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A Baroque Christmas - Guest Artists: Daniel Taylor, Christopher Dunham, Lauren Estey

December 8, 2021

Daniel Taylor - Countertenor

Daniel Taylor is one of the most sought-after countertenors in the world. Recognition of Daniel’s work can be seen in the Gramophone, Grammy, Juno, Opus, CBC-SRC and Adisq Awards. He was awarded the Queen’s Diamond Medal for service to music. Daniel appears on more than 120 recordings which include Bach Cantatas with the Monteverdi Choir dir. Gardiner for Deutsche Grammophone Archiv and SDG; Renaissance duets with James Bowman and Michael Chance, Actors Ralph Fiennes and Jeremy Irons; Handel’s Rinaldo with Cecilia Bartoli and AAM dir. Hogwood for Decca; Before Bach with Collegium Vocale dir. Herreweghe for Harmonia Mundi; Sakamoto’s pop-opera Life for Sony; Bach Cantatas with Bach Collegium Japan for Suzuki for BIS; Vivaldi’s S tabat Materf or BIS; five recordings of Handel’s Messiah, including those with the Montreal Symphony dir Nagano for Universal, Kammerchor Stuttgart dir. Bernius for Carus, with the Handel & Haydn Society for Coro, with the American Bach Soloists dir. Thomas for Koch and a CD/DVD with Tafelmusik for Bravo Television. Daniel has recorded the CD/DVD of Bach’s B minor Mass with the Ensemble Orchestral Paris dir. Nelson for EMI Virgin and also with the Kammerchor Stuttgart dir. Bernius for Carus. Recently, Daniel’s recording of Angelheart with cellist Matt Haimovitz, mezzo Frederica Von Stade and Actor Jeremy Irons with Producer David Foster won a Grammy.

Highlights of past engagements include Handel’s Messiah with San Francisco Symphony, Handel’s Rinaldo with the Academy of Ancient Music, Handel’s Israel in Egypt with the Cleveland Orchestra, Orff’s Carmina Burana with the Toronto Symphony, Messiah with the St. Louis Symphony, Bach’s Christmas Oratorio with the National Arts Centre, Handel’s Rinaldo at the Munich Opera House, Bernstein’s Chichester Psalms with the Philadelphia Orchestra, Handel’s Saul with Bachakademie Stuttgart (for Hänssler Classics); Buxtehude Cantatas with the Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra (Channel Classics); Orff’s Carmina Burana with the Taiwan National Symphony(Koch) and Schnittke’s Faust Cantata with the Rotterdam Philharmonic/Gergiev.

Most recently, Daniel’s appearances have taken him to Europe, across North America and to South America. He made his European Stage Directing debut with Puccini’s Suor Angelica with the Amalfi Coast Opera in Italy. In concert, he joined the Houston and Cincinnati Symphonies, the Toronto Symphony, the Cleveland Orchestra, records and tours with the Kammerchor Stuttgart, appearing at London’s St. John Smith Square (UK), making his conducting debut with the Newfoundland Symphony, Musica Angelica Los Angeles and returning to conduct the Schola Cantorum in Handel’s Messiah and Mozart’s Requiem as well as choral programs with the Gabrieli Consort and The Tallis Scholars.

Daniel Taylor is Associate Professor of Voice and Opera and Head of the Historical Performance Area at the Faculty of Music, University of Toronto. He leads the growing Historical Performance Area with graduate and post-graduate level programs. Daniel also maintains a private studio of students from all over the world. His scholarship and teaching includes exploring the relationship between performance and well-being leading to the building of healthy and sustainable technique. Daniel’s students appear on the stages of orchestras and opera houses across Europe, Asia, North and South America. He is praised for his clarity in instruction, his deep dedication to his students and his “shepherding of the elite voices of today.” (Wholenote Magazine).

Christopher Dunham - Baritone

Christopher Dunham is a native of Niagara Falls, Ontario and has captivated audiences with his "Vocally powerful and dramatic" (Opera Magazine Canada) baritone voice across Canada and as far away as the Adriatic coast of Italy. Hailed by Opera Canada Magazine as “Possessed of an enormous baritone voice that he used with great musicality and intelligence, he proved he could not only sing like a god but act brilliantly, dance, and play the guitar...”.

A recent graduate from L’Atelier Lyrique de L’Opera de Montreal and Atlanta Opera’s Young Artist Residency, Christopher is equally comfortable in concert, recital and on the main stage. Some of his roles include: Figaro in The Barber of Seville (Brott Opera), Mercutio in Romeo et Juliette (Jeunesse Musical Canada), Escamillo in Carmen (Windsor Symphony), Don Giovanni, Eisenstein in Die Fledermaus (Western University), Dandini in La Cenerentola (La Musica Lyrica) Germont in La Traviata (Jeunesse Musicals Canada), Schaunard in Puccini’s LaBohème (L'Opera de Montreal).

A recipient and winner of the Desmarais Development Bursary two years in a row and the Jeunesse Musicals Canada’s Young Mentorship Position, Christopher has been seen this season with Pacific Opera Victoria, singing Argante in Handel’s Rinaldo, with the Atlanta Opera, singing corporal in Donizetti’s La Fille du Regiment, in the titular role of Don Giovanni with Southern Ontario Lyric Opera, and as Escamillo in Carmen with L'Opera de Montreal. With these and many more things to come, Christopher is a young Canadian baritone who has already begun to make a name for himself and promises to have a flourishing career.

Lauren Estey - Soprano

From Quispamsis, New Brunswick, soprano Lauren Estey fell in love with opera as a young chorister with Opera New Brunswick’s productions of Tosca and La Traviata. The early development of her craft was nurtured through lessons with Dr. Kevin Langford, soprano Deantha Edmunds, and renowned technician Mabel Doak. Lauren was a regular participant and finalist in the New Brunswick Music Festival in both the Saint John and Fredericton area.

Lauren went on to obtain her BMus at Dalhousie University with Professor Marcia Swanston where she was featured as Lauretta in Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi and Belinda/Sorceress in Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas. During her studies on the East Coast, Lauren was recognized for her skillset with the Erik Perth Memorial Award in performance excellence. Lauren enjoyed her first tour with Debut Atlantic in the summer of 2010, performing throughout Saint John, Fredericton, and Moncton.

Lauren continued her vocal studies receiving a MMus of Vocal Performance and Literature at the University of Western Ontario, studying with Professor Rachel Mallon. Under Mallon’s tutelage, she performed the lead role in the Halifax Summer Opera Festival in Floyd's Susannah and returned for the 2016 season, playing the title role in Puccini’s Suor Angelica. Additional favorite roles include Pamina from Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte, Donna Anna from Mozart’s Don Giovanni, and Violetta Valéry from Verdi’s La Traviata.

Lauren currently resides in Toronto, Ontario where she continues to develop her craft. She is presently completing her doctoral studies in Historical Voice Performance at the University of Toronto. Last year, Lauren received the honourable mention in U of T’s annual DMA Recital Competition. In 2021-2022, Lauren looks forward to performing the role of  Lola in Mascagni’s Cavalleria Rusticana with Toronto City Opera.

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