Artist Archive - 2012 Season
Back to Current Artists
Rigoletto (Cast)
Gordon Gerrard | Bernard Cuffling | Wenwen Du | Keith O'Brien | Szu-Wen Wang | Frédérik Robert | Jordan Collalto | Natalie Burdeny | Ed Moran | Megan Morrison | Martin Sadd | Aaron Durand | Brandon Thornhill | Max Van Wyck | Jacqollyne Keath | Jessica Cheung | Andrzej Jeziorski
Maestro Gordon Gerrard

Gordon Gerrard, Musical Director/Conductor

Gordon Gerrard is quickly establishing a place among Canada’s most exciting young musicians. Gordon is currently on staff for Opera McGill and also works with the singers of Opéra de Montréal’s Atelier. For four seasons, Gordon was the Resident Conductor for Calgary Opera, and he continues to serve on the music staffs of Opera Nuova and the Opera as Theatre Program at the Banff Centre.  Gordon conducted the Canadian premiere of Mark Adamo’s Little Women for Calgary Opera, which was broadcast on CBC. 

Recently, Gordon led productions of Le Nozze di Figaro and Il Barbiere di Siviglia for Opera Hamilton. In 2009, Gordon was awarded the Mayor’s Arts Award for Emerging Artists by the City of Calgary. In recent years, he has worked as Assistant Conductor for Opera Lyra Ottawa, Repetiteur for Vancouver Opera, Associate Music Director for the Manhattan School of Music Undergraduate Opera Studio, and Lecturer at Iowa State University.

As a pianist, Gordon recently presented a recital with mezzo-soprano Kimberly Barber at the University of Alberta, as well as a program with internationally renowned soprano Jane Eaglen for the Edmonton Recital Society. In 2012, Gordon conducts La Bohème and Ariodante for Calgary Opera, Don Giovanni for Opera McGill and Alcina for Opera Nuova.

Actor - Bernard Cuffling

Bernard Cuffling, Narrator

Bernard has been a member of the Vancouver theatre scene for over 35 years, both as an actor and director. Although he would class himself as a “would love to be” singer, he has appeard in musicals such as My Fair Lady, Beauty and the Beast, Gypsy, and many years ago he played the non-singing role of Frosch in Vancouver Opera’s production of Die Fledermaus (starring Richard Margison).

As an actor he most recently played the angel Clarence for the fourth consecutive year at the Arts Club Theatre’s production of It’s a Wonderful Life. Later in January he will be directing in Calgary then he returns to the Arts Club to appear in G.B. Shaw’s play The Philanderer. Later on in 2011 he will be seen as the Chemanius Festival Theatre as Salieri in their production of Amadeus.

Bernard is a past Jessie Award Winner (Theatre Awards), a recipient of the Sam Payne award for services to theatre, he is also a member of the B.C. Walk of Fame.

Wenwen Du, Pianist

Wenwen Du, Pianist

Hailed as "exceptional" by Opera Canada magazine, Wenwen Du is an accomplished, young pianist. Excelling in both the solo and collaborative fields, Ms. Du is in high demand both in Canada and abroad.

Originally from China, Miss Du began her early years of study under the tutelage of Zhaoyi Dan at the Shenzhen Arts School, China. She received a Bachelor of Music (Performance) and an Artistʼs Diploma from the Vancouver Academy of Music, where she studied with Lee Kum Sing for 6 years. Miss Du has participated in numerous international masterclasses, including the Shanghai International Piano Masterclass, Gold Country Piano Institute - Masterclass in Interpretation (Nevada City, California, USA), Festival Orford (Montreal, Canada), Holland Music Festival (Holland, Netherlands), and the Warsaw Piano Workshop - International Piano Course in Interpretation (Warsaw, Polland). These masterclasses were held by many renowned professors, including Paul Badura-Skoda, Boris Berman, Mikhail Voskresensky, Dimitri Bashkirov, Thomas Ungar, Jerome Rose, Jean-Yves Thibaudet and Peter Donohoe.

Since 2008, Wenwen Du has been worked with many young musicians in the Vancouver region, performing with singers, instrumentalists, and chamber groups. She has been the primary repetiteur for the Vancouver Academy of Music, where she has been praised as "highly musical, technically very solid, and.. sought after by all." (David Meek, Head of VAM Opera).

Ms. Du is a former winner of the Eve Bene Scholarship from the Vancouver Academy of Music. As part of her prize, Ms. Du performed with the Academy Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Michael Charry, at the Orpheum Theatre. She is also a frequent performer for the Vancouver Chopin Society's Young Talent Series, and has received their "Young Talent Scholarship".

Ms. Du also maintains a full schedule of teaching, recital work as well as solo performances. She currently studies Collaborative piano with Dr Greg Caisley in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. As well as in Vancouver, Miss Du has also performed solo piano recitals in China, Poland, Spain, Ukraine, Russia, Germany, Holland, the United States, and Canada. She is the winner of National and International Piano Competitions, including "The Third Prokofiev International Piano

Keith O'Brien, Baritone

Keith O'Brien, Baritone

Role: Rigoletto

Keith is thrilled to be making his debut with Vancouver Opera Concert Society as Rigoletto. Originally from Thunder Bay, Ontario, Keith took his Bachelor of Music from McGill (Montreal), and a Master of Architecture from University of Toronto. Keith enjoyed many successes as a varsity oarsman, competing internationally for both schools.

Recent opera credits include Silvio (Pagliacci) with Toronto Opera Collaborative, Marchese d'Obigny (La Traviata) with Opera Tampa, Enrico (Lucia di Lammermoor) with Coro Giuseppe Verdi, Malatesta (Don Pasquale), Escamillo (Carmen) and Marcello & Schaunard (La Bohème) with Opera by Request, Chorus (War and Peace & Aida) with the Canadian Opera Company, Nilakantha & Frederik (Lakmé) with Summer Opera Lyric Theatre, Mark (Frobisher) at The Banff Centre, Njegus (The Merry Widow) with Toronto Operetta Theatre, and Seargent Fiorello (Il Barbiere di Siviglia) with Edmonton Opera.

Keith studies in Toronto with Gary Relyea, and as a New Artist with Opera Tampa, regularly travels to Tampa and New York to study with the famous Verdi baritone, Sherrill Milnes.

Szu-Wen Wang, Soprano

Szu-Wen Wang, Soprano

Role: Gilda

Praised for her "...incandescent intonation and carefully crafted phrasing as the Fairy Godmother" in Massenet's Cinderella (Opera Canada), Soprano Szu-Wen Wang has been the recipient of favourable reviews time and time again. For her performance in Handel's Amadigi, Opera Canada declared that, "Oriana, the object of his [Amadigi's] desire, was exquisitely sung by coloratura soprano Szu-Wen Wang", and they further applauded the "...delicacy of approach, her innocence and her impressive soprano" as Cio-Cio-San in Vancouver Island Opera's production of Madama Butterfly. The Parksville Qualicum Beach News raved that "even in Italian, one can read Wang's performance without the need for translation. Butterfly's roller-coaster ride of emotion was performed flawlessly."

As a performer with numerous opera companies in BC, her most memorable operatic roles include: The Fairy Godmother (Cinderella), Gretel (Hansel and Gretel), Amahl (Amahl and the Night Visitors), Patience (Patience), Oriana (Amadigi), Giannetta (Elixir of Love), Josephine (HMS Pinafore), Phyllis (Iolanthe), Lola (Cavalleria Rusticana), First Witch (Dido and Aeneas), Cissy (Albert Herring), and Yniold ( Pelléas et Mélisande). As a concert soloist, Ms. Wang has appeared in Beethoven's Choral Fantasy, Haydn's Missa Brevis St. Joannis de Deo, Mozart's Coronation Mass, Nunes Garcia's Mass, Orff's Catulli Carmina, Rutter's Requiem and Schütz' Christmas Oratorio. In 2008 and 2009, she was a featured soloist in the annual "Voices of the Pacific Rim" with the Vancouver Opera.

Ms. Wang holds a Bachelor's degree in Vocal Performance from Taipei National University of the Arts, a Master of Music and Doctor of Musical Arts degrees in Vocal Performance from the University of Texas at Austin, and was an artist in residence with Amarillo Opera.

Frederik Robert, Tenor

Frédérik Robert, Tenor

Role: Duke of Mantua
VanCOCO Debut: Carmen (January 2011)

Tenor Frédérik Robert began his operatic training at an early age. His professional training led him to some of the most inspirational coaches and teachers across the globe, including coaches from the Metropolitan Opera, La Scala, New York City Opera, San Francisco Opera, and Toronto's Canadian Opera Company.

Frédérik has sung lead and supporting roles with major companies and orchestras including: Winnipeg Symphony, Regina Symphony, National Arts Center Orchestra, Prince George Symphony, Edmonton Opera, Calgary Opera, Opera Saskatoon, and The Opera Project.

Frédérik's passion is in classical cross-over or "pop-opera". He began his cross-over career as one of the original members of "The Canadian Tenors" and later formed the touring group Romanza, which he toured with for nearly five years. Since 2004 he has exclusively committed his passion to the cross-over genre, extensively touring across North America.

As a composer and arranger, Frederik's works have been featured at the prestigious Vancouver International Song Institute and many of his works continue to be commissioned in various genres including art song, orchestral, chamber and cross-over.

Jordan Collalto, Bass-Baritone

Jordan Collalto, Bass-Baritone

Role: Sparafucile

Bass-Baritone Jordan Collalto is a third year undergraduate in the UBC Opera Ensemble. In 2005, he joined the Calgary Opera Chorus and performed with them for four seasons. It was there, that he had the opportunity to make his mainstage debut in the role of Count Ceprano in the 2007 production of Rigoletto. Jordan has appeared with the UBC Opera Ensemble in the title role of Le nozze di Figaro, La bohème as Colline, Don Giovanni as Masetto, and as Superintendent Budd in Britten's Albert Herring. Most recently he performed Reverend Hale in UBC's new production of The Crucible by Robert Ward.

Natalie Burden (Contralto)

Natalie Burdeny, Contralto

Role: Maddalena
VanCOCO Debut: Carmen (January 2011)

With her performances described as "human, multi-facited, emotional and real", Canadian Contralto, Natalie Burdeny is fast becoming a versatile and sought-after performer.

Having recently made her debut in the title role of Carmen, Hilary Clark (Review Contributor - Opera Canada Magazine), described her voice 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".

Her repertoire includes; Title Role (Carmen), Madame de la Haltière (Cendrillon), Dorabella (Cosi Fan Tutte), Mercedes (Carmen), Hata (Prodaná Nevesta), Zweite Dame (Die Zauberflöte), Marcellina (Le Nozze di Figaro), Berta (Il Barbiere di Siviglia), and Mother’s Voice (Les Contes d’Hoffmann). Natalie performs frequently in concerts and recitals, including oratorio.

In 2009, after a year living and working in Germany, she was welcomed home as the Contralto Soloist in a performance of Verdi's Requiem with the Vancouver Philharmonic Orchestra under the baton of Neil Weisensel.

A graduate of the Classical & Contemporary Music program at Vancouver Community College, Natalie also holds a multi-disciplinary Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Victoria with a focus on Germanic Studies and Music History. In addition to her musical pursuits, Natalie is the Administrator for Lyric Opera Studio of Weimar (Germany), the Managing and Artistic Director for Vancouver Concert Opera Co-Operative, and the Founder and Artistic Director for Vancouver Summer Opera Studio.

Natalie studied extensively with Vancouver based Soprano, Heidi Klassen, and is now coaching regularly with the internationally acclaimed Mezzo-Soprano, Victoria Livengood.

Ed Moran (Baritone)

Ed Moran, Baritone

Role: Count Monterone
Cover: Rigoletto
VanCOCO Debut: Carmen (January 2011)

Among other roles Mr. Moran has been seen across Canada in the roles of Capulet in Gounod's Romeo et Juliette, Il Conte d'Almaviva in Le Nozze di Figaro, Sharpless in Madama Butterfly, and most recently as Frank in Die Fledermaus with Vancouver Island Opera.

Praised for his "gusto and panache", Mr. Moran made his professional American debut as Benoit/Alcindoro with Opera San Luis Obispo in their April production of La Bohème. Mr. Moran has also enjoyed introducing over 50,000 children to the world of opera with both Vancouver Opera In Schools and Opera Nuova Outreach.

Mr. Moran comes from Anchorage, Alaska where he received a Bachelors of Vocal Performance in 2005 and graduated from the UBC School of Music with a Masters Degree in Opera Performance in 2008.

Mr. Moran also enjoys spreading the joy of opera as Production Manager with VanCOCO. The tag line, "It's all about the Music" says it all.

Megan Morrison, Mezzo Soprano

Megan Morrison, Mezzo Soprano

Role: Giovanna/Countess Ceprano
VanCOCO Debut: Carmen (October 2011)

A diverse and passionate performer, Megan enjoys a busy career in both opera and theatre. Recent highlights include Mercedes in Carmen (VanCOCO), Sarah Brown in Guys and Dolls (Chemainus Theatre Festival), Dorabella in Cosi fan tutte (Burnaby Lyric Opera), Rapunzel in Into the Woods (Patrick Street Productions), Ruth in Pirates of Penzance (DragonDiva), Hansel in Hansel and Gretel (Opera Appassionata), Theresa in Boy Gets Girl (Wicked Awesome Theatre), and Trommler in Der Kaiser von Atlantis (City Opera Vancouver).

Megan has also appeared as a concert soloist in repertoire ranging from Handel’s Messiah (Vancouver Bach Choir) to intimate songs of love and heartache with frequent collaborator: pianist and vocalist Karen Lee-Morlang. Also an accomplished actor off the stage, Megan has several credits in film, tv and voice-over.

A current member of the Vancouver Opera Chorus, Megan recently appeared in their 2011 production of Romeo et Juliette. She is also working with City Opera Vancouver again this season on the Annenberg/Explore Project – creating a new opera based on a marine’s experience in Iraq. Later this spring, Megan is very excited to be debuting in Love in Public, an opera cabaret by Vancouver composer David MacIntyre, presented at the Fei and Milton Wong Experimental Theatre in April 2012.
Martin Sadd, Tenor

Martin Sadd, Tenor

Role: Borsa

Martin Sadd did his undergraduate degree at the University of Victoria where he studied under the tutelage of Alexandra Browning Moore. Afterwards moved to Vancouver to tour with the Vancouver Opera in Schools Programme. He continued on to complete a masters of music in Opera. In 2006 he was a member of the Pacific Opera Victoria's Young Artist Programme and in 2008 he was invited to Banff to participate in their Opera as Theatre. Last year he was a district winner of the Metropolitan Opera Competition. Martin has just returned from Calgary where he was a member of the Calgary Opera Emerging Artist programme.

Aaron Durand, Baritone

Aaron Durand, Baritone

Role: Marullo

Aaron hated opera until a chance viewing of VOA's Carmen got to him, and he found himself enrolled at the Victoria Conservatory of Music at 19. Soon after, he was (with great delight) thrown into POV's production of Eugene Onegin, and his fate was sealed. After transferring to UBC in 2007, Aaron has performed roles in Così fan tutte, Louis Riel, Die Zauberflöte, Cendrillon and Albert Herring. Most recently, he was seen as Thomas Putnam in The Crucible with UBC Opera. He is in the final year of his masters.

Brandon Thornhill, Baritone

Brandon Thornhill, Bass-Baritone

Role: Count Ceprano

Brandon began his journey of developing and harnessing his vocal talents at the University of North Florida where he received his bachelors degree in Classical Vocal Performance in 2009. He has performed many different works including arias from operas such as Marriage of Figaro, Rigoletto, and The Magic Flute. Brandon's operatic roles include King Balthazar and King Melchior in Amahl and the Night Visitors, the father in Hansel and Gretel, Sarastro and Speaker in The Magic Flute, and Mr. Kofner in The Consul and Reverend Hale in The Crucible. In 2010, he traveled to the Czech Republic to perform The Magic Flute in Teplice and Prague. Brandon currently attends the University of British Columbia for his masters in opera.

Max Van Wyck, Baritone

Max Van Wyck, Baritone

Role: Court Usher
VanCOCO Debut: Carmen (January 2011)

Christopher van Wyck is in the first year Opera diploma program at UBC and has grown under the tutelage of his teacher Peter Barcza. He started singing with the BC Boys Choir when he was seven and has been a soloist at West Vancouver United Church and with the Pacific Spirit Choir for the last 8 years. He made his debut as Koko in Vancouver Community Collegeʼs production of Mikado in 2007, and has since then
performed with Vancouver Island Opera for the last three years: as the Marquis DʼObigny in La Traviata, El Dancairo in Carmen and the Imperial Commissioner in Madama Butterfly last November. This year he has been a part of UBCʼs production of Louis Riel, is fulfilled the role of Seneca in Monteverdiʼs Lʼincoronazione di Poppea with the Academy of Music, and this summer performed in Dragon Divaʼs production of Cendrillon! He enjoys biking to school fueled by hearty meals of potatoʼs and gravy.

Jacquollyne Keath, Mezzo Soprano

Jacqollyne Keath, Mezzo Soprano

Role: Page
VanCOCO Debut: Carmen (January 2011)

Rigoletto marks Jacqollyne's second production with VanCOCO having appeared in "Carmen".  Rigoletto is special to her as it was her first ever opera with the Pacific Opera Company in Victoria over 20 years ago!  Jacqollyne is equally comfortable on the Stage as a performer or behind the scenes as director, or choreographer.  Her recent performances include Ruth in "Pirates of Penzance" with the Chilliwack Opera Troupe (COT) and the Duchess in "The Gondoliers" with the Fraser Valley Gilbert and Sullivan Society.

Jacqollyne's voice is heard in many of the "Elwoodette Marionette" productions. She is also directing for Vagabond Players in New Westminster for their spring show "The Kitchen Witches."  Her next opera role will be with the The Opera Project as Zita in Gianni Schicchi this June.

Jessica Cheung, Soprano

Jessica Cheung, Soprano

Role: COVER (Gilda)

Performing on stages across Canada, USA and Hong Kong, soprano Jessica Cheung is a "real coloratura who tosses off the many runs...with accuracy and applomb" (WholeNote, 2011). Ms. Cheung enjoys a diverse repertoire from oratorio to opera, and thrives on challenging herself vocally and dramatically.

The 2011 season was particularly exciting for Ms. Cheung as she made her operetta debut as Mabel in the Pirates of Penzance with the Toronto Operetta Theatre, made her oratorio return in Fauré's Requiem with the Hong Kong Bach Choir, and realized her first Queen of the Night in Die Zauberflöte with the Halifax Summer Opera Workshop.

Born in Ottawa, Ms. Cheung's vocal career truly flourished in Vancouver, where her family had relocated in her early teenage years. Though Ms. Cheung later obtained degrees in Biology and Psychology from UBC, she took every opportunity to develop herself as a singer outside of school. Shortly after graduation, Ms. Cheung received the greatest opportunity, which became the pivotal moment of her singing journey and career. Ms. Cheung had been offered the title role in Vancouver Opera's world premiere of Naomi's Road in 2005 and thus, became a professional singer.

After touring with Vancouver Opera, she returned to school and in 2009, she obtained her Artist Diploma from The Glenn Gould School of The Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto. Throughout her academic and vocal journey, Ms. Cheung is grateful for the opportunities she had been given to perform on stage. She has been invited to sing at Vancouver Opera's "Voice of the Pacific Rim" concerts, the Toronto Operetta Theatre's "Gilbert & Sullivan Extravaganza" and in Le Roi David with the Hong Kong Bach Choir. She has performed the roles of Susanna in Le nozze di Figaro, Morgana from Alcina, Nannetta from Falstaff and Barbarina from Le nozze di Figaro.

As her 2012 season continues to take shape, Ms. Cheung is thrilled to start the year with the Vancouver Concert Opera Society as the cover of one of her favourite roles, Gilda, in Rigoletto.

Andrzej Jeziorski, Tenor

Andrzej Jeziorski, Tenor

Role: COVER (Duke)
VanCOCO Debut: Carmen (January 2011)

London, UK-born tenor Andrzej Jeziorski is a Diploma student at the Vancouver Academy of Music under David Meek, having moved into opera from years of singing pop and rock music. Recent operatic roles have included Don Ottavio in the Burnaby Lyric Opera production of 'Don Giovanni', Prince Charming in DragonDiva Operatic Theatre's Cendrillon, and Ferrando in the UBC Opera Ensemble production of Cosi Fan Tutte, performed in the Czech Republic and Ontario. Andrzej is also a regular member of the Vancouver Opera Chorus, having appeared in La Traviata, Lillian Alling, Norma and Eugene Onegin. He recently sang as a soloist in the Vancouver Bach Choir's annual "Sing-Along Messiah" concert at the Orpheum Theatre. Outside of his musical pursuits Andrzej is a magazine editor and journalist, specialising in aviation and aerospace.

© 2012 Vancouver Concert Opera Society