Previously with Opera Hamilton
Adele | Die Fledermaus (2009)
Praised by Opera Canada for her "soprano that charms and brightens a room" as well as her "vivacious stage presence", Mireille Asselin is a young artist at the onset of an exciting career.
Having obtained her Master of Music from Yale University in 2010, Mireille is now making a name for herself both at home and abroad. Last year she debuted at Carnegie Hall singing Vaughan Williams' Dona Nobis Pacem with the Yale Symphony, performed the roles of Galatea (Acis and Galatea) and Servilia (La Clemenza di Tito) with Opera Atelier, and made her debut with the Boston Early Music Festival as a guest concert artist.
In the 2011-12 season, Mireille returns to Carnegie Hall, this time in recital for Marilyn Horne's Song Continues series. She will also perform Brahms' Ein Deutsches Requiem with the Orchestra of the Southern Finger Lakes, Beethoven's 9th Symphony with the Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra, and a double bill of Charpentier operas with Boston Early Music. As a member of the Canadian Opera Company's Ensemble Studio, she will cover the roles of Lauretta (Gianni Schicchi), and Olympia (Les Contes d'Hoffmann), and perform the title role in Handel's Semele for their Ensemble Studio production, as well as Contessa Ceprano (Rigoletto) and Second Priestess (Iphigénie en Tauride) on the main stage. This summer she will be a Glimmerglass artist, performing the roles of Phénice and Lucinde in Lully's Armide.
Some career highlights include Adele (Die Fledermaus) with Opera Hamilton; First Witch (Dido and Aeneas) with Opera Atelier on their tour to Seoul; and Pamina in the feature film "Magic Flute Diaries" (a Sullivan Entertainment production, released in 2007). Mireille is a grateful recipient of Opera Hamilton's Sheila Zack Scholarship for Emerging Artists.
Previously with Opera Hamilton
Stephano | Romeo et Juliette (2005)
Praised for her bright, elegant and lambent-toned voice, Canadian mezzo-soprano Norine Burgess has performed in opera houses and with leading orchestras throughout North America and around the world. Norine's refreshingly compelling, charismatic and touching interpretations bring vigour and dimension to her signature roles, including Maddalena in Verdi's Rigoletto, Prince Orlofsky in Strauss's Die Fledermaus, Siebel in Faust, Nicklausse in Offenbach's Tales of Hoffmannand Miss Mary Lloyd in the Vienna Volksoper's production of Kálmán'sDie Herzogin von Chicago (available on DVD).
Recent highlights include appearances as Maddalena in Rigoletto in Vancouver, Calgary and Edmonton,in Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 with the Vancouver Symphony and Bramwell Tovey as part of the 2010 Olympics arts festival, as Clairon in Strauss's Capriccio with Pacific Opera Victoria, and in recital in her native Calgary. She has also bowed as Annio in La Clemenza di Tito, Neris in Cherubini's Médée, Mother Marie in Dialogues des Carmélites (Arizona Opera), Meg Page in Falstaff, and 2nd Lady in Mozart's Die Zauberflöte (Salzburg Festival).
Norine discography includes a CD of Christmas Carols with Michael Schade, Mendelssohn's Symphony No. 2 "Lobesang", and Mozart's C minor Mass (Naxos). She has appeared on CBC Television's"Vienna, the City of Dreams" and in a televised Christmas Gala at the Schloss Grafenegg in Austria.
As well, Norine is much sought after as a voice teacher and for her engaging masterclasses. She gives generously of her talent for fundraising events to benefit Hepatitis, Leukemia, the Oakville Children's Choir and the Toronto Maple Leafs children's charity Go Kids Go!
Previously with Opera Hamilton
Tonio | La Fille du Régiment (2003)
Bruce Sledge is one of today's most in-demand tenori di grazia and sings a wide variety of repertoire with many international houses.
Last season, Mr. Sledge returned to the Metropolitan Opera in two Mozart roles: Tamino in The Magic Flute and Ferrando in Così Fan Tutte. Additionally, Mr. Sledge made his debut with the Minnesota Opera in a new role, Leicester in Donizetti's Maria Stuarda, followed by Tamino with the Manitoba Opera and Almaviva in Hamburg and in Grand Rapids before making his debut in Avenches, Switzerland, as the Duke of Mantua in Rigoletto. In concert he was heard in Mozart's Requiem with the San Francisco Symphony and in Schubert's Mass No. 6 with the San Diego Symphony. For the 2011-2012 season he returns to the Metropolitan Opera for Don Ottavio in a new production of Don Giovanni and Paolo in Rossini's Maometto Il with Santa Fe Opera.
Recently, Mr. Sledge appeared as Nemorino in L'Elisir d'Amore with Atlanta Opera, Tamino in Die Zauberflöte with Opera Hong Kong, the Duke in Rigoletto with Tulsa Opera, and Count Almaviva in Il Barbiere di Siviglia with the Hamburgische Staatsoper. In concert, he returned to the San Francisco Symphony for Stravinsky's Pulcinella. Mr. Sledge marked his return to Japan for performances of Rodrigo in Rossini's Otello (a role debut for the artist) with Pesaro's prestigious Rossini Opera Festival on tour, followed by a recital appearance for Marilyn Horne's 75th Birthday Gala at Carnegie Hall. Additional opera engagements included a return to the Vancouver Opera as the Duke in Rigoletto and a debut with the Teatro Regio di Torino as Ernesto in Don Pasquale. Mr. Sledge also appeared with the San Francisco Symphony in the Schubert Mass No. 6 under Maestro Michel Tilson Thomas.
In the 2007-2008 season Mr. Sledge returned to the New York City Opera for performances of Don Ottavio in Don Giovanni, before traveling to Japan to sing the role of Alfredo in La Traviata. Additionally, he returned to the Teatro Real in Madrid for performances of Argirio in Rossini's Tancredi, and also debuted with the New Orleans Opera as the Duke in Rigoletto. Role debuts included Tito in Mozart's La Clemenza di Tito in Bari and Nemorino in L'Elisir d'Amore in San Antonio and Palm Beach.
Notable engagements for the 2006-2007 season included two major role debuts: the Duke in Rigoletto with the Metropolitan Opera in the Parks and the title role in Werther with the Vancouver Opera. Additionally, he performed Stravinsky's Persephone on tour in Europe with the Gulbenkian Foundation Orchestra as well as Elvino in La Sonnambula with the Florida Grand Opera in a production directed by Renata Scotto and conducted by Richard Bonynge, Alfredo in La Traviata at New York City Opera, and Tonio in La Fille du Régiment in Rome and Santiago de Chile.
Recently, the tenor made a series of impressive debuts with several of the world's most prestigious houses: the Lyric Opera of Chicago (the Italian Tenor in Der Rosenkavalier), the Deutsche Oper in Berlin (as Ernesto in Don Pasquale), La Fenice (Léopold in La Juive), the Royal Danish Opera (as Alfredo in La Traviata) and the Pittsburgh Opera (Ferrando in Così Fan Tutte), and returned to the Teatro Comunale di Bologna for their tour to Savonlinna in La Fille du Régiment. He made his San Francisco Symphony debut as the Shepherd in Oedipus Rex with Michael Tilson Thomas conducting and returned to the Gulbenkian Foundation for concerts of Bartok's Cantata Profana and Kodaly's Psalmus Hungaricus with Lawrence Foster.
In the 2004/2005 season the tenor made his Paris Opera debut as Lindoro in L'Italiana in Algeri (a role he later reprised in Montpellier), went to Marseille for semi-staged performances of La Sonnambula and followed these concerts with a debut at the Teatro Comunale di Bologna as Ernesto in Don Pasquale. Later in the season, he returned to one of his favorite roles, Tonio in La Fille du Régiment, in Genova and to Bologna for Leicester in Elisabetta, Regina d'Inghilterra. In concert, Mr. Sledge sang Stravinsky's Pulcinella in Munich and was heard in a solo recital at the Cerritos Center in Orange County. Bruce Sledge closed the season with his Santa Fe Opera debut as Almaviva in Il Barbiere di Siviglia.
Bruce Sledge made his debut at the Metropolitan Opera as Almaviva and returned to the New York City Opera as Ernesto in Don Pasquale (after a triumphal debut in the house as Almaviva) and debuted with the Tulsa Opera, again as Almaviva. He recorded the role of the Fox in Spanish and Catalan versions of Janacek's The Cunning Little Vixen for the BBC with Kent Nagano and joined Mr. Nagano in Beethoven's Missa Solemnis with the Berkeley Symphony in the spring. Other concert work included concerts of Don Giovanni in Lisbon with the Gulbenkian Foundation as well as Brahms' Liebeslieder Walzer with the New York City Ballet. Mr. Sledge made an extraordinary debut at the Rossini Opera Festival (as Leicester in Elisabetta, Regina d'Inghilterra) as well as at the Teatro Real in Madrid (in Don Pasquale). Another important event of the season was the artist's appearance in recital at Carnegie's Weill Hall under the auspices of the Marilyn Horne Foundation.
Other engagements include the tenor's European debut in the title-role of Berlioz' La Damnation de Faust in Palermo, Italy, returns to the Los Angeles Opera as Almaviva, Tamino and Alfredo as well as in his critically-acclaimed Ernesto in Don Pasquale opposite Ruth Ann Swenson, debuts with Opera Ontario as Tonio in La Fille du Régiment and with the Michigan Opera Theatre as Don Ottavio in Don Giovanni and recitals in Brownville, Nebraska and in Tyler, Texas. Earlier, Mr. Sledge made his debut with the Arizona Opera as Camille in The Merry Widow. Bruce Sledge was seen on the NBC sitcom Scrubs and he can be heard on the soundtrack of the motion picture The Sum of All Fears.
Mr. Sledge was a finalist in the 2002 World Voice Masters Competition in Monte Carlo, a finalist in Placido Domingo's Operalia 2000 World Opera Contest and a national finalist in the 2000 Loren L. Zachary Vocal Competition. In 1998, he was a Western Regional Finalist in the Metropolitan Opera Auditions and was awarded first place in the Los Angeles Chapter of the National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS) Competition. Bruce Sledge received his master's degree in vocal arts from the University of Southern California, being awarded the most outstanding music masters graduate.
Opera Hamilton Debut
Canadian baritone Phillip Addis is praised for his creamy, bright, smooth voice as much as his spell-binding, daring, yet sensitive interpretations. A rising star on the International stage, Addis has performed in opera, concerts and recitals throughout Canada, the United States, Europe and Japan.
In the 2011- 2012 season Phillip makes his house debut at l'Opéra national de Paris as Roderick Usher in Debussy's unfinished opera The Fall of the House of Usher. He also returns to Montréal as Count Almaviva in Le Nozze di Figaro with l'Opéra, Toronto's Opera Atelier as Don Giovanni, and to the Calgary Opera as Marcello in La Bohème. Concert engagements include Handel's Messiah in Ottawa with the National Arts Centre Orchestra and Maestro Trevor Pinnock and Orff's Carmina Burana in Québec City with l"Orchestre symphonique de Québec conducted by Jacques Lacombe.
Phillip's 2010-2011 season was marked by three major role debuts. He began with his debut as Jaufre Rudel in Kaija Saariaho's L'Amour de loin in Antwerp with De Vlaamse Opera. In January 2011, he took on the second of his new roles when he appears in the title role of the rarely performed baritone version of Massenet's Werther with l"Opéra de Montréal. His third debut was for Atlanta Opera, as Gugliemo in Così fan tutte.
David Speers has been the General Director of Opera Hamilton since 2004. His previous positions include ten years as the General and Artistic Director of the Calgary Opera and five years in the same role with the Arizona Opera.
Mr. Speers is widely recognized for his ability to identify and willingness to promote young talent, and for his skill in assembling strong ensemble casts.
A native of Edmonton, Mr. Speers received his Bachelor and Master degrees in Music from the University of Alberta where he was the recipient of the Flore Shaw Graduate Award in Music. He pursued post-graduate studies in opera conducting at the prestigious Juilliard School in New York City and received additional training at the Tanglewood Festival and the Aspen Music Festival.
David Speers was the Chairman of The Professional Opera Companies of Canada (now Opera.ca) in 1988 and from 1993-1998, and was a member of the Board of Directors of Opera America from 1995-2001. He has received awards from The Canada Council, Alberta Culture, and the National Endowment for the Arts (U.S.). In 2000, Mr. Speers was named 'Arizona Arts Person of the Year' by the Tucson Citizen. He has served on numerous juries including the Metropolitan Opera Regional Auditions, The Sullivan/George London Vocal Competition, NATS, and panels for The National Endowment for the Arts, The Canada Council, and The Ontario Arts Council. He is a frequent speaker at Universities and Colleges across Canada and the U.S. and has taught courses in Opera History at Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, and Mount Royal College in Calgary.
At the podium, David Speers has conducted more than 50 opera productions and made numerous appearances with symphony orchestras throughout Canada and the U.S. In addition to his responsibilities as General Director of Opera Hamilton, Mr. Speers continues his freelance conducting activity. He opened the "new" Opera Hamilton 2008-09 season conducting The Magic Flute. Following an engagement with the Toronto Operetta Theatre conducting The Mikado in April of 2008, he returned to that company in February of 2009 to conduct the Canadian premiere of Kurt Weill's Knickerbocker's Holiday. Through his conducting work in opera and concert, he has worked with many of North America's most distinguished established and emerging artists. In April of 2011, he will be one of three jurists for the prestigious Louis and Christina Quilico Vocal Competition.
For Opera Hamilton's 2011-12 Inaugural Season at The Dofasco Centre for the Arts, Mr. Speers will conduct a new production of Verdi's Il trovatore and participate in the company's signature Popera Plus! Concert
David Speers resides in Ancaster, Ontario with his wife and their two children.
Maestro Oleskevich is currently in his 23rd season with Opera Hamilton, having conducted Die Zauberflöte, L'elisir d'amore, and La Bohème. Other credits include Die Fledermaus, Eine Nacht in Venedig, Die Csárdásfürstin and My Fair Lady with the Toronto Operetta Theatre.
He has conducted the Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra, the Kitchener Waterloo Symphony, the Toronto Symphony Youth Orchestra, the Scarborough Philharmonic, Mississauga Symphony and the Ottawa Valley Festival.
While in Austria, Mr. Oleskevich conducted the Pro Arte Orchestra for radio broadcast, the Academy Orchestra, and the Niederösterreichische Tonkünstler Orchester in the Musikverein in Vienna.
He has received numerous awards and bursaries that include a Canada Council grant for conducting and has taught conducting at the University of Toronto.
When not in front of an orchestra Peter is behind a camera as an avid photographer – in fact many of the photos you may have seen in our House Program are his work!