Anne-Marie MacIntosh (Gretel) is an emerging Canadian coloratura soprano who has been praised for her “effervescent coloratura,” “stratospheric notes” and “dramatic vivacity”. Born and raised in Langley, British Columbia, Anne-Marie is currently based out of Winnipeg, Manitoba. In 2015, she will make two role debuts: as Mabel in the Pirates of Penzance with the Gilbert & Sullivan Society of Winnipeg and as Gretel in Hansel and Gretel with the Little Opera Company. Anne-Marie’s past operatic repertoire includes Cleopatra ( Giulio Cesare ), Armida ( Rinaldo ), Adina ( L’elisir d’amore ), Zerbinetta ( Ariadne auf Naxos ), Susanna ( Le nozze di Figaro ), Ms. Wordsworth ( Albert Herring ) and Abigail ( The Crucible ). In addition, Anne-Marie has performed as a concert soloist on several occasions, including with the WSO (Orff’s Carmina Burana), and with the UBC Choral Union and UBC Symphony Orchestra (Bernstein’s Mass, Mendelssohn’s “Hear My Prayer/O For the Wings of a Dove”). She has also had success in many vocal competitions, including the Metropolitan National Council Auditions (Second Place, Upper Midwest Region 2015 and Regional Finalist, Upper Midwest Region 2013), the Doris McLellan Competition (Semi Finalist, 2014), and the Winnipeg Rose Bowl (Winner, 2013).
Jillian Bonner (Hansel) is a mezzo soprano from Saint John, New Brunswick. In 2001, she graduated from Dalhousie University with a Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance. Following her graduation, Jillian enjoyed teaching voice lessons, and studying with Monette Gould. She is currently working towards a Master of Music in Voice Performance at the University of Manitoba, studying under renowned soprano Tracy Dahl. Her favorite roles include “Johanna” in the Saint John Theatre Company’s production of Sweeney Todd (2012), “Madame Lidoine” in the Halifax Summer Opera Workshop’s Dialogues des Carmelites (2013) and “Madame de la Haltiere” in Opera NUOVA’s Cendrillon (2014).
Winnipeg Soprano, Judith Otway (Mother) has a passion for singing displayed in her commitment to performance and vocal education. This summer, Judith will be completing an independent study at the COSI summer program in Solomona, Italy and performing Verdi’s Te Deum. She has performed with Opera NUOVA, Kitchener Opera, Indiana University Opera Workshop, University of Manitoba's Contemporary Opera Lab and Halifax Summer Opera, and the University of Miami, School of Music in Salzburg, Austria. Judith recent performances Aunt Eller in Oklahoma! and the Witch in Hansel and Gretel. Judith currently teaches through the Community School of Music & Arts at CMU in Winnipeg and privately in Rosser, Manitoba. Judith holds a Bachelor of Music from Brandon University, an Artist Diploma from University of Manitoba, and a Masters in Literature and Performance from the University of Western Ontario. Judith is the Co- Artistic Director of Flipside Opera.
Anton Sokalski (Dew Fairy / Sandman) is a student at École River Heights school. He has performed with the Manitoba Opera as Dolore in Madama Butterfly, the Second Spirit in The Magic Flute, as Amahl in the Little Opera Company's Amahl and the Night Visitors and as part of the company of Rainbow Stage's Annie. He was awarded the Stewart M. Thomson Trophy (2012, 2014) and the Harold L. Scarth Memorial Trophy (2013) and was runner up to the W. H. Anderson Trophy (2015) in the Winnipeg Music Festival. Anton enjoys cross-country skiing, soccer as well as playing piano and trumpet.
Bass-baritone Aran Matsuda (Father) is currently completing his masters degree in vocal performance at the McGill University Schulich School of Music where he studies with Sanford Sylvan. A native of Japan, Aran graduated from the University of Manitoba Faculty of Music where he studied with Mel Braun and Robert MacLaren. One of Japan’s most sought-after young artists, Aran has also performed with Bach Collegium Japan, the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, The Musical Offering, Canzona, Winnipeg Singers, and a number of smaller orchestras. Aran made his professional operatic debut in the title role in Handel's The Choice of Hercules (2011). Other performances include excerpts from L'incoronazione di Poppea (Seneca), L’elisir d’amore (Dulcamara), Faust (Mephistofeles), Cosi fan tutte (Don Alfonso), Manon (Le Comte des Grieux). His recent appearance include Capellio (I Capuleti e i Montecchi) and numbers of recitals and concerts. Equally at home on the concert stage, Aran has also recently performed as the bass soloist in Mozart's Requiem, Jesus in Bach's St. John Passion both in Canada and Japan, well as a number of concerts in Winnipeg and Yokohama featuring works by Bach, Poulenc, Beethoven, Schumann, Vaughan-Williams, Shostakovich, Rimsky-Korsakov, Tchaikovsky, Einhorn and Ikuma Dan. As the youngest winner of the Rose Bowl (Grade A vocal finals) in the Winnipeg Music Festival at the age of 19 (2009), Aran has swiftly become recognized as an important emerging artist in both Canada and Japan.
Mezzo-Soprano Lois Watson-Lyons (Witch) began her professional career singing on CBC Television’s “Hymn-Sing” Program and with a performance of Handel’s MESSIAH with the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra. She has appeared in opera, oratorio and concert performances in Canada and Europe (Austria, Germany, Italy, Spain, Finland). She made her operatic debut in Menotti’s The Consul at the Klagenfurt Theatre in Austria. She performed the role of Dinah in Bernstein’s opera Trouble in Tahiti in Vienna. She has been a regular soloist with the Manitoba Opera since 1989, singing many comprimario roles in operas such as La Traviata, Rigoletto, Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Salome, Dialogues of the Carmelites, Nosferatu, Macbeth and in the role of Mama Lucia in Mascagni’s Cavalleria Rusticana. She also toured in the role of the Old Maid in Menotti’s The Old Maid and the Thief. She has participated in Master classes with such performers as Elly Ameling, Hans Hotter, Jorg Demus, Erik Werba, Maureen Forrester and Sir Peter Pears. Lois has worked with conductors such as Uri Mayer, Piero Gamba, K. Koizumi, Simon Streatfield and Bramwell Tovey. She also holds an A Mus. in recorder, is a member of MRMTA and NATS. Many of her students have gone on to have their own singing careers. She was a vocal instructor at CMBC/CMU for over 25 years. She presently teaches at the Faculty of Music of the U of M, and also teaches in her private studio. Watson-Lyons is a frequent adjudicator and workshop clinician. She is a chorister and soloist and conducts the junior choir of Grace Bible Church in Winnipeg.
Jacqueline Loewen (Director) is very happy to be working with The Little Opera Company again. She previously directed The Velveteen Rabbit for Little Opera Company, as well as Così fan tutte for Manitoba Underground Opera. Jacqueline has co-directed at the University of Manitoba’s Contemporary Opera Lab, and assistant directed The Daughter of the Regiment (Manitoba Opera) and The Barber of Barkerville(Vancouver Opera). She has also been involved in the operatic world as a fight director on Manitoba Opera’s productions of Macbeth, Carmen, and Tosca. In the non-operatic world, Jacqueline is an actor, director, writer, fight choreographer and member of the three-time Canadian Comedy Award nominated sketch comedy group, Hot Thespian Action.
Originally from Saskatoon, Stephen Cocks (Piano) began piano at an early age and was a Grade 10 Silver Medal winner for The Royal Conservatory of Music in his final year of high school. He completed his BMus. (MusEd.) degree from the University of Saskatchewan and realized a fulfilling career with the Canadian Armed Forces music branch as a conductor, arranger, singer and trombonist. After taking early retirement in 2013, Stephen completed the diploma program for piano technology at the University of Western Ontario, and relocated into Selkirk (Man.) as a piano tuner/technician. He enjoys collaborative piano work with various choirs in Winnipeg and the Interlake, and is a member of the Manitoba Choral Association.
Jana Zens (Children’s Chorus Director) was born and raised in Hudson Bay, Saskatchewan. Upon completing high school, she decided to further her studies in music by attending the Brandon University School of Music in 2002. It was there that she discovered her love for choral music through singing in many choirs such as Chorus, Chorale, B.U. Women’s Voices, and Mecca Productions’ Messiah in New York, where she sang in Carnegie Hall under the direction of John Rutter. She completed her Bachelor of Music and Bachelor of Education in 2007 with a focus on piano performance and secondary choral music education. She then moved to Altona, MB for her first teaching position where she remained until 2012. She is currently teaching at Sisler High School in Winnipeg where she directs choir and vocal jazz. She has also taught elementary general music, choir, and hand bells in Winnipeg. She remains active in the Winnipeg choral community through accompanying and substitute conducting choirs throughout the region.
Sandra McEwing (Stage Manager) is pleased to be back with Little Opera Company as stage manager, having assistant stage managed The Brothers Grimm previously for LOC. Most recent credits for Sandra include assistant stage manager for The Heart of Robin Hood (at Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre in Winnipeg and the Royal Alexandra Theatre in Toronto), Good People and Jane Eyre at RMTC, and stage manager for Big Mama! The Willie Mae Thornton Story, at the National Arts Centre. Sandra is a graduate of the University of Victoria's theatre arts program.