A Classical Christmas

SATURDAY NOVEMBER 25, 2017 | 7:30pm

Evangel Church | 3261 Gordon Drive | Kelowna BC  |  General Admittance $25.00+Fees

Opera Kelowna is proud to welcome Maestro Leslie Dala, Associate Conductor of Vancouver Opera, to join in presenting a Classical concert of traditional and operatic favourites. As one of Canada’s most recognized conductors and pianists, Maestro Dala will perform piano solo selections as well as accompany four of Canada’s leading operatic artists along with a chorus of 50 children from Kelowna Youth Choir (Kelowna Community Music School) in a candlelit procession.

Artist Profiles

Leslie Dala


Leslie Dala is the Music Director of the Vancouver Bach Choir, the Associate Conductor and Chorus Director of Vancouver Opera, and the Music Director of the Vancouver Academy of Music Symphony Orchestra. He has worked at the Banff Centre for the Arts, the Canadian Opera Company, the Santa Fe Opera, l’Opera National du Rhin, Edmonton Opera, Pacific Opera Victoria and Saskatoon Opera and he is a frequent guest conductor with the UBC Opera Ensemble, the COSI Program in Sulmona Italy and Soundstreams Canada. Recent highlights include Le Nozze di Figaro in the inaugural Vancouver Opera Festival; Don Giovanni at the COSI Program; La Cecchina with the Glenn Gould School Opera Department in Toronto and concerts with the Kamloops and Thunder Bay Symphony. This upcoming season he will lead the Verdi Requiem, Handel’s Messiah and Mahler’s 8th Symphony with
the Vancouver Bach Choir; the UBC Opera Ensemble’s production of Gluck’s Orfeo ed Euridice and the World Premiere production of The Overcoat, an Opera by James Rolfe and Morris Panych coproduced by Vancouver Opera, Tapestry Opera and Canadian Stage Theatre.

Taylor Pardell


Taylor Pardell is a recent graduate of Vancouver Opera’s Yulanda M. Faris Young Artists Program, and received her M.Mus from the University of British Columbia and a B.Mus from the University of Toronto. With the Vancouver Opera, she has performed the roles of Gretel in Hansel and Gretel, La Fée in Cendrillon (Viardot), and Barbarina (Susanna understudy) in Le Nozze di Figaro. Other operatic roles include Gilda (Rigoletto), Olympia (Les contes d’Hoffmann) and the title role in The Cunning Little Vixen/Příhody Lišky Bystroušky in the Czech Republic. Taylor was a Semi-Finalist in the 2016 Lotte Lenya Competition, a Finalist at the 2015 National Music Festival of Canada and she made her Carnegie Hall debut as the winner of the American Protégé Competition. She has been a soloist with the Okanagan Symphony Orchestra, the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra and the Vancouver Opera Orchestra (Bard on the Beach: Operas & Arias).

Barbara King*


Mezzo Soprano Barbara King is excited to return to sing with Opera Kelowna after singing in their recent Opera in the Park and Opera under the Stars summer series and performing as The Third Lady in their 2016 production of The Magic Flute. This year Barbara performed the lead role as Octavian in Der Rosenkavalier with Opera by Request in Toronto, made her debut as a soloist with Rocky Mountain Symphony Orchestra and was pleased to return to Edmonton Opera in their spring production of Elektra as The Confidante. A native of Montréal, Québec, Barbara currently resides in Calgary, Alberta, where she and her husband founded Calgary Concert Opera Company. Upcoming performances include Flora in La Traviata with Manitoba Opera. Learn more at: mezzoking.com

*The participation of this Artist is arranged by permission of the Canadian Actors’ Equity Association under the provisions of the Dance Opera Theatre Policy (DOT).

Aaron Durand*


From 100 Mile House, Aaron is becoming widely known for his easygoing nature, “beautiful, fluid baritone” (Globe & Mail), and “sense of comical and the ludicrous” (Calgary Herald). Durand has performed opera, art song, and musical theatre across Canada, China, and the Czech Republic. Past highlights include Puccini’s La bohème and Mozart’s The Magic Flute with Opera Kelowna, Rocking Horse Winner with Tapestry Opera, and a BC-wide tour of Stickboy by slam poet Shane Koyczan and composer Neil Weisensel. When not working, Aaron can be found listening to Alan Watts, hiking something, or drinking yet another coffee.

*The participation of this Artist is arranged by permission of the Canadian Actors’ Equity Association under the provisions of the Dance Opera Theatre Policy (DOT).

Scott Rumble


Woodstock, Ontario tenor, Scott Rumble, is known for being a versatile performer. With credits spanning musical theatre, operetta, oratorio, and opera, Rumble received his Bachelor of Music with Honours in Voice Performance and an Artist Diploma from the University of Western Ontario where he studied with tenor, Torin Chiles. Now at UBC for his Masters degree, Rumble studies with tenor, Patrick Raftery. Rumble has performed many times in Europe as well as in Canada. Selected credits include: Rinuccio in Gianni Schicchi, B. F. Pinkerton in Madama Butterfly, Rodolfo in La Bohème, Lensky in Eugene Onegin, Bacchus in Ariadne auf Naxos, and the Tenor Soloist for Messiah and Beethoven’s 9th Symphony.

Laura Mireau, Kelowna Youth Choir

(Kelowna Community Music School) Conductor

Laura Mireau spent her formative years in Edmonton studying voice with Maurice Mireau and Kim Matice Wanat (Opera Nuovo). At the UofA she earned a double major in Biological Science and Music. During her graduate training she worked with conductors Dr. Robert De Frece and Dr. Leonard Ratlaff, acquired an MSc, a BEd in Fine Arts, and Orff levels I – III. She continues to work towards a graduate degree combining vocal performance, choral conducting and elementary music. Since 2007, she has worked as the Music Specialist at Casorso Elementary, and as Artistic Director of the KCMS Kelowna Youth Choir. She has been involved in several Opera Kelowna projects including “Lake of Tears,” “The Magic Flute” and “La boheme” where she was the associate conductor for the children’s chorus.

Alexandra Babbel

Artistic Director

After enjoying an operatic and concert career in North America and Europe, Alexandra Kosachukova Babbel founded the Opera Kelowna Society, a non-profit charitable status regional opera company. As Opera Kelowna’s Artistic Director, she brings to the organization years of proven artistic vision. Her intention is to bring various artists and art forms together to present peerless performances for the community in accessible and innovative ways. Ms. Babbel has a keen eye for identifying new talent and is known to provide a sound educational environment in which artists can fully develop their craft.

Kelowna Youth Choir (Kelowna Community Music School)

Ben Barbaza, Lenna Barbaza, Caitlyn Bertetic, Amelia Binsted, Holly Binsted, Thea Boulter, Gabrielle Cameron, Hannah Cameron, Lauren Chayka, Paige Currie, Hannah de Viveiros, Maya Elliott, Anaka Fuller, Sophia Gaertner, Tova Galvagno, Andrea Garrido, Isabella Garido, Georgia Gordon, Olivia Hallisey, Harlie Hedges, Anna Hisdal, Aanika Jonson, Kalista Klaver, Kailyn Lafrenie, Mia Makela, Sophia Manoin, Janine Matter, Kyle McEachern, Helena Medgyesi, Maya Muendel, Alicia Nichols, Sophie Planchat, Amaris Richardson, Lily Riley, Willa Riley, Summer Ritchie, Vivian Schmeekle, Anna Sicoe, Anna Spraggs, Ella Thiessen, Brianna Wallace, Katy Webb-Orriss, Aubrea Wiebe, Flora Wilson, Shayla Wilson, Ella Young, Lilianna Young, Ava Zydowicz.

Opera Kelowna Victorian Double Quartet

Allison Kooijman, soprano
Jay Laflamme, soprano
Kendra McFarland, soprano
Kathryn Lockhart, alto
Natalia Polchenko, alto
Peter Johner, tenor

Conagher Jones, tenor
Hal Spelliscy, bass
Alex Wedensky, bass
Anika Louw, child soloist

Kelowna Youth Choir

Operated by the Kelowna Community Music School (KCMS) and made up of students from the local community, the Kelowna Youth Choir is delighted to take part in A Classical Christmas with Opera Kelowna. We rehearse weekly at the Rotary Centre for the Arts, and perform at various venues throughout the city across the season. Partnerships have included the KCMS String Ensembles, faculty and students, Spectrum Singers, Okanagan Festival Singers and, for the second time this year, Opera Kelowna. Led by Laura Mireau and accompanied by Ursula Pidgeon, we are also grateful to Gwen Plitt for her invaluable assistance as Associate Conductor. The choir’s mandate is to enrich the lives of children and youth in the community by providing nonauditioned access to high quality training in vocal technique, theory and aural skills whilst maximizing musical, personal and social development through performance opportunities. If you are interested in joining us, please either call 250 860 1737 or go to the KCMS website: kelownacommunitymusicschool.ca.

Thank you to our generous sponsors.

Opera Kelowna is a non-profit society made possible by these generous sponsors. Please view our support page if you would like to learn more about how you can help support the Arts in our community.