SFU Goldcorp Centre for the Arts
NOTE: Tickets go on sale Monday, April 3 at noon.
Artists: Charlotte Siegel, soprano; Marisa Gold, choreographer and dancer; Dr Debi Wong & Stephanie Wong, stage directors; Catalina Vicens, music director/2023 Artist-in-Residence; and EMV Festival Players directed by Catalina Vicens: Chloe Meyers, violin 1; Majka Demcak, violin 2; Nolwenn Le Guern, viola da gamba; Margaret Little, viola da gamba; Natalie Mackie, violone; Erin Headley, lirone; Antione Mallette-Chénier, triple harp; Lucas Harris, theorbo
Additional Crew: Vanka Salim, lights/design lights/design; Roberta Doylend, costumes
A seamless blend of Baroque and contemporary song and dance, this interdisciplinary performance is a powerful reclamation of the story of Dido, The Queen of Carthage, and her legacy as a political leader, an empire builder and a woman of colour. This operatic performance, created by re:Naissance Opera, features commissioned works by contemporary composers Jessica McMann, Robyn Jacob and Afarin Mansouri, along with those of Baroque composers Henry Purcell and John Dowland. This project places Dido through a prism, in which her story as a multifaceted leader, lover and outcast are shown in their fullness.
Co-produced by: Early Music Vancouver and re:Naissance Opera
Charlotte Siegel, Dido, soprano
Toronto-based soprano Charlotte Siegel is a member of the Canadian Opera Company’s Ensemble Studio. She made her COC debut as Manon in Ian Cusson’s Fantasma. She holds a Graduate Diploma and Masters in Opera and Voice from McGill University where she studied with Dominique Labelle, and John Mac Master. Previously she obtained her Bachelor of Classical Voice Performance from the University of Toronto studying with Frédérique Vézina.
In 2021 she won the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions (Buffalo/Toronto Region), and was named to CBC’s ‘30 Hot Classical Musicians Under 30’ list. Upcoming performances include: Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony with the MGSO in Montreal, and Tosca Cover (Tosca) and 2nd Apparition/Lady-in-Waiting Cover (Macbeth) for the Canadian Opera Company.
Marisa Gold, dancer & choreographer
Marisa Gold is an intuitive multidisciplinary artist with a passion for all things soulful – an expressive dancer, poet, vocalist, choreographer, stylist, and actor whose work is embedded in self-reflection, a deep love for humanity and reverence for our planet earth. She has trained in a variety of modern/contemporary dance styles, with a BFA in Dance (SFU), a Certificate of Completion from The Ailey School Independent Study program (NYC), and The Graham School (NYC).
Her professional experience includes a broad range of dance styles – modern/contemporary concert dance, experimental street style performance, musical theatre, as well as film and TV work. As a poet Marisa has performed spoken word at various slams across BC. Marisa’s artistic influences are strongly rooted in the heart space of her ancestors. She feels powerful and expansive when she remembers all who have come before her in artistic and self-expression. As a creator and performer, Marisa continues her poetic wandering; delving further with love into the mystery of our collective humanity as well as her own.
Jessica McMann, composer
Jessica McMann is an Alberta-based Cree multi-disciplinary artist. She interweaves land, Indigenous identity, history, and language throughout her dance and music creation/ performance practice. A classically-trained flutist, she holds a Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Calgary and an MFA in Contemporary Arts from Simon Fraser University. Her work fuses together traditional language and dance with her own contemporary experiences as an Indigenous woman and Two-Spirit person with focus on land-based creation and ideas of connection, disconnection, and home.
In 2017 her Too Good; That MAY Be, an immersive soundscape performance, was shown at the Urban Shaman Gallery in Winnipeg as part of The 60’s Scoop; A Place Between. Her compositions include Muskwa’s Mountain Home (2021), Inni (2018) and soundscapes including Beguiling the Land (2020). Jessica is currently the City of Calgary’s Curator of Indigenous Art. She is also co-founder and co-director of Wild Mint Arts, an Indigenous arts company and is a Laureate of the Hnatyshyn Foundation REVEAL Indigenous Art Awards (2017). In 2021 she released her first Indigenous-Classical album Incandescent Tales, and is currently working on a second album to be released this year.
Dr Afarin Mansouri, composer
An internationally recognized composer, producer, and opera artist, Dr. Afarin Mansouri’s unique and dynamic style connects her Iranian roots with her Western aesthetic and training. Her approach to opera creates a unique cross-cultural experience for artists and audiences to connect with Eastern cultures, through language, poetry, storytelling, traditional instruments and more.
She is the recipient of many awards and accolades for her contributions to the Canadian music and operatic scene including the Canada 150 Medal and the Kathleen McMorrow Music Award. Throughout her career, Afarin has collaborated with many organizations and festivals across North America including: Toronto Symphony Orchestra, National Ballet of Canada, Tapestry Opera, Canadian Opera Company, Seattle Opera and Queen’s University to name only a few. Her orchestral prelude, Mithra – the goddess of love and justice, was commissioned and performed by Toronto Symphony Orchestra for their 100th-anniversary celebrations in 2022 and immediately became a symbol for the global Women, Life, Freedom Movement – representing the voice of all women across the Middle East.
Her passion for opera and serving the community has led Afarin to found Cultureland Opera Collective, an organization with a mission to produce operas with cross-cultural elements – providing a platform for emerging artists to develop their skills, collaborate with experts and showcase their artistic talents. In 2022, her operatic compositions were premiered at the Four Seasons Centre for the Arts as part of the Celebrating Asian Heritage Month with the Canadian Opera Company. As an advocate for social and artist equity, she has served as a member of the Canadian Opera Company’s DEI committee, the councilor of Canadian League of Composers, as well as the co-founder and past artistic director of Iranian-Canadian Composers of Toronto (ICOT).
Robyn Jacob, composer
Robyn Jacob is a pianist, singer, composer and educator who lives and works on the unceded territories of the Sḵwx̱wú7mesh, Xʷməθkʷəy̓əm and Səl’il’wətaʔ Nations, also known as Vancouver. She has toured Canada and internationally with her avant-pop project Only A Visitor, who have released three albums to date, and have collaborated with sound designer Nancy Tam on a multi-media production called Double Happiness: Detour This Way.
Her recent composition projects explore writing for unusual ensembles, as well as collaborations with visual artists and instrument makers. Recent commissions include percussion pieces for Sō Percussion and Architek Percussion, A World In Each for 42 Strings for Little Chamber Music (which received an honourable mention in the 2022 SOCAN Her Music Awards), and a piece for percussion quartet by Grammy-winning Third Coast Percussion. In early 2020 she celebrated the release of Earth Leaps Up on the label Elsewhere Music with her duo The Giving Shapes in collaboration with harpist Elisa Thorn. In 2013 she toured Bali with Gamelan Gita Asmara, and has since been co-leading Gamelan Bike Bike. Robyn received a Bachelor’s degree in Music from the University of British Columbia, and has completed residencies at the Banff Centre for the Arts and Joya AiR in Spain.
Dr Debi Wong, stage director
Dr Debi Wong is a Canadian mezzo-soprano, actor and stage-director. She has been praised for possessing a “rich-toned” voice (The Vancouver Sun, CAN) and delivering and creating performances that are “mind-blowing” (Schmopera, CAN) and “unique and magical” (Rondo Classic, FI). She is also the founder and artistic director of the Vancouver-based opera company, re:Naissance.
Debi performs regularly with White Sparrow, her award-winning lute and voice duo co-founded in 2011 with Solmund Nystabakk (lute). The duo has given recitals across Europe and North America, most notably in the Stockholm Early Music Festival series, at the BRQ Vantaa Festival, the Copenhagen Renaissance Festival, the Laus Polyphinae Festival in Antwerp and in the Fabulous Fringe series at the Utrecht Early Music Festival. This season, their debut recording, Mister Dowland’s Midnight was released on SibA/Naxos records.
Debi is a graduate of Yale University (M.Mus.) and The Yale Institute of Sacred Music (Diploma in Sacred Music), where she studied vocal performance and was the recipient of the 2010 Margot Fassler award for outstanding performances in sacred music. She is currently a doctoral candidate at the Sibelius Academy in Finland.
Catalina Vicens, music director
Born in Chile and currently residing in Italy, Calatina Vicens is recognized by the international press as “one of the most interesting musicians in the field of early music.” Her approach to historically-informed performance and musicological research has led her to become one of the most versatile and sought-after historical keyboard performers and teachers of her generation.
In 2013 she founded ensemble Servir Antico, with whom she aims to shed light on the lesser-known repertoire and intellectual heritage of the Humanistic Period (13th-16th century) while using the concert stage to share with the audience the voices of these visionaries of the past, and to also using it to amplify new voices. In 2021, Ms. Vicens was named curator of the Tagliavini Collection in Italy, one of the largest historical keyboard collections in Europe, and artistic director of Museo San Colombano in Bologna. She is also harpsichord/research lecturer at the Royal Conservatory of Brussels (Belgium) and Visiting Professor of Harpsichord at Oberlin Conservatory (USA), amongst many other prestigious appointments.
Stephanie Wong, assistant stage director
Born in Hong Kong, Stephanie Wong (she/her/hers) is a multidisciplinary artist now living on the ancestral and unceded lands of the xʷməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), and Səl̓ílwətaʔ (Tsleil-Waututh) peoples, also known as Vancouver. A graduate of Studio 58’s acting program, she has toured across Canada and the USA, working professionally as an actor, set designer, director and creative collaborator.
She strives to use her voice and platform as a vehicle for activism and education. By honouring the intersections of her professional and personal experiences, her art seeks to amplify the stories of those most unheard, exploring themes of culture, connection, and coexistence. She is a core member of the emerging theatre collective happy/accidents, and is the Artistic Associate at re:Naissance Opera. Her first short film bàba (which she wrote, directed, and designed) has made its way to film festivals in Vancouver, New York, LA, London, and Berlin. She has worked for various theatre companies nationally, highlights including: Theatre Replacement, The Chop, Neworld Theatre, Buddies in Bad Times, The Arts Club, Studio 58, Western Canada Theatre, Electric Company Theatre, Gateway Theatre, Touchstone Theatre, Zee Zee Theatre, and Green Thumb Theatre.
Jessica McMann’s composition The Bear and the Wild Rose: Home