This June, Saskatoon Opera is delighted to present Giacomo Puccini’s opera, La Bohème

Runs from Saturday, June 16, 2018 to Saturday, June 23, 2018

The Cast

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France Bellemare


This young Canadian soprano won the 3rd prize at the Montreal International Competition in June 2015. Born in Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean, she studied at the Conservatory of Music in Quebec City, then in Laval University, before joining the Opera de Montréal young artist program from August 2013 to May 2016. In 2013, she sang Mimi of La Bohème on tour with Jeunesses musicale du Canada. She then sang Rose (Lakmé), Anna (Nabucco), Madeleine (Silent Night) with Opéra de Montréal and Gertrud (Hänsel und Gretel) with Opéra de Montréal Ensemble. She was La femme (La voix humaine) with McGill Chamber Orchestra, soloist for 9th Beethoven (Orchestre de Drummondville), the First Dam of Magic Flute with Opéra de Québec, Die Vertraute in Elektra (Opéra de Montréal) and a Mozart concert with McGill Chamber Orchestra; In the past few months she sings in the World Premiere of Another Brick in the Wall and the role of Mimi/La Bohème with Montreal Opera. In the fall 2017, Ms Bellemare made her debut with the Metropolitan Opera of  New-York in the roles of Musetta (cover)/La Bohème and Crobyle/Thais; she also sang Mimi from La Bohème in Hong-Kong and Marguerite from Faust with Orchestre Symphonique de Trois Rivieres.

Among her projects, Mimi with Vancouver Opera, Micaela with Montreal Opera, the revival of Another Brick in the Wall in Cincinnati Opera, Brahms Deutsche Requiem with Montreal Symphony Orchestra.

Praised for her “clear voice soaring to stratospheric heights” (Opera Canada), soprano Andrea Lett makes highly anticipated debuts in the 2018/19 season with the Saskatoon Symphony Orchestra (Mozart Requiem), and Manitoba Opera (Zerlina in Don Giovanni), as well as her Mainstage debut with Saskatoon Opera for the role of Musetta in this production of La Bohème.

Lett was recently engaged at San Francisco Opera as a principal cover (Ah Sing) for the world premiere of John Adams and Peter Sellars’ Girls of the Golden West.

A 2017 Apprentice Artist for Santa Fe Opera, her roles have included Adele cover (Santa Fe Opera), Queen of the Night (Manitoba Underground Opera), Gretel (Saskatoon Opera School Tour), and Rose Maybud in Ruddigore (Winnipeg G&S society). Originally from Prince Albert, SK; Ms. Lett graduated from the Opera School at the University of Toronto (M.Mus Opera) where she studied with soprano Mary Morrison and Holds a B.Mus Perf from the University of Manitoba with Monica Huisman.


Andrea Lett


Clarence Frazer


Hailed as a “singer to watch” (Musical Toronto), Canadian baritone Clarence Frazer is earning praise for having a “silvery baritone that retains its silky texture through his entire range” (London Free Press) who “possesses a powerful, robust voice” (Paula Citron). His “brilliant and stalwart singing” (Calgary Herald) earned him praise in The Banff Centre’s production of Crush – “Mr. Frazer’s acting was excellent, his singing melodious, rhetorically balanced and beautiful” (Calgary Herald). In 2016, Mr. Frazer made his debut with Pacific Opera Victoria as Figaro in Il barbiere di Siviglia and with Canadian Stage/Soundstreams Canada as Jean in the North American Premiere of Philippe Boesmans’ opera Julie. Recent highlights for Clarence include the role of James Isbister in the Canadian Opera Company’s acclaimed production of Louis Riel, with further performances at National Arts Centre and L’Opera de Quebec and two guest appearances with the Windsor Symphony Orchestra in Handel’s Messiah and Figaro in Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro. 

Highlights for the current season include a return to Saskatoon Opera to sing the role of Marcello in La Bohème, Crazy for Gershwin at Westben Arts Festival, debut with the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony Orchestra and the Grand Philharmonic Choir in Mozart’s Requiem, debut with Caelis Academy Ensemble and the Ottawa Baroque Consort in Bach’s Weihnachtsoratorium, debut with the Niagara Symphony Orchestra and Chorus Niagara in Handel’s Messiah, a return to the Windsor Symphony Orchestra in Mozart Requiem, an opera world premiere and company debut in Toronto and a return engagement with the National Arts Centre Orchestra at the National Arts Centre/Centre national des Arts in Ottawa, Canada.

Mr. Frazer is an alumnus of Calgary Opera’s Emerging Artists Program and the Canadian Opera Company’s Ensemble Studio, where he made his mainstage role debut in 2015 as Figaro in Il barbiere di Siviglia. As Figaro, Mr. Frazer was “very polished” and “made for the part” (John Gilks, Opera Ramblings). Other COC credits include Schaunard in La Bohème, Guglielmo in Così fan tutte and Prince Yamadori in Madama Butterfly. In 2016, Clarence starred in Saskatoon Opera’s Il barbiere di Siviglia. Clarence has also sung Publio in La clemenza di Tito; Prince Yamadori and Imperial Commissioner in Madama Butterfly, Ford in Falstaff, Daggoo in Moby-Dick, Escamillo in Carmen, Dandini in La Cenerentola, Don Giovanni and Masetto in Don Giovanni, and Sid in Albert Herring.

On the concert stage Mr. Frazer recently performed John Stainer’s The Crucifixion and Ralph Vaughan Williams’ Five Mystical Songs with Saint Thomas Church, Toronto; Handel’s Messiah with Windsor Symphony Orchestra and Mississauga Symphony Orchestra; Wagner’s Wesendonck Lieder at The Banff Centre with The Banff Centre Chamber Orchestra and Maestro Christopher Mokrzewski; Haydn’s The Seasons at the Kincardine Music Festival; Christus in Bach’s St. John Passion with the Metropolitan United Church Festival Choir and Orchestra as well as Mozart’s Requiem; Beethoven’s Mass in C; Orff’s Carmina Burana and Mozart’s Coronation Mass.

“The young Canadian tenor Marcel d’Entremont, only 25 years old, was expressive with his round, free, voice, with an aria full of great finesse, reminiscent of Anton Dermota or Nicolai Gedda!” (A. Junement, Publics de l’opéra de Rouen, 2016)

Originally from Merigomish, Nova Scotia, Marcel d’Entremont is a recent graduate of the Artist Diploma program from McGill University, where he was a Schulich Scholar, studying on full scholarship. He also has a Masters of Music from the University of Toronto, and a Bachelors of Music from Acadia University. A recipient of the Portia White award from the Nova Scotia Talent Trust, Marcel is also a four-time recipient of the Halifax Kiwanis Music Festival rose bowl as well as the New Glasgow Music Festival rose bowl, received an honourable mention from the Ottawa Choral Society’s New Discoveries Competition,  received second place in the Hal Leonard International Vocal Competition, and won 1st place in the Atlantic Young Artist Competition. In the summer of 2014, he represented Nova Scotia at the National Music Festival of Canada where he placed first in the vocal division, and also won the grand award for overall best performer.

Marcel is a frequent soloist and has performed with the Seton Cantata Choir, Nova Voce Provincial Men’s Choir, South Shore Chorale, Nova Sinfonia, Maritime Concert Opera, Confederation Singers and P.E.I. Symphony, Cantabile Chamber Singers, Annex Singers and Talisker Players, and the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony and Grand Philharmonic Choir. For the past five years Marcel has been a featured soloist with the Royal Nova Scotia International Tattoo, performing alongside musicians from around the world for audiences in the tens of thousands.

In recent seasons, Marcel performed in Verdi’s Rigoletto with the Vancouver Opera, as a member of the Yulanda M. Farris young artist program, performed the role of Edgardo in Lucia di Lammermoor with Opera McGill, appeared on tour with Jeunesses Musicales du Canada as the title role in Gounod’s Romeo and Juliette as well as Alfredo in La Traviata and performed with the University of Toronto Opera in their production of Postcard from Morocco. In 2016 Marcel made his international opera debut as Don Ottavio with Opéra de Rouen in Rouen, France and the famous Palace of Versailles, as a laureate of the Jeunes Ambassadeurs Lyriques. He was also a resident artist at the Lunenburg Academy of Music Performance, a vocal resident with the National Arts Center’s Young Artist Program, and an academy fellow with the Art of Song Institute as part of Toronto Summer Music.

Marcel recently performed with the PEI Symphony Orchestra in Britten’s Serenade for tenor, horn, and strings, and sang the role of Il Podesta with Opera Nova Scotia. Immediately after finishing La Bohème in Saskatoon, Marcel will return to Nova Scotia for another performance with the Royal Nova Scotia International Tattoo.

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Marcel d’Entremont

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Janaka Welihinda


Praised for his “clear talent for comic acting” and “clear voice”, Sri Lankan ­Canadian baritone Janaka Welihinda is quickly establishing himself amongst audiences as a captivating emerging artist with “considerable panache”.

This past season, Mr. Welihinda made his professional debut with Toronto Operetta Theatre and Confidential Opera as the Pirate King in The Pirates of Penzance and also returned to Shoestring Opera as both Papageno in La Flûte Enchantée and as Tory Adair in Schoolyard Carmen. In 2015, Janaka debuted at the Indian River Festival and Stratford Summer Music Festival as Papageno in Brent Krysa’s whimsical adaptation of The Magic Flute. His other roles have included Schaunard in La Bohème, Claudio in Béatrice et Benedict, Uberto in La Serva Padrona, Bartolo and Antonio in Le Nozze di Figaro, Pooh­Bah in The Mikado, Frank in Die Fledermaus, Ben in The Telephone, and Guglielmo and Don Alfonso in Così Fan Tutte, and Harry Easter in the professional Canadian premiere of Kurt Weill’s Street Scene. In 2007, Janaka developed the role of Meursault in the world premier of Ian Cherry’s new opera based on the novel by Camus: L’Étranger.

This season Mr. Welihinda makes his professional debuts with Ottawa Chamberfest (Carmen), Saskatoon Opera (La Bohème), Elora Festival (Magic Flute) and Muskoka Opera Festival (Così Fan Tutte).

Janaka holds a Bachelor of Music in Performance and Literature from Brandon University and a Masters of Music in Performance and Literature from the University of Western Ontario.

Saskatchewan born bass-baritone Brenden Friesen has captured audiences with his exceptional diction, enormous comedic presence, and incredible interpretation of text (Opera Canada). Brenden holds a MMus Opera degree from the University of Toronto while studying under Professor Lorna MacDonald as well as Dr. Ron de Jager (Briercrest College, SK). His recent performances include the roles of Leporello and Il Commendatore in UofT Opera’s production of Mozart’s Don Giovanni, Masetto in Don Giovanni (Saskatoon Opera), Sarastro in Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte, the title role in Händel’s Imeneo (UofT Opera), The Police Chief in the 2018 UofT Student Composer Project opera Vengeance, and Jupiter in Offenbach’s Orphée aux enfers (UofT Opera) under the baton of sensational Canadian baritone Russell Braun during his UofT conducting debut.

Brenden is very happy to be home on the prairies performing the role of Colline in Saskatoon Opera’s production of Puccini’s La Bohème, June 2018. Following these performances, Brenden will again perform the role of Colline with Highlands Opera Studio in Haliburton Ontario July 2018. In August 2018, Brenden is pleased to be continuing his operatic career in as one of the young artists in the Atelier Lyrique de l’Opéra de Montréal and making his Montreal debut as Count Ceprano in Verdi’s Rigoletto.


Brenden Friesen

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Chris Kelly


Chris Kelly was born in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan and grew up in nearby Spruce Home. He studied piano and sang in the Prince Albert Boys Choir — eventually serving as their accompanist and director of junior choirs. He attended the University of Saskatchewan and completed a double major in voice and piano performance. He then received a Master of Music in Vocal Performance from the University of Western Ontario. Chris taught in the U of S music department for 20 years — teaching voice, keyboard skills and musicianship. He also maintains a private voice and piano studio and performs regularly in recital, opera, and oratorio. Chris is a regular adjudicator of music festivals throughout the province. He has been the organist and choir director at First Baptist Church for over 20 years. He has been a guest soloist in Handel’s Messiah with the Saskatoon and Regina symphonies. Other works include Verdi’s Requiem and Haydn’s Creation.

Chris’s first Saskatoon Opera role was Giussepe in The Gondoliers back in 1992. He has since performed lead and chorus roles in Il barbiere di Siviglia, La Traviata, Faust, Le nozze di Figaro, Carmen, and L’elisir d’amor. He also served as accompanist for Saskatoon Opera’s school tour of Mozart’s The Magic Flute and the main stage’s two piano version of Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi and Suor Angelica.

Well-known Saskatchewan tenor Michael Harris was born in London, England, completed his Bachelor of Music at the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, and earned an Advanced Performance Diploma with Distinction at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama in Cardiff.

Saskatchewan performances have included Handel’s Messiah, Haydn’s Creation and Clausen’s A New Beginning, Britten’s Serenade with the Prairie Virtuosi, the SMFA Centennial performance of Sterndale Bennett’s May Queen in Regina, and has toured with Saskatoon Opera Association in the production of Purcell’s King Arthur, as Lancelot. He has performed many roles through the years with the Saskatoon Opera Association, including the role of Goro in Madama Butterfly.

Michael has been the Musical Director of the Saskatoon Francophone choir Choeur des plaines for the past 11 years, and is also currently Musical Director at St. John’s Cathedral. He was Musical Director for the Saskatoon Summer Players’ production of Gilbert and Sullivan’s Pinafore, and has been Chorus Master for the Saskatoon Opera Association past productions of La Bohème and La Traviata.

In addition to his operatic and oratorio performances Michael is the past-President of the Saskatoon branch of the Saskatchewan Registered Music Teachers’ Association. He currently resides in Saskatoon with his wife Taunya and children William and Branwen, where he maintains a voice studio.

He has been a soloist at various Gustin House concerts, performing such works as Schubert’s Winterreise and Finzi’s Dies Natalis — and most recently Schumann’s Dichterliebe. Michael has been a featured soloist in many SSO concerts, including that of Beethoven’s 9th Symphony, and he will appear in the upcoming SSO performance of Mozart’s Requiem.


Michael Harris

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Chris Donlevy


Chris Donlevy is a Saskatoon-born Winnipeg-based performer, and is excited to be on the boards for Saskatoon Opera’s La Boheme! Opera: Gianni Schicchi, Magic Flute… Retold. (Manitoba Underground Opera); The Scorpions Sting, The Bremen Town Musicians (Saskatoon Opera in Schools); The Cunning Little Vixen (Opera Nuova); La Traviata, Falstaff, Of Mice and Men (Manitoba Opera Chorus). Musical Theatre: Carousel (Opera Nuova) It’s A Wonderful Life (Persephone); 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee (Persephone); Two Corpses Go Dancing (Live Five Saskatoon); Saskatchewan Outdoors (Sask Parks). Training: BFA in Drama – Distinction (USask). Chris thanks Marcel Desautels and the Wright Family for their support with his degree.

Directors and Designers

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Charlie Peters

Stage Director

Charlie Peters is a Saskatoon-based theatre and opera director, actor, lighting designer, playwright, dramaturge, poet, and clown. He works as Artistic Associate with Sum Theatre and Founding Director of Embrace Theatre. Charlie earned a BFA in Acting from the University of Saskatchewan, continued his training at the Manitoulin Conservatory for Creation and Performance, and is the recipient of the Saskatoon and Area Theatre Awards for Outstanding Emerging Artist (2013) and Outstanding Lighting Design (2015). He was nominated for a SATAward for Outstanding Direction in 2014. His artistic work has been seen on stages (and in parks, fields, living rooms, and pools) across Saskatchewan and Western Canada. Charlie also works as a theatre educator with youth in-need, using drama skills to build community, awareness, and self-confidence through playful, imaginative learning.

Canadian Eric Paetkau (payte-co) is the Music Director of the Saskatoon Symphony Orchestra and is also Founder and Music Director of Toronto-based group of 27. Known for his intense musicality and artistic excellence, Mr. Paetkau has conducted many orchestras including the Calgary Philharmonic, Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony, Hamilton Philharmonic and Les Violons du Roy, among many others. He has also worked with a wide range of soloists including Jan Lisiecki, James Ehnes, Marie-Nicole Lemieux, Nathan Berg, and Tanya Tagaq.

With the dynamic and innovative group of 27, he’s produced a concert recording with Juno award winning soprano Shannon Mercer on Centaur Records, as well as a recording of Canadian concerti with bassoonist Nadina Mackie Jackson and trumpeter Guy Few on the MSR label. Both discs were nominated for two Classical Album of the Year categories for the 2014 Juno Awards.

Mr. Paetkau has also held the position of Resident Conductor with Quebec City’s world-renowned Les Violons du Roy. He led the orchestra in over 40 concerts with repertoire ranging from the Baroque to the contemporary.

As a violist, Mr. Paetkau was a member of the Nuremburg Symphony in Germany, and has played with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, the Canadian Opera Company, the National Ballet of Canada Orchestra, Les Violons du Roy, and Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra.

SSO Music Director Eric Paetkau at Convocation Hall on March 15th, 2016.

Eric Paetkau


Wes D. Pearce

Set Designer

Wes D. Pearce is honoured to be making his debut with Saskatoon Opera and thrilled to be working with two former students on this production. Recent credits include set and costume design for the world premieres of Us and Key Change (both for Globe Theatre) as well set and costume design for the Globe’s provincial tours of Ring of Fire: The Music of Johnny Cash and Million Dollar Quartet. Favourite costume design credits at Persephone Theatre include Beauty and the Beast, A Christmas Story, The 39 Steps and Leading Ladies. He is Professor in the Theatre Department and Associate Dean (Undergraduate) for the Faculty of Media, Art, and Performance at the University of Regina and last year received the University of Regina Theatre Department’s Distinguished Alumni Award. Much thanks to Brett!

The lilacs are blooming and spring is in the air. Must be time again for another wonderful presentation from Saskatoon Opera. La Bohème marks his fourth lighting design and third in a row for this amazing company. As Persephone Theatre’s Head of Lighting, Andy has had the opportunity to program and operate nearly every show over the past seven seasons and looks forward to many more to come. Prior to joining in the theatre world he worked as a freelance technician, designer and operator for over 20 years. Prior credits include; Hank Williams, The Show He Never Gave, Sexy Laundry, The Black Bonspiel of Wullie MacCrimmon, Leading Ladies, Vanya Sonya Masha & Spike, Dear Johnny Deere; all at Persephone Theatre. Saskatoon Opera Company’s productions of Carmen, Barber of Seville, Don Giovanni.   

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Andrew Forrester

Lighting Designer

S.E. Grummett

Projection Designer

S.E. Grummett is an emerging creator, performer, puppeteer and projection designer from Saskatoon and a graduate from the U of S acting program. Grummett has been combining a love for theatre with a background in video, as a projection designer for Grounded (Live Five) and Short Cuts Festival 2017. Grummett is also a puppeteer with Wide Open Children’s Theatre (Very Merry Munsch, A Night Before Christmas) and the assistant director for Titus A. puppet revenge (Shakespeare on the Saskatchewan). Grummett has spent the last three years playing as Andy Warhol in the feminist show, SCUM: a manifesto, coming soon to Live Five Theatre’s next season. Grummett will also be designing shadow puppets and projections for Live Five’s first show of their +1 series: Elemental. Grummett has also created and toured a number of shows across Canada and the U.S. with her company, Scantily Glad Theatre, Saskatoon’s only queer and feminist theatre company.

Miranda Hughes is a Saskatoon based costume designer, actor and singer. Costume design highlights include Dominion (GTNT), Dr.Frightful Presents: Dead Air (Neverending Highway), and The Moonlight Sonata of Beethoven Blatz (Station Arts.) Recent acting credits include boom (Fire in the Hole/Live Five), The Inconquerable Faith of Gladys Struthers and Others (EvilStick Productions), Undercover (Persephone Theatre), and Danny King of the Basement (Persephone Theatre.) As well as performing and designing, Miranda produces theatre with her team, EvilStick Productions. Miranda holds her bachelor of fine arts in acting (University of Saskatchewan).

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Miranda Hughes

Costume Designer

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