2014 Gala Concert | 2013 Artist Archive | 2012 Artist Archive | 2011 Artist Archive
3 Cities, 3 Composers Gala Concert
Arianna Sovernigo (Soprano) | Sunny Shams (Tenor) | Natalie Burdeny (Mezzo Soprano) |
Andy Greenwood (Baritone)
| Michael Onwood (Pianist)
Arianna Sovernigo, Soprano

Arianna Sovernigo, Soprano


Canadian soprano, Arianna Sovernigo, recently returned from a successful concert tour in China.  She had the honor to be part of the movie and opera workshop for the new opera Fallujah for City Opera Vancouver, the Annenberg Foundation and filming by Opus 59 Films. She has performed with the likes of Manitoba Opera, Teatro Carlo Felice di Genova and Burnaby Lyric Opera.  In a production of Carmen, “the delicate and pure soprano of Arianna Sovernigo made for an exquisitely sung Micaëla”.

In 2011, Ms Sovernigo made her Italian debut as Musetta (La Bohème) and the cover for Juliette (Romeo et Juliette) in 2012 with Teatro Carlo Felice di Genova.  Her repertoire also includes; Liu (Turandot), Donna Anna and Donna Elvira (Don Giovann), and Gilda (Rigoletto). 

Equally comfortable on the concert stage, Miss Sovernigo was praised for being “passionate and warm in her rapport with the audience”.  She has sung the role of Pamina in the Royal Winnipeg Ballet’s production of The Magic Flute.  Miss Sovernigo has appeared in recital across Canada and in Mexico, China, Italy, Austria, and the Czech Republic.

Adding to her credits, Miss Sovernigo placed 2nd in the Concorso Internazionale per Cantanti Lirici Città di Alcamo and 3rd in the Opera di Pienza Competition, as well as, being named a Jeunes Ambassadeurs for four years.  She is a graduate of the Vancouver Academy of Music where she obtained her Bachelor of Music in opera performance. She has also attended the University of Manitoba Opera Apprenticeship and the Teatro Carlo Felice di Genova Opera Studio Ensemble.  She has studied with renowned professionals and international artists, including her current vocal instructor, soprano Tracy Dahl.
Sunny Shams, Tenor

Sunny Shams, Tenor


Sunny Shams has been performing leading roles since beginning his studies at UBC in 2007, in operas inlcuding Die Fledermaus, Die Lustige Witwe, Falstaff, and Louis Riel, as well as Don Giovanni and La Bohème, both operas which he performed in the Czech Republic as well as in Vancouver.

In concert, Sunny sang the leading tenor roles of Der Freischütz and Rusalka with Burnaby Lyric Opera in 2011, and in July 2012 he sang the role of Don José in Carmen with FestivalOpera de St. Eustache in Montreal.

Sunny was a district winner in 2012 at the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions and won at the district level again in Seattle in October 2013.

After spending the summer abroad in Spain, he was hand picked by Montserrat Caballé to sing in her prestigious gala concert in Zaragoza this past September (2013).

Returning from Europe, Sunny took part in a Celebration of Verdi's birthday celebration with City Opera Vancouver in a gala concert at the Vancouver Italian Cultural Centre, as well as a Puccini concert with the same company in November.

In January, Sunny is looking forward to headlining a concert with the Victoria Symphony, and with the Palm Court Light Orchestra in February 2014.

Natalie Burdeny, Mezzo Soprano

Natalie Burdeny, Mezzo Soprano


With her performances described as "human, multi-faceted, emotional and real", Canadian Mezzo, Natalie Burdeny is a versatile performer. This summer she made her Italian Debut at Teatro degli Avvaloranti (Italy) with International Opera Theater where she created the role of "Old Camille" in the World Premier of Camille Claudel, a new opera composed by Maestro Gianmaria Griglio.

Her repertoire includes; Title Role (Carmen), Old Camille (Camille Claudel), Maddalena (Rigoletto), Dinah (Trouble In Tahiti), Madame de la Haltière (Cendrillon), Dorabella (Così fan tutte), Mercedes (Carmen), Hata (Prodaná Nevesta), Zweite Dame (Die Zauberflöte), Marcellina (Le nozze di Figaro), Berta (Il Barbiere di Siviglia), and La Mère d'Antonia (Les Contes d’Hoffmann).

Her debut in the title role of Carmen, was described by Hilary Clark (Review Contributor - Opera Canada Magazine) as "... perfect for the part of Carmen. She showed an enviable understanding of the role, careful use of the many nuances of her vocal arsenal, to portray the vagaries of Carmen's personality. Her card scene was particularly memorable as she was able to counter-point the darkness of her fate against the frivolity of sopranos Frasquita and Mercedes".

Natalie performs frequently in concerts and recitals, including oratorio. In 2009, was the Mezzo Soloist in a performance of Verdi's Requiem with the Vancouver Philharmonic Orchestra under the baton of Neil Weisensel.

Praised for her "warm mezzo" (Opera Canada – 2006), Natalie is a two time recipient of the Vicky Modeland Ridgewell Memorial Scholarship for Most Outstanding Mezzo Soprano.
Andrew Greenwood, Baritone

Andy Greenwood, Baritone

Another discovery was the Amonasro of Andrew Greenwood. The young baritone from Vancouver’s voice has a seductive texture. His focused but nevertheless round sound had sufficient power and at the same time creamy elegance. He was able to manipulate Aida with an extremely refined and beautiful vocal sound.” Das Opernglas, February 2011.

Recent engagements include: the role of Amonasro in Aida for the Stadttheater Hildesheim; Zuniga in Carmen and The Doctor in Samuel Barber’s Vanessa for Pacific Opera Victoria; the title role in  Rigoletto for the Stadttheater Hildesheim, and the Stadttheater Wolfsburg, Germany; the roles of Prince Yamadori and The Imperial Commissioner in Madama Butterfly for Vancouver Opera; the title roles in Macbeth, and Nabucco, Enrico in Lucia di Lammermoor, and Germont in La Traviata for Vancouver’s Opera Pro Cantanti; the role of the Emperor in Der Kaiser von Atlantis for City Opera Vancouver; the role of Count Almaviva in the 2006 Okanagan Vocal Arts Festival’s production of Le nozze di Figaro; Marcello in La bohème for UBC Opera, the 2005 Okanagan Vocal Arts Festival, and for Vancouver Island Opera; Figaro in Il barbiere di Siviglia for Vancouver Island Opera; Danilo in The Merry Widow for Burnaby Lyric Opera; and guest appearances with UBC Opera in the title roles of Falstaff and Eugene Onegin.

Additional Canadian credits include appearances with: Pacific Opera Victoria as King Alonso in Hoiby’s The Tempest, as both Morales and El Dancaïro in Carmen, Angelotti in Tosca, Monterone in Rigoletto, and Baron Douphol in La Traviata; Burnaby Lyric Opera as Figaro in The Barber of Seville, Dandini in Rossini’s Cinderella, Malatesta in Don Pasquale, and Peter in Hansel and Gretel; and UBC Opera as John Proctor in The Crucible, Smirnov in William Walton’s The Bear, and Peter in Hansel and Gretel. Andrew has also appeared with other opera companies in the Lower Mainland, such as Opera Breve, Western Concert Opera, and Modern Baroque Opera.

Also in demand as a concert and oratorio singer, Mr. Greenwood frequents such works as Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana, Handel’s Messiah, Mendelssohn's Elijah, Mahler’s Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen, Beethoven’s Choral Fantasy and Symphony No. Nine, Dvorák’s Stabat Mater, Saint-Saëns’ Christmas Oratorio, the Bach Passions, as well as the Requiems of Verdi, Mozart, Brahms, Fauré and Duruflé.  Some of the organizations he has sung with include: Virginia’s Opera Roanoke Orchestra, the Vancouver Symphony, the Victoria Symphony, Vancouver Cantata Singers, the Prince George Symphony, the Vancouver Bach Choir, Festival Vancouver, the West Coast Symphony, the Kamloops Symphony, Sinfonia of the North Shore, the Chilliwack Symphony, the Okanagan Festival Singers, the Fraser Valley Symphony, the Vancouver Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Vancouver Island Symphony.

In 2001 Andrew performed the role of John Proctor in the Czech Republic premiere of The Crucible, by Robert Ward. He then went on to debut the roles of Escamillo in Carmen and Germont in La Traviata at the Prague State Opera. Additional European credits include: the roles of Marcello in La bohème for Opera Studio de Genève, Switzerland, and The Ferryman in Benjamin Britten’s Curlew River in Lausanne, Switzerland and Cuenca, Spain.

Upcoming engagements include Messiah with the Handel Society, the role of Valens in Theodora by Handel with the Victoria Philharmonic Choir and Orchestra, and Elijah with Vancouver’s SummerChor.

Michael Onwood, Pianist

Michael Onwood, Pianist

Michael Onwood has earned “an excellent reputation for his work with vocalists” (Opera Canada) in the Vancouver community. Since 2005 he has served as coach and répétiteur at UBC Opera, preparing singers for over 30 full-scale opera productions. He has also assisted in numerous Vancouver Opera mainstage and school-outreach productions.
Mr. Onwood’s active presence on the opera scene began 13 years ago at the CBC Pacific Spotlight competition, and the following year in CBC Debut. Each of these competitions, actually geared toward soloists, took the unusual step of creating a unique prize category to call attention to his supportive and sensitive accompanying. Since then he has appeared in concert and recitals with Vancouver Concert Opera Society, Vancouver City Opera and many other organizations. For seven years his role as an official accompanist at the Canadian National Musical Festival took him throughout Canada
As music director of Burnaby Lyric Opera's mainstage production, Michael led last year's Gianni Schicchi/Pagliacci double bill, and will follow up with their run of Le nozze di Figaro in February 2014.

© 2012 Vancouver Concert Opera Society