Winnipeg mezzo Donnalynn Grills embraces a wide range of musical styles, having performed as a guest artist with the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra; the Manitoba Chamber Orchestra; Rainbow Stage, Manitoba Theatre Centre, Dry Cold Productions, the Manitoba Opera Association, The Gilbert & Sullivan Society of Winnipeg, the Winnipeg Fringe Festival and Groundswell. Previous appearances with The Little Opera Company include Dinah in Trouble in Tahiti , the Mother in Amahl and the Night Visitors , the 3rd Lady/3rd Spirit in The Magic Flute, Nana/the Race Car in The Velveteen Rabbit, Audience in Talk Opera and the Announcer in Gallantry. Recent appearances include Marcellina in Manitoba Opera’s production of Le Nozze Di Figaro and one of the ancestors in Dry Cold Production’s The Addams Family.
Carmen Harris is currently completing the final year of her Bachelor of Vocal Performance with the University of Manitoba, Carmen Harris is a passionate and dedicated performer. A native of British Columbia, she has thoroughly enjoyed honing her craft with Soprano, Monica Huisman. Past roles include Susanna in Mozart’s Marriage of Figaro , as well as scenes from Così fan tutte(Despina) and The Magic Flute (Papagena), with Opera Kelowna. She has also performed several excerpts with the University of Manitoba, including: Dialogue of the Carmelites(Constance), and Le miroir inverse (Iris). Carmen is thrilled to be working with the Little Opera Company.
Originating from Chilliwack, BC, Rebecca Paulding holds a Bachelor and Masters of Music in Voice and Opera Studies from the University of British Columbia, as well as an ARCT in Piano Performance from the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto. She is a provincial winner in voice, a medalist with RCM, and a winner of several voice awards for her performances of Canadian Music. Rebecca has been applauded by adjudicators and audiences for "her vocal ease and dramatic stage presence." Rebecca has performed with UBC Opera, Opera Nuova, VISI, The Yuletide Singers and Manitoba Opera. Favourite roles have been Rusulka in Rusulka , Musetta in La boheme, Maguerite in Louis Riel and Mercedes in Carmen. She has been a soloist with the Vancouver Symphony as part of their Traditional Christmas Concert Series, and a guest artist with the Fraser Valley Philharmonic. Rebecca is pleased to be singing with Little Opera Company, and hopes you enjoy the show!
Marlise Ritchie first experienced the wonder of opera at the age of nine when she was cast as the Young Lady Macbeth in Macbeth with Manitoba Opera. She quickly developed a passion for opera and has been pursuing singing ever since. She holds both a Music Performance Degree from the University of Manitoba and a Post- Baccalaureate Diploma. Her credits include; Handmaiden Sextet (Turandot) with Manitoba Opera and First Wood Sprite (Rusalka) with Halifax Summer Opera Festival. Last February, Marlise premiered the role of Nadine in Mai '68 by Scott Jodin in the Winnipeg New Music Festival. She competed for the Rose Bowl in the 2015 Winnipeg Music Festival and represented Manitoba in the National Musical Festival this past August. Also this past August, Marlise sung Noemie (Cendrillon) with Manitoba Underground Opera to sold out performances. Marlise currently resides in Winnipeg where she is continuing her studies privately with Monica Huisman. Marlise is very excited to be singing with the Little Opera Company this Winter in their Triadic Operatic Cabaret Event.
Adam Sperry is currently in his fourth year of vocal performance in the Desautels Faculty of Music at the University of Manitoba. Adam grew up immersed in the Manitoban choral culture and has developed a passion for opera, oratorio and art song during his time at both the Canadian Mennonite University and The University of Manitoba. His performance highlights include singing as a soloist with the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra last year in their 2014 Holiday Express Tour throughout Southern Manitoba, performing Handel’s Messiah and Bach’s St. Matthew Passion with Canzona, participating in the 2015 Opera NUOVA season, and performing in the University of Manitoba School Tour of The Brothers Grimm . He is looking forward to his fourth year performance recital this coming April and to his début with Little Opera Company as Walter in Milton Granger’s Spark Plugs.
Currently completing her Master of Music in Collaborative Piano, Renate Rossol (Music Director) holds a Bachelor of Music from the University of Manitoba, and an ARCT in Piano Performance from the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto. Renate has attended many summer programs where she developed a love of working with and coaching singers. She performs with both the University of Manitoba’s Opera and Musical Theatre Ensembles, and is a pianist for the Advanced Opera Studies program at the university. In 2014, she was the orchestral / rehearsal pianist for Opera NUOVA’s production of Bernstein’s Candide in Edmonton, and Manitoba Underground Opera’s La Clemenza di Tito, by Mozart. Renate returned to Opera NUOVA this summer as the pianist for Oklahoma! and performed scenes from the American opera, The Ballad of Baby Doe, by Douglas Moore. She made her debut in August with Secondary Characters Musical Theatre in Chilliwack, BC, music directing The Last Five Years, and will be apprentice music-directing A Little Night Music with Dry Cold Productions this spring.
Nancy Drake has acted, directed, dramaturged and taught drama, voice, audition methods and dialect in Winnipeg since 1976, and in Canada since 1969. She was last seen at MTC in “The Dresser”, “My Fair Lady”, and “Richard 111”, and at PTE in “Unity”. For the Fringe, Nancy recently directed “Scar Tissue”, “A Phoenix Too Frequent”, and acted in “Necessary Deceptions and Other Life Lessons”, ‘The Separation of Stuff’, and “Wild Magic.” She also appeared in “Light Shining in Buckinghamshire”, “After Magritte”, “Nine” and others, and directed “L’Impromptu d’Outremont” and “The American Dream” for the winter playwright fests. Ms. Drake is also a dramaturge, and has worked with over fifty playwrights. Nancy has appeared in 29 film and television productions. She has served on the boards of MAC, WAC, PTE, Equity and Actra, and at present, Prairie Fire. She is happily an announcer on CJNU (107.9 FM) nostalgia music radio.
Cary Denby - Music Director - Cary graduated from the Faculty of Music at the University of Manitoba and since then, has made a living as a freelance accompanist playing for numerous choirs, soloists and ensembles. Currently, Cary is involved with the Manitoba Opera Association, Canzona, the Gilbert and Sullivan Association, the Bisons Men's Chorus and with ensembles and soloists at the University of Manitoba, Faculty of Music.