Manitoba Opera

Nov 5, 2022


The Light-Hearted Comedy La Cenerentola Kicks Off the Season
November 12, 15, 18

Manitoba Opera opens its 50th season with a much-needed dose of light-hearted comedy and sheer fun with Rossini’s sparkling version of the classic fairy tale Cinderella (La Cenerentola – pronounced Chen er n toe lah) at the Centennial Concert Hall Saturday, November 12 (7:30 pm), Tuesday, November 15 (7pm), and Friday, November 18 (7:30 pm).

This heart-warming tale of the triumph of kindness over envy is sure to delight all ages. There’s love at first sight, mistaken identities, and lots of laughs.

Starring Winnipeg mezzo-soprano Lizzy Hoyt in the title role, the production features a 1950’s mid-century modern-inspired set with colourful exaggerated haute couture costuming.

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Oct 11, 2022


Manitoba Opera announced today at an event held at the Centennial Concert Hall that $1.75 million has been gifted to the company’s The Power of Voice Endowment Campaign including a special $1 million gift from Ms. Gail Asper. Other community leaders who are investing in The Power of Voice with a gift of $250,000 each are Mr. and Mrs. Phil and Ilse Ens, Mrs. Tannis M. Richardson, and BMO Financial Group.

These lead gifts bring the campaign’s total raised to date to $3,146,564. The campaign goal is to raise $10M – a combination of $5M from donations and $5M in matching funding through The Winnipeg Foundation and the Canadian Heritage Endowment Incentives Program.

“This is a remarkable day for Manitoba Opera,” stated Campaign Co-Chair, Elba Haid. “To receive our first million-dollar gift and have that support echoed by other community leaders, is indeed very gratifying and will ensure a sustainable future for the company.”

“Manitobans recognize the essential role that the arts, and in particular, Manitoba Opera, plays in convening community, and we are thrilled that these funds will help to build the next 50 years of opera in our province, “added Judith Chambers, Campaign Co-Chair and Chair of the Board of Trustees.

For the past 50 years, Manitoba Opera has been a powerful voice in this province’s arts community. Since its first performance in 1972, the company has offered rich operatic experiences on the stage and through education programming and community engagement initiatives which explore important social issues through opera. Resilient, responsive, and innovative, Manitoba Opera is considered a leading regional opera company in North America and has played a pivotal role in the development of Canadian artists.

“Opera has played an important role in my life, and I am so proud to have a world-class opera company in my hometown,” explained lead contributor Gail Asper. “I want this gift to inspire others to support Manitoba Opera, which is an integral part of the vibrant arts economy of our province.”

Manitoba Opera is in the early stages of The Power of Voice Campaign. Funds raised through the campaign will be held at The Winnipeg Foundation in the A. Kerr Twaddle Robert H. Thorlakson Manitoba Opera Endowment Fund. The fund is named after the company’s two founders and its existence will ensure a dynamic, sustainable future for opera in Manitoba.

“My brother, Dr. Robert Thorlakson, was a founder of Manitoba Opera, and I’m happy that my gift will see his vision continue to flourish,” stated Mrs. Richardson.

“Early exposure to opera and classical music helped shape our son’s life,” shared Phil Ens. “He has enjoyed an international opera career that debuted right here with Manitoba Opera on the Centennial Concert Hall stage. Knowing that someone else could have the same opportunity because of our contribution to the Endowment Campaign is very important to my wife and me.”

The annual income earned from the interest generated from the fund will be used to elevate artistic programming, enhance opera education, and effect positive change in our community for decades to come.

“BMO has been a proud partner of Manitoba Opera for over a decade and has a long history of supporting the arts in Canada,” said Kristen Kennedy, Regional Vice President, BMO Financial Group. “As part of our Purpose to Boldly Grow the Good in business and life, we are excited to help ensure more Manitobans have the opportunity to experience the thrill of Manitoba Opera through the dynamic repertoire they offer each year.”

A $10M fully capitalized endowment fund will generate approximately $500,000 annually in revenue to enhance artistic vitality, enrich education programs, and deepen community engagement. It will also provide funding that will assist with the creation of new operas, new productions of existing operas, and provide opportunities for young Canadian talent from a diverse background.

Manitoba Opera is celebrating its 50th anniversary in the 2022/23 season and will be back on the mainstage with two fully staged productions: La Cenerentola (Cinderella) November 12, 15, 18 and Così fan tutte April 22, 25, 28, as well as an anniversary concert February 25. All performances take place at the Centennial Concert Hall. For tickets/more info:




Gail Asper was born in Winnipeg and currently serves as president of the Asper Foundation which supports and initiates projects in Canada and Israel. Community involvement has always been a priority for Ms. Asper, with active involvement in the arts and Jewish community. She has received numerous awards for her service and continues to enrich our community through her endeavors and passion for the arts.



Phil and Ilse Ens hail from southern Manitoba where Mr. Ens is a co-founder and current chairman of Triple E Recreational Vehicles. The Ens family has taken the lead on many community projects over the last half century and are recognized for their community building and philanthropy throughout Winnipeg and southern Manitoba.



Born in Winnipeg, Mrs. Richardson is a champion of arts, culture, and health with dedication spanning decades. She has raised millions of dollars through her volunteer leadership and outstanding philanthropy. Many communities have benefitted from Mrs. Richardson’s generosity. At 96 years old, Mrs. Richardson is known throughout western Canada for her exemplary community service and volunteerism.



BMO has a legacy of community leadership and impact. The BMO community giving philosophy is anchored in its history of success, with a focus on collaboration, learning, and innovation. BMO works with community partners to achieve sustainable solutions and shape the future. BMO’s sponsorship programs provide significant funding for programs that enrich community life.


About BMO Financial Group

Serving customers for 200 years and counting, BMO is a highly diversified financial services provider – the 8th largest bank, by assets, in North America. With total assets of $1.07 trillion as of July 31, 2022, and a team of diverse and highly engaged employees, BMO provides a broad range of personal and commercial banking, wealth management and investment banking products and services to more than 12 million customers, and conducts business through three operating groups: Personal and Commercial Banking, BMO Wealth Management, and BMO Capital Markets.

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Aug 31, 2022

Meet the Artists: Andrea Lett and Adanya Dunn




Andrea is no stranger to the Manitoba Opera stage. She last performed in The Sopranos of Winnipeg in November 2020, and prior to that was Bertha in April 2019’s smash hit The Barber of Seville.

The Saskatchewan-born, Winnipeg-based singer has worked with companies across North America including the San Francisco, Edmonton, and Sante Fe Operas, and made her Manitoba Opera debut in the 2018/19 season as Zerlina in Don Giovanni.

“There’s something really wonderful about being able to perform for people who I love, for an audience that I love, in a city that I love,” said Andrea in an interview last season on Classic Radio 107. “It feels like home on that stage.”

Praised for her “clear voice soaring to stratospheric heights” (Opera Canada), Andrea was also one of the featured performers in the acclaimed 2020 Against the Grain Theatre’s Messiah/Complex video project. She has also sung Musetta (La Bohème) for Saskatoon Opera and both Queen of the Night and Pamina in The Magic Flute for Manitoba Underground Opera.

Awards include the CBC Young Artist’s Development Prize, Audience Choice Award in the 2018 COC Center Stage Gala, and first prize in the 2018 Women’s Musical Club McLellan Competition.

Andrea Lett is a graduate of the Opera School at the University of Toronto (M. Mus Opera) and holds a B. Mus Perf from the University of Manitoba. Currently, she is a student in the Faculty of Law at the University of Manitoba.




Canadian-Bulgarian mezzo-soprano Adanya Dunn is making her Manitoba Opera debut with this role. She made her American debut as Hermia in Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream with the Santa Fe Opera in 2021 as an Apprentice Artist and last season performed in concerts with the Orchestre philharmonique de Radio France and in Ravel’s Trois poèmes de Mallarmé and Mozart’s Requiem both in Paris and in Aix-en-Provence as part of the Festival de Pâques.

Adanya is a 2022 member of Hannigan’s Equilibrium Young Artists. She is an alumna of Dawn Upshaw’s Graduate Vocal Arts Program, Marilyn Horne’s Music Academy of West, the Rebanks Family Fellowship & International Residency at the Glenn Gould School, and the University of Toronto.

Named by the CBC as one of Canada’s “Top 30 Hot Classical Musicians Under 30,” the young mezzo was also featured in The Globe & Mail as one of six Canadian women who are “turning opera on its head and making the future bright for the art form.”

Adanya is a winner of the 2021 Sylva Gelber Music Foundation Award, the 2020/21 recipient of the Hnatyshyn Foundation Developing Artist Grant, Michigan Winner of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions 2020, and a three-time grant recipient from the Canada Council for the Arts.

In addition to opera singing, Adanya composes classical and electronic music, writes poetry, paints watercolour, and practices pole dance, burlesque, contact dance, and dance improvisation. She is a 500hr yoga teacher and is currently completing a multi-year Alexander Technique based Yoga Teacher Training certification.

To learn more about Adanya, visit her website here.

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Jul 27, 2022

Manitoba Opera to Offer Conducting Mentorship for Women

Manitoba Opera is proud to have become a partner in the Women in Musical Leadership (WML) program and join in the work being done in nurturing the development of female and non-binary conductors. Currently, less than three percent of music director positions in Canadian orchestras are occupied by Canadian women. 

WML is a three-year program designed to collectively develop the next generation of female and non-binary conductors and music directors in Canada. Led by Tapestry Opera, the program is addressing a historic gender inequity on the podium by providing female and non-binary conductors active mentorship with leading conductors in the field, deep and varied experience with professional companies, and a robust artistic network. 

WML provides conductors the opportunity to assist, observe, conduct, and build experience within a range of organizations in symphonic, chamber, operatic, and contemporary repertoire. This provides conductors the professional experience and training that will enable them to take the podium anywhere in the world. 

As a program partner, Manitoba Opera has committed to offering mentorship in this program through to the 2024/25 season. This year, we are pleased to welcome Maria Fuller as WML Assistant Conductor for our production of La Cenerentola, and Juliane Gallant as WML Assistant Conductor for our production of Così fan tutte. 

You can learn more about each of our WML Assistant Conductors by following the links below:
Maria Fuller
Juliane Gallant

“This fellowship has given me the opportunity to work alongside and learn from so many companies across Canada. The experiences here have shown me new ways to explore my craft and completely transformed the trajectory of my career.”  – Juliane Gallant, WML Year One Conductor 

Learn More About WML Here


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Jul 27, 2022

Longtime Board Members Honored at AGM

Retiring board members, Leona Herzog and Dr. Bill Pope, were honored for their contributions to the company at the Annual General Meeting on Tuesday, July 12, at the Centennial Concert Hall. They each received a commemorative framed poster featuring program cover artwork from the seasons they sat on the Board of Trustees.  

With 12 years of total service, Leona is one of the 10 longest-serving trustees in the organization’s history. She sat on the board from 2005 to 2010 and again from 2015 to 2022. 

Leona was instrumental in the development of many community engagement initiatives, which have become a major pillar of the organization. Although she has retired from the board, she is currently still the chair the 50th Anniversary Committee and will continue to sit on the Community Engagement Committee this season.    

Dr. Pope was a board member in the 1990s and re-joined in 2014. Bill has deep roots with the organization as well and has been a long-time supporter of the organization. One of Manitoba Opera’s most ardent supporters, he introduced the art form to countless new patrons and served on the Special Events Committee, co-chaired The Gail Asper Award Committee (2021), and chaired the Governance Committee.  

Manitoba Opera is grateful to have counted Bill and Leona among our advocates and their leadership and guidance will be missed. 

Liz Miller, Annual Giving Manager, was also recognized with a five-year service plaque.


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Jul 27, 2022


On Friday, July 22, Mayor Brian Bowman honoured Manitoba Opera with an Organization Community Service Award in recognition of the company’s 50th anniversary season. 

The City of Winnipeg Community Service Award was established by the Mayor’s Office in the 1950s. This award is presented to give recognition to individuals or organizations of the City of Winnipeg, who through their dedication, have demonstrated excellence and achievement in any field of endeavor, benefitting in an outstanding manner the social, cultural, or economic well-being of their community.  

The presentation was made at a luncheon hosted by the Mayor’s Office at City Hall. About 40 people were in attendance for the event and included members of the current and previous boards of trustees, staff, donors, sponsors, volunteers, artists, and supporters. 

Tenor James McLennan, accompanied by pianist Laura Loewen, kicked off the proceedings with a performance of “You are My Heart’s Delight” (“Dein ist mein ganzes Herz”) from the operetta, The Land of Smiles. 

Board of Trustees Chair, Judith Chambers and General Director & CEO, Larry Desrochers accepted the award on behalf of the organization. 



“We are honored to have the mayor’s office recognize our good work in the community,” commented Ms. Chambers in her address. “Manitoba Opera got its start when the late Justice A. Kerr Twaddle attended a production of Otello in Montreal in the 1967 and fell in love with the art form. He asked himself, as so many Winnipeggers who have accomplished great things to enrich our community do, why can’t we have that here?  So, in 1969, he invited seven couples to his house to plan a fledging opera company in the middle of the prairies. With a further couple of years of planning, in 1971, the Manitoba Opera Association presented the Canadian Opera Company’s touring production of Così fan tutte…  

Now, 50 seasons later, we walk in the shadows of these great pioneers.  We celebrate the vision they had for an opera company in the middle of the prairies, and we carry on the tradition of using the power of voice to share beautiful music and stories.  And all of you in the room today are part of this history of Manitoba Opera.  Like Kerr Twaddle, you’ve asked yourselves, why not opera in Winnipeg? And together, you’ve answered the question with your generosity, your artistry, your volunteerism, and your dedication.  So, I truly want to thank you for being with us today and thank you for your support.” 



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Jun 29, 2022


Throughout the winter and spring of 2022, teaching artist soprano Jessica Kos-Whicher worked with Education & Community Engagement Coordinator Scott Miller to develop a version of our Opera Class workshops that could be presented remotely to schools anywhere in Manitoba. The result is Opera Class Anywhere.   

Designed to introduce students to the multi-dimensional art form of opera in a fun and engaging way, Opera Class Anywhere is a unique opportunity for students to virtually discover opera with the guidance of a professionally trained opera singer. In a 45-minute Zoom workshop, students participate in voice and movement exercises, learn activities which explore storytelling through music, and experience the power of live operatic singing through a performance by the singer, followed by a Q & A.  

Unlike many virtual presentations, students are active collaborators who contribute directly to the success of Opera Class Anywhere. The storytelling portion of the workshop features slides with artwork created by students in the participating class so that they see the story come to life through their own imagination and the imaginations of their classmates. Teachers prepare students to participate in the workshops with the help of teacher’s guide provided several weeks in advance of the program. 

Students at Deerwood Elementary School in Thompson and Linden Lanes School in Brandon participated in the Opera Class Anywhere program pilot. These classes were the very first to experience this remotely delivered live workshop. Students answered questions about opera, learned vocal warmups, and even sang and acted their way through an opera-inspired version of The Three Little Pigs. Afterwards, classes and teachers contributed valuable feedback to help refine the program.   

Opera Class Anywhere was made possible by generous support from TELUS for our Opera Class programs.  


“I think this is a fantastic concept. One of the best ways to introduce and expose young people to different genres of music is to really get them interacting, moving and listening with the music.  With all this newer technology, it will really help us teachers as we are often rather limited in what we could do.”

– Peter Frigo, Music Teacher, Deerwood Elementary School  

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Jun 21, 2022

Indigenous Opera Artist Spotlight: Keely Mcpeek

Keely McPeek (she/her) has just graduated with a Post-Baccalaureate in vocal performance from the Desautels Faculty of Music at the University of Manitoba, from which she also holds a Bachelor of Music in vocal performance. While working on her Post-Baccalaureate, she explored her Oji-Cree heritage by taking courses in Indigenous Studies and performing a scene from the Canadian Indigenous opera Missing with the University of Manitoba Opera Theatre Ensemble. She won the 2020 Rainbow Stage Trophy a couple days before the world shut down, so you can probably blame her for that. Her favorite past roles include Mrs Lovett in scenes from Sweeney Todd with the University of Manitoba Musical Theatre Ensemble and Clarice Starling in the Winnipeg Fringe production of Silence! The Musical (An Unauthorized Musical Parody of Silence of the Lambs). She is excited to be cast in Dry Cold Production’s A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder, which is playing June 21-26 at MTYP.

Keely is a member of our Community Engagement Committee and has worked for the company as a telemarketer.

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Jun 21, 2022

Indigenous Opera Artist Spotlight: Camryn Dewar

Camryn Dewar (she/her) is a passionate and versatile soprano from Stony Mountain, Manitoba. She recently graduated from the University of Manitoba with a Bachelor of Music (Vocal Performance), studying under Mel Braun. This fall, she is pursuing a Master of Music at Montclair University in New Jersey under mezzo-soprano Barbara Dever.

Camryn is a proud member of the Manitoba Métis Nation and aspires to share the stories of Canadian Indigenous women through opera and theatre. She has incorporated Indigenous activism into her singing, performing art songs and opera by Canadian Indigenous composers professionally, as well as at her university. Representative roles include La Metisse in the American premiere of Li Keur: Riel’s Heart of the North (Northern Lights Music Festival Opera), “Native Girl” in Missing (UofM Opera), and Chorus Section Leader in Li Keur: Riel’s Heart of the North (Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra). She is also an Indigenous cultural advisor at Opera NUOVA this season, and an Indigenous youth representative on the Manitoba Opera’s Community Engagement Committee. Camryn’s long-term goal is to pursue opera professionally on an international scale, sharing the stories of Indigenous women through various artistic mediums. She hopes to explore opera, musical theatre, and composition through the course of her career, one day creating her own work, amplifying the perspectives of Métis women. She will also pursue citizen artistry and activism to help make classical art forms more inclusive for people of all cultures, abilities, sizes, sexualities, genders, and socioeconomic classes. By volunteering for multiple opera company boards as an Indigenous representative, she is helping to revitalize opera by assisting in accessibility and marketing to younger audiences, incorporating Indigenous teachings, and cultural advising on treatment and processes regarding Indigenous subject matter.

A lover of many musical genres, Camryn’s main passions are opera and musical theatre, with role highlights including Tisbe in Rossini’s La Cenerentola (Northern Lights Music Festival Opera), Jo in Little Women (U of M Musical Theatre) and Mother Abbess in The Sound of Music. Upcoming roles include Anna Gomez in The Consul by Gian Carlo Menotti at the Opera NUOVA Emerging Artist Intensive, and Suor Dolcina in Puccini’s Suor Angelica at the Bel Canto in Tuscany Young Artist Program in Greve, Italy in July 2022.

An avid instrumentalist and multifaceted performer, Camryn plays piano, guitar, alto saxophone, soprano saxophone, and bagpipe chanter, and she performs in genres such as rock, jazz, Celtic, folk, theatre, dance, and film. Aside from music, she works in the film industry on crew as a Production Assistant, where she recently worked on Sean Penn’s film Flag Day (2021). She is also deeply passionate about equity, diversity, and inclusivity, and is an intersectional feminist and activist for environmentalism, anti-racism, ableism, and Indigenous rights.

Winner of many academic and musical awards, she was one of ten young people country-wide to be accepted into the Association of Opera in Canada’s Opera Fellowship, and has received the Richard and Kathleen Dunlop Litch Music Award, Louis Riel Bursary, MSBI Indigenous Bursary Fund, Desautels Faculty of Music Scholarship, and Hugo Memorial Fund Music Scholarship. She has also received awards for her academic writing, including first place in the English Speaking Union of Canada Prize for Best First Year English Essay, and the Aikens English Essay Scholarship.

Camryn would like to thank mentors Rebecca Cuddy and Marion Newman for advising and supporting her on her journey to pursuing Indigenous opera and classical music. She is excited for the opportunities ahead!

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Jun 21, 2022

Indigenous Opera Artist Spotlight: Julia Ulayok

Julia Ulayok(Davis) (she/her) is an Inuk singer/actress, currently residing in Winnipeg, Manitoba. She recently completed her second year of study with the Village Conservatory for Music Theatre and premiered her piece, Aqqaq (Northern Lights), at the year-end showcase. Julia also holds a Bachelor of Music (Vocal Performance) from the Desautels Faculty of Music at the University of Manitoba. She is thrilled to be making her Rainbow Stage debut this August in their production of The Wizard of Oz. Julia has worked with theatre, opera and film companies around Winnipeg, such as Manitoba Underground Opera, Gilbert and Sullivan Society of Winnipeg, MTYP, Sarasvàti and Eagle Vision.

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Jun 16, 2022

Building Bridges Consultant: Rhonda Forgues

Rhonda’s background and experience crosses a variety of different sectors including government, non-profit community-based organizations and the private sector.

Most recently, Rhonda started her own consulting practice.  Spirited Ways Consulting is an Indigenous owned business that provides organizational development support including strategic, annual, program planning and related processes and systems and project management. As well as advice, guidance, planning and implementation support to businesses and organizations who would like to develop plans and strategies to action Reconciliation.

Previously, Rhonda led the City of Winnipeg’s Journey of Reconciliation in a role that spanned over 13 years.  As a part of the senior management team Rhonda was responsible for leading the implementation of the Truth and Reconciliation Calls to Action, the implementation of the MMIWG Calls for Justice, the Indigenous Accord, the Indigenous Youth Strategy, Welcoming Winnipeg and various projects that include Indigenizing City Hall.

Rhonda also held a role of Senior Project Officer with Aboriginal and Northern Affairs and the Intergovernmental Affairs Department with the Province of Manitoba; as well as the Aboriginal Programs Manager with SEED (Supporting Employment and Economic Development) Winnipeg and various other roles in private corporations.

Rhonda’s education includes a Masters in Municipal Leadership, Business Administration, Entrepreneurship, Credit Union board training, CANDO certification and extensive training in community development.

She also has several years of board and volunteer experience with organizations such as the Manitoba Community Services Council, Kildonan United Church, Huron Child Care Inc. and Assiniboine Credit Union.

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May 24, 2022

Staff Profile: Ashley Boychuk

A native Winnipegger, Ashley Boychuk recently joined the Manitoba Opera staff team as Grants & Corporate Giving Manager, replacing Jayne Hammond who moved on to a development position in the post-secondary education sector.

As Grants & Corporate Giving Manager, Ashley’s work will involve building relationships with the company’s supporters, including institution and corporate funders and continuing to build on MO’s legacy as one of the province’s leading arts organizations.



“I am looking forward to making a positive change in our community through opera. Alongside the excitement of the productions, MO has an active roster of school and community programming to provide first-time opera experiences, or to support fresh angles for learning about how opera is relevant today,” she says. “I know how transformational this art form has been for me, and I can’t wait to welcome audiences back to regular programming so they too can experience the power of opera.” 

Although Ashley grew up in the Manitoba capital, her interest in classical music and specifically opera, has taken her around the globe. She studied vocal performance at Brandon University, the University of Manitoba, and Minnesota University, and has had opportunities to perform and participate in artist programs throughout Canada, the United States, and Europe. 

Ashley was living in Germany pursuing singing opportunities, as well as learning about the language and musical culture, when the pandemic hit, and she returned to Canada in 2021 much to her mother’s relief. 

Previous arts administration experience has centered around music education and advocacy with the Coalition for Music Education in Canada, including facilitation of the yearly Music Monday celebrations across Canada. Most recently her work has focused specifically on supporting Canadian contemporary music and composers with the Canadian Music Centre in Toronto. 

She is thrilled to be able to join the MO team and has the unique perspective of also having been a member of the chorus. Ashley appeared in La Bohème, Aida, Carmen, Il Trovatore, Madama Butterfly, and Candide in Concert.

“As a former MO chorus member, I’ve developed a deep respect for the organization. Following my work with national organizations, I am excited to focus my passion within a regional and connected community, which is in my hometown. I continue to tell the team just how excited I am to be here because it’s true! I’m incredibly grateful for my own musical experiences and journey and look forward to being a part of a team that supports the opportunity for others to have life-changing experiences through opera.”

In reflecting on the past two years, Ashley feels that as hard as the pandemic has been, it has also demonstrated how vital the arts are to communities. 

“Music colours our lives and brings vitality to everyday tasks and in particular, opera creates an environment of rich sonorities that we can bring with us and improve our quality of life. It’s the connection to the essence of the story, interpreted by sets and costumes, the vibrato of the singers or strings section which literally resonates with the audience, and we experience this life-changing performance collectively, hopefully revealing a new perspective or part of ourselves.”

The arts play a large role in Ashley’s life overall, not just in her profession.

“I am on the 10-year plan with learning how to play the guitar and ukulele, and mostly for anticipated campfire sing-along experiences. As a life-long student, I love walking and exploring new places, as well as learning about languages and cultures, in particular culinary delights. I enjoy cooking for my family and am a novice baker and in that process have discovered that following a recipe usually offers better results!”


Image: Ashley Boychuk (Elvira) and David Boan (Haly), The Italian Girl in Algiers, 2017, MYOpera. Photo: D. Katz

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Mar 4, 2022


A gala concert celebrating opera will close Manitoba Opera’s 2021/22 season on Saturday, April 2. The concert will begin at 7:30 pm and take place at the Centennial Concert Hall. It will be available for in-person attendance and to watch via livestream. For more info on tickets, go to

The evening of opera favorites will be sung by a quartet of acclaimed Canadian artists: soprano Andriana Chuchman, mezzo-soprano Catherine Daniel, tenor David Pomeroy, and baritone James Westman.

Accompanied by the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Tyrone Paterson, the singers will showcase a selection of treasured works by beloved composers including Puccini, Verdi, Bizet, and Mozart. Winnipeg soprano Monica Huisman will host the evening, providing a singer’s perspective on the music selections.

“Nessum dorma” from Turandot, “Caro nome” from Rigoletto, and the ever-popular “Largo al Factotum” from The Barber of Seville are just a few of treats in store for you.

Mezzo-soprano Lizzy Hoyt will also be featured singing Angelina’s aria from Rossini’s La Cenerentola: “Nacqui all’ affanno…Non più mesta.” The opera, originally scheduled for this April, was postponed to the fall and will star Ms. Hoyt singing the principal role of Angelina.

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Feb 25, 2022

Singers Return to Classrooms after Two-Year Absence

Last month marked the first time in two years that singers were back in the classroom connecting with kids through opera. COVID-19 health and safety protocols had prohibited school visits since March 2020.

This season though, thanks to the generosity of our donors and with schools once again able to open their doors to guests, a record 28 classrooms were visited by three artists – Katherine Mayba, Sydney Clarke, and John Anderson – during I Love to Read month.

Each February, as part of this initiative, Manitoba Opera is pleased to send an opera singer to schools to engage students’ imaginations. Together, they read a wonderful story like Opera Cat, have fun doing vocal exercises, and top off the session with a short performance.

Free of charge for schools, this initiative is always a “sell out,” and we inevitably have more requests for singers than we can fill. However, as a result of donations raised through this past December’s Unleash Their Imaginations campaign, the company was able to hire singers for close to three times as many visits as usual!

Manitoba Opera is now also able to offer I Love to Read visits for presentation in both French and Tagalog (the national language of the Philippines).


As well this spring, teachers will be able to share an Opera Storytime video episode in either French or Tagalog, as well as English. Opera Cat has been recorded in French with storyteller Katherine Mayba and Paul Ong has shared the story of Pet of the Met in Tagalog. These fun and engaging storybooks about opera-loving animals are a great introduction to the art form for K to grade 4.

Manitoba Opera is also anticipating returning to classrooms this spring to present Opera Class, a 45-minute workshop led by an opera singer who introduces student to opera through imaginative hands-on learning. For this first time, sessions will be offered in French as well as English.

Opera Class workshops are made possible with funding from Telus and it is expected that singers will be presenting between 20-30 workshops in Winnipeg-area schools between now and the end of June. Eight workshops have already been presented by baritone Nathan Sawatzky-Dyck at Betty Gibson School in Brandon in December.

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Feb 25, 2022

Tenor Kyle Briscoe joins Admin Team

Kyle Briscoe certainly has something to sing about these days: he is realizing his dream of working in arts administration. Kyle joined the Manitoba Opera staff team earlier this month in the newly created role of Executive Assistant. He will be providing administrative and research support to the General Director & CEO and the Director of Operations, as well as manage monthly board, committee, and staff meetings.

“As a self-described administration nerd, I am looking forward to contributing to Manitoba Opera’s initiatives, development, and productions through the duties of my role,” he explains.

“One of the most meaningful parts of my university career was attending Manitoba Opera productions and experiencing the magic behind my studies’ purpose. I have always been curious and eager to learn more about how such productions came to be from an administrative perspective. To have an opportunity to join the team responsible, where I would be able to contribute myself, is a dream come true.”

Born and raised in Winnipeg, Kyle attended the University of Manitoba where he received an undergraduate degree in vocal performance studying as a tenor under Mel Braun. He was also fortunate to participate in the Association for Opera in Canada’s inaugural emerging artist fellowship during the final year of his studies. It proved to be a great opportunity to develop his autobiographical new music-theatre work and build on professional development.

Prior to joining Manitoba Opera full time, Kyle did some telemarketing for the company and had started developing an Opera Class session while working as a freelance opera artist. He plans to continue as Alumni Assistant with the Association for Opera in Canada, where he provides support in the young artist program and their community engagement.

Maintaining his studio of five students who inspired Kyle to continue his own development as a singer and artist and singing in the Young United Church Choir for the last four years, also help to keep him in touch with the performance side of his career.

“Opera has always been my paint and paintbrush for creativity,” he explains. “My experience in all aspects of opera reminds me of its unmatched expressive power – it has the potential to teach you how to feel.”

“Opera, and other art forms alike, create a brave space to connect communities of people through a shared experience of vulnerability and healing. In a time of such uncertainty and emotional recovery, I believe a thriving arts community is more important than ever.”

In his limited spare time, Kyle can be found running half marathons around River Heights, spending time with close friends and family, or working on his first-ever album release which will feature a collection of folk-pop music he has written over the last year.

You’ll also be able to catch Kyle perform later this month in the WSO’s presentation of Handel’s Solomon (March 25). He’ll be singing the role of the attendant in the chorus and will be joining sopranos Tracy Dahl and Monica Huisman, countertenor Daniel Taylor, and the University of Manitoba Singers for this exultant work.

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Jan 28, 2022

Manitoba Opera Postpones Spring 2022 Production La Cenerentola Rescheduled to the 2022/23 Season

Manitoba Opera announced today that in response to the continued prevalence of the Omicron variant in the community and the organization’s responsibility to provide a safe environment for the artists, musicians, crew, staff, and patrons, the company has decided to postpone La Cenerentola (pronounced Chen-er-en-toe-lah), scheduled for April 2, 5, and 8. This comic take on the fairy tale classic, Cinderella, will instead be presented in 2022/23, the 50th anniversary season.

“Although we are disappointed that we have had to reschedule our production of La Cenerentola, it is our responsibility to create a safe working environment throughout the entire run of the show, from the first chorus rehearsal in January until the curtain falls on closing night. We were not confident that this would be possible over the next few months,” said Judith Chambers, Chair, Board of Trustees. “We also need to minimize financial risk to the organization so that we have a healthy company in place to be able to return to producing fully staged productions.”

The company will present a concert of opera favorites on Saturday, April 2, with options to attend in person at the Centennial Concert Hall (attendance will be determined by Public Health restrictions in place at that time) or watch via livestream.

“By making the decision now to postpone, we give ourselves time to organize a concert for the April time slot rather than not have any programming at all,” explained Larry Desrochers, General Director & CEO. “With a smaller cast and crew, a concert presents fewer risks than a fully staged production. The Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra will be situated on the stage rather than in the confines of the pit, and if an artist is unable to perform, it is less likely that the entire show would have to be cancelled.”

More details on the concert event and tickets will be released very soon.

La Cenerentola ticketholders will be contacted by Manitoba Opera directly or can call the Box Office at 204-944-8824.


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