THREE DECEMBERS Production and Cast
LITTLEOPERA.CA
OUR CAST
DIRECTORS
Canadian stage director Rob Herriot’s career has taken him across North America. He has directed productions of Madama Butterfly, Lucia di Lammermoor, La Boheme, Carmen, Rigoletto and Don Pasquale (Manitoba Opera), Barber of Seville, Don Pasquale (Livermore Valley Opera) La Traviata, Don Pasquale (Opera Hamilton), Carmen, Don Pasquale (Arizona Opera), Don Pasquale (Connecticut Opera, Utah Opera) New productions of Rigoletto (2019)HMS Pinafore (2018) Hansel and Gretel, and Magic Flute. Other productions for Edmonton include Turandot, Pirates of Penzance, La Fille Du Regiment, HMS Pinafore (Edmonton Opera- winner of a Sterling Award for Outstanding Musical of the Season); Tosca, The Mikado, La Cenerentola, all nominated for the Sterling Award’s Best Musical Production of their year. For Calgary Opera he has directed productions of Tosca and Barber of Seville, both nominated for Betty Mitchell awards for Best Musical of 2009 and 2018 seasons, as well as La Boheme for the 40th anniversary of the company. Other productions for Calgary include The Magic Flute, Pirates of Penzance and Candide, as well as numerous shows for their Emerging Artists program. He created a touring production of Don Pasquale for Utah Opera which toured over three seasons and then produced it with the young artists of Tulsa Opera in 2005. He is currently a returning director for Opera Nuova, one of Canada’s young artist summer programs. As a teacher and mentor, he has directed productions of The Fairy Queen, Tartuffe Beatrice and Benedict, Don Giovanni, Oklahoma, La Boheme and Patience. Rob returns this summer to direct The Wizard of Oz at Rainbow stage, following past productions of Beauty and the Beast and Cinderella. He will also be returning to Manitoba Opera for next season’s Tosca.
Spencer Duncanson, Little Opera Company, Artistic Director
Rob Herriot, Director
Lisa Rumpel, Assistant Music Director
Praised for her "fierce artistry and sheer stamina" (Winnipeg Free Press), Canadian pianist Lisa Rumpel is passionate about communicating classical music to a variety of audiences. As an alumnus of the Franz Schubert Institute, Vancouver International Song Institute, Opera Nuova, University of Manitoba and Brandon University, Lisa is equally comfortable accompanying in art song, chamber music, opera, and choral accompanying. Since completing her Masters in Music (Collaborative Piano) in 2015, Lisa has been an active member of the Manitoba music community. She is Associate Director of Flipside Opera, has coached three productions of Manitoba Underground Opera, has been repetiteur for several productions of the University of Manitoba’s Opera Theatre program and is a frequent accompanist at the Winnipeg Music Festival and Faculty of Music recitals. Lisa is the accompanist of the Winnipeg Singers and, at our special events, she has performed in recital with sopranos Tracy Dahl and Lara Ciekiewicz, and has premiered several pieces by Winnipeg composer Sid Robinovitch. Lisa will accompany Lara for a concert at Music at the Millennium in 2019.
Soprano, Ana Toumine (Bea)
As a “personal favourite” (Vancouver Arts Review), soprano Ana Toumine is actively establishing herself as an accomplished singing-actress. Toumine was recently awarded the R. Murray Schafer Scholarship from IRCPA Toronto, named a 30 under 30 artist with the Alberta Council of Ukrainian Arts, the 2020 Flipside Opera Idol, the 2019 winner of the North Dakota- Manitoba District Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, and the 2019 second prize winner of the Vancouver Opera’s VOX Gala competition. In 2020, she was a member of the Edmonton Opera Emerging Artists Studio, as well as a contributing fellow of the Association for Opera in Canada - LINK RBC Future Launch Emerging Artist Fellowship Program. In past years, Toumine distinguished herself as an artist in residence at the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity, in addition to receiving a Training and Career Development Grant from the Alberta Foundation of the Arts. Toumine’s 2019-2020 season included a recital through L’Oasis Musicale Concert Series, numerous community engagement concerts with Edmonton Opera, Manitoba Opera, Flipside Opera, and Little Opera Company; and a performance of Brahms’ Liebeslieder Walzer, Op. 52, as an alumna soloist in the Cantilon Choirs 20th Anniversary Concert. Recent highlights include Toumine’s debut with Opera Kelowna as Mimí in La Bohème, as well as notable roles including Rosalinde (Die Fledermaus), the title role of Alcina, and Anna Glawari (The Merry Widow). Toumine holds a M.Mus from McGill University, a B.Mus from the University of British Columbia, and a Performance Diploma from the University of Manitoba. She teaches privately from her home in Winnipeg, Manitoba, while also maintaining a visual arts studio - Tiny Tou Studios. Ana dedicates her performances of ‘Three Decembers’ to her late father, who passed last December.
Canadian baritone, Sheldon Baxter, is a Master of Music graduate holder from the University of British Columbia opera program. He has studied in the vocal studios of Norman Bailey, Kristine Ciesinski, and Peter Barcza. During his professional career he has embodied numerous roles such as: Eugene Onegin (Eugene Onegin), Count Almaviva (Le nozze di Figaro), Forester (The Cunning Little Vixen), Guglielmo (Così fan tutte) and Le Dancaïre (Carmen). Sheldon has performed on many international stages including: Semperoper Dresden, Landestheater Niederbayern Passau, Wexford Festival Opera, J.K. Tyl Theater Pilsen, Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen, Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, Hale Center Theatre Utah and Immling Festspiele. Recent performances include Valetin (Ein Wintermärchen) with the Wexford Festival Opera in Ireland. He resides in both Boston, MA and Dresden, Germany.
An artist who defies categorization, Canadian mezzo-soprano Kimberly Barber has appeared on international operatic and concert stages (Paris, Chicago, New York City, London, Rome, Tokyo, Frankfurt, Montreal, Seattle and Toronto are among her stomping grounds) in a diverse and eclectic repertoire for over 30 years. She has recorded for Deutsche Grammophon, Naxos, CBC Records, Teldec and Dutton Classics. A passionate educator, she is Professor of Voice at Wilfrid Laurier University, and teaches around the world in a wide variety of contexts. A strong advocate for the operatic art form and passionate about its future, she enjoys writing and presenting for novices and aficionados alike.
Baritone, Sheldon Baxter (Charlie)
Naomi Woo, Music Director
Naomi Woo began her tenure with the WSO beginning at the start of the 2019-2020 season. The 29-year-old Canadian is a conductor, pianist, and musicologist whose interdisciplinary approach to performance and scholarship has captivated audiences in Canada, the United States, and Europe. Naomi has performed as a pianist in venues including Carnegie Hall and the Orpheum Theatre. Passionate about contemporary music, she has conducted and performed dozens of world premieres and other works by living composers. She recently placed second in the 2016 Eckhardt-Gramatté competition in Brandon for Canadian and contemporary music and was awarded the Prix Hélène-Roberge for the best performance of a Canadian work in 2015. Naomi holds a BA in Mathematics and Philosophy from Yale University, and will soon complete a PhD in Musicology at Cambridge University in England as a Gates Cambridge Scholar. Her work has been generously supported by the Canada Council for the Arts, the BC Arts Council, and Help Musicians UK.
Mezzo-soprano, Kimberly Barber (Maddie)
STAGE MANAGEMENT
Open wide and say awe!
Several years ago, my friend, Bob McPhee, Executive Director of Calgary Opera at the time, sent a message suggesting that I look at this phenomenal opera, Three Decembers by Jake Heggie and Jean Scheer based on a play by Terrence McNally. He suggested it would be a perfect fit for The Little Opera Company. I immediately search for more information about it on the internet. There it was the world premier featuring one of my all-time favorite mezzo Sopranos, Ms. Frederica Von Stade accompanied by two other very fine singers, soprano, Kristin Clayton and baritone, Keith Phares. I was moved by the story and the music and knew that I would one day have to find a way of producing this with The Little Opera Company. In 2019, it was as though all the elements came together. We had engaged a stellar cast, talented directors, and designers, all of whom were more interested in telling this story than any excessive monetary gain. We were given the “go ahead” from the publishers; my friend Bob had retired from his position in Calgary and was thinking of being at our opening; what else could I ask for? Then came Covid-19 a week before we were to go into rehearsals. We were all devasted, but surprisingly, everyone involved in the production determined that we would not cancel the opera, but rather postpone what we believed would be an event. Here we are approaching the year 2022, like so many other arts organizations, stepping out in faith, hoping that we will have the opportunity to share this wonderful opera with as many people as possible. Terrence McNally crafted a beautifully intricate story that speaks of the human condition, our joys, hopes, and sorrows. Jake Heggie and Gene Scheer have amplified it in the setting of moving words and music. I look forward to seeing this on the stage at Manitoba Theatre for Young People. I only regret that my dear friend Bob will not be here to see it. Nonetheless, I believe him to be here in spirit and I offer these performances to him as a tribute of his brilliance as an opera producer…. Love you Bob.
Tickets (MTYP Site) Tickets (MTYP Site)
Leanne Foley, Set / Costume Design
Leanne Foley hails from Australia and has called Winnipeg home for over 20 years. Leanne has worked as a classroom teacher and in theatre and film as an administrator, instructor, actor, writer, and designer. Leanne is a member of the Associated Designers of Canada. Production Design: Age of Arousal, The Monster Trilogy, How to Kill Yourself with a Screwdriver (Theatre Projects); Assassins (Dry Cold Productions); The Tempest, Macbeth (SIR); RICH, Honk, The Big League (MTYP); Death of a Salesman, Speed the Plow, Lebensraum, Einstein's Gift, Via Dolorosa (WJT), Jeff Erbach’s feature film The Nature of Nicholas, Sean Garrity's short film Re-Order, Larry saves the Day (web series) Costumes: Orlando (MTC), As You Like It (SIR), A Year with Frog and Toad (MTYP & The Citadel), Pipi Longstocking, Silver Wing, Seussical the Musical (MTYP) Set: Odyssey: the islands (SIR)
Sean McMullen, Lighting Designer
Sean E. McMullen, BA, BSc, MFA Sean lives and works out of the Winnipeg and the East Interlake regions as a freelance artist and educator; and has, for almost a few decades now, been a designer for theatre and film, specializing in sets, properties, costumes, and lighting. Along with performance projects, Sean enjoys teaching design and drawing at the University of Winnipeg, as well as exploring other artistic media and expression as the mood goes. Sean is currently engaging in writing interests, but has happily taken a pause to join the Little Opera Company again to bring lighting to this production of Three Decembers. Previous credits with the Little Opera Company include: Hansel and Gretel '15, Merry Christmas Stephen Leacock '16, and La tragédie de Carmen '18.
CREATIVE TEAM
Will Medwick, Stage Manager
Will Medwick is very excited to be working with the Little Opera Company for his second time. Since graduating from Humber College (Toronto), Will has worked with Manitoba Opera as an Apprentice Stage Manager, and as Assistant Stage Manager for Little Opera’s production of La tragédie de Carmen. Will is very excited to return for the role of Stage Manager and is happy to have a live audience again.
THREE DECEMBERS Production & Cast
DIRECTORS
OUR CAST
Canadian stage director Rob Herriot’s career has taken him across North America. He has directed productions of Madama Butterfly, Lucia di Lammermoor, La Boheme, Carmen, Rigoletto and Don Pasquale (Manitoba Opera), Barber of Seville, Don Pasquale (Livermore Valley Opera) La Traviata, Don Pasquale (Opera Hamilton), Carmen, Don Pasquale (Arizona Opera), Don Pasquale (Connecticut Opera, Utah Opera) New productions of Rigoletto (2019)HMS Pinafore (2018) Hansel and Gretel, and Magic Flute. Other productions for Edmonton include Turandot, Pirates of Penzance, La Fille Du Regiment, HMS Pinafore (Edmonton Opera-winner of a Sterling Award for Outstanding Musical of the Season); Tosca, The Mikado, La Cenerentola, all nominated for the Sterling Award’s Best Musical Production of their year. For Calgary Opera he has directed productions of Tosca and Barber of Seville, both nominated for Betty Mitchell awards for Best Musical of 2009 and 2018 seasons, as well as La Boheme for the 40th anniversary of the company. Other productions for Calgary include The Magic Flute, Pirates of Penzance and Candide, as well as numerous shows for their Emerging Artists program. He created a touring production of Don Pasquale for Utah Opera which toured over three seasons and then produced it with the young artists of Tulsa Opera in 2005. He is currently a returning director for Opera Nuova, one of Canada’s young artist summer programs. As a teacher and mentor, he has directed productions of The Fairy Queen, Tartuffe Beatrice and Benedict, Don Giovanni, Oklahoma, La Boheme and Patience. Rob returns this summer to direct The Wizard of Oz at Rainbow stage, following past productions of Beauty and the Beast and Cinderella. He will also be returning to Manitoba Opera for next season’s Tosca.
Lisa Rumpel, Assistant Music Director
Leanne Foley, Set / Costume Design
Leanne Foley hails from Australia and has called Winnipeg home for over 20 years. Leanne has worked as a classroom teacher and in theatre and film as an administrator, instructor, actor, writer, and designer. Leanne is a member of the Associated Designers of Canada. Production Design: Age of Arousal, The Monster Trilogy, How to Kill Yourself with a Screwdriver (Theatre Projects); Assassins (Dry Cold Productions); The Tempest, Macbeth (SIR); RICH, Honk, The Big League (MTYP); Death of a Salesman, Speed the Plow, Lebensraum, Einstein's Gift, Via Dolorosa (WJT), Jeff Erbach’s feature film The Nature of Nicholas, Sean Garrity's short film Re-Order, Larry saves the Day (web series) Costumes: Orlando (MTC), As You Like It (SIR), A Year with Frog and Toad (MTYP & The Citadel), Pipi Longstocking, Silver Wing, Seussical the Musical (MTYP) Set: Odyssey: the islands (SIR)
Praised for her "fierce artistry and sheer stamina" (Winnipeg Free Press), Canadian pianist Lisa Rumpel is passionate about communicating classical music to a variety of audiences. As an alumnus of the Franz Schubert Institute, Vancouver International Song Institute, Opera Nuova, University of Manitoba and Brandon University, Lisa is equally comfortable accompanying in art song, chamber music, opera, and choral accompanying. Since completing her Masters in Music (Collaborative Piano) in 2015, Lisa has been an active member of the Manitoba music community. She is Associate Director of Flipside Opera, has coached three productions of Manitoba Underground Opera, has been repetiteur for several productions of the University of Manitoba’s Opera Theatre program and is a frequent accompanist at the Winnipeg Music Festival and Faculty of Music recitals. Lisa is the accompanist of the Winnipeg Singers and, at our special events, she has performed in recital with sopranos Tracy Dahl and Lara Ciekiewicz, and has premiered several pieces by Winnipeg composer Sid Robinovitch. Lisa will accompany Lara for a concert at Music at the Millennium in 2019.
Soprano, Ana Toumine (Bea)
As a “personal favourite” (Vancouver Arts Review), soprano Ana Toumine is actively establishing herself as an accomplished singing-actress. Toumine was recently awarded the R. Murray Schafer Scholarship from IRCPA Toronto, named a 30 under 30 artist with the Alberta Council of Ukrainian Arts, the 2020 Flipside Opera Idol, the 2019 winner of the North Dakota-Manitoba District Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, and the 2019 second prize winner of the Vancouver Opera’s VOX Gala competition. In 2020, she was a member of the Edmonton Opera Emerging Artists Studio, as well as a contributing fellow of the Association for Opera in Canada - LINK RBC Future Launch Emerging Artist Fellowship Program. In past years, Toumine distinguished herself as an artist in residence at the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity, in addition to receiving a Training and Career Development Grant from the Alberta Foundation of the Arts. Toumine’s 2019-2020 season included a recital through L’Oasis Musicale Concert Series, numerous community engagement concerts with Edmonton Opera, Manitoba Opera, Flipside Opera, and Little Opera Company; and a performance of Brahms’ Liebeslieder Walzer, Op. 52, as an alumna soloist in the Cantilon Choirs 20th Anniversary Concert. Recent highlights include Toumine’s debut with Opera Kelowna as Mimí in La Bohème, as well as notable roles including Rosalinde (Die Fledermaus), the title role of Alcina, and Anna Glawari (The Merry Widow). Toumine holds a M.Mus from McGill University, a B.Mus from the University of British Columbia, and a Performance Diploma from the University of Manitoba. She teaches privately from her home in Winnipeg, Manitoba, while also maintaining a visual arts studio - Tiny Tou Studios. Ana dedicates her performances of ‘Three Decembers’ to her late father, who passed last December.
Canadian baritone, Sheldon Baxter, is a Master of Music graduate holder from the University of British Columbia opera program. He has studied in the vocal studios of Norman Bailey, Kristine Ciesinski, and Peter Barcza. During his professional career he has embodied numerous roles such as: Eugene Onegin (Eugene Onegin), Count Almaviva (Le nozze di Figaro), Forester (The Cunning Little Vixen), Guglielmo (Così fan tutte) and Le Dancaïre (Carmen). Sheldon has performed on many international stages including: Semperoper Dresden, Landestheater Niederbayern Passau, Wexford Festival Opera, J.K. Tyl Theater Pilsen, Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen, Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, Hale Center Theatre Utah and Immling Festspiele. Recent performances include Valetin (Ein Wintermärchen) with the Wexford Festival Opera in Ireland. He resides in both Boston, MA and Dresden, Germany.
An artist who defies categorization, Canadian mezzo-soprano Kimberly Barber has appeared on international operatic and concert stages (Paris, Chicago, New York City, London, Rome, Tokyo, Frankfurt, Montreal, Seattle and Toronto are among her stomping grounds) in a diverse and eclectic repertoire for over 30 years. She has recorded for Deutsche Grammophon, Naxos, CBC Records, Teldec and Dutton Classics. A passionate educator, she is Professor of Voice at Wilfrid Laurier University, and teaches around the world in a wide variety of contexts. A strong advocate for the operatic art form and passionate about its future, she enjoys writing and presenting for novices and aficionados alike.
Baritone, Sheldon Baxter (Charlie)
Naomi Woo began her tenure with the WSO beginning at the start of the 2019-2020 season. The 29-year-old Canadian is a conductor, pianist, and musicologist whose interdisciplinary approach to performance and scholarship has captivated audiences in Canada, the United States, and Europe. Naomi has performed as a pianist in venues including Carnegie Hall and the Orpheum Theatre. Passionate about contemporary music, she has conducted and performed dozens of world premieres and other works by living composers. She recently placed second in the 2016 Eckhardt-Gramatté competition in Brandon for Canadian and contemporary music and was awarded the Prix Hélène- Roberge for the best performance of a Canadian work in 2015. Naomi holds a BA in Mathematics and Philosophy from Yale University, and will soon complete a PhD in Musicology at Cambridge University in England as a Gates Cambridge Scholar. Her work has been generously supported by the Canada Council for the Arts, the BC Arts Council, and Help Musicians UK.
Naomi Woo, Music Director
Rob Herriot, Director
Sean McMullen, Lighting Designer
Sean E. McMullen, BA, BSc, MFA Sean lives and works out of the Winnipeg and the East Interlake regions as a freelance artist and educator; and has, for almost a few decades now, been a designer for theatre and film, specializing in sets, properties, costumes, and lighting. Along with performance projects, Sean enjoys teaching design and drawing at the University of Winnipeg, as well as exploring other artistic media and expression as the mood goes. Sean is currently engaging in writing interests, but has happily taken a pause to join the Little Opera Company again to bring lighting to this production of Three Decembers. Previous credits with the Little Opera Company include: Hansel and Gretel '15, Merry Christmas Stephen Leacock '16, and La tragédie de Carmen '18.
STAGE MANAGEMENT
Mezzo-soprano, Kimberly Barber (Maddie)
Spencer Duncanson, Little Opera Company, Artistic Director Tickets (MTYP Site) Tickets (MTYP Site)
Several years ago, my friend, Bob McPhee, Executive Director of Calgary Opera at the time, sent a message suggesting that I look at this phenomenal opera, Three Decembers by Jake Heggie and Jean Scheer based on a play by Terrence McNally. He suggested it would be a perfect fit for The Little Opera Company. I immediately search for more information about it on the internet. There it was the world premier featuring one of my all-time favorite mezzo Sopranos, Ms. Frederica Von Stade accompanied by two other very fine singers, soprano, Kristin Clayton and baritone, Keith Phares. I was moved by the story and the music and knew that I would one day have to find a way of producing this with The Little Opera Company. In 2019, it was as though all the elements came together. We had engaged a stellar cast, talented directors, and designers, all of whom were more interested in telling this story than any excessive monetary gain. We were given the “go ahead” from the publishers; my friend Bob had retired from his position in Calgary and was thinking of being at our opening; what else could I ask for? Then came Covid-19 a week before we were to go into rehearsals. We were all devasted, but surprisingly, everyone involved in the production determined that we would not cancel the opera, but rather postpone what we believed would be an event. Here we are approaching the year 2022, like so many other arts organizations, stepping out in faith, hoping that we will have the opportunity to share this wonderful opera with as many people as possible. Terrence McNally crafted a beautifully intricate story that speaks of the human condition, our joys, hopes, and sorrows. Jake Heggie and Gene Scheer have amplified it in the setting of moving words and music. I look forward to seeing this on the stage at Manitoba Theatre for Young People. I only regret that my dear friend Bob will not be here to see it. Nonetheless, I believe him to be here in spirit and I offer these performances to him as a tribute of his brilliance as an opera producer…. Love you Bob.
CREATIVE TEAM
Will Medwick, Stage Manager
Will Medwick is very excited to be working with the Little Opera Company for his second time. Since graduating from Humber College (Toronto), Will has worked with Manitoba Opera as an Apprentice Stage Manager, and as Assistant Stage Manager for Little Opera’s production of La tragédie de Carmen. Will is very excited to return for the role of Stage Manager and is happy to have a live audience again.
littleopera.ca