Highlights from Messiah: Meet the Soloists
December 10, 2017
Sara Schabas – Soprano
Canadian soprano Sara Schabas’ 2016/2017 season included recital appearances at Toronto’s Gallery345 and the Arts and Letters Club, Frasquita (Carmen) with the Mississauga Symphony Orchestra, and soprano soloist in Soundstreams’ 21C New Music Festival. This season, Sara debuts with Tapestry Opera as Henri (Bandits in the Valley), Toronto City Opera as Marzelline (Fidelio), and sings as soloist for Messiah (Oakville Choral Society, Mississauga Symphony), Brahms' Requiem (Hart House Chorus), Vivaldi's Nulla in mundo pax sincera (Oakville Chamber Orchestra), and in a solo recital for the Canadian Opera Company's Free Concert Series. Ms. Schabas has been artist-in-residence with the Dayton Opera and a two-time fellow with the Aspen Music Festival, Toronto Summer Music Festival’s Art of Song, Stratford Summer Music Festival, and the Castleton Festival in Virginia. A native of Toronto, Sara Schabas holds an Honours Bachelor of Music in Performance from the University of Toronto, where she studied with Jean MacPhail, and a Master of Music from Roosevelt University’s Chicago College of Performing Arts, where she studied with Judith Haddon under the Siragusa Scholarship.
Beste Kalender – Mezzo Soprano
Described as having “a voice that is both fluid and expressive” (Opera News) and “a rich, gleaming tone” (Opera Canada), Beste Kalender made her recital debut at Carnegie Hall as part of the Spotlight Recital Series at The Song Continues with the world-renowned pianist Warren Jones. Shortly after, she featured as The New Artist of The Month by the Musical America Worldwide. The Turkish native mezzo soprano has been named Jeunes Ambassadeurs Lyriques du Canada for a fourth time in 2016. She won Bourse Lyrique Coréen & Bourse Lyrique Allemande, as well as other engagements through which she has recently represented Canada in South Korea (Jeonju Int’l Sori Festival, Jeonju), Italy (Giovanna in Rigoletto, Teatro Comunale di Bologna, Bologna) and Germany. She was the recipient of the 2013 Prix Jeune Espoir and Prix du Cnipal de Marseille of Jeunes Ambassadeurs Lyriques du Canada. Beste is a recipient of the 2015 Canada Council for The Arts Grants for Professional Musicians, the winner of the 2016 Sylva Gelber Music Foundation Award and The 2017 inaugural Stuart Hamilton Memorial Fund for Emerging Artists Award.
Zachary Rioux - Tenor
20-year-old lyric tenor Zachary Rioux will be making his operatic debut with Toronto City Opera in March of 2018, performing the role of Tamino in their production of Mozart’s The Magic Flute. He is a third year student in the Performance Diploma Program at The Glenn Gould School of The Royal Conservatory of Music, studying with Joel Katz and Jennifer Tung. In 2018 he will perform the role of Doctor Blind in their school production of Strauss’ Die Fledermaus. Mr. Rioux spent June of 2017 at SongFest, where he worked with Graham Johnson, Bill McGraw, Sanford Sylvan, and many other incredible teachers and coaches from across North America. In 2013, he participated in the Orford Arts Academy at the age of sixteen. His other operatic experience includes productions of Bizet’s Carmen, Handel’s Alcina, Mozart’s Lucio Silla and The Marriage of Figaro with The Mississauga Symphony Orchestra, The Glenn Gould School, and Opera Atelier, respectively. Mr. Rioux looks forward to performing as the tenor soloist for The Mississauga Symphony Orchestra’s Highlights from Messiah concert under the baton of Denis Mastromonaco.
Christopher Dunham - Baritone
Christopher Dunham is a native of Niagra Falls, Ontario and has captivated audiences with his lyric baritone voice across Canada and as far away as the Adriatic coast of Italy. A recent graduate from L’Atelier Lyrique de L’Opera de Monreal, his roles include: Figaro in The Barber of Seville, Mercutio in Romeo et Juliette, Escamillo in Carmen, Don Giovanni, Eisenstein in Die Fledermaus, Dandini in La Cenerentola, Schaunard and Marcello in puccini’s la Bohème. A recipient and winner of the Desmarais Development Bursary two years in a row and the Jeunesse Musicals Canada’s Young Mentorship position, Christopher can be seen with Pacific Opera Victoria, singing Argante in Handel’s Rinaldo, with the Atlanta Opera singing corporal in Donizetti’s la fille du regiment and again with the studio artists there. With more engagements to be announced later this year, Christopher is thrilled to be singing with the Mississauga Symphony this holiday season!