The Magic Flute
The Trials of Tamino and Pamina
Production and Cast
Winnipeg based Rob Herriot has directed productions across North America including a
recent production of The Elixir of Love for Livermore Valley Opera in the San Francisco bay area.
Local productions include Cosi Fan Tutte, La Cenerentola, Madama Butterfly, Don Pasquale, Rigoletto,
La Boheme and Lucia di Lammermoor for Manitoba Opera as well as Beauty and the Beast,
Cinderella and Wizard of Oz for Rainbow Stage. Little Opera Company productions include Three
Decembers and online productions of I Need Opera and Dance and All Those Arias.
Rob Herriot, Director
Lisa Rumpel, Répétiteur
Praised for her "fierce artistry” and “poetic” pianism, Winnipeg-based “powerhouse” pianist,
teacher, and vocal coach Lisa Rumpel is an active member of Manitoba’s arts scene. Lisa’s vibrant
and varied freelance career has included performances with Manitoba Opera, Flipside Opera &
Art Song Collective, The Little Opera Company, Winnipeg’s Contemporary Dancers (Looking
Glass, 2023), Agassiz Chamber Music Festival, Cluster New Music + Integrated Arts Festival,
Brandon Chamber Players, Skywalk Concert series, Living Room Live, and others. Equally
comfortable as a collaborator in song, opera, chamber music, and choral music, Lisa brings her
sparkling personality, focus, and enthusiasm to every project she undertakes.
Paulina Gonzalez (Papagena)
After 14 years of solo performances on international stages, Paulina Gonzalez’ Mexican
heritage fuels her passion and the power of music makes her dig deep, harnessing the positive
energy she exudes, and casts it forth to gather us under its spell. Like any real artist, Paulina
nows that the more she gives of herself - the richer is the listener. Paulina completed her
Bachelor's Degree in Vocal Performance at the University of Sonora in Mexico and her Master’s
Degree in Vocal Performance under the tutelage of Tracy Dahl at the University of Manitoba.
Paulina performed as a soloist in Lost Voices in August 2019 and as Goldie Locks in the opera for
children tour in 2022. She was cast as La Paix in the Baroque opera Les Arts Florissants as part of
the University of Manitoba Chamber Opera in November 2018, and as Esilena in Handel’s opera
Rodrigo in November 2019. In 2022 Paulina was the winner of the Herbert & Audrey Belyea
Trophy of the Winnipeg Music Festival, the Holtby Scholarship of the Women's Music Club
Scholarship Competition and the video production award from the Jacqueline Desmarais
Foundation for Young Canadian Opera Singers.
“Baritone Branden Olsen as Escamillo was a much more menacing prospect, commanding
attention on stage with a resonant voice and sensual physical presence" - Opera Canada
Branden Olsen is a rising Atlantic Canadian bass - baritone in his second year of the McPhee
Artist Development Program with Calgary Opera, and is a pedagogical clinician, and conductor of
exceptional promise. In 2021 Branden won first place (voice) at the Federation of Canadian Music
Festivals National Competition. He has a master’s in both choral conducting and voice
performance and is currently studying under the tutelage of renowned Canadian tenor David
Pomeroy. Branden was honoured to workshop the newly commissioned “February” with Opera
on the Avalon, and also to conduct the At lantic Boychoir in Cornwall, UK. He was most recently
seen on the Calgary Opera stage as Moralès in Carmen, the Medico in MacBeth, and is excited to
be singing Papageno with the Little Opera Company.
Praised by The Globe and Mail for "...his silky, emotional presence on stage – both vocally
and dramatically...", Sri Lankan tenor Asitha Tennekoon has established himself as one of
Canada’s most versatile singing artists. He drew critical acclaim as Paul in Tapestry Opera /
Scottish Opera’s Rocking Horse Winner, receiving the 2016 Dora Award for Best Male
Performance. Sought after for performances spanning from Baroque to new commissions and
experimental music, Asitha enjoys exploring the many ways opera and art music can make an
impact on audiences today.
This season, Asitha sings his first Remendado in Pacific Opera Victoria’s Carmen, followed by
the role of Boy Angel in the Canadian Premiere of the 2017 Pulitzer Prize - winning opera Angel’s
Bone (Du Yun, Royce Vavrek), co-produced by re:Naissance Opera, Sound the Alarm Music /
Theatre, Arraymusic, Loose Tea Music Theatre and Turning Point Ensemble. In 2023, Asitha
debuts as Flute in Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream with Vancouver Opera, Jacques Lacombe
On the concert stage, Asitha will be the tenor soloist in Messiah with Vancouver Bach Choir
and is a featured soloist in "Music for The Winter Solstice", presented by Music on Main, also in
Vancouver. In May he joins pianist Leslie Dala for "Songs of Desire", a song recital presented by
Müzewest featuring the premiere of a new song cycle by Métis composer Ian Cusson, based on
the poetry of Michael Ondaatje.
A Dora Award - winning performer, Asitha most recently made his debut as Ferrando in
Edmonton Opera’s Cosi fan tutte, the First Priest with Canadian Opera Company’s The Magic
Flute , and Bénédict in Opera Kelowna’ s production of Berlioz’ Béatrice et Bénédict. Asitha has
sung principle roles with Opéra de Montréal, Against the Grain Theatre, Tapestry Opera,
Soundstreams Canada, Opera on the Avalon, Opera 5, and Opera Lafayette (USA). Asitha is a Co-
Founder of Amplified Opera, an indie Opera company committed to placing artists at the centre
of public discourse. He makes his home in the unceded traditional territories of the Musqueam,
Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh Nations (Vancouver, BC).
Branden Olsen (Papageno)
Shannon Hiebert, Music Director
Pianist and Vocal Coach Shannon Hiebert studied at the University of Manitoba with
Sydney Young McInnis. She went on to pursue advanced studies at the University of Michigan
with Martin Katz and at the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity with Martin Isepp. Shannon
Hiebert has been heard in recitals and broadcasts across North America, Europe, Taiwan and
Japan. In addition to her work as a collaborative pianist, Shannon Hiebert has performed with
the Royal Winnipeg Ballet, Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, Manitoba Chamber Orchestra,
Edmonton Opera, Groundswell, Winnipeg Singers, Citadel Theatre, Edmonton Opera, Manitoba
Underground Opera and numerous musical theatre productions. Tours with Broadway Across
Canada include productions of Mamma Mia, Spamalot, Wicked and Book of Mormon. In 2009,
Shannon HIebert joined the Toronto Company of Jersey Boys. Music Direction credits include
Grant MacEwan University’s Theatre Arts productions of Spring Awakening and A Little NIght Music,
the Plain Jane Theatre Company’s Sterling Award nominated productions of Fiorello, Little Fish,
Mack and Mabel and A New Brain, Opera Nuova's production of Light in the Piazza, Suor Angelica
with the Centre of Opera Studies in Italy and the University of Alberta Opera Theatre productions
of L'étoile, Die Zauberflöte, L'elisir d'amore, and the Canadian Premiere of The Enchanted Pig. Recent
productions include critically acclaimed productions of Sweeney Todd, with Plain Jane Theatre,
London Road with Grant MacEwan Theatre Arts and Songs of a Prairie Girl with Theatre Network.
In 2013 Shannon Hiebert received a Sterling Award nomination for outstanding musical
direction. A passionate teacher and coach, Shannon Hiebert has worked as coach/pianist at
universities across Canada, Opera NUOVA, Calgary Opera’s Emerging Artist Program and the
Centre for Opera Studies in Italy (COSI) and Cantilon Choirs. In 2017 she received a teaching
award for her work at the University of Alberta, Department of Music. After acting as chorus
master for Edmonton Opera's 2022 production of La Bohème, Shannon will join Edmonton
Opera artistic staff as chorus director.
Asitha Tennekoon (Tamino)
Kate George, Set Designer
Katie Schmidt, Stage Manager
Robert Butler, Set and Costume Design
Robert Butler has a long history of creating costumes for local arts organizations, such as
the Shoestring Players and the Little Opera Company. Costuming credits for the Little Opera
Company includes Kismet, La Tragédie de Carmen, and Three Decembers.
In spite of every production "being his last", he couldn’t resist the opportunity to costume
the iconic Queen of the Night in the Little Opera Company’s production of The Magic Flute: The
Trials of Tamino and Pamina.
Robert is also excited to be expanding his creative experience by collaborating lyrically on a
new musical, The Reindeer King.
Graphic Design: Stephen Boyd
Publicity: Heather Milne
Assistant Publicity: Jessie Boyd
Web Master: Don Larsen
Spencer Duncanson, Artistic Director,
Little Opera Company
Canadian soprano Nicole Leung is currently a McPhee Artist at Calgary Opera, where she
was most recently seen as Frasquita in its main stage production of Carmen and Delia in Joe
Illick’s Stone Soup. This Spring, she performs Héro in the company’s resident artist production of
Béatrice et Bénédict, as well as La Fée (Cinderella) for its school touring production.
A graduate of the Yale School of Music, Ms. Leung was seen as Rosalba in Florencia en el
Amazonas, Adina in L’elisir d’amore, and Morgana in Alcina. She was also involved in a workshop
of the world-premier opera The Snowy Day by Joel Thompson and libretto by Andrea Davis
Pinkney, commissioned by Houston Grand Opera. Within the Yale Opera Scenes Program, she
was seen in Falstaff (Nannetta), Le Comte Ory (Comtesse Adèle), Ariadne auf Naxos (Naiad),
Béatrice et Bénédict (Héro), La Rondine (Lisette), Der Rosenkavalier (Sophie), and La Bohème
(Musetta). In addition to operatic performances, Ms. Leung appeared as Soprano Soloist with
Waterbury Symphony Orchestra in their Mozart Requiem performance and as Soprano Soloist in
Beethoven’s Chorale Fantasy with the Yale Philharmonia.
Ms. Leung has been a Manetti Shrem Vocal Fellow with Festival Napa Valley, where she
covered Adina (L’elisir d’amore). She has also attended SongFest in Los Angeles, CA as both a
Young Artist and Studio Artist, underwritten by the ArtSong Foundation of Canada (‘19). At
SongFest, she had the opportunity to work alongside composers John Musto and Jake Heggie in
curated concert performances. As a devoted interpreter of song repertoire, she was honored to
receive Third Place in the Hal Leonard American Vocal Competition for Art Song in 2019.
Other operatic roles include Nerone (L’incoronazione di Poppea) , Romilda (Serse ), and
Fiordiligi (Così fan tutte) with Long Reach Opera Workshop in Toronto. In addition to her operatic
and song performances, she has appeared as Soprano Soloist in a variety of concert programs,
including Vaughan Williams’ Dona Nobis Pacem , Bernstein’s Chichester Psalms, and Brahms’
Neue Liebeslieder with New England Conservatory Symphony Orchestra. Ms.Leung holds
degrees from the New England Conservatory of Music (BM ‘19) and the Yale School of Music (MM
‘21, MMA ‘22).
Nicole Leung (Pamina)
Rebeca Oliveira (First Lady)
Geneva Halverson (Second Lady)
Donnalynn Grills (Third Lady)
Margot Harding (Queen of the Night)
Stephen Haiko-Pena (Sarastro)
Don Larsen (High Priest)
Kyle Briscoe (Speaker)
Rebeca Oliveira holds a degree in Music Education from the State University of Campinas
(UNICAMP) and a B.Mus in Voice Performance under the guidance of Prof. Dr. Angelo José
Fernandes from the same university. She was a member of the Coro Contemporâneo de
Campinas from 2014 to 2022 under the regency of Angelo Fernandes, participating as a chorist
and soloist in the soprano section in repertoires such as Missa “Lord Nelson” by Joseph Haydn,
Coronation Mass by W. A. Mozart and in the world premiere of the opera multimodal
Descobertas, by Jônatas Manzolli. As a member of the Ópera Studio at UNICAMP, he participated
in the Magic Flute - W. Mozart in the role of First Lady, Flora in La Traviata by G. Verdi and Lauretta
in Gianni Schicchi, by G. Puccini. In 2022 Rebeca started her master's degree in Vocal
Performance at the University of Manitoba, under the instruction of Tracy Dahl.
Geneva Halverson is a Winnipeg mezzo soprano, pianist, and song writer. Geneva holds a
Bachelor of Music (performance) degree from the University of Manitoba Desautels Faculty of
Music as well as a Post Baccalaureate Diploma in opera performance. Geneva is a past
winner of the Zita Bernstein German Lieder competition as well as a 2022 top three finalist of the
Women’s Musical Club McLellan Competition. Geneva was the featured alto soloist in Handel’s
Messiah with the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra in 2022.
As a child, Geneva was quick to gravitate to the performing arts, beginning piano lessons and
dance classes at the age of five. After seeing musical theatre for the first time, Geneva enrolled in
musical theatre classes and eventually, voice lessons. Geneva now brings a flair for story-telling
and acting to all genres of singing. As a performer, Geneva is known for a unique ability to convey
characters and captivate audiences.
Prior to beginning vocal studies, Geneva completed grade ten RCM piano examinations,
studying under Jacqueline Ryz. Geneva began studying at the University of Manitoba as a piano
major. As a result of injury, Geneva made the decision to study voice. Currently studying with Mel
Braun, Geneva previously studied under Donna Fletcher and David Klassen. Geneva is well versed
in many genres of music from operetta to country music. Geneva is also a songwriter who’s style
is influenced by the folkrock music of the mid-nineteen-sixties. Geneva has performed as part of
Festival du Voyageur and was chosen for RBC’s Emerging Artist Mentorship in 2020.
As a private teacher, Geneva instructs a talented roster of voice and piano students, many of
whom have gone on to pursue performance careers of their own. Geneva is an avid runner and
fitness guru. Currently, Geneva is guardian to plants, some of which actually stay alive. Honestly,
not many stay alive. Geneva will never be part of HGTV.
Donnalynn is thrilled to be reprising the role of Third Lady/Third Boy in John Greer’s
adaptation of The Magic Flute.
Equally at home in opera, oratorio and musical theatre, Donnalynn has had the privilege of
performing with the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, Rainbow Stage, Dry Cold Productions,
Manitoba Opera, Manitoba Theatre Centre, the Manitoba Chamber Orchestra, the Vancouver
Symphony, the Vancouver CBC Orchestra, the Gilbert & Sullivan Society of Winnipeg and the
Winnipeg Philharmonic Choir. She is also a member of The Winnipeg Singers, Dead of Winter and
When not rehearsing for one performance or another, Donnalynn can be found at the U of M
Desautels Faculty of Music as the program coordinator for the Prep Studies Division. She is also a
proud “mom” to her wee westie, Brodie.
After completing her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree majoring in drawing and painting,
Margot then obtained her Bachelor of Music degree as an opera major at the University of
British Columbia. Along with many other awards, Margot won a Canada wide scholarship
competition to study in Salzburg, Austria. After 6 months of opera study at the Mozarteum in
Salzburg, Austria, she performed in numerous concerts and performances in Austria and
Germany including the gorgeous Landestheater in Mozart’s' hometown, Salzburg, as a last-
minute fill-in for the Queen of the night.
She has sung with the Salzburg opera, Manitoba Opera, Vancouver Opera, and the
Winnipeg Symphony, Carnegie Hall, the Royal Winnipeg Ballet, The Royal Manitoba Theatre
Centre, the National Arts Centre (both the main theatre and concert hall stages), Rainbow
Stage, numerous venues in Germany and Austria and various others. She has sung in The New
Music Festival, premiering Murray Shafer’s’ “The Falcon’s Trumpet”, and has been featured on
CBC, Arts and Minds on Bravo. On the theatre side, Margot played the coveted role of Sharon
Graham in Terrence McNally's" Canadian premiere of "Master Class" at the Royal Manitoba
Theatre Centre and the National Arts Centre in Ottawa. Margot has also sung many times as a
featured artist with the Winnipeg Symphony, The Little Opera Company, Manitoba Opera and
Margot is an active vocal coach with a wide variety of singing students of all ages, and runs
her own music program called Tiny Tunes, in inner city daycares, for children from 8 months up
to 7 years of age.
Stephen Haiko - Pena is a classical singer, composer and teacher in Winnipeg. He holds a
Bachelor of Music from Desautels Faculty of Music at the University of Manitoba where he
studied voice and piano. He’s performed extensively in Winnipeg with various groups: Manitoba
Opera, The Little Opera Company, Underground Opera, The Gilbert and Sullivan Society and
Canzona. Some of his creative output includes an intermediate piano suite, two children’s
musicals and a choral work centering on a famous Manitoba UFO sighting.
Stephen also presents opera classroom workshops with Manitoba Opera.
His recent engagements have included: Musikalische Exequien (Dead of Winter), Jesu Meine
Freude (Canzona) and Sarastro in The Magic Flute (The Little Opera Company).
Bass - Baritone, Don Larsen has previously appeared with Rainbow Stage, Winnipeg Gilbert
and Sullivan Society, Little Opera Company, Junction Players, and Manitoba Opera. For Manitoba
Opera, Don just completed Così fan tutte, which was his 30
production as a chorus member
and singer of comprimario roles with the company. Don is looking forward to singing in
Manitoba Opera’s production of Li Keur: Riel’s Heart of the North this fall.
Previously, for the Little Opera Company, Don has performed the roles of Tom / John in The
Face on the Barroom Floor, Zuniga in La Tragédie de Carmen, Jawan in Kismet, Wolf in Little Red
Riding Hood, Mr. Scruples in The Impresario, and Melchior in many productions of Amahl and the
Don has recently picked up the bass guitar and enjoys playing and singing Irish folk music
with the group, Spirit of Borealis. His secret desire is to sing and play bass in a Metallica or Red
Hot Chili Peppers cover band. Ok, the secret is out – call me.
Kyle Briscoe is blazing the trail as a queer interdisciplinary opera artist, administrator,
teacher, and recording artist. Kyle completed his undergraduate degree at the University of
Manitoba studying as a tenor under baritone Mel Braun where he has been praised for his
beautiful tone and endearing vulnerability. Last summer, Kyle made his role debut with
Manitoba Underground Opera as Don Basilio in the Marriage of Figaro. During the day, Kyle
works as the Executive Assistant at Manitoba Opera and is the General Manager of Canzona.
Kyle has been awarded the Berythe Brise Scholarship (2022, WMC), the Andrew Kuryk Memorial
Scholarship (2021 & 2020), Second Prize in the Zita Bernstein Competition (2020), and the
University of Manitoba Undergraduate Research Award (2019). You may recognize Kyle from his
performances with the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra (Solomon), Manitoba Opera, Manitoba
Underground Opera, Little Opera Company, Canzona, PolyCoro, Dead of Winter, and the
Winnipeg Singers. Kyle released his first original song on November 20, 2022, “What A Time,” and
looks forward tosinging the tenor solos in WSO’s December 2023 performances of Messiah.
Katie Schmidt is a graduate of the University of Winnipeg Theatre and Film department. She is
excited to be working with The Little Opera Company for the first time! Her recent credits include
Dry Cold Productions' The Prom (Stage Manager,) Prairie Theatre Exchange's Bad Parent and
Space Girl (Assistant Stage Manager), Royal MTC's Into the Woods (Assistant Stage Manager), and
Rainbow Stage's The Wizard of Oz (Assistant Stage Manager.) Love and thanks to Mom, Dad, Raya,
Kate George is a multidisciplinary artist based in Winnipeg, Manitoba. A graduate from the
University of Winnipeg’s Design Program, Kate has worked in theatrical design, costume
production, and stage management.
Previous theatre credits include Trouble in Mind, Orlando, The World Goes ‘Round (Royal
Manitoba Theatre Centre); Alunsina’s Love, Blink, 365 Plays/365 Days, People, Places and Things
(University of Winnipeg); Innocence Lost, Urinetown (Manitoba Theatre for Young People Young
Company) and Bloodsuckers! The Musical (Rainbow Stage/All-Dentist’s Musical).
Eric Bosse, Lighting Designer
Eric Bosse - Bio coming soon
As a child I recall hearing about the genius of the child protégé, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
and while I was filled with amazement, I was also somewhat envious of his brilliance. This sense
of wonder became even more profound as I grew more and more familiar with his masterful
artistry. Many of you may recall the movie entitled Amadeus where we were skillfully taken
through an analysis of some of Mozart’s most treasured compositions by his reported nemesis,
Antonio Salieri who detailed Mozart’s genius with the drawing our attention to the sound of
every note and its uncompromised setting within each composition.
The Magic Flute has dazzled audiences of all ages since its first performance. Perhaps it is
because it is so inclusive, In it Mozart writes for the aristocrats, elite and everyday worker. Being
the last of Mozart’s operas to premiere before his death in 1791 it showcases his brilliance and
holds a special place in the cannon. “The Magic Flute has been described by the late Sir Charles
Mackerras, the conductor as ‘a musical mosaic of such richness that it is unusual even for
Mozart.’ He added that, ‘with all its apparent simplicity, it is one of its creator’s most
sophisticated works.” (Steen, Michael. Mozart’s The Magic Flute: A short guide to a great opera,
February 20, 2023)
I am excited about the work and even more so about John Greer’s brilliant arrangement for
our chamber ensemble. In his editing of it he carefully provides the audience with the most
salient aspects of the opera, highlighting the beautiful arias and being ever faithful to the
comedic and serious elements of Mozart’s original opera.
The Little Opera Company is excited to share this with you!
Odette Heyn C. M., Choreography
Odette Heyn was appointed a Member of the Order of Canada in 2015; she is also a recipient
of Dance Manitoba’s Lifetime Achievement Distinction Award for Excellence in Dance and the
Winnipeg Arts Council’s Investors Group Making A Difference Award.
Odette has always championed the marriage of live music and dance and has done her best
to keep this relationship vibrant and dynamic. This commitment is reflected in her work as she
has traveled to many corners of this great world as a dancer/teacher/choreographer; Ms. Heyn
has been called upon many times to choreograph for the concerts of The Winnipeg Symphony
Orchestra as well as numerous orchestras throughout Canada. She has demonstrated her
versatility as a choreographer not only within the formal contemporary dance scene but also in
the New York City Off- Broadway productions of Requiem for a Lost Girl and Mata Hari by Onalea
Ms. Heyn has a long and cherished history with Little Opera Company having choreographed
Amahl and the Night Visitors, Kismet, La Tragédie de Carmen and I Need Opera and Dance. Odette is
thrilled to be back to choreograph their upcoming production of The Magic Flute, the Trials of
Tamino and Pamina.
Odette lives in gratitude for this amazing arts community, the passion and the dedication that
drives us all to continue, against all odds and no matter what… it is important.
Rebecca Sawdon (Serpent / dragon)
Rebecca Sawdon is an independent contemporary dance artist based on Treaty 1 Territory,
in Winnipeg, MB. Her experience includes work as a dance interpreter, performer, artist
educator, arts administrator, rehearsal director, choreographer and producer. She is the founder
and artistic director of Sawdon Dance. Her resume includes a diverse variety of professional
contracts with many reputable companies and artists.
Rebecca, also known as Becky, has toured, performed, and taught across Canada, trained
professionally in Europe, has been the recipient of many artistic grants. She holds a BA Honours
Degree in Dance from the University of Winnipeg and is a graduate of the Senior Professional
Program of the School of Contemporary Dancers (SCD). Rebecca is also Stott Pilates instructor
and a MB wedding officiant.
Most recently, Rebecca has been serving as a rehearsal director and teaching technique
classes for the professional division at SCD. This summer you can catch her embodying the
music of The Mariachi Ghost, performing alongside the award-winning band, both locally and on
tour in Ontario. Rebecca is thrilled to once again be working with Little Opera Company and
Odette Heyn. sawdondance.com
Tia Morann, Assistant Stage Manager
Tia Morann is excited to be working with The Little Opera Company for the first time! She will
be graduating from the University of Winnipeg Department of Theatre and Film this October,
specializing in Stage Management and Production. Her past credits include apprentice stage
manager/PA Cosi fan Tutte (Manitoba Opera) and stage manager for The Secret In The Wings
(University of Winnipeg). Much love to the family for all the support!