Sunday, November 26, 2017 @ 3:00pm
in Westminster United Church
“The voice is stunningly beautiful and she uses it with intelligence and great sensitivity.” – Hnatyshyn Foundation
Canadian soprano Allison Cecilia Arends is quickly making her mark as a versatile singer whose “voice is stunningly beautiful and [is used] with intelligence and great sensitivity” (Hnatyshyn Foundation). Highly sought-after as an interpreter of opera, new music, and concert repertoire, she is noted for having “charmed listeners with her lyrical upper tones” and for her “empathetic acting” (Opera Canada).
Allison commenced her 2016-2017 season with a Gilbert and Sullivan concert at Casa Loma with the Toronto Concert Orchestra. Operatic appearances this season include Violetta in Verdi’s La Traviata with the Southern Ontario Lyric Opera and Adina in Donizetti’s L’elisir d’amore with Opera York. With the choirs of Timothy Eaton Memorial Church, Grace Church-on-the-Hill, and Christ Church Deer Park, she sang as soprano soloist in Vaughan Williams’ Mass in G minor. Allison will make concert and recital appearances with the Waterdown Arts Festival, Neapolitan Connection, Heliconian Club, Arts and Letters Club, Latvian Society, Dignitas International, as well as a self-produced recital of art and song with mezzo-soprano and artist Paula Arciniega. She looks forward to adjudicating music festivals for the Saskatchewan and British Columbia Music Festivals.
Allison commenced her 2015-2016 season as co-founder and instructor for the St. Andrew Parish Foundation’s Mini Mozarts Music Camp, a camp for underprivileged children in Kingston, Jamaica. Additionally, she traveled to Jamaica for a repeat performance of Festum Sancti Andreae, a performance of operatic highlights, as well as various television and radio appearances, and as a guest instructor in a masterclass at Kingston’s Edna Manley College for the Arts. Concert and operatic performances included A Grand Night for Opera in Burlington and Festitalia’s Canto Quaranta in Hamilton with the Southern Ontario Lyric Opera, Lauretta in Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi with the Cathedral Bluffs Orchestra, and Violetta in Verdi’s La Traviata with Barrie Concerts. Allison made many recital appearances with the Heliconian Club, Arts and Letters Club, Neapolitan Connection, Alliance Française, Campbell House Recital Series, Dante Club, and a self-produced collaboration with violinist Alex Toskov, pianist Marty Smyth, and sculptor Farhad Nargol-O’Neill. Allison joined the Saskatchewan Music Festival as guest adjudicator in Regina.
Allison is a graduate of Calgary Opera’s Emerging Artist Program, and completed a Masters of Music at the University of Toronto Opera School and a Bachelor of Music at the University of Victoria Voice Performance Program. Allison currently studies with W. Stephen Smith, and has previously studied under the tutelage of Mary Morrison, Timothy Noble, Wendy Nielsen, Alexandra Browning, Selena James, and Diana Woolrich. She has completed summer studies at the Alliance Française, Goethe Institut, Britten-Pears Young Artist Program, Opera Workshop for Advanced Singers in St. Andrews, Highlands Opera Studio, Centre for Opera Studies in Italy, International Vocal Arts Institute in Israel, Queen of Puddings Music Theatre, Banff Centre, Franz Schubert-Institut in Austria, and Stuttgart Festival International Choir under the direction of Maestro Helmuth Rilling.
As a recipient of the Hnatyshyn Foundation’s Artist’s Grant, Allison was afforded the opportunity to perform at Rideau Hall in Ottawa. She also had the honour of being the guest artist at the Inter-American Development Bank Governor’s Dinner, as well as singing the National Anthem at the International Annual Meeting of the Boards of Governors, which was attended by Prime Ministers, Governors, Delegates, and Ministers of Finance and Foreign Affairs from forty-five different countries. Additionally, she toured China with the Brahms Symphonie Orchester, has appeared in concert on numerous occasions in Jamaica, was recorded and broadcast by CBC Radio Saskatchewan, and joined Toronto’s Eglinton St. George United Church Choir as a soloist and choir member on their tour of the major cathedrals of Italy. Allison’s awards include first place and audience choice in the Clifford Poole Voice Competition, being named a Laureate of the Jeunes Ambassadeurs Lyriques, second place in the Barry Alexander International Voice Competition, third place in the Spazio Musica International Competition, the Hnatyshyn Foundation Governor General’s Award for Classical Voice, a Senior Award through the B.C. Arts Council, an Encouragement Award through the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, the Holbrook Opera Tour Graduating Award, and scholarships from the Johann Strauss Foundation, the Aldeburgh Foundation, the Wagner Society, ARIAS (formerly COVC), and the Universities of Toronto and Victoria. She was also a participant and semi-finalist in the Joy in Singing masterclass series and competition in New York.
Peter Tiefenbach enjoys a multifaceted career as a performer, composer, and broadcaster. He and Mary Lou Fallis first performed together in 1997. Highlights of their collaboration include successful Toronto runs of her shows Primadonna and Primadonna Does Shakespeare (2002).
A familiar presence on CBC Radio, Peter is the former host of the Radio Two program The Arts Tonight. He has orchestrated and conducted a concert for CBC radio and television and of music by Noel Coward and Ivor Novello with the Canadian Opera Company Orchestra. He has also collaborated with baritone Russell Braun and soprano Donna Brown. In addition, Peter made his acting debut as Gerhard Krachmann in the playSimpl at Toronto’s Tarragon Theatre and Ottawa’s National Arts Centre.
In 2005, Peter gave a recital in Calgary with soprano Valdine Anderson and mezzo-soprano Kimberley Barber (broadcast by the CBC), and served as music director for Calgary Opera’s production of Kurt Weill’sSeven Deadly Sins. That year he performed with Miss Fallis and Kiosque for CBC Radio’s OnStage, and toured through Iceland together.
Peter has participated in the Indian River Festival (Prince Edward Island), Niagara International Chamber Music Festival, and Festival Vancouver, where he reprised the Coward-Novello program.
Among his commissions are works for violinist Mark Fewer and pianist Jean Marchand, the Elora Festival Singers, trumpeter Stuart Laughton, and the Toronto Children’s Chorus. Other projects include a composition for the Saskatoon Children’s Chorus (for the World Children’s Choir Festival in Hong Kong) and for the Canadian Brass. His recordings include Jean Stilwell’s Kabarett (CBC Records, 2003) and Les chemins de l’amour(CBC Records, 2000), Isabel Bayrakdarian’s Azulão (CBC Records, 2003), and Stuart Laughton’s Remembrance (Marquis Classics, 2003).