Little Opera Company
Little Opera Company
Made with Xara
© Little Opera Company 2018
Production & Cast
Tenor, Martin Renner Wallace (Don José) is from Victoria where he studied voice at the Conservatory of Music as well as completing a bachelors of music in performance at UVic. He moved to Vancouver to tour with “Vancouver Opera in Schools” programme before completing a masters of music in opera at UBC. Martin has been a member of the Young Artist programmes with the Victoria, Calgary and Vancouver opera companies as well as a participant in the Banff Summer opera Programme. Praised for his “exquisite high notes and lush warmth in his lower register” (Kelowna Daily Courier) He has recently appeared in roles such as Canio in Pagliacci, Pollione in Norma, and Bacchus in Ariadne auf Naxos; as well as concerts like Handel’s Messiah, Beethoven’s Symphony number nine and Mahler’s Symphony number eight. In 2010 Martin was a district winner of the Metropolitan opera competition proceeding the regionals in Seattle. Martin has sung with companies such as, Calgary opera, Pacific opera Victoria, the Vancouver Symphony, and the Vancouver Bach Choir. He remains an active performer in Canada and most recently on tour in China.
Creative Team
Mezzo Soprano, Catherine Daniel (Carmen) of Edmonton studied voice with Coluratura soprano Tracy Dahl at the University of Manitoba. She was a member of the Atelier Lyqrique de l’Opéra de Montréal, and later became a member of the Opera Studio Nederlands. Career highlights include debuting Klytemnestra in Edmonton Opera’s production of Elektra, singing Elisabetta in Knoxville Opera’s production of Donizetti’s Maria Stuarda , and debuting at Carnegie Hall as a soloist in Haydyn’s Mass in Time of War . Last season included a European tour of Porgy and Bess and singing as the Alto soloist in Handel’s Messiah and a recital of Haitian music. Catherine opened this season singing the role of Overseer Bicycle Opera project’s production of Sweat and returning to Knoxville for their 40 th anniversary Opera Gala. Ms. Daniel sang as the alto soloist with Edmonton’s Symphony Orchestra in December 2017. Upcoming performances include the alto soloist in Messiah with the WSO, singing Imelda in Opéra de Montréal’s production of Champion and returning to Knoxville to sing Santuzza in their production of Cavalleria Rusticana.
Tadeusz Biernacki (Music Director) Mr. Biernacki just concluded his 26th season with Manitoba Opera as Assistant Music Director, Chorus Master and Rehearsal Pianist. He works also with the RWB (Associate Music Director, Principal Pianist), WSO, and MCO. Winner of the K. Szmanowski Piano Competition in Warsaw, Mr. Biernacki has performed internationally as a piano soloist. Mr. Biernacki has conducted major orchestras across Canada, as well as the Tessaloniki State Orchestra, St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, Kaohsiung City Symphony Orchestra and the Hong Kong Sinfonietta. He has written orchestral arrangements for the TSO, NAC Orchestra, and others. He is Music Director of Saskatoon Opera where he has conducted Rigoletto, Don Giovanni, The Magic Flute, Don Pasquale, Carmen, The Barber of Seville, Die Fledermaus and The Elixir of Love and will conduct La Bohème this summer. His most recent work as a conductor with Manitoba Opera includes Candide, The Elixir of Love, Don Giovanni, Così fan tutte, The Magic Flute, The Barber of Seville, Hansel and Gretel, and Don Pasquale. Guest conducting with Opera Lyra Ottawa includes the concert versions of Hamlet and Mignon.
Making her directing debut, Canada’s premier coloratura soprano, Tracy Dahl C.M. has appeared throughout her career with such opera houses as the Metropolitan Opera, San Francisco Opera, Opera Theatre of St Louis, Santa Fe Opera, the Canadian Opera Company, Manitoba Opera, Calgary Opera, Teatro alla Scala (Milan) and the Théâtre du Châtelet (Paris). In 2017 she was awarded the Order of Canada for her career as a singer and for her teaching. In 2009 she was awarded a Ruby from Opera Canada. In 2014 she was named one of the Women’s Executive Network Top 100 Most Powerful women in Canada. From her roots in musical theatre, to concert halls and opera houses, Ms. Dahl has enjoyed success and is lauded for her silvery tones, her vocal agility, and her acting prowess. Frequent and favourite roles are Lucia in Lucia di Lammermoor, Marie in the Daughter of the Regiment, Cunegonde in Candide, Adele in Die Fledermaus, Norina in Don Pasquale and Madame Mao in Nixon in China, the last of these roles having been recorded on the Naxos label. Other recordings, for CBC records: Glitter and Be Gay; A Gilbert and Sullivan Gala; and a children’s album, Rhymes and Reverie. And with Red Phone Box Company: Love Walked In, a Gershwin tribute with Bramwell Tovey and most recently John Greer’s new art song album Sing me at Midnight, the Canadian Art song project. Ms. Dahl has been a voice teacher at the University of Manitoba Desautels Faculty of Music for twenty years.
Soprano, Jessica Kos-Wicher (Micaëla) has been hailed as “the next great one” (Doug Speirs, Winnipeg Free Press) Winnipeg born soprano Jessica Kos- Whicher is currently a student of Tracy Dahl and Monica Huisman. Most recently, Jessica appeared as Lauretta in Gianni Schicchi with Manitoba Underground Opera. Past highlights include Tatiana in Eugene Onegin (Opera NUOVA), Pamina in The Magic Flute...Retold (Manitoba Underground Opera), Elle in La Voix Humaine , Sister Rose in Jake Heggie’s Dead Man Walking with Opera NUOVA. Jessica is a two time encouragement award winner and a two time regional finalist for the Met National Council Auditions. When she is not performing, Jessica runs a successful voice studio in Winnipeg, MB. Jessica is thrilled to be reprising the role of Micäela with Little Opera Company in her home town and equally as tickled pink to be working with such a stellar cast of mentors and colleagues.
Baritone, David Klassen (Escamillo), baritone is noted for his “rich baritone” (Minneapolis Star Tribune) and described by the Winnipeg Free Press as “solid”, “resonant” and “very satisfying to listen to”, David Klassen has established himself as one of Manitoba’s busiest baritones, teaching, performing and directing. His operatic performance highlights include an award-winning performance of the title role in Mozart’s Don Giovanni , the Minnesota premier performance as Valmont in Susa’s Dangerous Liaisons , Demetrius in Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Georg in the world premier of Michael Matthews’ Prince Kaspar . Past solo engagements include performances with the Royal Winnipeg Ballet, Saskatoon Opera, Brandon Chamber Players, The Chamber Players of Saint Paul, Manitoba’s Mennonite Community Orchestra and numerous appearances with the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra including a sold out performance of Orff’s Carmina Burana , and a performance of Rossini's "Largo al Factotum" for a Canada Day audience of thirty thousand. Other performance highlights include a 2014 Fringe Festival production of StarBach’s Coffee Cantata with Manitoban soprano, Naomi Forman, which was later invited to perform at the Ottawa Chamber Music Festival, and a project with Golden West Radio, touring Manitoba with a concert of favourite sacred music, partnering with local choirs along the way. Currently residing in Manitoba, Mr. Klassen continues to work at creating performance opportunities for young singers and fellow artists alike. In 2015, he was nominated for CBC’s “Manitoba Future 40” award for his work as a singer and university educator in the province, and in his home city of Steinbach where he has been acknowledged numerous times as one of the region’s greatest contributors to the Arts.
Raymond Solkalski (Lillas Pastia, Garcia), Raymond Sokalski has performed with the Manitoba Opera Chorus since 1990 and with the Winnipeg Singers for six seasons. He has portrayed Lillas Pastia and Le Guide (Carmen, Manitoba Opera), Luis (The Gondoliers, Gilbert & Sullivan Society), and numerous roles with Winnipeg’s Junction Players, including Jesus (Godspell), Walter Mitty (The Secret Life of Walter Mitty), and Clarence (It’s a Wonderful Life). He has sung with the Calgary Opera Chorus, Rainbow Stage, and the Winnipeg Philharmonic Choir. He first appeared with the Little Opera Company in their production of Amahl and the Night Visitors (2011) and played Omar Khayyam in LOC’s Kismet (2016). Raymond teaches Histoire canadienne at École secondaire Kelvin and is excited to be a part of Tracy Dahl’s first production as Stage Director .
Don Larsen (Zuniga) has previously appeared with Rainbow Stage, The Winnipeg Gilbert and Sullivan Society, Little Opera Company, Junction Players, and numerous choruses and comprimario roles for Manitoba Opera. Recent credits include: Commissionaire in Manitoba Opera's recent production of La Traviata , Scrooge in Junction Players' musical production of, A Christmas Carol (Alan Menken), and Mr. Gower in It's a Wonderful Life (Rogers / Higgins) also with Junction Players. For Little Opera Company, Don has performed the roles of Wolf in Little Red Riding Hood (Barab), Mr. Scruples in The Impresario (Mozart), Melchior in many productions of Amahl and the Night Visitors (Menotti), and most recently as Jawan in Kismet (Wright / Forrest). Having performed in several Carmen choruses for Manitoba Opera over the years, Don is up for the challenge of perfecting (well, at least improving) his French for this performance. Hopefully the coaching from his 'French immersed' daughters has done the trick!
Sean McMullen (Set / Lighting Design) is a Winnipeg based designer and instructor, with a variety of design interests and focuses. Born in Pine Falls, Manitoba, Sean studied acting and theatre design at the University of Winnipeg. Following this, Sean completed a masters degree in theatre design from the University of Alberta in 2014. Since then, Sean has worked as a sets, costume, and lighting designer in Winnipeg, while building upon his passion as an educator with the University of Winnipeg's theatre and film department. Sean's additional interests include sound, projection, and video design, as well as writing and directing. Recent credits include Concord Floral with the University of Winnipeg (LX), set elements for Mabel's Curtain Call with One Trunk Theatre, and direction and production design for the Eureka Players musical production of The Saga of JD McArthur and the Winnipeg River Princess in Lac du Bonnet, Manitoba. Sean's previous work with the Little Opera Company includes scenic work for Merry Christmas Stephen Leacock in 2016, and set, costumes, and lighting design for Hansel and Gretel in 2015.
Robert Butler (Costumes Design) has worked on costumes, wigs & hair for Shoestring Players (Winnipeg) for many years. Examples of his work have been seen on stage in The Rivals, The Great Katherine, Welcome to the Moon & Other Plays, to name a few. His costume life started with performances with The Village Green English Country Dancers and has become rather more than a hobby. Robert’s work with The Little Opera Company has included Kismet and, recently, Opera Shorts. Robert is looking forward to the costume challenge of La Tragédie de Carmen.
Matthew Lagacé (Stage Manager) has been working in Stage Management for the past 8 years. Over those years he has worked with a variety of companies in Winnipeg, as well as companies across Canada. Previous credits include: Cosi Fan Tutti, (Calgary Opera), La Traviata, Madama Butterfly, Falstaff, The Marriage of Figaro (Manitoba Opera); The Whipping Man, (Winnipeg Jewish Theatre); The Flats/Les Flats (Prairie Theatre Exchange/Théâtre Cercle Molière); Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike, The Heart of Robin Hood, (Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre), Holly, Jolly, Merry and Bright (Quest Theatre), Almighty Voice and His Wife (Theatre Kingston), Ring of Fire (Globe Theatre). Upcoming productions include: Mrs. Warren’s Profession (Classic Theatre Festival), La Traviata (Edmonton Opera), Don Giovanni (Manitoba Opera), Hansel & Gretel (Edmonton Opera) Matthew is a graduate of the University of Manitoba Theatre Program/Black Hole Theatre Company. “A big thank you to my friends and family for all your love and support. I wouldn’t be where I am without all of you.
William Medwick (Apprentice Stage Manager) is a recent graduate from Humber College. This is his first production since graduating the Theatre Production programme. I am very excited to be working with the Little Opera Company (LOC)! I have worked with LOC in the past and have loved it. They gave me the desire to go to schooling to gain more knowledge in theatre. Will previously worked with the LOC in their production of Hansel and Gretel . At school, William has been a Stage Manager for the scripted piece called The Sea by Edward Bond . As well was an Assistant Stage Manager for a devised piece named Cautionary Tales, directed by Tatiana Jennings, and as an Apprentice Stage Manager for To Ithica , also directed by Tatianna Jennings. He is very interested in Stage Management and is very excited to get the opportunity to work with all of the cast and crew!