Instrumental Society of Calgary and The Vancouver Symphony Orchestra.

Her accolades include Winner of The 2013 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions-Western Canada and People’s Choice Award, as well as being an Award Winner at the 2014 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions- Northwest Regional Auditions.

Peter Monaghan, bass-baritone

Peter Monaghan is a recent graduate from the Yulanda M. Faris young artist program with Vancouver Opera. Recently Peter played Antonio/Figaro understudy for Vancouver Opera’s production of Le nozze di Figaro. Some of his most recent credits consist of: The father, Hansel and Gretel; Beast, Beauty and the Beast; Peter, Company; Don Pedro, Béatrice et Bénédict; and Colline, La Bohème. Up next he will make his debut with Opera Kelowna as Colline in La Bohème. Peter is also excited to debut with Opera Opulenza, and thanks his wife and family for their never-ending love and support.

Elaina Moreau, soprano

Soprano Elaina Moreau received her training at the University of Toronto, the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, and the Aspen Opera Theater Center.  She is currently a member of the Vancouver Opera Yulanda M. Faris Young Artists Program for the 2017/2018 season. Recently, Moreau sang the role of Gianetta in Vancouver Opera’s L’elisir d’amore, Olympia in Les contes d’Hoffman with Opera Opulenza, Young Ava/House in the acclaimed world premier of Rocking Horse Winner with Tapestry Opera in Toronto, the role of Second Soprano in City Opera Vancouver’s The Lost Operas of Mozart, and the title role in L’incoronazione di Poppea with the Trentino Music Festival in Mezzano, Italy. Other credits include: Susanna in Le nozze di Figaro, Dalinda in Ariodante, Dew Fairy in Hansel and Gretel (all with San Francisco Conservatory of Music), Pamina in Die Zauberflöte (Lyric Opera Studio Weimar and ViVace), and Secretary in a workshop performance of The Overcoat (Tapestry Opera). Moreau is a three-time District Winner in the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions (2011, 2014, and 2016) and represented Canada in the VII Mirjam Helin International Singing Competition in 2014. Elaina was named a 2017 laureate of the Jeunes Ambassadeurs Lyriques, and was selected by the JAL to represent Canada in the semi-final round of the Riccardo Zandonai Concorso Internazionale in Riva del Garda, Italy.

Mark Pepe, tenor

Mark Pepe, operatic tenor, holds a Bachelor of Music in Opera Performance and Music Education, and a Bachelor of Education from the University of British Columbia. His last appearance with Opera Opulenza was as Turridu in Mascagni’s Cavalleria Rusticana. Recent appearances include the leading role of King Gustavo in Giuseppe Verdi’s Un Ballo in Maschera with Opera Mariposa and Heroic Opera, concert performances in Milan and Busseto, Italy with Operavision Academy, as the tenor soloist in Mozart’s Mass in C minor with Capilano University and the West Coast Symphony, Morales and Dancairo in Georges Bizet’s Carmen with Burnaby Lyric Opera, Don Basilio in Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro with Vancouver Island Opera, and recently joined the Vancouver Opera Chorus in Giacomo Puccini’s Turandot, Giuseppe Verdi’s Otello, and will appear in Tchaicovsky’s Eugene Onegin this spring. He has also appeared with Opera Nuova, Vancouver Academy of Music, the UBC Opera Ensemble, University of Victoria Symphony and Chorus, and at Bard on the Beach. He is a music teacher, choir director, and concert band director at Our Lady of Sorrows Elementary School and at Immaculate Conception Delta Elementary School.

Taryn Plater, mezzo

Mezzo-soprano Taryn Plater is a versatile performer with a strong investment in the future of opera. Applauded for her “dramatic and vocal thrust” (Opera Canada), she has trained at Opera NUOVA and the Hawaii Performing Arts Festival, has performed concerts in Germany and the Czech Republic with UBC Opera, and was the recipient of a 2019 encouragement award at the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions (Western Canada District). In addition to her performance endeavours, Taryn works in development at Vancouver Opera, is a mentor with Opera InReach, and frequently applies her arts marketing experience to her own projects. She completed her opera performance studies at the University of British Columbia under Krisztina Szabó and Marisa Gaetanne while simultaneously earning degrees in business management and linguistics.

Alyssa Nicole Samson, mezzo

Alyssa Nicole Samson is a Filipinx-Canadian mezzo soprano from Vancouver, British Columbia. She is currently in her first year of the Master of Music in Opera program at the University of British Columbia (UBC) studying under the tutelage of mezzo-soprano Krisztina Szabo. She also holds a Bachelor of Music (2020) from UBC, a diploma certificate in Voice and Italian from the Universitat Mozarteum Sommerakademie in Salzburg, and a Diploma in Music (2017) from Capilano University.

Alyssa has performed as soloist with various groups including UBC Opera, the UBC University Singers and the Capilano University Singers. Her most recent engagements with UBC Opera include Marcellina in Le Nozze di Figaro (Mozart), Lady Bertram in Mansfield Park (Dove), and Bronka in the Canadian premier of Pasazerka (Weinberg).”

Kirenia Sanchez, soprano

Shadan Saul, soprano

Possessing a warm, rich and sizeable voice, Shadan Saul, has sung the roles of Mimi in La Boheme, Rusalka, and the title role in the Merry Widow. Ms. Saul’s stage presence has taken her to many stages and concerts around the world, including the VSO and the Czech Civic Orchestra. Praised for her sound, “reminiscent of the golden age of opera and the most famous sopranos” (Richard Gaddes, MONC 2014), has had the honour of studying under some of the best singers and teachers of our time amounts them are: Manuela Agueda, Mirella Freni, Ruth Falcon, Virginia Zeani, Heather Thomson, Montserrat Caballe and tenor Melvyn Poll. Shadan has also recently made her debut with Opera Kelowna and is looking forward to making her debut with Opera Opulenza.

Geoff Schellenberg, baritone

Praised for his “clarion tone” (Musical Toronto) and “impressive vocal colour” (Opera Canada),
Canadian-American baritone Geoffrey Schellenberg is currently a Resident Artist with Portland
Opera. In the 2018-19 season, he performed the roles of Marchese D’Obigny in La traviata, Fiorello in Il barbiere di Siviglia, and Nardo in La finta giardiniera with Portland Opera, as well as Schaunard in La bohème with Vancouver Opera. He was engaged with Calgary Opera for their 2017-18 season as part of their Emerging Artist Development Program, performing as the Sergeant in Il barbiere di Siviglia, Captain in Eugene Onegin, and Sciarrone in Tosca in their mainstage productions. He also recently sang Morales in Carmen (Opera Kelowna), Marcello in La bohème (White Rock Concerts), and Belcore in L’elisir d’amore (Music Academy of the West). In the 2019-20 season, he will perform as Harlekin in Highland Opera Studio’s production of Ariadne auf Naxos, Amantio in Pacific Opera Victoria’s production of Il trittico, and will return to Portland Opera to perform as Ben, David, and Doctor Gregg in An American Quartet and as Charlie in Three Decembers.
Geoffrey has become a frequent performer around Vancouver, British Columbia. He has sung as a soloist with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, both as Captain in a concert performance of Candide and as Danilo in selections from The Merry Widow in their The Look of Love concert, and was the baritone soloist in the New Works Project for the inaugural Vancouver Opera Festival. He is regularly engaged with Burnaby Lyric Opera, having sung Sharpless in their mainstage production of Madama Butterfly as well as Belcore and Peter in their concert performances of L’elisir d’amore and Hansel and Gretel. Additionally, he has sung as a soloist in several oratorio concerts, including the Vancouver Bach Choir’s performances of A Sea Symphony (Vaughn Williams) and Requiem (Fauré), as well as Requiem (Duruflé) with St. Philips Choir and Wenceslas (Chilcott) with Jubilate Vocal Ensemble.
Geoffrey was the platinum prize winner in the first annual Vancouver International Music Competition, a prize winner in the 2016 Canadian Opera Company Centre Stage Competition, and a winner of the 2015 Western Canada District in the Metropolitan Opera National Council
Auditions. He completed his Masters in Opera Performance at the University of British Columbia under the tutelage of Peter Barcza, performing many roles during his studies including Eugene Onegin in Eugene Onegin, Lescaut in Manon, Demetrius in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and Count Almaviva in The Marriage of Figaro. Geoffrey has also participated in multiple productions overseas including Count Almaviva in The Marriage of Figaro with Accademia Europea dell’Opera in Lucca, Italy and Papageno in Die Zauberflöte with the European Music Academy in Teplice, Czech

Janessa Shae O’Hearn, mezzo

Sunny Shams, tenor

Acclaimed for his sensational interpretation as lead in the world premiere of Stickboy with Vancouver Opera, Sunny Shams is known for his beautiful, rich, velvety and expressive tenor voice, and his dramatic connection with the characters whom he portrays on stage. Starting piano lessons when he was eight, Sunny found his love for jazz and embarked on a career in jazz piano. Pursuing a degree in music as a jazz pianist but also wanting to learn to sing like Frank Sinatra, he took voice lessons while in college. His teacher quickly persuaded him to study classical technique, opening the door to the world of opera. After experiencing singing in the chorus for a season with Pacific Opera Victoria, Sunny was convinced that it is the ultimate art form and set out on his operatic career which has seen him around the world working with teachers such as Peter Barcza, Heather Thompson, Virginia Zeani, Montserrat Caballé, Daniel Okulitch, and with his late mentor, tenor Melvyn Poll.

Sunny’s career has given him the opportunity to perform in many concerts singing arias and ensembles, symphonic works such as Beethoven’s 9th Symphony, Handel’s Messiah and Mendelssohn’s Elijah, as well as portraying many lead roles in operas including Carmen, La Bohème, Don Giovanni, Falstaff, Die Fledermaus, Die Lustige Witwe, and Rusalka, in Vancouver, Seattle, Montreal, Madrid and touring in the Czech Republic. Sunny recently debuted as the title role in Offenbach’s Les Contes d’Hoffmann with Opera Opulenza in Vancouver, and reprised the role of the Prince in Rusalka in a concert production in Vancouver with acclaimed coach and pianist Luke Housner from the prestigious Academy of Vocal Arts in Philadelphia.

Tamar Simon, soprano

Heralded for her “clear vibrant tone” (Opera Canada), Tamar Simon is an emerging Armenian-Canadian soprano embarking on a promising opera career. Based in Vancouver, Canada, Tamar was recently engaged with the Vancouver Opera Festival as the soprano soloist for their New Works Project. She also has sung with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra as Valencienne in their Look of Love concert and with White Rock Concerts as Musetta in their production of La Bohème. In 2018, she also performed the role of Rosina in Burnaby Lyric Opera’s mainstage production of Il barbiere di Siviglia.
Tamar has also performed internationally, most recently as Zerlina in Hawaii Performing Arts Festival’s 2017 production of Don Giovanni. In 2016, Tamar continued her vocal and art song studies in Austria after receiving the Johann Strauss Foundation Scholarship, which sponsored study at the Internationale Sommerakademie Mozarteum under soprano Helen Donath and baritone Wolfgang Holzmair. Earlier that year, she traveled to Pilzen, Czech Republic and Nürnberg, Germany performing excerpts from La Bohème and Die Fledermaus
Tamar was a District Winner of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions in 2016. She is a graduate of University of British Columbia’s Master of Music program in opera performance, studying under Patrick Raftery and Nancy Hermiston. At UBC, she performed many leading roles, most notably the role of Susanna in Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro where she was described as “believable and engaging Susanna, passing from innocence to subtlety to assertion, always in control and always the unrecognized protagonist” (Opera Canada). She was also seen as Tytania in Benjamin Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Ciboletta in Eine Nacht in Venedig, and The Foreign Woman in The Consul.

Pavol Simoncic, baritone

Pavol Simoncic, baritone, has an international reputation as a singer, choir director, and educator. Currently he directs the Vancouver-based Greater Moravia Choir, and has led the ensemble at festivals such as the European Festival and the Slavic Festival. Before settling in Vancouver, Pavol performed regularly with the Slovak Philharmonic Chorus, as well as the Slovak National Theatre Opera Chorus, rehearsing under the respective batons of Claudio Abbado, Zubin Mehta, Seiji Ozawa, James Conlon, Serge Baudo, and Lorin Maazel. He holds a Masters Degree in Music Education.

Catherine Thornsley, soprano

Soprano Catherine Thornsley was born and raised in Flagstaff, Arizona, where she began studying voice at the age of 16 with Dr. Judith Cloud. She received her Bachelor of Music degree in Vocal performance from Northern Arizona University in 2015, and shortly thereafter relocated to Seattle where she began to build a career as a working professional. In 2018, Catherine was accepted into the University of British Columbia’s opera program and began studying for her Master of Music degree in Opera performance. At UBC, she has had the enormous privilege of portraying Marta in the Canadian premiere of Weinberg’s Pasazerka in January 2020. Catherine has sung internationally, recently travelling to the Czech Republic and Germany with the UBC Opera Ensemble. She also participated in the 2020 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions and was a recipient of the Encouragement Award for the Utah District. She has continued to stay active throughout the pandemic by participating in UBC Opera’s productions of socially distanced excerpt concerts, and two fully staged productions; Giachino Rossini’s Il Viaggio a Reims as Madame Cortese and W.A. Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro as Contessa Almaviva. Catherine is currently based out of Vancouver where she is studying under the direction of Nancy Hermiston.

Yuhui Wang, baritone

Yuhui Wang, lyric baritone, a member of UBC Opera Ensemble, the Vancouver Youth Philharmonic Orchestra and Chinese North American Artist’s Association, is doing his fourth year of DMA at the University of British Columbia where he studies with one of Canada’s most versatile baritones, Peter Barcza Since 2013, Yuhui has sung in over 20 operas in Canada and abroad. The leading roles he has performed include: Escamillio in Carmen; Taddeo in L’Italiana in Algeri; Dandini in La Cenerentola; Harlequin in Ariadne auf Naxos; and Horstmayer in Silent Night; Daperttuto in Les Contes d’Hoffmann; Barone in Il viaggio a Reims; Secret Police Agent in The Consul; Demetrius in A Midsummer Night’s Dream; De Brétigny in Manon and Baron in La Traviata. In 2020, He was honored to be a PPIP of Vancouver Opera for the world premiere production, The Filght of the Humming bird.

In 2019, Yuhui visited Tiroler Festspielhaus in Austria where he worked with Hui Jin, an internationally famous Chinese tenor, on lieder performance. In the same year, he performed Schumann’s Dichterliebe at UBC Old Auditorium of Vancouver.

He is also a frequent performer in concert and has been heard with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, the Vancouver Youth Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Orchestra of Theatre J. K. Tyl in Pilsen, Czech Republic.