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 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.
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
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 Lammermoor, Gilda 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
Andrew 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
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.
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.
Soprano Irina Medvedeva is described as being a “flexible, supple, yet powerful soprano” (The Globe and Mail) and has been praised for having “a large voice with an astonishing range” (Opera Canada).
Ms. Medvedeva is currently part of Vancouver Opera’s Yulanda M. Faris Young Artist Program for the 2019-2020 season. This engagement includes singing Annina in La Traviata with the Vancouver Opera as well as covering Violetta Valéry, in 2020 she will be covering Rosina in Rossini’s Barber of Seville and the Mother in Another Brick in the Wall as well as singing Alice in the chamber opera The Garden of Alice.. This summer Ms. Medvedeva attended as a Professional Fellow at SongFest in Los Angeles where she worked with renowned collaborators Margo Garret, Graham Johnson, Alan Smith, Kevin Murphy, and esteemed mezzo soprano Susan Graham. This summer she also covered Musetta in Puccini’s La bohème with Brott Opera and was featured in their PopOpera concert singing “Mein Herr Marquis” with orchestra at the First Ontario Concert Hall.
Past operatic engagements include Norina in Donizetti’s Don Pasquale with the Stratford Summer Music Festival, the title role in Janáček’s Cunning Little Vixen at Opera NUOVA, Zerlina in Mozart’s Don Giovanni with Vera Causa Opera. Other operatic roles include La Fée in Viardot’s Cendrillon at the Royal Conservatory’s Glenn Gould School, conducted by Peter Tiefenbach and directed by Joel Ivany, Morgana in Handel’s Alcina in the Royal Conservatory’s production conducted by Ivars Taurins and directed by Leon Major, La Fée in Massenet’s Cendrillon with the Halifax Summer Opera Festival, Le Feu and Le Rossignol in Ravel’s L’enfant et les Sortilèges in Western University’s Opera production, Florestine in Milhaud’s La Mere Coupable at the Summer Opera Lyric Theatre.
Ms. Medvedeva is the 2018 winner of the Comic Opera Guild’s Harold Hugh Light Opera Competition. Her recent recording projects include recording Nina in Victor Herbert’s “Girl in the Spotlight” with the Comic Opera Guild of Michigan.
Concert engagements include the soprano soloist in Faure’s Requiem with the Toronto Korean Canadian Choir and soprano soloist in Mozart’s Requiem and Mozart’s Vespers with the Toronto Classical Singers and Talisker Players. Ms. Medvedeva was also the soprano soloist in A Children’s Messiah with Pax Christi Chorale, and in Purcell’s Ode to St. Cecilia. An oratorio highlight included premiering Barbara Croall’s “Miziwe” in Koerner Hall with Pax Christi Chorale. She has also performed with the Toronto Concert Orchestra, and in recital as part of the Sounds at Strabane concert series. She has participated in the Tapestry Opera Songbook VII and Songbook VIII performances showcasing contemporary operatic repertoire.
Ms. Medvedeva studies with soprano Christiane Riel and is a recent graduate from the Artist Diploma program at the Glenn Gould School of the Royal Conservatory of Music under the guidance of Monica Whicher, Peter Tiefenbach and Rachel Andrist. An avid lover of languages, Ms. Medvedeva is fluent in Russian, Spanish and English.
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’s involvement in opera is multifaceted as she possesses an affinity for both performance and management. Taryn is currently studying opera performance with Marisa Gaetanne while simultaneously completing degrees in business management and linguistics. In her time at UBC, she has performed the roles of Donna Elvira (Don Giovanni), Second Lady (Die Zauberflöte), and most recently, Marta in the Canadian premiere of Weinberg’s Pasażerka. She is an alumna of the Opera NUOVA summer program and this past summer travelled to Hawaii to sing Helena (A Midsummer Night’s Dream) with the Hawaii Performing Arts Festival. Taryn’s varied musical foundations range from musical theatre to choral singing and she continues to perform as a jazz pianist/vocalist. In addition to her performance endeavours, Taryn has worked as Marketing & Communications Assistant at the Chan Centre and enjoys applying her arts management experience to the production of her own opera concerts and performances.
Talia Rayne, soprano
Talia Rayne, soprano, has been studying opera since she was six years old. Ever since she took her first voice lesson, singing has been her love and passion. She is currently based out of Bellingham, Washington, and has sung in various companies on the West Coast, in Canada, and in Prague, including Opera Opulenza, Fresno Grand Opera, and Prague Summer Nights. Previous roles include Santuzza in Cavalleria Rusticana and Nelia in Gianni Schicchi. She is thrilled to be performing for you tonight and hopes that you enjoy the show!
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.
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.
Jessica Turje, soprano
Canadian soprano Jessica Türje brings a beauty and depth to the music she sings, which is expressed through her rich and vibrant vocal quality. Her understanding of technique affords her the ability to communicate with musical honesty and ease. She seeks an intimate understanding of the worlds of text and sound behind the repertoire she sings, an understanding that she continually cultivates. Jessica is a strong collaborator who enjoys exploring the joys of music with other musicians, whether in the concerted effort required for operatic works, or in the intimate collaboration on art song. All of these pursuits enable Jessica to continue refining her understanding of the craft of singing, a craft that she is devoted to promoting and sharing.
Jessica began her musical journey in Vancouver. She started her post-secondary studies at the University of British Columbia and pursued further musical studies by completing her Bachelor of Music degree at the University of Toronto. Jessica made her professional debut as Madame Herz in W.A. Mozart’s ‘The Impresario’ in 2012, and has also performed with Toronto based opera company Opera5 and covered the role of the Countess Almaviva in the Vancouver Summer Opera Studio production of W.A. Mozart’s ‘Le Nozze di Figaro’. In Calgary, Jessica was featured by the Scandinavian Society of Calgary in a performance of works by Edward Grieg. Through the 2014 Kiwanis Music Festival, she went on to be heard in the Stars of the Calgary Kiwanis Music Festival. As a result of her success Jessica was recommended to represent Alberta in the National Music Competition that year. In the summer of 2015 Jessica was awarded a full scholarship to participate and perform in the Mountain View International Festival of Song and Chamber Music, where she worked extensively with world-renowned clinician and chamber musician Rudolf Jansen. In November 2015, Jessica performed with the Calgary Arts Orchestra, and premiered an arrangement of Alexia Louie’s aria Berceuse from The Scarlett Princess. Jessica also performed several fundraising concerts for local fundraising efforts in Calgary. In the early spring of 2016, Jessica participated and won her category in NATS Calgary Chapter and later won the NATSAA Intermountain Region Competition, performing in the University of Calgary’s Rosza Centre. Jessica spent her summer of 2016 training in Baden bei Wien, Austria at the Franz Schubert Institute working with world class master teachers and coaches on a variety of Lieder. Jessica is currently living in Vancouver, B.C preparing for a recital with pianist Mary Castello and a performance in December with the Mountain View Winter Festival.