Nabucco was conducted by Artistic Director Jennifer Tung accompanied by Music Director Ivan Jovanovic as pianist. Suzanne Yeo was the assistant conductor and Dr. Margaret Cormier performed as the narrator.
Toronto City Opera continues its mission to provide early career soloists an opportunity to perform major roles with these wonderful artists
Michael Robert-Broder - Nabucco
Based in Toronto, Canadian baritone Michael Robert-Broder has been praised as a singer equally at home with art song, oratorio, and opera.
As a concert singer, Michael has been heard across Canada in oratorio and concert works from Monteverdi, to presentations of new works by emerging composers. He has performed all of the major works by JS Bach, including a staged presentation of the Matthew Passion, and is currently involved in an ongoing Cantata cycle at Church of the Redeemer in Toronto.
On the lyric stage, he has recently portrayed the roles of Scarpia in Tosca, Il Conte in Le Nozze di Figaro, Sprecher in Die Zauberflöte, Duke Bluebeard, Peter in Hansel and Gretel, and Don Pizarro in Fidelio.
Engagements scheduled for the 2020/21 concert season included Bizet’s Carmen, Bartók’s Bluebeard’s Castle, Strauss’ Elektra, Ravel’s L’enfant et les sortilèges, Bach Cantatas, Handel’s Messiah, and Barber’s The Lovers. Current public health measures have necessitated the cancelation or postponement of that aforementioned season.
Upcoming projects include recording songs of Brahms and Barber, a recital of works by Queer composers, Donizetti’s Roberto Devereux, and Johnson’s Considering Matthew Shepard.
Cristina Pisani - Abigaille
Cristina Pisani is a vibrant soprano hailing from Mississauga and is thrilled to make her Toronto City Opera mainstage debut as Abigaille in Verdi’s Nabucco. She made her virtual debut with TCO earlier this year as a featured soloist in the "Singing in Exile, Staying Apart" online concert.
Despite COVID-19’s best efforts to sabotage live performance art, Cristina has been safely making physically-distanced music with a number of virtual choirs (including the Canadian Opera Company), The Edison Singers as a chorister and soloist, Arcady, and Brott Opera, both as a feature PopOpera soloist and as a cover of Donna Elvira in their 2020 virtual production of Mozart’s Don Giovanni.
Pre-COVID, Cristina made company debuts with Toronto Operetta Theatre, OperOttawa, and Mississauga Symphony Orchestra as Violetta in Verdi’s La Traviata. Other recent operatic highlights include Helmwige in Wagner’s Die Walküre (Opera by Request), Leïla in Bizet’s Les pêcheurs de perles (OperOttawa), and Violetta in Verdi’s La Traviata (Summer Opera Lyric Theatre). 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
Dylan Wright - Zaccaria
Originally from Calgary, AB, bass-baritone Dylan Wright has been praised for “seducing the audience with his rich, sonorous voice” (Beat Magazine) and is a graduate of the Atelier Lyrique de l'Opéra de Montréal.
Before the world closed, he recently sang Fasolt and Hagen in Berlin Wagner Gruppe and Opera by Request’s full concert production of Wagner’s Ring Cycle, the four Villains in Toronto City Opera’s ‘Les Contes D’Hoffmann’, the Bonze and the Imperial Commissioner in Windsor Symphony Orchestra’s ‘Madama Butterfly’, and created the roles of Sherman Booth and Thomas Montgomery in the new opera ‘Joshua’ by Colin Mendez Morris with ArsMusica.
IAs the world reopens, 2021 will see him singing Zaccaria in ‘Nabucco’ with Toronto City Opera, the bass soloist in Mozart’s Requiem with the Toronto Choral Society, and a reprise of Fasolt and Hagen with the Berlin Wagner Gruppe and Opera by Request. Let’s all keep our fingers crossed and do what we can to keep ourselves and our comrades safe and healthy.
Dylan’s other operatic highlights include Mephistopheles in ‘Faust’, the titular role in ‘Don Pasquale’, Dulcamara in ‘L’elisir d’amore’, the title role and Bartolo in ‘Le nozze di Figaro’ and Leporello and Il Commendatore in ‘Don Giovanni’, Seneca in ‘L’incoronazione di Poppea’, Colline in ‘La Boheme’, Rocco in ‘Fidelio’, Frère Laurent in ‘Roméo et Juliette’, and Cadmus and Somnus in ‘Semele’. Dylan has also performed as the soloist in such oratorios as the Mozart Requiem, Handel’s ‘Messiah’, Haydn’s ‘Die Schöpfung’, and Beethoven’s ‘Mass in C Major’ as well as in musical theatre as Emile de Becque in South Pacific.
He holds a MMus in Opera from the University of Toronto and currently studies with Jason Howard.
Lillian Brooks - Fenena
Canadian mezzo-soprano Lillian Brooks, praised for her “legato, lyric sound” (Ludwig von Toronto), and “easy handling of coloratura” (Schmopera), has appeared in many operatic roles and as an oratorio soloist throughout Canada.
Her past operatic roles include Bradamante in Alcina, Third Lady inMozart’s The Magic Flute, Flora in La Traviata, and Cherubino in Le nozze di Figaro, and upcoming as Fenena in Nabucco with Toronto City Opera. Lillian has sung as a soloist in many prestigious venues in Ontario, including Koerner Hall, Roy Thomson Hall, and the Sony Centre for the Performing Arts.
Lillian has enjoyed 2 exciting years with Calgary Opera as a member of their Emerging Artist Program during their 2019/20 and 2020/21 seasons. She appeared as The Mother in Amahl and the Night Visitors, Hansel in Hansel & Gretel, and was scheduled to perform the role of Beatrice in Beatrice et Benedict (cancelled due to Covid-19).
During the Covid-19 Pandemic, Lillian had the opportunity to participate in new-music workshops as part of Calgary Opera’s “Opera Labs” series, and worked with Canadian conductors and composers including John Estacio, Kelly Marie Murphy, Jean-Claude Picard, and Johannes Debus. Lillian looks forward to another exciting season as live performances bring audiences together once again.
Corey Arnold - Ismaele
Tenor and Composer, Corey Arnold, is a 2020 laureate of the Jeunes Ambassadeurs Lyriques. As a singer, he has sung in over 30 opera productions in Canada, the United States, and Italy, with concerts in Mexico as well.
Recent performances include: Calaf in Turandot, with Opera by Request, Romeo in Romeo et Juliette, with Pellegrini Opera, and Il Duca in Rigoletto, with Southern Ontario Lyric Opera.
As a composer, he has written 2 musicals, including a commission for a company in New York City, and two operas: The Lion Heart, to be workshopped in Toronto April 2021, and The Bat and The Bells, a family opera to be workshopped Fall 2021.
Outside of classical music, He has conducted and accompanied 10 musicals, arranged big band jazz works, played trombone and tuba, and conducted several church choirs, including College Street United Church where he currently is employed as Music Director.
He is also a Feldenkrais practitioner, interested in somatic approaches to artistic development. In his personal time, he enjoys conversations over politics and philosophy, spending time outdoors, and sustainable construction and design.
Daevyd Pepper - Ismaele
Daevyd Pepper is a young, Canadian tenor from the Muskoka region of Ontario. He began his studies at York University under soprano Norma Burrowes and pursued his Master’s degree at the University of Toronto opera school under the guidance and mentorship of Frédérique Vezina. He is also an alumnus of several young artists and summer training programs with companies such as Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, Calgary Opera, Vancouver Opera, Banff Centre Opera in the 21st Century, Highlands Opera Studio, and the Chautauqua Institution.
Daevyd is a diverse performer with an interest in doing things a little differently; which, is reflected in his diverse and unique performance resume. Some his performing highlights include debuting the role of Addison Witless in the world’s first zombie opera Prima Zombie: The Diva that Wouldn’t Stay Dead. He has also performed as Male Chorus in The Rape of Lucretia (MYOpera), Johnny Inkslinger in Britten’s Paul Bunyan (U of T Opera), Lenski in Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin (Chautauqua Opera Muskoka), Second Witch in Dido and Aeneus (OperaQ) and Scaramuccio in Ariadne auf Naxos (Highlands Opera Studio).
Amidst all the chaos of 2020, Daevyd and his close friend and colleague Andrew Adridge co-founded an opera outreach company Opera InReach, as a means to create solutions to the issues of equity, diversity, inclusion, access and justice in the opera sector. They believe in making opera and arts education more accessible through modernizing and reframing opera outreach methods.
Offstage, Daevyd also feels at home on the production side of artistic projects. He has self-producing many concerts and recitals. These experiences eventually lead him to produce two opera fully staged operas with the Chautauqua Muskoka Opera Festival.
Lauren Estey - Anna
“Lauren Estey sang the role of Belinda and hers was the most confident performance of the night, her refined voice best suited to Purcell’s Baroque Style.” (Opera Canada)
“Lauren Estey was compelling as Susannah, her sadness and isolation clearly conveyed.” (Opera Canada)
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. 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 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 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 with the mentorship of Professor Daniel Taylor and Professor Mary Morrison. She is presently completing her doctoral studies in Historical Voice Performance at the University of Toronto. Lauren is looking forward to performing Cleopatra in Handel’s Giulio Cesare in Egitto with the Doctor of Musical Art’s cohort. In 2022, Lauren will also be featured as Lola in Mascagni’s Cavalleria rusticana with Toronto City Opera.
Kyle is excited to be joining TCO for the first time!
Some of his other recent roles are: Basilio in The Barber of Seville, James Bond in James Bond: A Convenient Lie, Friar Laurence in Romeo et Juliette, and Timur in Turandot. In the world of film and television he's appeared as Courtney Van Doren on Murdoch Mysteries, and in voice over, he can be found as the Scotiabank popcorn astronaut in Cineplex Theatres.
Upcoming roles include Richard I in the world premiere of The Lion Heart (March 2022), a new opera (music by Corey Arnold, book by Kyle), and Conan in the world premiere of Conan and the Stone of Kelior (May 2022), a new action/adventure opera created from existing hits - hear your favourite song again for the first time!
@kyledmcdonald on instagram.
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 and Mississauga Symphony Orchestra production of La Traviata.
Conductor, pianist and vocal coach Suzanne Yeo has performed in North America, Europe and Asia, to much praise for the intensity and sensitivity of her interpretations. After a stint as a doctoral candidate in the German department at Princeton University, she returned to music and obtained her M.Mus. in piano performance from the University of Toronto.
While she has continued to make the occasional solo appearance, her long-standing affinity for (and knowledge of) opera and Lieder has led her to the sphere of collaborative piano, where, in addition to working with singers, she also participated in various collaborative piano workshops with Emily Hamper and Steven Philcox, and acted as répétiteur at the Miami Music Festival in 2019. She is also one of the co-founders (and resident pianist) of Opera Sustenida, an opera collective noted for its wittily modern takes on the standard repertoire, delivered via a series of virtual concerts.
At the same time, she has continued to study conducting, both privately and in workshops, such as Jan Harrington’s choral/orchestral conducting masterclass at the Princeton Festival, where she made her public début as an orchestral conductor. She was also the assistant conductor at the University of Toronto-affiliated Hart House Chorus from 2015-2017.
Dr. Margaret Cormier
Dr. Margaret Cormier is a musicologist and opera dramaturg based in Toronto. Her forthcoming monograph interrogates representations of sexual violence on the twenty-first-century operatic stage through a feminist ethical framework.
She holds a Bachelor of Music with Honours in Voice Performance and a Master of Arts in Musicology from Western University and recently completed her PhD at McGill. Margaret has presented research on operatic production and staging practices at conferences around the world and, in recent years, has been active as a public musicologist and dramaturg on Toronto’s opera scene