Saskatoon Opera in Schools Tour 2017

The Bremen Town Musicians by Canadian Composer Dean Burry – May 8 to May 19, 2017

Saskatoon Opera in Schools marks Canada’s 150th birthday with a production of The Bremen Town Musicians, by Canadian composer Dean Burry. After successful tours to the south of the province in 2015 and 2016, Saskatoon Opera in Schools brings this acclaimed children’s opera to schools in Saskatoon and north-central Saskatchewan.

Presented by

Maria Fuller – Pianist

Maria Fuller

Pianist and Music Director

Maria Fuller was born and raised on a grain farm near Earl Grey in Southern Saskatchewan. She has her Bachelor of Music in piano performance from McGill University in Montreal, her Masters of Music from the College-Conservatory of Music in Cincinnati, and an Artist Diploma in Operatic Coaching from CCM as well. Maria has had success in several competitions across Canada on the piano. She is a two-time laureate of the FCMF National Finals, a laureate of the CMC National Finals, and of the CFMTA National Finals. She has won the Grand Award for the Saskatchewan Provincial Music Festival, and placed first in the Gordon Wallis and Schumiature competitions. Maria was a semi-finalist in the World Piano Competition in Cincinnati, and also as a chamber musician at the Fischoff and Plowman National Chamber Music Competitions with her Montreal trio, Geistrio. Most recently Maria has performed with the Longview Symphony in Texas and the Cincinnati Ballet as a soloist, as well as the CCM Philharmonia as a concerto competition winner.

Following the trend of her family, all five of whom play the trumpet, Maria, too, plays the trumpet. In her early to mid teens, she was the winner of the overall brass class at the Saskatchewan Provincials thrice and received two RCM medals signifying the highest mark in Saskatchewan for examinations. In later years, she served as utility for the RSO and was aired on CBC Radio 1 with her sister, Natalie. Maria currently plays piano for the Richmond Symphony and the Kentucky Symphony.

Charlie is a Saskatoon-based theatre and opera director, actor, lighting designer, playwright, dramaturge, poet, and clown. He has a BFA in Acting from the University of Saskatchewan and is the recipient of the Saskatoon and Area Theatre Award for Outstanding Emerging Artist (2013) and Outstanding Lighting Design (2015). His work has been seen on stages 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 active, imaginative learning.

Charlie Peters – Stage Director

Charlie Peters

Stage Director
Shelby Lyn Lowe – Designer

Shelby Lyn Lowe


Shelby Lyn Lowe is a Saskatchewan-based designer, stage manager, technician, and puppeteer who received her BFA in Theatre Design from the University of Regina in 2013. After a design internship at the Globe Theatre in Regina, Shelby has designed productions for the University of Regina, Embrace Theatre, Saskatoon Opera in Schools, Gordon Tootoosis Nikaniwin Theatre, and Persephone Theatre Youth Tour. In 2014, she was a participant of the Old Trout Banff Puppet Intensive. Shelby has assistant stage managed the main stage productions for Saskatoon Opera since Carmen in 2013 and will be back for Don Giovanni this summer.

This Opera in Schools 2017 Spring Tour is Erica’s third year working with the Saskatoon Opera in schools program. She performed in last year’s English rendition of The Barber of Seville, as Berta and in 2015’s performance of Hansel & Gretel, as The Witch. This season she will work in a completely new capacity as the company’s stage manager. Erica is looking forward to working with other “up and comers” and broadening her industry knowledge in her new role.

Erica McFadden – Stage & Tour Manager

Erica McFadden

Stage and Tour Manager

The Cast

Allison Walmsley – Cat

Allison Walmsley


Allison is thrilled to be performing the role of the cat with Saskatoon Opera Association’s upcoming production of The Bremen Town Musicians. Hailing from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, she completed her Bachelor’s degree in voice performance at the University of Saskatchewan, studying under Dr. Garry Gable and Kathleen Lohrenz Gable. Since completing her degree, Allison has received many awards and partaken in various performance opportunities across Canada. In 2016 and 2014 respectively, she won the Gordon Wallis Opera competition and the CFMTA Young Artist competition and tour in her home province. Recent projects include Queen of the Night in Opera Kelowna’s and Western Opera’s production of Die Zauberflöte, Nanetta in Western University’s production of Falstaff, Emily in Opera NUOVA’s production of Our Town, and Lucy in the U of S Music Theatre ensemble’s production of the The Beggars Opera. Nurturing her love of contemporary music, she takes great joy in participating in Western University’s contemporary ensemble under the direction of John Hess and Dáirine Ní Mheadhra. After finishing her Masters of Music degree at Western University under soprano Jackie Short in April, Allison looks forward to singing ‘poet’ in Arcady’s June production of Ruth, playing Morgana in Alcina at AEDO in Luca, Italy, and performing Handel’s Messiah with the Regina Symphony Orchestra.

Jillian Bonner is a mezzo soprano from New Brunswick, Canada. She is a recent graduate of the Master of Music (Voice Performance) program at the University of Manitoba, where she studied with Tracy Dahl. In fall 2016, she briefly relocated to Kitchener, Ontario to study with mezzo soprano Kimberly Barber thanks to a Career Development grant from the New Brunswick Arts Board.

She has sung with the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra (Mozart Requiem, 2015) as the alto soloist, and Symphony Nova Scotia (Mendelssohn’s A Midsummer Nights Dream, 2009) as the soprano soloist. Jillian was invited to sing with the University of Manitoba Wind Orchestra in 2015 and 2016, and was a winner of the Winnipeg Music Festival Rose Bowl in 2015. Also in 2015, she was a winner at the North Dakota-Manitoba District Metropolitan Opera Council auditions, and sang in the Upper Midwest Regionals. In 2017, she was awarded an Encouragement award from the Toronto-Buffalo district of the MONC.

Recent roles include Mrs. Anderssen in A Little Night Music (Dry Cold Productions, 2016); Hansel in Hansel & Gretel (Little Opera Company, 2015); Angelina in La Cenerentola (University of Manitoba Opera Workshop & Symphony Orchestra conducted by Julian Pellicano, 2015). This spring, Jillian looks forward to performing with Saskatoon Opera in their school tour of Dean Burry’s Bremen Town Musicians (Dog), and Opera NUOVA’s production of Cunning Little Vixen (Fox).  In their 2017-2018 season, Jillian will be joining Calgary Opera as one of their Emerging Artists.

Jillian Bonner – Dog

Jillian Bonner

Christ Donlevy – Rooster

Chris Donlevy


Chris Donlevy is a Saskatoon-born Winnipeg-based performer, and is excited to take part in the Saskatoon Opera in Schools Tour for the first time for The Bremen Town Musicians! Opera: Magic Flute… Retold. (Manitoba UNDERGROUND Opera); Carmen & Candide (Opera Nuova); Starting from Baroque; What a Tangled Web… (UManitoba Opera Theatre); Falstaff, Of Mice and Men (Manitoba Opera Chorus). Musical Theatre: It’s A Wonderful Life (Persephone); 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee (Persephone); Two Corpses Go Dancing (Live Five Saskatoon); Saskatchewan Outdoors (Sask Parks). Choral Work: Opposites Attract, Worlds Apart (Polycoro). Upcoming: Elijah with the University Singers (WSO); The Cunning Little Vixen; Carousel (Opera NUOVA); Gianni Schicci (Manitoba UNDERGROUND Opera).

Chris holds a BFA in Acting with Distinction from the University of Saskatchewan, and is currently in his second year of a BMus in performance, studying voice with Mel Braun. He thanks Marcel Desautels and the Wright Family for their support with his degree.

Jordie Hughton, baritone, is thrilled to be entertaining the children of Saskatchewan with this outstanding cast! He recently appeared as Fiorello/Officer in the SOA mainstage production of Il Barbiere di Siviglia and as the Imperial Commissioner in Madama Butterfly. Highlights from seven years with the Saskatoon Opera in Schools tour include Jacob Grimm in The Brothers Grimm, Dr. Bartolo in The Barber of Seville and the Father in Hansel and Gretel. Other stage highlights include Gugielmo in Cosi fan tutte, Opera NUOVA, Schroeder You’re a Good man Charlie Brown by the Saskatoon Summer Players as well as Javert in Les Misérables, Pontius Pilate in Jesus Christ Superstar and the Tin Man in The Wizard of Oz, all with the Fireside Singers. Jordie has been a guest artist on numerous occasions with the Regina and Saskatoon Symphony Orchestras for Handel’s Messiah and was recently honoured to be a featured soloist in Mozart’s Coronation Mass and in the SSO’s On Broadway collaboration with the Fireside Singers. During his studies with Dr. Garry Gable and Kathleen Lohrenz Gable at the U of S, Jordie won the prestigious Gordon Wallis Memorial Opera Competition (Saskatchewan Music Festival Association) and represented Saskatchewan at the National Music Festival. Jordie maintains a busy teaching schedule at the Saskatoon Academy of Music where he recently helped establish two community choirs for children and adults.

Jordie Hughton – Donkey

Jordie Hughton


Brenden Friesen


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.

The unique art form of opera combines all the arts: music, drama, dance, and visual arts. Since 2001, Saskatoon Opera in Schools has performed for thousands of elementary and high school students in Saskatoon and communities in central Saskatchewan, introducing young audiences to the exciting art form of opera. Our cast is the next generation of Canadian opera stars!

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