2013 Brian Law Opera Competition

Gerald Finley, Honorary Patron

The Competition

The 2013 Brian Law Opera Competition took place in .

The prizes were: 1st prize: ; 2nd prize: ; 3rd prize: .

For a history of the competition, a biography of Brian Law and a list of previous winners and their biographies, see the Competition page.

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The Evening’s Program

The evening unfolded as follows:

Here is the program handed out to the audience on the evening of the competition.

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The Finalists

In October 2013, the preliminary jury chose the following candidates for the competition recital:

Picture of Frédérique Drolet

Frédérique Drolet, soprano

Frédérique Drolet, soprano, 28, a native of Buckingham, earned both her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Vocal Performance at Laval University 2009/2011 and since then she has won the 2012 Jacques Lareau Foundation Award of Atelier Lyrique. She sang Zerbinetta in Ariadne auf Naxos for Opera Nuova, 2012. This was followed in 2013 by Adèle in Die Fledermaus and Poussette in Manon for Opéra de Montréal as well as the lead roles in Acis and Galatea and Amahl and the Night Visitors for Atelier Lyrique. She was the soloist in Concert sous le masque for Quattr’Opéra.

Picture of Nathan Haller

Nathan Haller, tenor

Nathan Haller, tenor, 22, a native of Ottawa, earned his undergraduate degree in music at Juilliard where he is presently in the Master’s program of Music. His teachers include Edith Wiens, Steven Blier and David Clatworthy. Opera performances include L’Incoronazione di Poppea, Down in the Valley, Armide, La finta giardiniera, Le donne curiose and The Cunning Little Vixen. During the last two years his concert performances have included composers from Bach to Wolf and have taken him to Dresden, Neumarkt/Reitstadl, Bayreuth, Carnegie Hall, Ottawa and Paul Hall at Juilliard.

Picture of Ania Hejnar

Ania Hejnar, soprano

Ania Hejnar, soprano, 25, resident of Ottawa, obtained her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees at the University of Ottawa, 2010/2012. She is now a member of Opera Lyra Ottawa’s Young Artists Program. Ania won a vocal scholarship of Inter-Cities Performing Arts Inc. for 2013 and was soprano soloist for that group’s Verdi Bicentennial Commemoration in N.Y. City. Her guest artist performances include the 2013 Music and Beyond Festival, Ottawa, the Stellae Boreales and the Opera Lyra Gala at the Embassy of Argentina. She also sang in the Fourth Annual ABC Gala at Carnegie Hall.

Picture of Erinne-Colleen Laurin
© Couvrette/Ottawa
(613) 238-5104

Erinne-Colleen Laurin, soprano

Erinne-Colleen Laurin, soprano, 31, native of Gatineau, received a Bachelor of Music, Hons. in Vocal Performance, Carleton University, 2011, after having completed three years of the Bachelor of Music program at the University of Ottawa, 2005. With the Carleton University Baroque Ensemble, she has sung Romilda in Serse in 2011 and the lead roles in Alcina (2012) and Armide (2013). At St. Blasius Church in Salzburg she sang Mme. Herz and Goldnertriller in Der Schauspieldirektor, also master classes for Bruce Fowler and Manfred Mayrhofer. She has sung concert performances of Mozart, Vivaldi and Brahms in Ottawa in 2013.

Picture of Alexandra LeBlanc

Alexandra LeBlanc, soprano

Alexandra LeBlanc, soprano, 28, born in the Ottawa area, earned a Bachelor of Music in Performance in 2008. She then completed the Advanced Diploma Program of the Glenn Gould School for the Performing Arts. Her staged concert performances include Donna Anna in Don Giovanni and Jenny in Ned Roram’s Three Sisters who are not Sisters and the Queen of Night in Die Zauberflöte, all for the Glenn Gould School. As well as Konstanze in Die Entführung aus dem Serail for Opera By Request, Alexandra performed in the 2013 Saarburg Festival in Germany directed by Semyon Rozin.

Picture of Meghan Lindsay

Meghan Lindsay, soprano

Meghan Lindsay, soprano, 27, a native of Ottawa. She earned a Bachelor of Music from the Glenn Gould School, followed by studies at Opera Studio Nederland and Young Artists Program Glimmerglass. Meghan’s performances in 2012/2013 include Mimì in La bohème with Northern Light Opera, Luisa Miller for Opera Nova Scotia, Agathe in Der Freischütz for Opera Atelier and Sidonie in Armide for Glimmerglass, Royal Opera Versailles and Opera Atelier. She has presented concert performances in Guelph, Cooperstown and Amsterdam and has performed in master classes for Joan Dornemann, Stuart Hamilton, Diana Soviero and Wendy Nielson.

The Recitalist

Picture of Arminè Kassabian

Arminè Kassabian, mezzo-soprano

While the jury deliberates, our 2011 winner, Arminè Kassabian, will present a short recital.

Ottawa born mezzo-soprano Arminè Kassabian earned her Bachelor of Music in Voice Performance, a Master’s degree and an Artist Diploma from the Schulich School of Music, McGill University. Miss Kassabian was the 2011 Brian Law Competition winner. She has won additional prizes at the Capital Music Competition, the New Jersey Association of Verismo Opera and the Prix Haricléa Darclée and scholarships from the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation and McGill Schulich School of Music. She was a finalist in the Riccardo Zandonai International Competition in Riva del Garda, Italy.

Following further training as an emerging artist with Opera Brasov, Romania, Arminè joined the Opera Lyra Studio Development program in the 2011-12 season, performing at Opera Lyra concerts, the Italian Garden Party and as Rosie in The Barber of Bytown for young audiences. Arminè performed as Carmen in the Jeunes Ambassadeurs Lyriques concert tour in China.

In addition to many concert and oratorio performances in Ottawa, Gatineau and Montréal, she has sung a wide variety of stage roles for Opera McGill, Opera Brasov and Green Mountain Opera, Vermont. These include Così fan tutte, La Cenerentola, Evangeline, and Maria de Buenos Aires. Her McGill experience included stage roles in Hänsel und Gretel, La tragedie de Carmen, Dialogues des Carmelites, Alcina and Dido and Aeneas.

In the 2013-14 season Arminè has performed the role of Mercédès in Carmen for Opera Lyra Ottawa and Ruth in The Pirates of Penzance. She will return to sing Suzuki in Madama Butterfly. Other upcoming engagements include Der Komponist in Ariadne auf Naxos at the Pacific Opera Victoria.

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The Pianist

Picture of Judith Ginsburg

Judith Ginsburg, pianist

Judith Ginsburg is a graduate of the University of the Ottawa School of Music, where she studied with the internationally acclaimed pianist and pedagogue Jean-Paul Sevilla. She pursued further advanced studies in London, England, with the renowned former Glyndebourne Opera music staff member and BBC staff accompanist Paul Hamburger. Upon her return to Canada, Judith completed the Repetiteur Training Program at the University of Toronto Opera Division. While at the Opera Division, Judith participated in extensive accompanying classes and master classes with Martin Isepp and Menahem Pressler.

Since 1987 Judith has been Principal Repetiteur of Opera Lyra Ottawa and Principal Pianist with the Ottawa Symphony Orchestra. She is to be heard on CBC radio and is a frequent performer in Ottawa’s hugely successful International Chamber Music Festival, Music and Beyond Festival, the National Arts Centre’s Music for a Sunday Afternoon and the Almonte in Concert series. Judith has worked for the National Arts Centre’s English Theatre, most recently as piano coach for The Unanswered Question.

As an accompanist Judith has collaborated with many of Canada’s leading artists, among them Alan Monk, Theodore Baerg, Tracy Dahl, Eilana Lapalainen, and Gerald Danovitch. Judith is presently Opera Studio Manager and Principal Repetiteur for Opera Lyra Ottawa.

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The Jury

Picture of Susan Blyth-Schofield

Susan Blyth-Schofield, Juror

Soprano Susan Blyth-Schofield works in a variety of related musical areas. As a performer she has received critical acclaim in opera, operetta, and musical theatre across Canada and in Europe with such companies as the Canadian Opera Company, Opera Lyra, Comus Music Theatre, Toronto Operetta Theatre and Festival Estival Musical (Belgium). Her repertoire of some thirty-two roles includes Musetta (La bohème), The Witch (Hänsel und Gretel), The Old Lady (Candide), Marion (The Music Man), Eliza (My Fair Lady), and Maria (West Side Story). Chamber opera has a special appeal for Susan; roles in that genre include Lola (Gallantry), Mlle. Warblewell (The Impresario), Geraldine (A Hand of Bridge), Miss Pinkerton (The Old Maid and the Thief), Elle (La voix humaine), Judith (Herzog Blaubarts Burg), and the three roles she created: Baby (Baby), The Judge (Space Opera), and Sally (Killing Time). No stranger to the concert stage, she has been featured in recital at the Barbican Centre (London), the Classical Music Series at the Canadian Embassy (Washington D.C.), the National Arts Centre, and Music Unlimited (Brussels), and has been heard on CBC radio and on Belgian radio and television.

As a stage director, Susan has worked for Opera Lyra Ottawa, Music Unlimited (Belgium), Ooh La La Opera (Ottawa), Between Friends Music Theatre (Kitchener-Waterloo), and the Queen Elizabeth Dinner Theatre, (Toronto). She teaches voice and interpretation in her studio in Ottawa, and at Carleton University, where she directs the Musical Theatre Ensemble and lectures in the history of musical theatre. She also teaches and directs the musical theatre production company at the Ottawa School of Speech and Drama.

Susan is an experienced and sought-after adjudicator and is the Quebec District Governor for the National Association of Teachers of Singing, sitting on the Ottawa Branch council for the Ontario Registered Music Teachers Association.

Picture of Maria Pellegrini

Cavaliere Maria Pellegrini, Juror

A win at the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions followed training at the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto for Soprano Maria Pellegrini. She then embarked on a brilliant career, which took her to the leading opera houses and concert halls of Europe, Canada, the United States, Asia and the Caribbean.

Her debut as Gilda (Rigoletto) with the Canadian Opera Company was followed by eleven seasons at the Royal Opera House Covent Garden, under the baton of Sir Georg Solti, where she sang Mimì in La bohème opposite Luciano Pavarotti. She also performed at the Royal Albert Hall, Welsh National Opera, English National Opera, Canadian Opera Company, Vancouver Opera, l’Opéra de Montréal, Opera Lyra Ottawa, Teatro Nacional de Santo Domingo, the Taipei Opera Festival, as well as many opera houses in Italy and the United States.

Audiences and critics have praised Ms. Pellegrini above all in her signature role of Cio-Cio-San in Madama Butterfly. Other roles included Violetta (La traviata), Fiordiligi (Così fan tutte), Mimì/Musetta (La bohème), Amelia (Simon Boccanegra), Alice Ford (Falstaff), Elvira (I puritani), Liu (Turandot), Lucia (Lucia di Lammermoor), Manon Lescaut (Manon Lescaut), Desdemona (Otello), Nedda (I pagliacci), Micaëla (Carmen) and Aida (Aida). She worked with conductors Sir Georg Solti, Sir Charles Mackerras, Sir Colin Davis, Sir Edward Downes and Giuseppe Sinopoli.

Maria Pellegrini was awarded “Best Italian Soprano” in 1991. In 2007, she was honoured with the award of Cavaliere dell’Ordine al Merito della Repubblica Italiana. In Ottawa in 2004, she founded Pellegrini Opera and continues as its Artistic Director. Besides private voice coaching, she has given master classes at McGill University and the University of Ottawa. She has just returned from being honoured in Taipei where she again conducted a series of master classes and staging of various opera.

Picture of Richard Turp

Richard Turp, Juror

Richard Turp was born in Montreal but from the age of 6 was raised in London, UK. Having graduated from the University of London (Russian Regional Studies and Music), he began vocal studies with his father, the renowned tenor André Turp. For a decade he worked principally in Europe as an operatic tenor and also appeared with his father in l’Opéra de Montréal’s production of Verdi’s Macbeth in 1983.

From 1988 to 1991 he was the Artistic Director of the Montreal International Music Festival, then joined l’Opéra de Montréal as Director of Special Projects for two seasons. He became Artistic Director of the Lachine Music Festival in 1997, a post he still holds today. In 1997 he co-founded and assumed the artistic direction for fourteen years of the André Turp Musical Society that presented a prestigious vocal series in Montreal. He is a co-founder of the Canadian Vocal Arts Institute and since 2009 directs the vocal program at the Orford Academy.

Richard Turp is regularly invited to adjudicate vocal competitions and is a board member of both the Jeunesses musicales du Canada and Opera Canada magazine. He has worked extensively for both the French and English networks of the CBC and assumed the artistic and musical conception and writing of several series (Opera Easy, Opera Stories, Portraits of Mozart, Shakespeare in Music, Klassical Kabaret, Musical Voices) for BRAVO television. For many years he was a highly entertaining member of the panel of experts in the Quiz section of the CBC’s “Saturday Afternoon at the Opera.”

He has lectured widely, including for l’Opéra de Montréal, the Montreal Symphony Orchestra, and the Wagner Society and has hosted two editions of the Opera Canada Awards Gala (the Rubies). In addition, he has written many program notes for musical organisations and record companies and has been a frequent collaborator with Opera Canada and Opera Now. Richard Turp has taught vocal literature at UQAM and l’Université de Montréal and French vocal diction at McGill University.

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