Leslie Dala, conductor

Conductor and pianist, Leslie Dala enjoys a multifaceted career spanning the genres of opera, symphonic music, choral and contemporary works. On the podium, he is known for his passionate, dynamic, and charismatic approach to music making. Named one of the top ten artistic leaders by the Vancouver Sun, Dala is well known nationally with guest conducting appearances with orchestras and opera companies across the country. Internationally, he has performed in France, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Ireland, the Czech Republic, China, Taiwan and the US including recently at Carnegie Hall. Currently, he is a member of the music staff at the Santa Fe Opera.

Leslie presently holds the positions of Music Director of the Vancouver Bach Choir, the Associate Conductor and Chorus Director of Vancouver Opera, and the Music Director Emeritus of the Vancouver Academy of Music Symphony Orchestra. Recently he conducted Vancouver Opera’s production of Wagner’s The Flying Dutchman, the Canadian premiere of George Benjamin’s Into the Little Hill produced by Astrolabe Musik Theatre, and the world premiere of Frank Horvat’s Memories of Self Isolation with the Vancouver Bach Choir.

Career highlights include conducting the Canadian premiere of John Adams’ Oratorio El Nino, the Canadian premiere of Steve Reich’s You are Variations and Daniel Variations, the world premieres of Brian Current’s River of Light, James Rolfe’s and Morris Panych’s opera The Overcoat, and Neil Weisensel and Shane Koyczan’s opera Stickboy. As a conductor he has collaborated with such notable artists as Gregory Kunde, Richard Margison, Measha Brueggergosman, Adrianne Pieczonka and Etienne Dupuis. Other highlights include concerts with Sarah McLachlan and the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra in addition to leading the Toronto Symphony Orchestra with guest artists the Indigo Girls.

As a pianist, Leslie regularly appears in recital and has partnered with singers, including Russel Braun, Krisztina Szabo, Benjamin Butterfield, Rachel Fenlon, and Asitha Tennekoon. In 2021, Leslie recorded the complete Etudes of Philip Glass which is available on the Redshift label and on all of the major streaming platforms. It was named by CBC Radio as one of the top 21 Classical recordings of 2021. His 2022 recording of Nikolai Korndorf’s The Smile of Maud Lewis also made the CBC list for top 22 Classical recordings in addition to being named one of the Critic’s Choice Favourite Album’s of 2022 by Gramophone Magazine.

Angela Gjurichanin, soprano

Angela Gjurichanin is a Macedonian/Canadian soprano based in London, Ontario. In the 2021-2022 season, she was a District Winner for the Metropolitan Laffont Competition and winner of the Gordon Wallis Opera Competition. Recently, she had the privilege to be featured as the soprano soloist for Messiah with Regina Symphony Orchestra in December 2022. Gjurichanin has performed the roles of Nella from Gianni Schicchi and Adina from L’elisir d’amore with the Opera Workshop at Western University. She has performed the partial roles of the First Lady in Die Zauberflöte, Adele from Die Fledermaus, and Susanna in Le Nozze di Figaro. Angela recently graduated from the University of Western Ontario with a Masters of Music in Performance and Literature (MMus. 22) and holds a Bachelor of Music Honours (BMus. 20) from the University of Saskatchewan. Ms. Gjurichanin joined the Jeunes Ambassadeurs Lyriques Showcase as a young artist in October 2022. Upcoming engagements include her role debuts as Zerlina in Don Giovanni at Lyric Opera Studio of Weimar and Cercatrice I in Suor Angelica with Grand River Opera.

Emma Parkinson, mezzo-soprano

Chinese-Canadian mezzo-soprano Emma Parkinson has performed across Canada and internationally, she has been hailed as “an outstanding
voice” (La Scena Musicale). Most recently, she performed the role of Third Lady in The Magic Flute with Vancouver Opera. She has also performed roles with Pacific Opera Victoria, Opéra de Montreal, City Opera Vancouver, Burnaby Lyric Opera, Seefestspiele Berlin, re:Naissance Opera, and Astrolabe Musik Theatre among others. On the concert stage, she has been a soloist with the Victoria Baroque, Vancouver Island Symphony, Alberta Baroque Ensemble, Vancouver Bach Choir, Kingston Symphony Orchestra, Slovak State Philharmonic Orchestra, Montreal Symphony Orchestra, Vancouver Symphony Orchestra and Orchestre Métropolitain. Emma performed with Early Music Vancouver in their summer festival, and in the spring of 2024 she will make her debut in France with Opéra de Massy in La Traviata.

@emmacparkinson
www.emmaparkinson.com

Asitha Tennekoon, tenor

2017 DORA AWARD – OUTSTANDING PERFORMANCE, MALE, OPERA DIVISION – ROCKING HORSE WINNER
(TAPESTRY/SCOTTISH OPERA)

Praised by The Globe and Mail for “…his silky, emotional presence on stage – both vocally and dramatically…”, Sri Lankan tenor Asitha Tennekoon has established himself as one of Canada’s most versatile singing artists. In 2016 he drew critical acclaim and received a Dora Award for his portrayal of Paul in Tapestry Opera/Scottish Opera’s Rocking Horse Winner. Asitha is sought after for performances spanning from Baroque to experimental repertoire.

This season, Asitha reprises his performance as Paul in Tapestry Opera’s remount of Rocking Horse Winner and sings the role of Boy Angel in Du Yun and Royce Vavrek’s Pulitzer Prize­winning Angel’s Bone, presented by Loose Tea Music Theatre in Toronto. In 2024, Asitha debuts the roles of Prologue/Peter Quint in Britten’s Turn of the Screw with Opera 5.

Asitha continues to expand his reputation as an impressive interpreter of J.S. Bach’s Evangelist and will be featured this season with the Grand Philharmonic Choir in Bach’s Christmas Oratorio and the St. John Passion with Vancouver Bach Choir. Asitha will debut in Halifax with Cecilia Concerts, performing the music of Métis composer Ian Cusson.

Asitha recently made several operatic debuts; as Ferrando in Edmonton Opera’s Cosi fan tutte, the First Priest with Canadian Opera Company’s The Magic Flute, Remendado with Pacific Opera Victoria, and as Flute in Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream with Vancouver Opera, Jacques Lacombe conducting.

Asitha has sung principal roles with Opéra de Montréal, Against the Grain Theatre, Tapestry Opera, Soundstreams Canada, Opera on the Avalon, Opera 5, and Opera Lafayette.

Asitha is a Co­Founder of Amplified Opera, a Toronto based indie Opera company committed to placing artists at the centre of public discourse. He makes his home in the unceded traditional territories of the xwməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), and səlilwətaɬ (TsleilWaututh) Nations (Vancouver, BC).

Raphaël Laden-Guindon, bass

Praised for his “authoritative voice” (Boston Musical Intelligencer) and “contagious sensibility” (Revue l’Opéra), Canadian-American Baritone, Raphaël Laden-Guindon maintains an active performing schedule in the US and Canada. In the 2023-24 season, he will appear as a guest artist in productions of Matthew Peterson’s Voir Dire as The Baritone and Britten’s Midsummer Night’s Dream as Quince with the Boston Conservatory. He was heard as Harapha in Handel’s Samson with the Cambridge Chamber Ensemble. His 2022-23 season featured a role debut and as the title role in Le nozze di Figaro with NEMPAC Opera and the Boston Festival Orchestra and the world premiere of Keiko Devaux’s chamber opera: L’écoute du Perdu with Musique 3 Femmes and Ensemble Paramaribo. Other credits include The Accomplice in Whispers: Echoes from the Halls and Belcore (Cover) in L’Elisir d’amore with Boston Opera Collaborative, the title role in Don Giovanni, Ophémon in L’amant anonyme (Chevalier de St-Georges), Bob in The Old Maid and the Thief (Menotti), Mr. Olsen in Street Scene (Weil), and Publio (cover) in La Clemenza di Tito (Mozart) with Opera McGill; Aristeo in Orfeo (Rossi), Corebo in La Didone (Cavalli) and Aristone in Xerse (Cavalli) with the Yale Baroque Opera Project. Raphaël holds a master’s degree from McGill University during which he was a recipient of both SSHRC and FRQSC master’s research grants. He is a staff singer at Trinity Church in the city of Boston. 

Duff Warkentin, conductor

Duff Warkentin has been a choral conductor and clinician for many years. His formal post-secondary education was at Canadian Mennonite Bible College in Winnipeg, the University of Waterloo, and the University of Regina. He has conducted children’s choirs, high school choirs, church choirs, university choirs, and community choirs. He has sung under the direction of noted conductors such as Robert Shaw, George Wiebe, Helmut Rilling, John Martens, Elmer Iseler, Wayne Riddell, Jon Washburn, and Bramwell Tovey. He has prepared and conducted many of the Requiems, Masses, oratorios, and other larger works in the standard repertoire. Two particular choral experiences stand out for him. He conducted the Station Singers of Rosthern, a non-auditioned community choir, since its inception in 2000. That choir discontinued at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, and this summer the decision was made to end the choir. It was a difficult decision, arrived at after considering a number of factors. He was honoured to conduct this wonderful choir. He also conducted a Warkentin family choir at their triennial family reunion. This experience too is one that is tremendously important and meaningful to him. The commonality between these two experiences is that both groups were, and are, amateur choirs, in the truest sense of the word. Singing for the sheer love of music and singing together, creating together what we cannot create alone, recognizing that the whole is greater than the sum of the parts, building community through music, through singing together – this is what inspires and energizes Duff Warkentin, and he is thrilled to be able to participate in Handel’s Messiah again!