- Alcina -

May 25, 2012 (Toronto); May 31, 2012 (New Hamburg)

Toronto: Friday, May 25, 2012, 7:30 p.m.; Trinity St. Paul’s Centre, 427 Bloor St. West. Tickets at the door: $20

New Hamburg: Thursday, May 31, 2012, 7:30 p.m.; Steinmann Mennonite Church. http://www.newhamburglive.ca

What happens when a pair of sister sorceresses fall in love with the wrong men? Handel tells the story of Alcina, a sorceress who gives up her powers for the love of a handsome knight, and her sister Morgana, who has to choose between a faithful lover and a mysterious stranger. Dramatic and heartbreaking in true opera seria style, with quests, betrayals, and love conquering all.

Essential Opera: Alcina Trailer

Alcina in 90 Seconds

Sung in Italian with English translation, and accompanied by a chamber orchestra of period instruments. Music director: Vicki St. Pierre


Violin 1 – Alexis Brett
Violin 2 – Elizabeth Loewen Andrews
Viola – Mary McGeer
Cello – Laura Jones
Harpsichord – Lysiane Boulva
Oboe 1 – Daniel Brielmaier
Oboe 2 – Gillian Howard

Cast and Creative Team

Vicki St. Pierre

Music Director; Bradamante

Vicki St. Pierre’s warm, lush voice “invitingly combines clarity of expression and beauty of tone,” and is described as “rich with both a darkness and brightness.”

Past concert highlights include Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony with the Toronto Philharmonic Orchestra, Monteverdi’s Vespers of 1610 with the Toronto Consort, Zelenka’s St. Cecilia Mass with Tafelmusik, Stanford’s Requiem with the Orpheus Choir, Bach’s Magnificat with the Toronto Bach Consort, and Handel’s Messiah with Symphony Nova Scotia, the Edmonton Symphony, and the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra.

On the operatic stage, Ms. St Pierre has appeared in Monteverdi’s Orfeo, Charpentier’s Actéon, and Monteverdi’s Il ritorno d’Ulisse in Patria with Opera Atelier, Dido and Aeneas with Ensemble Masques de Montreal and Toronto Masque Theatre, Rossini’s Il Barbiere di Siviglia with Toronto Philharmonia, and L’Incoronazione di Poppea with Opera Atelier, Cleveland Opera and Early Music Vancouver.

Recent engagements include Handel’s Dixit Dominus with Tafelmusik, and the music of Jommelli with Les Idées Heureuses of Montreal.
Ms. St. Pierre is a successful voice teacher with students graduating from many prestigious undergraduate and graduate music programs. She is the Director of Choral Music at The Cathedral Church of St. James in Toronto and is Assistant Conductor with Opera Atelier (when she’s not on stage performing with them!).

Vicki is completing her doctoral studies at the University of Toronto with an anticipated completion date in Fall, 2012.

Erin Bardua


Soprano Erin Bardua is a seasoned concert and opera artist. She made her professional operatic debut as Anna in Pacific Opera Victoria’s production of Verdi’s Nabucco. She counts many other operatic roles in her repertoire: Nannetta in Verdi’s Falstaff, Anna in Nicolai’s Die Lustigen Weiber von Windsor, Micaela in Bizet’s Carmen, Musetta in Puccini’s La Bohème, Cathleen in Vaughan Williams’ Riders to the Sea, Antonia and Giulietta in Offenbach’s Les Contes d’Hoffmann, and Pamina in Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte. Erin’s other Mozart roles include the Countess and Susanna in Le nozze di Figaro, and Donna Anna in Don Giovanni. A lover of contemporary music and theatre, Erin created leading roles in operas by Canadian composers Christopher Donison and Andrew Ager. In 2003, Erin and a group of other adventurous opera singers began clown training with mentor Sue Morrison. Since then, Erin has continued her training and participated in the co-creation of a clown opera, The Figaro Project, which premiered in 2007. In 2010, Erin co-founded Essential Opera, a Toronto-based group exploring both new and classic works in concert. Her roles with Essential Opera include the Countess in Le nozze di Figaro, L’Ensoleillad in Massenet’s Chérubin, and Alcina.

As a concert soloist, Erin has sung Handel’s perennial favourite, Messiah, with numerous choirs and orchestras, including the Pax Christi Chorale, the Toronto Sinfonietta, the Oshawa-Durham Orchestra and Chorus, and the Arcady Baroque Ensemble. Other oratorio performances have included Beethoven’s Mass in C Major, Vaughan Williams’ Hodie, Haydn’s Creation, Handel’s Esther and Judas Maccabaeus, Mozart’s Requiem and Vesperae solennes de confessore, Saint-Säens’ Christmas Oratorio, Rutter’s Requiem, M.A. Charpentier’s Te Deum, Bach’s Magnificat, and Vivaldi’s Gloria, Nulla in mundo pax sincera, and In furore justissimae irae.

Erin has a Masters in Vocal Performance from the University of Toronto, and teaches voice in both Toronto and New Hamburg, ON. She is represented by Gossage Artists Management. http://www.erinbardua.com

Vilma Vitols


Mezzo-soprano Vilma Indra Vitols’ operatic credits include 2nd and 3rd Lady in The Magic Flute with Opera Atelier, the title role in Carmen for SOLT, Lucy Brown in The Threepenny Opera with Vancouver Opera, Olga in Eugene Onegin with Pacific Opera Victoria, and Maria Picariello in the Banff Centre production of the Canadian opera Filumena. Future engagements include Tatiana in Eugene Onegin with Opera By Request.

In demand as a concert singer, Vilma has performed as soloist with various ensembles including Aradia, Continuum, Thirteen Strings, Toca Loca, Talisker Players, Toronto Philharmonia, and the NYCO Symphony Orchestra.  Vilma is a frequent recitalist for the Latvian communities in Canada, the U.S. and Latvia, where she recorded a solo CD featuring Canadian and Latvian music.  Bridge Across The Seas/Tilts pār jūŗām was released in Canada in early 2011 to critical acclaim.

Having taken up boxing in the spring of 2006, Vilma went on to win her first amateur boxing bout in February 2008.  Her two passions of singing and boxing were combined in Voice-Box, a new music collaboration with Toronto’s urbanvessel, which had its premiere as part Harbourfront’s World Stage in November 2010. http://www.vilmavitols.com

Maureen Batt


Noted by Opera Canada as a “young, lovely and captivating soprano,” and by the Halifax Herald as being “enthusiastically at home on stage,” Maureen Batt is an accomplished concert and opera artist.

Recent performances include Toronto Operetta Theatre’s TAPTOO! and the Toy Piano Composer’s Opera Scenesters. Upcoming performances include Eusebia in Schubert’s Die Freunde von Salamanka with Opera in Concert, Morgana in Essential Opera’s Alcina in May, and Papagena in the Maritime Concert Opera’s tour of Die Zauberflöte in June.

Maureen’s selected opera credits include Chérubin (Nina), Marriage of Figaro (Susanna), La dame blanche (Jenny), Don Giovanni (Zerlina), Così fan tutte (Despina), The Old Maid and the Thief (Laetitia), The Maid Mistress (Serpina), and The Impresario (Miss Silverpeal). Selected acting credits include Oh, What a Lovely War! and Caucasian Chalk Circle, and a TV pilot entitled Oznaberg.

Maureen’s formal training includes an MMus from the University of Toronto, a BMus from Dalhousie University, and a BA from St. Thomas University. www.maureenbatt.com

Cory Knight


Described as the quintessential light lyric tenor (Opera Canada), Cory Knight is in demand as a soloist and ensemble singer.

He has enjoyed solo engagements with groups such as Chorus Niagara, Mississauga Choral Society, Pacific Opera Victoria, Pax Christi Chorale, Opera Atelier, Orchestra London Canada, Tapestry New Opera, and Toronto Chamber Choir.

Highlights for the 2011/2012 season include singing the arias in Bach’s St. Matthew Passion with the Grand Philharmonic Choir and Schubert’s Mass in G with the Toronto Classical Singers.

A graduate of the Glenn Gould School and York University, he has studied at the Accademia Rossiniana in Pesaro, Italy, the Internationale Bachakademie Stuttgart, Germany and the Britten-Pears Young Artist Program in Aldeburgh, England.  Cory attended the 2010 Tafelmusik Baroque Summer Institute, and joined the Tafelmusik Chamber Choir the following season.

James Levesque


Noted for his “expressive singing and acting abilities” (Opera Canada) baritone James Levesque has performed on both sides of the Atlantic with such conductors as Harry Bicket, Richard Egarr, Jean-Marie Zeitouni, and Raffi Armenian.

Recent roles include: Count Perrucchetto in Haydn’s La fedeltà premiata (Opera in Concert); Achilla in Handel’s Giulio Cesare (OIC); Mark in the world premiere of John Estacio’s Frobisher (Calgary Opera, CBC), and the title role on Canadian tour; Tsar Alexander I in Prokofiev’s War and Peace (Canadian Opera Company); First Priest in Mozart’s Magic Flute (Calgary Opera); Marco in Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi (Opera York); Balthazar in Menotti’s Amahl and the Night Visitors (Choralis Camerata); the title role in Mozart’s Don Giovanni and Count Almaviva in Mozart’s Marriage of Figaro (Summer Opera Lyric Theatre); William Draper in the world premiere of Gary Kulesha’s The Last Duel (University of Toronto’s Opera Division).

Julie Ludwig


Soprano Julie Ludwig holds a Masters in Vocal Performance and Literature from the University of Western Ontario (UWO) where she studied with Dr. Sophie Roland. She is a recipient of the UWO Board of Governors Award, the London Opera Guild Scholarship, a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) Canadian Graduate Scholarship, as well as a generous bursary from the Canadian Aldeburgh Foundation to assist her studies at the Britten-Pears Young Artist Programme. Recent operatic credits include Emmie (Albert Herring) conducted by Steuart Bedford at the Aldeburgh Music Festival, Laurie (The Tender Land), Susanna (Le nozze di Figaro), First Witch (Dido and Aeneas), Zerlina (Don Giovanni) and Miss Titmouse in the Canadian premiere of Edwin Penhorwood’s Too Many Sopranos. Upcoming engagements include performances as Sophie in Werther and a tour of eastern Quebec and the Maritimes as Despina in Così fan tutte with Jeunesses Musicales.  For more information, visit www.julieludwig.com