Recently, I learned that two composers I’m commissioning for upcoming Crossing Borders concerts received commissioning/creation grants! I am thrilled!! Thank you to Arts Nova Scotia and Ontario Arts Council. And many congrats to Bob Bauer and Saman Shahi for winning these grants. I can’t wait to première your works!
Lady of the Lake has officially dropped and we want to party! We have two events – one in Bedford on July 11 and one in Halifax on July 12.
July 11, 6PM
Board Room Game Cafe
936 Bedford Highway
$5 admission to the cafe
Buy a $20 CD and admission price is waived
Come to the Board Room Game Cafe on the Bedford Highway on Tuesday, July 11 at 6PM. You’ll have a chance to greet the artists on the album, we’ll sing you a few ditties, then we can play some games! The official parts of the event will be between 6:00-7:00pm. Then games and hanging.
July 12, 3:30PM
The Press Gang
5218 Prince St. (between Barrington & Argyle)
Free admission, but reserve your spot HERE
Come to the Press Gang downtown Halifax on Wednesday, July 12 at 3:30PM. Mix and mingle with the artists on the album, and then we’ll sing for you before resuming more mixing and mingling.
The official parts of the event will be between 3:30-4:30PM. The Press Gang opens its regular service at 5PM, so plan to stay on and have some food and bevvies, if you’re so inclined! (The bar will be open for us for our event).
Maureen Batt, soprano
Jon-Paul Décosse, bass-baritone
Simon Docking, piano
Fiona Ryan, composer
Based on the classic 1989 film, Westerberg High is ruled by a shoulder-padded, scrunchie-wearing trio: Heather, Heather and Heather – the hottest and cruelest girls in all of Ohio. But misfit Veronica Sawyer rejects their evil regime for a new boyfriend, the dark and sexy stranger J.D., who plans to put the Heathers in their place – six feet under. Sexy, sassy and laugh-out-loud funny, Heathers: The Musical will blow you away.
Please note: this show contains coarse language, sexuality, violence and mature themes. Viewer discretion IS advised!
We are thrilled to be supporting Phoenix Youth Programs with this production. We are comitted to donating a portion of every ticket to the incredible work they do with the at-risk youth of Halifax.
What: “Heathers: The Musical”
When: Preview Night – Tues Feb 21 @ 7:30 ($10 tickets for all!)
Wed Feb 22 – Sat Feb 25 @ 7:30pm
Sat Feb 25 – Sun Feb 26 @ 2:00pm
Where: The Bus Stop Theatre on Gottingen St
Cost: $20 for Students/Seniors/Artists/Underwaged & $25 for everyone else
Please note that Friday February 24 is our “Fundraiser Friday” so tickets will be $5 more, and all of that money will go directly to Phoenix Youth Programs! We’ve also included an option where you can donate to Phoenix House directly, bypassing our production budget all together.
Producer: Laura Thornton
Director: Emily Jewer
Musical Director: Sarah Richardson
Choreographer: Ian Gilmore
Stage Manager: Olivia McGinn
Assistant Stage Manager: Levente Lakner
Wardrobe: Naomi Froese
Projection Design/Media: Sean Skerry
The Cast: Melissa MacGougan, Sean O’Brien, Tamara Fifield, Shanoa Phillips, Julia Topple, Tyler Craig, Nick Cox, Jessica Oliver, Maureen Batt, Garrett Barker, Brian Hart, Morgan Melnyk, Rachel Mundy, Madeleine Tench, Emily McInnis, Jordan Burke
WE COULDN’T DO IT WITHOUT THESE FOLKS
Halifax Circus, North Street Sobeys, Queen Street Sobeys, Aperature Studios, Solowyay Wright Lawyers, Collin’s Tattoo and Piercing, Neptune Theatre, Delta Barrington, Halifax Mooseheads, David’s Tea, Garrett Barker, Francesca Barnett-Cowan, Mary Anne & Paul Richardson, Fiona Ryan, Heather Topple, Erin Burbidge, Sheila Davis, Nicole & Brandon Nunn, Valerie Verge, Taylor Andrews, Allie DeBendetto, The GoFundMe Team, Luke Morrison, Brenda Phillips, Michael Coderre, Kathleen Dobson, Judi Cumming, Shelagh McGinn
Time of Trouble, A new opera by Canadian composer Elizabeth Raum and librettist Rex Deverell will be given its first fully staged production with orchestral ensemble Thursday, December 15, 8:00 p.m., and Friday, December 16, at 2:00 p.m , in the Sir James Dunn Theatre, Dalhousie Arts Centre.
This opera is one of the very few Canadian musical works dealing with an important part of Nova Scotia’s history. It traces the founding and development of the Sisters of Charity-Halifax, from the arrival of the four original sisters from New York at Halifax Pier in 1849, until the granting of Papal jurisdiction by Pope Leo XIII, 1880. Dramatic focus is set upon the contrasting attitudes to the sisters by the successive Archbishops of Halifax, Connolly and Hannan, singling out the self-sacrificing vison and fortitude of Mother Mary Francis which would subsequently create Mount Saint Vincent University.
The Opera Nova Scotia presentation features a strong cast featuring some of the best of Nova Scotia’s vocal talent: soprano Maureen Batt, alto Nina Scott-Stoddart, counter-tenor Andrew Pickett, and baritone Rob O’Quinn. Walter H. Kemp leads a chorus of nine women’s voices and a professional orchestral quintet with pianist Tara Scott.
Director is Laura Vingoe-Cram, who has returned to Halifax having obtained her Masters degree in directing from the Royal Conservatory of Performing Arts, Glasgow, Scotland. The production team o headed up by scenographer Katrin Whitehead, costumes director Marilyn McLaren and lighting designer Matthew Downey.
Composer Elizabeth Raum has close ties with Halifax, having been Principal Oboe with the Atlantic Symphony Orchestra, and a recipient of an Honorary Doctorate from Mount Saint Vincent University. Rex Deverell, together with his wife Ray, are closely associated with Mount Saint Vincent’s academic life.
Opera Nova Scotia Artistic Director Dr. Walter H. Kemp comments: “We are happy to be associated with Time of Trouble, not only for its intrinsic worth as a new Canadian opera but also for its relevance to an extremely important factor in the development of Nova Scotia’s religious life, educational distinction, and social services. Don’t miss this latest gem celebrating Nova Scotia’s cultural identity.”
Tickets are on sale at the Dalhousie Arts Centre Box Office
OPEN WATER’S 2017
January 8th, 2017 at 7:30pm
Sir James Dunn Theatre, Halifax
Janice Isabel Jackson, soprano
with the Voice Dancer’s Vocal Improvisation Ensemble
– Maureen Batt, Rebecca Crewe, Jackie Dunsworth, Elizabeth Eve, Sheila Hunt, Barbara Lounder, Shelley Meisner, Karen Robinson, and Fiona Ryan
New and Improvised vocal music bringing awareness and bearing witness to social and political issues through the lens of contemporary music.
From Yoko Ono’s reaction to the recent presidential election to the conditions of the workers in factories in 1950’s Italy to Suffragettes in Victorian England.
PROTEST features works for soprano, recorded sound score, electronics, and choral improvisation including 3 world premieres. The performers will be soprano Janice Isabel Jackson and the new female improvisation choir, Voice Dancers, conceived and directed by Jackson. The concert will be presented in Association with Upstream Music Association and Dalhousie University on Sunday, January 8th, 2017, during the annual Open Waters Festival of new music.
The works in PROTEST will span several generations of composers, from the first composition written for soprano and electronics, Luigi Nono’s La Fabbrica Illuminata, to a new work by Halifax composer Sandy Moore, specifically written for improvisation choir.
A Vocalypse Production in association with Upstream Music Association and OPEN WATER’S 2017
Tickets will also be available at the door
$25 general, $20 arts workers/students
What is Crossing Borders?
Crossing Borders is a dynamic concert programme that creates a dialogue among contemporary compositional voices from Canada and other countries. The inaugural tour took place in January and March 2015 in Halifax, Philadelphia, and Toronto. This year’s Crossing Borders: Realities Blurred series includes Philadelphia on March 13, Toronto on March 20, and Halifax on August 6, 2016.
On this year’s concert:
Using multimedia, cabaret style, musical theatre style, and classical music style, this concert features modern topics relevant to today’s society: mental health issues, HIV/AIDS, gender identity, body issues, and is infused with humour as it mocks nursery rhymes and even selfies!
Each piece represents a reality that is blurred, a line that is crossed, a time that is both past and present.
A bit more about us, the artists in Crossing Borders:
Maureen Batt, soprano: Noted by Opera Canada as a “young, lovely and captivating soprano,” Maureen Batt is an accomplished artist. Her career embraces the full variety of genres: opera, oratorio, cabaret, musical theatre, art song, and contemporary music. She has been engaged by the Windsor Symphony Orchestra, Opera in Concert, Toronto Operetta Theatre, Maritime Concert Opera, Toy Piano Composers, New Hamburg Live!, Open Ears Festival of Music and Sound, and Opera Nova Scotia. She is the co-artistic director of Essential Opera, who closed its sixth season this April in Toronto. In April 2014, Essential Opera presented a triple bill of Canadian premières where Maureen created the roles of Dorothy Parker (Etiquette, Pearce), Anna (Regina, Denburg), and Cindy (Heather: Cindy + Mindy =BFFs 4EVER, Thornborrow). Maureen has also created the roles of Sister Mary Francis (Time of Trouble, Raum), Helen (Aunt Helen, Pearce), Keri Ferrell (Hipster Grifter, Denburg), Lorelie Henderson (Stockholm Syndrome, Ryan), Bride (Cake, Pearce), Hannah (Hannah & Paige and the Zombie Pirates, Thornborrow). In 2017, Maureen will release her first commercial CD, with Jon-Paul Decosse, bass-baritone, and Simon Docking, piano, including Schubert’s Op. 52 and premièring Fiona Ryan’s Lady of the Lake.
Cheryl Duvall is a multi-faceted musician and pianist. She is active as a soloist, collaborative pianist, teacher and adjudicator and has toured and performed throughout Canada, Italy, Latvia, Estonia, Finland, Switzerland, the Netherlands, England, Argentina and the U.S. She is especially passionate about contemporary music, which has led her to co-found the Thin Edge New Music Collective, now in their fourth season. Thin Edge completed a Canadian tour in winter 2013, were guest artists in residence at the SoundSCAPE Festival of New Music in Maccagno, Italy in 2013 and at Le Pantographe in Moutier, Switzerland in 2014. To date, they are responsible for commissioning and premièring 27 new works in the past three years, with plans for 13 new works throughout their fourth concert season. Ms. Duvall is the pianist for the Toronto-based Bell’Arte Singers and the internationally renowned Oakville Children’s Choir, with whom she has toured and competed internationally with gold standings. Besides performing, she maintains a full private piano studio and adjudicates piano competitions across Canada. Cheryl completed a BMus in Piano Performance and Theory, and a Diploma of Chamber Music from Wilfrid Laurier University, as well as a Master’s of Piano Performance and Pedagogy at the University of Toronto.
For more information contact:
Maureen Batt at
***If you are unable to attend, but would still like to support the concert or donate a ticket for someone else to attend, you can do so by clicking the donate button below. Thank you for your support!***
In 2005, I had just finished my third year of my Bachelor of Music at Dalhousie University. I had been fortunate enough to get to sing some amazingly fun roles in the Opera Workshop at school, and had had my fair share of stage time pre-BMus during my Bachelor of Arts at St. Thomas University (and, let’s be honest: my whole life).
Before my summer at the Halifax Summer Opera Festival (then: Halifax Summer Opera Workshop), I had never had the opportunity to wake up and just sing. Every day. To me, it was literally the coolest thing ever. This training program was built with the intention of giving young singers a small glimpse of what it could be like to be a professional singer with an opera gig.
I have a few defining moments in my life that made me realize I wanted to be a professional singer and this is most definitely one of them.
Thank you for giving me this first taste of the professional singing world, thank you for having me on faculty at HSOF 2015, and for inviting me to do a masterclass this year, too.
Opera on the Arm
It is with great pleasure that I’m singing with the Halifax Summer Opera Festival family this Saturday, July 9, 4PM, for the Opera on the Arm fundraiser. You can read all about it here: Opera on the Arm and you can buy online tickets here: Tickets
Starting this Sunday, I’ll be touring the South Shore of Nova Scotia with the Maritime Concert Opera Company. We begin in Halifax with a performance in the Lilian Piercey Concert Hall at the Maritime Conservatory of Performing Arts.
We have four shows in total – Halifax, Shelburne, Annapolis Royal, and Lunenburg.
***Please read the bottom of the poster for all ticket details***
Tickets for both the Halifax and Lunenburg concerts are available at the door or online:
It’s been a great start to 2016! My grant writing is paying off, and two Canadian operas that I was in got great Opera Canada reviews!
After a successful tour with Crossing Borders, it’s time for more contemporary music– and, this time, OPERA :)! Read more about my upcoming show in Toronto with Essential OperaHERE.
For photos of the Crossing Borders: Realities Blurred tour in Philly and Toronto CLICK HERE.
I’m also thrilled to announce that my project Lady of the Lake with Simon Docking, Jon-Paul Décosse, Fiona Ryan, and Leaf Music Inc. got the #FACTORFunded seal of approval! We record this project in October and I could not be more excited! In other grant news, the SOCAN Foundation has funded four recent and upcoming projects! Thank you, SOCAN!
Composer Elizabeth Raum and librettist Rex Deverell, both with connections to Mount Saint Vincent University, were intrigued by the history of the institution and the Order of the Sisters of Charity who founded it. They composed a dynamic, sometimes quite humorous, opera with a fully developed plot and real personalities.
Soprano Maureen Batt, as Mary McGuire—later to become Sister Francis and then Mother Francis—filled the church with her rich, warm sound and masterful acting.
Aunt Helen by Monica Pearce and Serva Padrona by Pergolesi with Opera Nova Scotia, May 2015.
Soprano Maureen Batt sang the role of [Helen] Creighton, a prominent folklorist who published books on Nova Scotia lore and collected more than 4,000 traditional songs and stories. The character of Aunt Helen is alone on stage, now in her 70s and talking about her life to an unseen interviewer. The original score, with some Nova Scotian folk music interspersed through it, is attractive, and Batt brought a warm and very pleasing voice to her performance.
The third opera was Pergolesi’s La serva padrona, with Batt returning to the stage as Serpina, the receptionist who would like to rule the company and its boss, bass-baritone Jon-Paul Décosse. The music was enjoyable and the singers quite impressive.
Reviews by Daphna Levit
Maureen during her Crossing Borders: Realities Blurred tour. Photo by Monica Pearce