Exciting News!

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 Opera HERE.

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!


Time of Trouble by Elizabeth Raum, libretto by Rex Deverell, with Maritime Concert Opera, October 2016.

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

Maureen during her Crossing Borders: Realities Blurred tour. Photo by Monica Pearce



She’s the One with Essential Opera!

This Friday, April 8, 7:30 PM at the beautiful Heliconian Hall, nestled in Yorkville:

She’s the One – a collage of contemporary opera

She’s the One is celebrating and exploring women’s lives through Canadian and American contemporary opera.We’re (Essential Opera) very proud of our mandate to showcase Canadian artists and works–great opera with great singers, at GREAT prices! Our focus is on giving you, the audience an intimate experience with the music and the stories.

I can’t believe we’re already in the second half of season 6! Thank you to Barczablog and Schmopera for promoting the show! You can get tickets at the door ($20/25), or you can buy them online: TICKETS HERE.

She's the one postcard


Long time no talk!

It’s been a while since my last blog post or schedule update. I’m always grateful to be busy! It’s been a whirlwind of a year so far!!

I will post schedule updates very soon. For now, to find out where I’ll be performing in Ontario in June, please visit www.essentialopera.com. We have two remounts coming up: a double bill in New Hamburg on June 7 (Haydn and Donizetti), and a remount of our Canadian opera triple bill (premiered in April in Toronto) in Kitchener on June 15.

I’m thrilled that Essential Opera has been invited to these two magnificent festivals. Let me know if you’re going to be at either performance so that I can say hi!



Check out the festivals here:

New Hamburg Live! Festival of the Arts

Open Ears Festival of  Music and Sound

Another season opens with Essential Opera!

I’m always shocked when it’s show day with Essential Opera. Months and months of planning…then POOF time to perform! Actually, it’s more like a BAM than a POOF. But every time I wake up on a show day, I feel really excited and grateful.

My colleague and friend, Erin Bardua, and I first started talking about Essential Opera–well, at the time, just about doing one show: Figaro–in 2010. I remember us saying something to each other about naming the company just IN CASE we ended up doing more shows. After our inaugural Figaro, we did Massenet’s Cherubin, Handel’s Alcina (twice! and with chamber orchestra!), Weill’s Threepenny Opera, and a double bill with Donizetti’s Il campanello and Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi.

I honestly can’t believe that this is our 6th show and the start of our 4th season. We’ve purposefully been all over the map, not limiting ourselves to one particular time period or genre within a genre. We really want to present and perform works that are essential–works that express and explore the intimacy of relationships. We have exciting works coming up after our season opener, so stay tuned for those!

The Haydn opera we’re presenting tonight is a rare gem: It’s gorgeous, elegant music by Haydn, and an exploration of relationships between me (Silvia) and Costanza; Silva and a newly discovered object of affection (Enrico); Enrico and his bromance partner Gernando; Gernando and his long lost/abandoned Costanza.

If you have the chance during your noon hour or post-work commute, (or during work?!…I know many of you freelancers would welcome squeezing in 5-min. break), I recommend heading over to our blog page and checking out our trailer, by Alison J. Gray, and checking out some notes on the show, written by Maria Murphy. For more fun and follies, check out us on FacebookTwitter, and YouTube. Thank you for the shares, likes, RTs, MTs, shout-outs, donations, ticket purchases, and cheerleading.


I’m so excited to perform this for you tonight. See you there!

Nov. 8, 7:30 PM
Heliconian Hall, 35 Hazelton Ave., Toronto, ON
Tix $20 at the door or online via www.essentialopera.com