Manitoba Opera

Digital Emerging Artists Program


Manitoba Opera’s 2021 Digital Emerging Artists Program is a four-week training intensive designed to provide vocal instruction, professional development, performance experience, and earning opportunities for young Canadian singers who are in the early stages of their careers.

This program prepares participants for success as multi-platform performers capable of engaging audiences through digital media, as well as live performance. 

The 2021 Digital Emerging Artists Program will take place entirely in the digital realm. Practical instruction, workshops, and performance output will occur over video conferencing platforms. 

The Digital Emerging Artists Program runs from August 3 through August 27, 2021.


2021 Participants


Sara Schabas, soprano



A native of Toronto, soprano Sara Schabas has been praised for her “crystalline singing” Schmopera, “pure sound” Ludwig van Toronto and for maintaining a “clear soft tone, despite her vocal power” Opera Canada. A 2019 Regional Finalist in the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, Sara was the 2018 winner of the Career Blueprint Award from the International Resource Centre for the Performing Arts, chosen by Adrianne Pieczonka, O.C. She was the 2019/2020 recipient of the Hnatyshyn Foundation Grant for Classical Vocal Performance and a 2020 recipient of a grant from the Canada Council for the Arts. 


Tessa Fackelmann, mezzo-soprano



Tessa Fackelmann is a graduate of the University of Ottawa where she completed her Bachelor of Music and a Performance Diploma under the tutelage of Professor Christiane Riel. Tessa currently attends The Shepherd School of Music at Rice University (Houston, Texas) where she will complete her Master of Music. 

Tessa made her operatic debut as Cherubino in the University of Ottawa’s 2018 production of Le nozze di Figaro and symphonic debut with the University of Ottawa’s Symphony Orchestra performing Berlioz’s Roméo et Juliette.


Nolan Kehler, tenor



Hailing from southern Manitoba, tenor Nolan Kehler brings an energy to the stage that is infectious. Nolan has performed across Canada with companies including Pacific Opera Victoria, OperaBox Company, COSA Canada, and the Little Opera Company of Winnipeg.

Nolan is also the Director of Operations for the Manitoba chapter of Opera InReach, which aims to provide accessible opera education to schools from a wide variety of perspectives and backgrounds in Canadian opera. 


Luka Kawabata, baritone



Nikkei-Canadian baritone, Luka Kawabata is a current participant in the Yulanda M. Faris Young Artists’ Program with Vancouver Opera. This season, he appeared as Dmitri in Wargo’s The Music Shop and as Escamillo in Bizet’s Carmen: Up Close and Personal. He has been a featured soloist with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, Bard on the Beach and the Vancouver Opera/Pacific Opera Victoria’s school tour of The Flight of the Hummingbird. 

Luka is a mentor for the BC chapter of Opera InReach’s outreach programs and a current participant in the Banff Centre’s Opera in the 21st Century’program.  He holds a Master of Music in Opera Performance from the University of British Columbia. 


About the Program

During this four-week intensive, participants will study with a core faculty of four teaching artists (Tracy DahlMonica HuismanMarion Newman, and John Tessier). The faculty will serve as mentors throughout the program, providing individual and tandem instruction and masterclasses for participants. Additional guest teaching artists will provide individual and group sessions on interpretation, language coaching, professional development, and more. Participants’ daily schedules are comprised of a combination of personal and group voice instruction, creative workshops, and professional development sessions.  

Each participant will be given four hours of studio time working with a professional crew to record a video project of their own design (examples from past projects have included audition videos and cinematic recital recordings). 

The Digital Emerging Artists Program runs from August 3 through August 27, 2021. The program schedule requires a heavy time commitment. Participants should expect to receive 15 hours of instruction each week, and should anticipate spending 3-5 hours daily on their own practice and preparation.