2017 Brian Law Opera Competition

Gerald Finley, OC, Honorary Patron

The Competition

The 2017 Brian Law Opera Competition took place in .

The prizes are: 1st prize: $5000; 2nd prize: $3000; 3rd prize: $1000.

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:

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The Finalists

The preliminary jury chose the following candidates for the competition recital:

Picture of Joel Allison

Joel Allison, bass-baritone

Bass-baritone Joel Allison, 25, is a graduate of the University of Ottawa with a Bachelor of Music in vocal performance. His post-graduate studies have taken him to the University of Toronto for a master’s in opera performance. He won the Norcop prize in Art Song in 2016 and a Richard Bradshaw Fellowship (2016-17) at the University of Toronto. Joel has performed with Seventeen Voyces and St. Andrew’s Church in Ottawa, The Theatre of Early Music and Tafelmusik Baroque Chamber Choir. He has sung a range of operatic roles in Ottawa, Saskatoon, Toronto and Stratford as well as performing in Messiah and a number of oratorio concert productions.

Picture of Carolyn Beaudoin

Carolyn Beaudoin, soprano

Soprano Carolyn Beaudoin, 27, graduated from the University of Ottawa with a Bachelor of Music and Master of Music in vocal performance. She continues her studies with Aline Kutan at McGill University. She was a second-place winner at the 2012 Canadian Music Competition National Finals. Other scholarships include the Nicole Senécal Scholarship in Music, the Marie-Claire Guidon and Robert Major Fund, the Guy Huot Memorial Scholarship, the William H. Kelly Scholarship in Music and the Donald Metcalfe Memorial Scholarship for Young Artists. Carolyn’s operatic roles include Second Woman in Dido and Aeneas, Zerlina in Don Giovanni, Despina in Così fan tutte, and Josabeth in Athalia. Carolyn has also appeared as soprano soloist on the concert stage.

Picture of Ryan Hofman

Ryan Hofman, baritone

Baritone Ryan Hofman, 28, is a graduate of the University of Ottawa with a Bachelor of Music and Master of Music in vocal performance, working with Sandra Graham, Christiane Riel and Ingemar Korjus. He then attended the University of British Colombia for a Master of Music in opera performance under the tutelage of J. Patrick Raftery. Ryan is a recipient of the 2014 Rising Stars Award from the Ottawa International Chamberfest and has performed operatic roles for Pellegrini Opera, Opera NUOVA and UBC Opera. He most recently performed the role of Dr. Bartolo in the Czech Republic.

Picture of Jennifer Olenic

Jennifer Olenic, soprano

Soprano Jennifer Olenic, 26, was raised in Ottawa. She earned her Bachelor of Music from Kennesaw State University and her Master of Music in vocal performance at Mercer University in Georgia in the United States. Jennifer was a winner of the National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS) student auditions within her categories. Other awards include the Mercer University Graduate Fellowship, the Gretchen Van Roy Voice Endowed Scholarship, the JoAnn Durham Endowed Arts Scholarship, The Glenn Hollingsworth Jr. Memorial Scholarship, and the R. Wayne Gibson Endowed Piano and Voice Scholarship. Jennifer’s operatic roles include Bradamante in Handel’s Alcina, Hansel in Humperdinck’s Hansel and Gretel, and Ruth in Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Pirates of Penzance. She has also appeared as a soloist in oratorio.

Picture of Danielle Vaillancourt

Danielle Vaillancourt, mezzo-soprano

Mezzo-soprano Danielle Vaillancourt, 31, was raised in Renfrew. Danielle graduated with a Bachelor of Music and a Master of Music in vocal performance from the Conservatoire de musique de Montréal. In competition she has reached the semifinals of the 2015 Concours Prix d’Europe and quarter finals of the 2014 Maria Callas Grand Prix in Athens. She has worked extensively with Jean-Sébastien Vallée, Jordan de Souza and Julian Wachner at the hurch of St. Andrew and St. Paul in Montréal and has also sung in Ottawa, Toronto, Hamilton and in Greece, where she was coached by Eilana Lappalainen.

Picture of Jeanine Williams

Jeanine Williams, soprano

Soprano Jeanine Williams, 23, is currently studying for her Master of Music at the University of Ottawa, working with Christiane Riel. Jeanine began her arts education early, studying at a fine-arts high school with emphasis in musical theatre performance. She graduated with a Bachelor of Music in vocal performance from the University of Lethbridge where her concentration on opera began. She has worked with the Lethbridge Opera Workshop, the Lethbridge Symphony Orchestra and the Calgary Philharmonic. Jeanine has performed with Opera NUOVA in Edmonton and at the Banff Centre for the Arts in collaboration with the Canadian Opera Company and Against the Grain Theatre. Her operatic roles include Dido in Dido and Aeneas, Angelica in Suor Angelica and Mimi in La Bohème.

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The Pianists

Julien LeBlanc, pianist

A virtuoso whose enthusiasm is genuinely contagious, Canadian pianist Julien LeBlanc is renowned for his great musical sensibility and his talent as a communicator. Based in Montreal, Julien is a well sought-after soloist, chamber player and accompanist. He has recently launched his first solo album “Mélancolies” which is dedicated a program of works by Dutilleux, Franck and Poulenc. He also has made two albums as a member of Trio Arkaède. Since 2012, Julien has been acting as co-artistic director of the summer concert series Barachois Summer Music in New-Brunswick. He has taken part in many concert tours across Canada with violinist Marc Djokic as well as soprano Miriam Khalil and Mezzo Lauren Segal for Jeunesses Musicales du Canada as well as Debut Atlantic. He is a part-time teacher at the University of Ottawa and works as a vocal coach and accompanist both at McGill University and Université de Montréal. He has given master classes in several universities across Canada and his frequently asked to sit on juries for music competitions.

Thomas Annand, pianist

Thomas Annand was a student of Graham Steed, John Grew, and Marie-Claire Alain. In 1987 he won First Prize at the RCCO National Organ Competition and since then has pursued an active career as a performer on organ, harpsichord and as conductor. He has been Director of Music at St. Andrew’s Church, Ottawa since 1992, giving over 200 recitals there, including a series of weekly recitals where he performed a vast repertoire including the ten symphonies of Widor, the complete organ works of Liszt, Franck and Mendelssohn. As harpsichordist he performed all the major works of Bach in seven marathon recitals in 2004-2005. He has performed as a soloist with the National Arts Centre Orchestra and Les Violons du Roy, touring with them to Carnegie Hall on three occasions. He has been a featured artist in the Boston Early Music Festival, the Carmel Bach Festival, the International Congress of Organists and the Ottawa International Chamber Music Festival. As a conductor he was the founder of Capital BrassWorks with whom he recorded for the CBC SM5000 series, and a frequent guest conductor of the Thirteen Strings. He has appeared on film (Denys Arcand’s Le Règne de la Beauté), radio and television. In addition he has had his choral music published and performed and has contributed continuo realizations to editions of early music. Thomas Annand is a Fellow of the RCCO for which he has worked as an examiner and a jury member for the Organ Playing Competition, and is a past-Chair of the Ottawa Centre.

Luis Camacho, pianist

Luis Camacho began his musical career at the age of 14, touring Europe as a concert pianist. Since coming to Canada, he has sung with the Canadian Opera Company and many other professional organizations, establishing himself as a pianist, singer, teacher, conductor and composer. He has performed with a several orchestra, playing concerti and singing operatic arias in the same programme. Most recently he was invited by the opera in Concert of Toronto, to composed a piano piece as a dedication to DeFalla, where he served as a conductor/musical director of La Vida Breve. For this, Mr. Camacho received raving reviews by the media. As a teacher, his gift for physiological analysis has saved many professional voices, Miss Tanno’s being one notable example. As a pianist and coach he has worked with the Canadian Opera Company, the Banff School of Fine Arts, Toronto’s Opera in Concert, the University of Toronto Opera School, and the Guelph Spring Festival. He has conducted more than twenty operas. He has also toured with Nicholas Goldschmidt across Canada as an assistant conductor. As a composer, he composed, produced and conducted the historic premiere of zarzuela in Canada. His compositions include string quartets, orchestral works, zarzuelas and many art songs. Collaborating with Miss Tanno, he has performed as both pianist and singer for the Embassy of Japan, the Stratford Festival’s Starbright, and the Celebrazione concer here in Ottawa. Tight schedules are the norm, Mr. Camacho teaches in Ottawa, Toronto and Brantford.

Maxime Dubé-Malenfant, pianist

Maxime Dubé-Malenfant holding two master’s degrees (Université de Montréal and McGill University), trained under Maneli Pirzadeh and Michael McMahon respectively. Dubé-Malenfant was also an intern at the Franz-Schubert Institute in Austria. Previously, he was a pianist and tutor at the Canadian Institute of Vocal Arts, recitals in Gatineau and a collaborator with the Young Ambassadors. With Atelier Young Artist Program, he took part in the famous lovers’ tour, in musical preparation of Zémire and Azor and An evening at the operetta. In 2015/16, he was assistant repeteur at the Opéra de Montréal (choirs in Elektra and Otello), L’elisir d’amore (Sinfonia de Lanaudière) and the Trilogy of Seduction (McGill Chamber Orchestra), and several concerts of the Atelier, including “The writers” and the opera, Du cinema to the opera and Poets and musicians.

Andrew Ager, pianist

Composer Andrew Ager’s The Talk of the Town is being premiered tomorrow, October 15, at 3 p.m. by Thirteen Strings. The work was commissioned by the Toronto Symphony, who will also be performing it in December. Another new work Prelude to Symphony of the 70’s will be premiered on November 11 in Ottawa, conducted by Kevin Reeves. He has written five symphonies, four operas, and a number of chamber/solo works. A composer whose works resist classification, his music has been performed widely in Canada, Europe, and the USA.

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The Jury

Joanne Kolomyjec

(to follow)

Richard Turp

of Montréal, most respected lecturer and diction coach, co-founder André Turp Musical Society and the Canadian Vocal Arts Institute, as well as Director of the vocal program at the Orford Academy.

Dr. James Wright

of Ottawa, Director of Music and Administrator at Carleton University

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