La Traviata: Meet the Cast
January 17, 2020
VIOLETTA VALÉRY- CRISTINA PISANI
Cristina Pisani is a vibrant soprano hailing from Mississauga and she is thrilled to make her Mississauga Symphony Orchestra debut as Violetta in Verdi’s La Traviata. Cristina’s exciting 2019-2020 season also features company debuts with Toronto Operetta Theatre in their Viva La Zarzuela concert, OperOttawa in their opera gala, and the Edison Singers as a chorister and soloist. Cristina looks forward to several performances with Arcady, Opera by Request, and OperOttawa, with whom she made her role debut as Leïla in a touring production of Bizet’s Les Pêcheurs de Perles. Recent operatic highlights include Violetta in Verdi’s La Traviata (Summer Opera Lyric Theatre), Elisabetta in Donizetti’s Maria Stuarda, and Abigaille in Verdi’s Nabucco (both with Opera by Request). Cristina has also appeared as Mimì in Leoncavallo’s seldom-performed La Bohème (Opera by Request), Governess in Britten’s The Turn of the Screw (Abridged Opera), Orpah in Beckett’s Ruth (Arcady), the title roles in Verdi’s La Traviata (Jeunesses Musicales Canada) and Puccini’s Suor Angelica (Accademia Europea dell’Opera - AEDO), Alice Ford in Verdi’s Falstaff (UWOpera), and Second Lady in Mozat’s Die Zauberflöte (AEDO). As 1st prize winner of the 2018 Clifford Poole Vocal Competition, Cristina was featured in two concerts with the Cathedral Bluffs Symphony Orchestra. Cristina began her musical training at the age of three with her mother and completed her MMus in Vocal Performance and Literature at Western University in 2016 under the tutelage of Sophie Roland and Simone Luti. In the few hours she is away from music, Cristina loves to spend time with her family, friends and pets.
ALFREDO GERMONT - KEITH KLASSEN
A boy from the Prairies raised on hockey and Mennonite sausage, Keith Klassen is one of Canada's busiest and most charming tenors and operatic actors. In addition to his international work, Keith performs on stages across Canada -- from Vancouver Opera and Manitoba Opera in the west to Maritime Concert Opera in the east. Home in Toronto, Keith is a founding member of Tapestry New Opera's acclaimed studio ensemble, and often graces Toronto Operetta Theatre with a fine dance move or two.
Keith has emerged to become one of Canada's busiest tenors, averaging 12 productions a season since graduating with honours from the Opera Division at the University of Toronto in 2002. He has been engaged across Canada, as well as in Scotland, Germany, the United States, Ireland and the Czech Republic. The Star Phoenix described him as having, "...a big ringing voice and great stage presence", Classical 96.3 added, "Klassen's voice is pure honey with its ease of high notes and the lyrical grace of his phrasing.", Opera Canada raved that his Rodolfo was "...dramatically convincing, sung with passionate sincerity ensuring the audience's love.", John Terauds of the Toronto Star called him, "...one of the country's most versatile artists.", and NOW magazine's Jon Kaplan went so far as to rate Keith as one of Toronto's top ten theatre artists of 2006.
In the past season alone, critics and audiences alike have enthusiastically received his performances of Rodolfo (La bohème), Alfredo (La raviata), Don Jose (Carmen), the Duke (Rigoletto), Samson (Samson et Dalilah), Uriel (Haydn's 'Creation') and Spoletta (Tosca). Keith has also continued his work with Tapestry New Opera Works, joining their newly formed studio company.
GIORGIO GERMONT - CHRISTOPHER DUNHAM
Christopher Dunham is a native of Niagara Falls, Ontario and has captivated audiences with his "vocally powerful and dramatic"(Opera Canada) baritone voice across Canada and as far away as the Adriatic coast of Italy. A recent graduate from L’Atelier Lyrique de L’Opéra de Montréal and Atlanta Opera’s Young Artist Residency. Christopher is the winner of the Desmarais Development Bursary three years in a row and the Jeunesses Musicals Canada’s Young Mentorship position. Christopher is equally comfortable in concert, recital and on the main stage.
Some of his roles include: The Brother in Seven Deadly Sins (Atlanta Opera), Figaro in The Barber of Seville (Brott Opera), Mercutio in Roméo et Juliette(Jeunesses Musical Canada), Argante in Rinaldo (Pacific Opera Victoria), Dandini in La Cenerentola (La Musica Lyrica), Schaunard in La Bohème and Escamillo in Carmen (L'Opéra de Montréal). Next season Christopher can be seen with Pacific Opera Victoria, Opéra de Quebec, and the Windsor Symphony. Christopher is a young Canadian baritone who has already begun to make a name for himself and promises to have a flourishing career.
FLORA BERVOIX - DEANNA PAULETTO
Hailed by The Chautauqua Daily as “a fine mezzo-soprano” and “a natural actress”, Italian- Canadian mezzo-soprano Deanna Pauletto recently made her company debut with Oper Frankfurt, Germany, in the world premiere opera A Wintery Spring by Saed Haddad. Ms. Pauletto was mentored by renowned opera singer Marilyn Horne at the Music Academy of the West in Santa Barbara, California, where she covered the title role in Bizet’s Carmen and performed the role of Tisbe in Rossini’s La Cenerentola. Her operatic credits include Rosina (Il barbiere di Siviglia), Ruggiero (Alcina), Salud (La Vida Breve); and Konchakovna (Prince Igor). Additional roles include Giulietta (Les contes d’Hoffmann) with Escales Lyriques in France, and Bradamante (Alcina), in Edmonton. As an Apprentice Artist with Chautauqua Opera, Ms. Pauletto performed the role of Katisha under Ned Canty and conductor Steven Osgood. Ms. Pauletto made her Carnegie Hall debut as part of Marilyn Horne’s The Song Continues celebration and performed in a masterclass led by Stephanie Blythe. Ms. Pauletto is an alumna of York University’s Fine Arts Department in Toronto and received an Artist Diploma from the Giuseppe Verdi Conservatory in Milan, Italy. In addition to her love and passion for singer, Ms. Pauletto is an accomplished pianist and a highly regarded private music instructor in Toronto.
ANNINA - DALLAS CHORLEY
Known for her bright tone (Ludwig van Toronto), Canadian soprano Dallas Chorley is an exciting new face in the opera and oratorio scene. This is Ms. Chorley’s first production with the MSO, and she could not be more thrilled! Dallas’previous operatic highlights include Flora and Annina in La Traviata, Musetta in La Bohème, Pamina and Erste Knabe in Die Zäuberflöte, La Ciesca in Gianni Schicchi, Una Conversa in Suor Angelica, Eccho in Ariadne auf Naxos,and Yum Yum in The Mikado.
Dallas holds a Master of Music Degree from the University of Toronto, a Bachelor of Music Degree from McGill University and a Graduate Certificate in Arts Administration and Cultural Management from Humber College. Other studies include the St. Andrew’s Opera Workshop, Orford Festival, Opera Nuova, Vox Musicae, SummerOpera Lyric Theatre, and Halifax Summer Opera Festival. For more information or to contact Dallas,please visit dallaschorley.com
GASTONE - ALVARO ROBLES VASQUEZ
Mexican Tenor Alvaro Vazquez graduated from the Glenn Gould School of the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto obtaining a Voice performance diploma.
Alvaro performed the role of Ajax II from the opera La Belle Helene for the school’s annual spring opera conducted by Uri Mayer at Koerner Hall. He was cast as the Miller, the lead role in the opera El Gato con Botas by Xavier Monsalvatge for the Glenn Gould School Fall Opera conducted by Peter Tifenbach. He made his debut with Mississauga Symphony Orchestra and Opera York singing the role of El Remendado from the opera Carmen by Bizet conducted by Denis Mastromonaco.
Most recently he performed for the Windermere village festival of the arts in Muskoka as a Tenor soloist in a recital of Opera, Zarzuela and Art Song and sang Gastone in Opera York’s production of La Traviata.
BARONE DOUPHOL - JOHN HOLLAND
Windsor native Bass-Baritone John Holland has embarked on a diverse career of opera, oratorio, and art song. His Operatic credits include Figaro in Le Nozze di Figaro at the Mozarteum in Salzburg, Leporello and Masetto in Don Giovanni at the Estates Theatre in Prague, Vodník in Rusalka in the Czech Republic, Taddeo inL’Italiana in Algeri at Casa Loma, Purkrabi in Dvořák’s Jakobin, Caspar in DerFreischütz, Achilla in Giulio Cesare, Belcore in L’Elisir d’Amore, Henry VIIIin Anna Bolena, Baron Ochs in Der Rosenkavalier, and Alberich in Der Ring DesNibelungen with Toronto’s Opera by Request.
On the Oratorio side, John has been Baritone Soloist in Orff’s Carmina Burana and Bass Soloist in Haydn’s Creation and Bach’s St. John Passion with the York Chamber Choir, Bass Soloist in Handel’s Messiah with the Stratford Symphony, Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony with the Hamilton Symphony and Kindred Spirit’s Orchestra, Mozart’s Requiem and Haydn’s Nelson Mass with the London Singers and Orchestra. With the Ottawa Bach Choir, he has been a featured soloist on several occasions, including Mozart’s Vespers and Coronation Mass, Bach’s Cantata 182, Charpentier’s Le Reinement de Saint Pierre, and Rossini’s Petite Messe Solennelle.
He has sung at such locales as the Canadian Opera Company, Mozarteum in Salzburg, Bachfest in Leipzig, Smetana Hall and the Estates Theatre in Prague, and San Marco in Venice, and has shared the stage with the likes of Placido Domingo, Sherrill Milnes, Rene Pape, and Lorin Maazel. Upcoming performances include Baron Douphol in La Traviata, Alberich in Der Ring Des Nibelungentouring concert production, another Leporello, and several oratorio concerts.
John was a winner of the 2002 CBC Radio Opera Quiz Competition, a finalist int he London Opera Guild Competition in 2001 and 2003, and sang for Prime Minister Chretien when he visited London. A respected academic, John is at hree-time lecturer for the Canadian Opera Company’s London guild, a regular lecturer at the Royal Conservatory of Music, and a six-time judge for the Juno Awards. John is also an alumnus of the University of Windsor and Western University music faculties.
Dr. Holland completed his PhD in Musicology at York University in 2018. His scholarly work reaches over many genres, but is focused on the study of Czech Opera, Art Song, and Choral Works. His dissertation, Beyond the Silver Moon: Exploring the Lost Tradition of Dvořák's Operas Through a Study of Myth, Music, and Nationalism, critically analyzes these operas, and views them through the lenses of social, cultural, and political history, and pieces together the answers to why these operas are essentially lost works within the Czech lands, and abroad. This research was nominated for the dissertation award at York University. In the fall of 2014, he produced the Canadian premiere of Dvořák’s opera Jakobin. He is also the founding director of the Canadian Institute for Czech Music, and continues to be in demand as a performer, choral conductor, and lecturer. John is the music director at Blessed Trinity Parish in North York, and as well as being a choral conductor and voice professor at York University. He is very happy to make his Mississauga Symphony debut in LaTraviata.
MARCHESE D`OBIGNY - AUSTIN LAURSSON
Praised for his "fine baritone voice" (The Brooklyn Eagle), "Austin Larusson sang beautifully" (barczablog.com), “Austin Larusson’s Crespel was a very effective and even touching foil” John Gilks operarambling.blog) Austin is pleased to be making his debut with the Mississauga Symphony. Recent Toronto/GTA appearances: Hermann/Crespel, LES CONTES D’HOFFMANN with Toronto City Opera, THE MESSIAH at College Street United Church, Conte Carnero, THE GYPSY BARON; Vicomte Cascada, THE MERRY WIDOW; Ajax A, THE BEAUTIFUL HELEN; Police Sergeant, THE PIRATES OF PENZANCE; Massakroff, THE CHOCOLATE SOLDIER with Toronto Operetta Theatre; Benoit/Alcindoro, LA BOHEME; Count Ceprano, RIGOLETTO; Bartolo/Antonio, LE NOZZE DI FIGARO with SOUTHERN ONTARIO LYRIC OPERA; Johann, WERTHER; Lorenzo, I CAPULETI E I MONTECCHI with Opera in Concert; Leporello in DON GIOVANNI and Malatesta in DON PASQUALE with Vera Causa Opera; Marchese, LA TRAVIATA; Fiorello, IL BARBIERE DI SIVIGLIA with Opera York. New York: Yamadori, MADAMA BUTTERFLY; Sciarrone/Jailer, TOSCA with Regina Opera.
DOTTORE GRENVIL - GABRIEL SANCHEZ ORTEGA
Gabriel Sanchez-Ortega is a promising operatic bass praised for his “booming bass sound,” and his “surprising low and rich voice” (Schmopera). Born in Montreal, he holds a performance diploma in voice from The Glenn Gould School of The Royal Conservatory of Music, studying primarily under Joel Katz.
While studying at the GGS, he was the recipient of the Ihnatowycz Emerging Artist Scholarship. Gabriel has performed in a number of operas for The Glenn Gould School Opera, The Aspen Opera Centre, The Mississauga Symphony Orchestra, Opera York, and Toronto City Opera. While at the Aspen Music Festival and School, Gabriel had the privilege of studying under W. Stephen Smith. Most recently, Gabriel made his debut singing the role of Sarastro in The Glenn Gould School Opera’s production of The Magic Flute.
COMMISSIONER - MARK WILSON
Mark Wilson started singing in high school musicals and returned to singing after a 42-year career in the Information Technology Industry. He retired from IBM in 2012 as an executive in its Global Services business.
He has been singing with Toronto City Opera for 5 years in the bass section of the chorus with solo obligatos in Fidelio, and Les Contes d’Hoffmann.
He has previously appeared as the Commissionario with Toronto City Opera and Opera York.
Mr. Wilson is the President of the Board of Toronto City Opera and is also the Chair of the Board of Array Music, a contemporary Canadian music organization.
He studies voice with Jayne Smiley to whom he is eternally grateful.
GIUSEPPE - JOHN DARRIGO
Canadian-Italian tenor John Darrigo was born and raised in Toronto. He attended the prestigious Royal St. George’s College where he was twice awarded the top award for outstanding vocal excellence. While at the RSGC he toured the British Isles 3 times, where he was the featured soloist, and had the opportunity to personally perform for Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.
Following a hiatus of 30 years, and with the very enthusiastic encouragement of international peers, including Richard Margison, he restarted his singing career by doing solos in the chorus of Opera Hamilton. In Sept of 2016 he made his debut with the new Southern Ontario Lyric Opera as Giuseppe in La Traviata (as reviewed in Opera Canada). In March of 2017 he sang Spoletta, in Tosca, and as Beppe and the Harlequin in I Pagliacci.