Saskatoon Opera | Don Giovanni | Main Stage Saskatoon Opera | June 2017
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This June, Saskatoon Opera is delighted to present Mozart’s opera, Don Giovanni


  Not seen on our stage since 2006, the story of the insatiable libertine and his downfall
is set to a sublime score that includes Mozart’s greatest operatic finale.

 Runs from Thursday, June 15, 2017 to Saturday, June 24, 2017

The Cast

Iain MacNeil

Don Giovanni

Canadian Opera Company Ensemble Studio graduate and Brockville, Ontario native baritone Iain MacNeil recently appeared with the Canadian Opera Company as the title role in the Ensemble Studio Performance of Le nozze di Figaro. In July of 2016 he debuted the role of Tarquinius in The Rape of Lucretia at the Banff Centre: Opera in the 21st Century, and reprised the production with the Toronto Summer Music Festival, 2016. He was recently a finalist in the Ottawa Choral Society New Discoveries competition. In 2014 he took home the male prize in the Emmerich Smola Förderpreis competition in Landau, Germany, and in 2013 he was a finalist in the Canadian Opera Company’s Centre Stage competition. He studied at the University of Toronto’s Opera Division and received a bachelor of music degree from Dalhousie University. Credits include Bartolo in Il barbiere di Siviglia (Canadian Opera Company Ensemble Studio Performance); Guglielmo in Così fan tutte (Centre for Opera Studies in Italy); Sid in Albert Herring (University of Toronto Opera School); Bobby in Kurt Weill’s Mahagonny-Songspiel, the title role in Sweeney Todd, Brewer in Comedy on the Bridgeand Tom/John in The Face on the Barroom Floor (Dalhousie Opera Workshop). In May of 2017 Iain will sing the title role in Vancouver Opera’s production of Le nozze di Figaro.

Artist-in-residence of the Atelier Lyrique de l’Opéra de Montréal and grant bursary and graduate student at McGill University, Myriam Leblanc is a young soprano coloratura evolving in the musical environment over many years already. Recently, in 2014, she won the “Public Preferred Talent Prize” and overall “First prize” in the OSTR (Trois-Rivières Symphony Orchestra). She also participated along with colleagues singers in the “2014 Young Lyric Ambassadors” and won several commitments and prizes, such as the Quebec-Bavarian Prize, as well as the Belgian Operatic Prize, which brings her to sing at the Silly Musical Spring Festival. In 2014, she was also noticed at the Prix D’Europe where she won the Anisia Campos and Rémus Tzincoca prize for the best opera excerpt. Over and above the pre cited events, she also detains a Master’s degree in choir direction, acquired under the good guidance of the well known musical director, Robert Ingari. In fall 2015, she performed the role of Juliette as part of Emerging Artists Concerts on tour organized by Jeunesses Musicales of Canada (JMC). Recently, she also made her debut at L’Opéra de Montreal in the role of the Grand Priestess in the famous opera of Verdi: Aïda. In November, she also won the public prize at the “Centre Stage Competition” at the Canadian Opera Company.

Myriam Leblanc

Donna Anna

Aviva Fortunata

Donna Elvira

Italian-Canadian soprano Aviva Fortunata has been praised as being “blessed with a gorgeous voice of richness and amplitude” (Musical Toronto). Ms Fortunata was a finalist in the 2016 Operalia Competition in Guadalajara, Mexico, where she performed under the baton of Maestro Plácido Domingo in the historic Teatro Degollado. Representing Canada in the 2015 BBC Cardiff Singer of the World Competition, she was a finalist for the Song Prize. Upcoming 2016/17 season credits include Erste Dame in Die Zauberflöte with the Canadian Opera Company and Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni with Saskatoon Opera. Upcoming cover roles include Dritte Norn and Gutrune in Götterdämmerung with the Canadian Opera Company. A graduate of the Canadian Opera Company’s Ensemble Studio, Ms Fortunata’s main stage roles include Contessa Almaviva in Le nozze di Figaro, Fiordiligi in Così fan tutte, Helmwige in Die Walküre, Berta in The Barber of Seville, Annina in La Traviata, and Clotilde in Norma.

Ms Fortunata’s cover roles at the Canadian Opera Company include Norma in Norma, Anna in Maometto II, Alice Ford in Falstaff, Donna Anna in Don Giovanni, and Ellen Orford in Peter Grimes. Other notable credits include Desdemona in Otello and the Lady with a Cake Box in Postcard from Morocco with San Francisco Opera’s Merola Opera Program; Donna Anna in Don Giovanni with Concert Opera Group, Centre for Opera Studies in Italy and the University of Toronto; and Poulenc’s Gloria with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra. As part of the 2015/16 Free Concert Series at the Richard Bradshaw Amphiteatre, Ms Fortunata performed the Canadian premiere of John Greer’s piano quintet arrangement of Richard Strauss’ Vier letzte Lieder. Other performances in the Free Concert Series include Olivier Messaien’s Poèmes pour Mi (2014) and Benjamin Britten’s Ekho Poeta (2013). Ms Fortunata received Bachelor and Master Degrees from the University of Toronto, where she won the Jim and Charlotte Norcop Prize in Song, as well as the Peter and Helen Hunt Graduation Award in Opera. She has also received grants from the Jacqueline Desmarais Foundation and Alberta Foundation for the Arts.

Born and raised in Saskatchewan, bass-baritone Brenden Friesen holds a Bachelor of Arts in Music with an emphasis on Vocal Performance at Briercrest College under the tutelage of Dr. Ron de Jager. Brenden has performed in multiple styles including opera, oratorio, and musical theatre. The most memorable of these performances was his opportunity to be a choral singer during the Masterworks Festival at Carnegie Hall in 2012.

Brenden recently performed the role of Jupiter in the U of T Opera production of Offenbach’s Orfée aux enfers. His previous roles include Pooh-Bah (The Mikado), Grosvenor (Patience), and Dick Deadeye (H.M.S. Pinafore). He has also presented excerpts from beloved operas including Don Giovanni and Die Zauberflöte. Brenden has also explored the musical theatre idiom portraying Tevye (Fiddler on the Roof) and the title role of Beauty and The Beast.

Brenden is currently studying a MMus in Opera at the University of Toronto studying privately with Lorna MacDonald. He looks forward to portraying the title role in U of T Opera’s spring production of Händel’s Imeneo, as well as the role of Masetto in Saskatoon Opera’s production of Don Giovanni.

Brenden Friesen


Emma Johnson


Born and raised in Regina Saskatchewan, Emma Johnson received her Bachelor of Music in Voice Performance from the University of Toronto in April 2016 and has most recently completed a year of Pre-Masters studies at the University of Manitoba under the direction of Monica Huisman. Emma was the recipient of both the Audrey Belyea and Rose Bowl trophy scholarship at the 2017 Winnipeg Music Festival and is looking forward to her first performance with the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra this June. Opera excerpt roles include Pamina (Die Zauberflöte), Susanna (Le nozze di figaro), Fiordiligi (Cosi fan tutte) and most recently, Countess Almaviva (Le nozze di figaro) with the University of Manitoba’s Opera Theatre ensemble. Past engagements include performing as the soprano soloist in Mozart’s Solemn Vespers and Dan Forrest’s Requiem for the Living under the baton of Hart Godden with members of the Regina Philharmonic Chorus and Regina Symphony Orchestra. Emma will begin her Masters degree in Voice Performance at the University of Manitoba this coming fall and is thrilled to be making her debut as Zerlina with Saskatoon Opera.

Daniel Thielmann is currently enrolled in the Masters of Opera in Music Performance at the University of Toronto where he is studying with soprano, Wendy Nielsen. Daniel has attended the Franz Schubert Institute in Baden, Austria, where he worked with professionals Elly Ameling, Andreas Schmidt, Robert Holl, Rudolf Jansen, Helmut Deutsch, Birgid Zehetner, and others. He performed with the Desautels Faculty of Music’s production of Rossini’s La Cenerentola as Dandini and with the University of Toronto’s production of Jacques Offenbach’s Orphée aux enfers as John Styx and Bacchus. He has also sung with Winnipeg’s baroque choral music ensemble, Canzona, as a soloist and chorister, and had the privilege of performing with Tafelmusik in the 2016 run of Handel’s Messiah.

Daniel Thielmann


Jean-Michel Richer

Don Ottavio

This young French Canadian tenor studied in Montreal (CAN), Santa Barbara & New York (USA). After studying trombone and singing in Montreal, he pursued his studies with the Music Academy of the West (CA, USA), the Vocal Art Canadian Institute(ICAV)  and the Orford Arts Center with Marilyn Horne, Warren Jones, Michel Sénéchal, Joan Dornemann, Edith Bers et Tom Krause. In 2011 he joined the Atelier lyrique de l’Opéra de Montréal where he took part in several productions of the Opéra de Montréal.

He started his career outside Canada at the Chautauqua Music Festival (USA) where he sang Don Ottavio (Don Giovanni) , the Chevalier de la Force (Dialogues des Carmélites), and, in the summer 2014, the title role of Werther. He also sang Fernando (Motezuma) with Montreal Baroque, extracts from Rigoletto at the Gala concert of Opéra de Québec, Zémir et Azor (Azor) with Violons du Roy. In 2014 he made his debut in France with l’Affaire Tailleffaire at the Opéra de Limoges.

At the Curtis Institute, he sang between 2014 & 2016, Tom Rakewell from Rake’s Progress, Rodolfo from  La Boheme, Des Grieux from Massenet’s Manon;  in May 2016 he sings Les Feluettes with l’Opéra de Montréal and in July 2016 the Duke from Rigoletto at the Chautauqua Music Festival. In parallel, Jean-Michel Richer took part in several concerts with Studio de Musique Ancienne de Montréal (C. Jackson), I Musici (J.M. Zeitouni), l’ensemble Caprice (M. Maute) and his recital Songs of Travel with pianiste Martin Dubé was awarded the Josef-Traxel scholarship in 2013.

Jean-Michel Richer is supported by the Jacqueline Desmarais Foundation which enables him to pursue his vocal training with Marlena Kleinman Malas in New York.

Among his projects: Gonzalve from l’Heure Espagnole with Opera National de Lorraine, Don Ottavio from Don Giovanni with the Opéra de Montréal, the revival of Les Feluettes with  Pacific Opera Victoria, some rare French repertoire Leonore ou L’Amour Conjugal from Bouilly & Gaveaux with Opera Lafayette in Washington.

Dr. Garry Gable, bass-baritone, resides in Saskatoon where he teaches vocal studies and directs the Music Theatre Ensemble at the University of Saskatchewan. He is a recipient of the Provost’s Awards for Outstanding Teaching at the University of Saskatchewan, and his students have enjoyed success across Canada and into Europe, the United States, and China.

He has performed across Canada and into the USA in all types of music, musical theater, drama, television, and in-concert productions. Garry has also been heard in recital with his wife, Kathleen Lohrenz Gable, on the CBC-Radio both regionally and nationally. He has enjoyed success in China, in recital and as a teacher, where Garry is adjunct faculty in Music Conservatories in Wuhan and Tianjin. Garry and Kathleen enjoyed another very successful teaching stint in Wuhan, China in May 2015.

In Saskatoon, there have been many appearances with the Saskatoon Symphony, most recently narrating How the Grinch stole Christmas last December. With Saskatoon Opera Association Garry has been seen as Frank in Die Fledermaus, Il Commendatore in Don Giovanni, Dulcamara in L’elisir d’amore, Alcindoro in La Bohème, Dr. Bartolo in Le Nozze di Figaro, Zuniga in Carmen, Il Bonze/Prince Yamadori in Madama Butterfly.

He has performed with Persephone Theater in It’s a wonderful life as the irascible Mr. Potter, and as Maurice in Beauty and the Beast. He has performed with the Saskatoon Jazz Orchestra and composer/pianist David Braid. Garry joined the Regina Symphony for their production of “Candide” in the role of Pangloss.

He is pleased to rejoin Saskatoon Opera for this production of Don Giovanni.

Garry Gable

The Commendatore

Saskatoon Opera Box Office


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