Born in Newfoundland, Michael Barrett studied at the University of Toronto Opera School. While a member of the Canadian Opera Company Ensemble Studio he had 14 roles to his credit. In Toronto he also appeared as Spalanzani (LES CONTES D’HOFFMAN) for the COC, Quint (THE TURN OF THE SCREW) for Against the Grain Theatre, was in the world premieres of Beckwith’s TAPTOO! (TOT) and Togni’s ISIS AND OSIRIS (OIC) as well as regularly appearing with the Aldeburgh Connection. In Western Canada he has sung with Pacific Opera Victoria (THE MARRIAGE OF FIGARO), Vancouver Opera (THE MAGIC FLUTE, SWEENEY TODD), Edmonton Opera (LES CONTES D’HOFFMAN, SALOME, THE MAGIC FLUTE), and Saskatoon Opera (LES CONTES D’HOFFMAN). Recent projects include the roles of Tichon in KATYA KABANOVÁ, (OIC), Gabriel Dumont in LOUIS RIEL (NAC Orchestra), the Witch in HANSEL AND GRETEL (Sudbury Symphony), and Howard Boucher in DEAD MAN WALKING (Vancouver Opera).
A proud Newfoundlander, tenor Ryan Downey is quickly gaining nationwide recognition for his “nimbleness of voice” (Bachtrack) and “attractive lyric tenor colour” (Edmonton Journal).
In 2019, Ryan has appeared as Rodolfo in LA BOHEME, Rinuccio in GIANNI SCHICCHI, and made his mainstage debut with Toronto Operetta Theatre in the lead role of Ralph Rackstraw in H.M.S. PINAFORE. Ryan also appeared as Goro in the Windsor Symphony’s 2020 production of MADAMA BUTTERFLY. Ryan made an important debut with his hometown Newfoundland Symphony, singing their 2019 run of MESSIAH.
Ryan was delighted to perform in a new co-production of a work by Montreal-based composer, Ana Sokolovic, entitled DAWN ALWAYS BEGINS IN THE BONES representing the University of Toronto as an alumnus member of the cast. Ryan has also performed with Tapestry Opera in their SONGBOOK IX and workshop performance of A DRAGON’S TALE. Other recent credits include singing the role of the Gingerbread Witch in HANSEL AND GRETEL with the Guelph Symphony Orchestra, singing the roles of Basilio and Curzio in LE NOZZE DI FIGARO with the Windsor Symphony and appeared as John in Opera on the Avalon’s remounting of OURS.
Ryan is also an eager concert artist; recently making his Winspear Centre debut with the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra in MESSIAH and with the Windsor Symphony Orchestra in Beethoven’s NINTH SYMPHONY. Other recent and upcoming engagements include Haydn’s LORD NELSON MASS, Mozart’s REQUIEM, Scriabin’s FIRST Symphony, Vaughan Williams SERENADE TO MUSIC, Beethoven’s CHORAL FANTASY, Schubert’s MASS IN G, and Orff’s CARMINA BURANA.
Recognized for her ability to communicate with an audience, soprano Lauren Margison is making her mark as a young artist of note. An Alumna of both the Canadian Opera Company’s Ensemble Studio and the prestigious Atelier lyrique de l'Opéra de Montréal, she is also laureate of Jeune Ambassadrice Lyrique and is the youngest finalist to appear in the highly competitive Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg Vocal Competition. A finalist and prizewinner in the 2017 George London Foundation Awards, Lauren went on to take first prize in the 2018 competition. She appeared as Mimi in a special presentation of La Boheme with Artists of the COC Ensemble at The Four Seasons Centre and was featured in the COC’s searing production of Strauss’ Elektra. She debuted the role of Micaëla in Carmen for the Brott Music Festival in Hamilton and was scheduled for the role at Pacific Opera Victoria, performances put on hold owing to the Coronavirus pandemic. A semi-finalist in the Glyndebourne Opera Cup competition in March 2020, Lauren’s appearance in Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 marks her debut with l’Orchestre symphonique de Québec. Further credits include Clorinda In la Cenerentola and Soeur Mathilde in Dialogues des Carmélites for Opéra de Montréal and appearances with the TD Toronto Jazz Festival, Cincinnati Pops, Hannaford Street Sliver Band, Highlands Opera Studio, Choeur de Laval, and the Ottawa Chamber Music Festival.
Alberta-born soprano Caitlin Wood was “absolutely vibrant” and showed “great comic flair” in her debut as Susanna in Vancouver Opera Festival’s THE MARRIAGE OF FIGARO. Caitlin portrayed Ava in City Opera Vancouver’s world premiere of Marie Clements/Brian Current’s powerful opera MISSING, showing “exquisite vulnerability”.
The pandemic interrupted a busy 2019/20 season for Caitlin, which began with performances in IL TRITTICO with Pacific Opera Victoria, and a touring production of MISSING in BC. Caitlin was “an exceptional soprano with excellent comedy” as Susanna in Edmonton Opera ‘s MARRIAGE OF FIGARO in January 2020, but in March, the Covid-19 curtain came down after dress rehearsal for Caitlin starring as Cunegonde in CANDIDE with Edmonton Opera.
Mark Morris called Caitlin’s recent Comtesse Adele “the standout performance of the evening” in Edmonton Opera’s LE COMTE ORY, and as Adele in Toronto Operetta Theatre’s DIE FLEDERMAUS, Paula Citron praised her “charming stage presence”.
Recent concert performances for Caitlin include Vancouver Bach Choir/Vancouver Opera Festival’s premiere of Brian Current’s THE RIVER OF LIGHT, CARMINA BURANA with Ottawa Choral Society, and Mozart’s REQUIEM with Windsor Symphony Orchestra.
Caitlin is featured in several OperaBreaks, cinematic videos produced by Domoney Artists Management, and voices Iona the cockatiel in Opera 5’s charming animated video in collaboration with Kingston Symphony, THREEPENNY SUBMARINE.
Caitlin received her Masters of Music in Opera Performance from University of Toronto, and gained attention as Johanna in SWEENEY TODD while a member of Vancouver Opera’s Yulanda M. Faris Young Artist Program.
Baritone Sean Curran is always happy to join the team at Toronto Operetta Theatre. For TOT: Njegus in THE MERRY WIDOW, Dr. Blind in DIE FLEDERMAUS, Lutz in THE STUDENT PRINCE; Lane in EARNEST, THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING (2008 World Premiere and in April 2015); Dr. Brooks in LADY IN THE DARK; Penichek in COUNTESS MARITZA; Don Alhambra in THE GONDOLIERS; also THE WIDOW; LAND OF SMILES; CECILIA VALDEZ; and THE PIRATES OF PENZANCE. For Opera in Concert: LES DIALOGUES DES CARMÉLITES and others. Elsewhere: The Commendatore in DON GIOVANNI; Truffaldino in ARIADNE AUF NAXOS; Baron de Gondremarck in LA VIE PARISIENNE; Morales in CARMEN; Antonio in THE MARRIAGE OF FIGARO.
Sean is from St. John’s, Newfoundland and is living quite contentedly in the Beaches neighbourhood in Toronto.
DORA Award Winner Gregory Finney is delighted to return to TOT. Gregory’s “big, surprising voice...” (schmopera.com) has performed in DIE FLEDERMAUS, THE CHOCOLATE SOLDIER, HMS PINAFORE, THE MIKADO, LOS GAVILANES and many more for TOT. Gregory is also regularly seen with VOICEBOX: Opera In Concert (LA DONNA DEL LAGO, KAMOURASKA, DIE FREUNDE VON SALAMANKA, STREET SCENE), Against the Grain Theatre (LA BOHEME, FIGARO'S WEDDING, MESSIAH), Opera By Request (DON GIOVANNI, LE NOZZE DI FIGARO, ADRIANA LECOUVREUR) and LooseTEA Music Theatre (LA TRAGEDIE DE CARMEN, AUTOCORRECT OPERAS) Gregory’s versatility is “remarkable to watch...” (barczablog.com) as he hosts a monthly Opera/Improv show "Whose Opera Is it Anyway?" produced by LooseTea. Gregory is also a well-known music writer and critic published in La Scena Musicale, Opera Canada, and the wildly popular opera blog - Schmopera (www.schmopera.com)
Frequently seen on the TOT stage, Rosalind McArthur has appeared in H.M.S. Pinafore 3 times! Other favourite roles include Praskovia (MERRY WIDOW), Leontina (LOS GAVILANES), Miss Prism (EARNEST, THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING), Maggie (LADY IN THE DARK), and Princess Boźena (COUNTESS MARITZA). For SOLT: RIDERS TO THE SEA (Maurya), GIANNI SCHICCHI (Zita), NIGHT BLOOMING CEREUS (Mrs Brown), NORTHERN LIGHTS DREAM (Mrs Duke). She received the InspiraTO Festival's award for Best Female Actor for her performance as a recovering alcoholic and cocaine addict in MAISIE IN THE DARK. She is a busy stage director: favourites have been HANSEL AND GRETEL, WEST SIDE STORY, and a Celtic rock version of A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM. Rosalind holds performance and teaching diplomas in Voice and Drama from Trinity College of Music (London, England) and a B.A. in Theatre Directing.
Baritone Taylor Gibbs is originally from Stouffville, Ontario. A graduate of York University, he was a soloist with their choirs in works such as CARMINA BURANA and SERENADE TO MUSIC. Taylor is a member of the Opera in Concert Chorus and the Orpheus Choir of Toronto. Recent roles include Blanchet in KAMOURASKA and Kuligin in KATYA KABANOVA with Opera in Concert; Barone Douphol in LA TRAVIATA and Marco in GIANNI SCHICCHI with Summer Opera Lyric Theatre; Bob Becket in H.M.S. PINAFORE and Pritschitsch in THE MERRY WIDOW with Toronto Operetta Theatre; Imperial Commissioner in MADAMA BUTTERFLY and Sprecher in DIE ZAUBERFLÖTE with Opera by Request; and Lord Sidney in IL VIAGGIO A REIMS with Toronto Vocal Studio. Upcoming roles include Michele in IL TABARRO with Opera by Request and Quinault in ADRIANA LECOUVREUR with Opera in Concert.
Robert Cooper, Conductor
After 31 successful years bringing fine vocal and choral music to all of Canada as Executive Producer of Opera and Choral Music for CBC Radio Two, Mr. Cooper now pursues a full-time conducting schedule. He has had the honour of conducting the National Youth Choir of Canada, the Ontario Youth Choir (1979, 2007, 2016) and a Celebration of Canadian Choral Music at Carnegie Hall.
In addition to his work with choirs, Mr. Cooper has been involved with the presentation of more than 150 operas and has conducted symphony orchestras in Halifax, Winnipeg, Edmonton, Orchestra London, opera companies in Victoria, Ottawa and Winnipeg as well as Toronto Operetta Theatre and Opera in Concert. Mr. Cooper has guest conducted Canadian choirs, and has undertaken guest engagements at Festival 500, Kathaumixw, Festival of the Sound, Unisong Choral Festival, Stratford, Guelph and Algoma Festivals, and Thirteen Strings.
Currently, he serves as Artistic Director of Chorus Niagara, the Opera in Concert Chorus and was the founding conductor of the Ontario Male Chorus.