OPERA FRIGHT NIGHT
Production and Cast
DIRECTORS & PRODUCTION
Jacqueline Loewen has worked in a variety of professional capacities in the world of opera for most
of her theatre career. As a fight director with Manitoba Opera (Otello, Carmen, Tosca, Don Giovanni-
Manitoba Opera), as assistant director (Barber of Barkerville -Vancouver Opera, Daughter of the
Regiment –Manitoba Opera), and in working with singers as a movement coach (University of
Directing credits include Hansel and Gretel, The Velveteen Rabbit (Little Opera Company), Cosi Fan
Tutte, (Manitoba Underground Opera) Gisla In Her Bathtub (Flipside Opera), and adapted/directed
Orpheus in the Underworld, Don Giovanni (Manitoba Underground Opera).
Spencer Duncanson, Little Opera
Company Artistic Director
Judith Oatway, Flipside Opera Artistic
Jacqueline Loewen, Director
Lisa Rumpel, Music Director
Sawyer Craig, Stage Manager
Sawyer Craig is an artist who loves wearing many hats. Equally comfortable on the operatic stage and
in recital, Sawyer is also an emerging director and occasional Stage Manager. Praised as a “standout”
performer (Edmonton Journal), “particularly radiant in coloratura passages” (Opera Canada), the
constant in her artistic pursuits is a passion for telling stories in unique and vibrant ways. Sawyer did
her undergraduate studies at UBC in opera performance. She followed this with a Masters degree in
Voice Performance at the University of Manitoba. Under the tutelage of Monica Huisman, she
developed a wide repertoire of art song and a fascination with the medium of the recital. Recent
highlights include portraying Tytania in Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream with Opera NUOVA, and
making her directorial debut in Winnipeg, with Manitoba Underground Opera, in the staged art song
piece Lost Voices. When she is not making loud noises with her face, Sawyer enjoys running half
marathons, black coffee, and relaxing at home with her cat, Toby Flenderson.
Praised for her "fierce artistry and sheer stamina" (Winnipeg Free Press), Canadian pianist Lisa
Rumpel is passionate about communicating classical music to a variety of audiences. As an alumnus
of the Franz Schubert Institute, Vancouver International Song Institute, Opera Nuova, University of
Manitoba and Brandon University, Lisa is equally comfortable accompanying in art song, chamber
music, opera, and choral accompanying.
Since completing her Masters in Music (Collaborative Piano) in 2015, Lisa has been an active member
of the Manitoba music community. She is Associate Director of Flipside Opera, has coached three
productions of Manitoba Underground Opera, has been repetiteur for several productions of the
University of Manitoba’s Opera Theatre program and is a frequent accompanist at the Winnipeg
Music Festival and Faculty of Music recitals.
Lisa is the accompanist of the Winnipeg Singers and, at our special events, she has performed in
recital with sopranos Tracy Dahl and Lara Ciekiewicz, and has premiered several pieces by Winnipeg
composer Sid Robinovitch. Lisa will accompany Lara for a concert at Music at the Millennium in 2019.
Jessica Kos-Whicher, Monica
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
Micäela in La Tragédie de Carmen with Little Opera Company. Past highlights include Lauretta in
Gianni Schicchi with Manitoba Underground Opera, 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. Jessica is the recent and proud winner of the Rose Bowl in the Winnipeg
Music Festival. Jessica is the founder & director of J. Kos-Whicher Vocal & Performing Arts.
Alex has loved to sing since he was in elementary school, then got into acting in middle school. Now
Alex is in his second year of his Bachelor of Music at the University of Manitoba where he majors in
voice and studies with Mel Braun. Most recently he was seen in 35MM: A Musical Exhibition at the
Winnipeg Fringe Festival. Alex is passionate about singing and acting and is excited to perform in his
first opera as Toby in The Medium!
Donnalynn is thrilled to be playing the role of Baba in The Medium, her first production with Flipside
Opera. Equally at home in opera, oratorio and musical theatre, Donnalynn has had the privilege of
performing as with the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, Rainbow Stage, Dry Cold Productions,
Manitoba Opera, Manitoba Theatre Centre, the Manitoba Chamber Orchestra, the Vancouver
Symphony, the Gilbert & Sullivan Society of Winnipeg and the Winnipeg Philharmonic Choir. She is
also a member of The Winnipeg Singers, Camerata Nova and Canzona.
Upcoming engagements include the role of Mrs. McLean in Manitoba Opera’s upcoming production
When not rehearsing for one performance or another, Donnalynn can be found at the Desautels
Faculty of Music at U of M as the program coordinator for the Prep Studies Division.
Donnalynn Grills, Madame Flora (Baba)
Alex Menec, Toby
Scott graduated from the University of Manitoba with a degree in vocal performance, where he was
the winner of the Lawrence Genser scholarship competition for top student performance. Since then
he has been actively involved in the Winnipeg music scene, singing with The Winnipeg Singers, CBC’s
HYMN SING, Polycoro, Camerata Nova, and as a founding member of Canzona, now in its 30th
season, most recently appearing in The Little Opera Company’s’ tribute to Leonard Bernstein.
His versatility as an actor and singer has given him a broad spectrum of performance experience,
including roles with the Gilbert and Sullivan Society, The Little Opera Company, and several tv roles
with Frantic Films.
A lover of the Oratorio repertoire, Scott has been praised for his sensitivity and warmth as soloist
with Canzona, the Manitoba Chamber Orchestra, and the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra.
Praised for her “penetrating vocals” (Opera Canada) Ashley Rees was the proud winner of Flipside
Opera’s 2017 Opera Idol competition. She completed her Bachelor of Music in vocal performance at
the University of Alberta in 2012 and went on to complete a Post-Baccalaureate Diploma and Masters
of Music in Vocal Performance at the University of Manitoba studying with Tracy Dahl. She enjoys an
active performance schedule here in Winnipeg and you may recognize her from productions at the
University of Manitoba where she played “The Diva” in their production of Mozart: A Life in the Key of
Genius; or Manitoba Underground Opera where she has appeared as the title role in Puccini’s Suor
Angelica, Cupidon in Orpheus in the Underworld, and Sprite 2 in Cendrillon. You can also hear her on the
radio every Saturday Morning as the Host of Classic 107’s The Morning Blend.
Scott Braun, Mr. Gobineau
Kelly Robinson, Mrs. Nolan
Ashley Rees, Mrs. Gobineau
Mezzo-Soprano Kelly Robinson is a singing teacher, festival adjudicator, masterclass clinician, and
voice examiner and was awarded the Conservatory Canada Teachers' Travel and Study Scholarship
for excellence in voice teaching. She has performed with Rainbow Stage, the Manitoba Opera Chorus,
Dry Cold Productions, the Gilbert & Sullivan Society of Winnipeg, Little Opera Company, and
Manitoba Underground Opera.
Recent roles include Zita in Puccini's Gianni Schicchi, Mad Margaret in Gilbert & Sullivan's Ruddigore,
Mrs. Segstrom in Sondheim's A Little Night Music, and Wolfgang Bigbad in a 23-show Southern
Manitoba tour of the childrens' opera The Three Little Pigs. She is an alumnus of the University of
Manitoba with degrees in both Music (voice performance/composition), and Science (microbiology),
received a specialist certificate through Berklee College of Music where she trained in pop/rock vocals
and songwriting, and earned an Associate Diploma in Voice Performance from Conservatory Canada
for which she was awarded the Gold Medal for the highest standing in Canada.
Karen Santos is a versatile soprano known for her rich tone and passion for the stage. Born and
raised in Mexico City, Karen has lived in Canada for fifteen years. She has performed leading roles
such as Angela (Angela and her Sisters), Susanna (Le Nozze di Figaro), Pamina (Die Zauberflöte),
Laetitia (The Old Maid and the Thief), and Gretel (Hansel and Gretel). Karen made her Carnegie Hall
debut in July of 2017 with the Manhattan Opera Studio. She also performed in the Festival de Ópera
en Oaxaca in her native country, singing Micaëla in Bizet’s Carmen, under the mentorship of the
celebrated Mexican mezzo-soprano, Grace Echauri.
Also an accomplished visual artist, Karen received a Fine Arts Degree from UBC in Visual Arts, and
completed her Voice Performance Degree at the Vancouver Academy of Music. Karen began her
Master’s of Music at the University of Manitoba to study with Monica Huisman in the fall of 2018. This
fall she will be singing the title role of Handel’s Rodrigo as part of the Desautels Faculty of Music
Chamber Opera and she will be a featured soloist with the University of Manitoba’s Wind Ensemble
Hailing from small-town southern Manitoba, tenor Nolan Kehler brings a passion and energy to the
stage that is tangible and infectious for an audience. Nolan recently completed his M.Mus. majoring
in vocal performance at the University of Victoria, where he studied with Benjamin Butterfield. His
most recent appearances have included with Against the Grain Theatre and University of Toronto
Opera performing scenes as Bégearss in Corigliano’s Ghosts of Versailles and the Earl of Essex in
Britten’s Gloriana. He also spent July performing with the Winnipeg Singers under the direction of
Yuri Klaz, who captured the Grand Prix at the Golden Voices of Barcelona International Choral
Competition. On the concert stage, Nolan recently appeared in his second season as the tenor
soloist with the Victoria Baroque, as well as performing Beethoven’s Choral Fantasy and Bernstein’s
Chichester Psalms with the UVic Orchestra.
A versatile performer comfortable in multiple genres, Nolan also recently appeared in the workshop
of Maxime Goulet’s brand-new children’s opera Flight of the Hummingbird, in association with
Vancouver Opera and Pacific Opera Victoria. Nolan also made his debut with the Victoria Symphony
in May 2019 as they performed Rocky Mountain High, a concert featuring the songs of John Denver
and conducted by Denver’s long-time conductor and arranger Lee Holdridge. Nolan looks forward to
returning to BC to participate in the final workshop for Hummingbird in November, and will be a
soloist Handel’s Messiah with the Malaspina Choir in Nanaimo in December.
Karen Santos, Isabelle / Madeline
Nolan Kehler, Larry / Matt
Don Larsen, Tom / John
Baritone, Don Larsen, has previously appeared with Rainbow Stage, The Winnipeg Gilbert and
Sullivan Society, Little Opera Company, Junction Players, and dozens of choruses and comprimario
roles for Manitoba Opera. He will be appearing in Manitoba Opera’s fall production of Susannah.
Previously for the Little Opera Company, Mr. Larsen has performed the roles of Marco in Gianni
Schicchi, Wolf in Little Red Riding Hood, Mr. Scruples in The Impresario, Melchior in several productions
of Amahl and the Night Visitors, Tom/John in Face on the Barroom Floor, Jawan in Kismet and most
recently as Zuniga in their 2018 production of La tragédie de Carmen.