Dec. 17: Highlights from Messiah - Meet the Soloists

DEC 15 2016 • MSO TEAM

Amanda Cogan - Soprano

Canadian soprano Amanda Cogan holds a Masters of Music in Voice Performance with honors from the University of Toronto, where she graduated under the tutelage of renowned Canadian soprano, Wendy Nielsen.

Miss Cogan recently returned from Lucca, Italy, where she sang the title role in Puccini’s tragic opera Suor Angelica at the Accademia Europea Dell’Opera. Earlier in the season she was seen as Ilia in Mozart’s Idomeneo, and also performed at the 2015 Saint Andrews Opera Workshop, where she sang excerpts as Guilietta in Bellini’s I Capuleti e i Montecchi.

During the summer of 2014, as one of the proud recipients of the University of Toronto’s David and Marcia Beach summer study awards, Miss Cogan attended the distinguished Aspen Opera Theatre Centre at the Aspen Music Festival and School, where she performed on the stage of the Wheeler Opera House in Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin. She was also featured in the Wheeler Opera House scenes performance series, as Catherine in Bolcom’s, a View from the Bridge, Emmie in Britten’s Albert Herring and as Ann Trulove in Stravinsky’s, Rake’s Progress.  

In 2013, as a member of the prestigious University of Toronto Opera Undergraduate Program, she appeared as la Contessa Almaviva in U of T Opera’s excerpted performance of Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro. She continued her development of the role as a member of the Opera Studio at the Centre for Opera Studies in Italy (COSI), where she again performed excerpts from the opera in concert. She has appeared on the stage of U of T’s MacMillan Theatre in productions of L’Elisir d’Amore, Candide and Martha and has also performed at the Richmond Centre for Performing Arts in Opera York’s Così Fan Tutte, and in Sulmona, Italy, in the COSI program’s La Clemenza di Tito. A highlight of the 2014 winter season included Miss Cogan being a featured artist in An Evening of English Art Song with celebrated American mezzo-soprano Stephanie Blythe at the University of Toronto’s Walter Hall.  

Equally inspired by oratorio, in December of 2016 Miss Cogan will make her Mississauga Symphony Orchestra debut in Handel’s Messiah.

Christina Stelmacovich - Mezzo Soprano

A native of Toronto, Canada, mezzo soprano Christina Stelmacovich is a winner of several international vocal competitions, and has been described as “an elegant and noble singer whose beautiful voice and attention to diction captivated the listener.” Her career has included performances in Canada, Austria, the United States and Mexico.  

Most recently Christina has appeared as a soloist with the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir in a celebratory performance of Mendelssohn’s Elijah marking Noel Edison’s 20th anniversary as Music Director of this illustrious choir. As well, she was a featured soloist at the Elora Music Festival performing the title role in Handel’s Solomon, Mozart’s Requiem, Bach’s B Minor Mass and G Minor Mass and Haydn’s Nelson Mass all under the direction of Noel Edison. This past season Christina appeared with the Tafelmusik Baroque Choir and Orchestra performing Vivaldi’s Gloria under the direction of Ivars Taurins and had the privilege of performing Mahler’s Symphony no. 2 with organ and the Elora Festival Singers.

Other recent performances include Rossini’s Petite Messe Solennelle with London Pro Musica, Mendelssohn’s Elijah with Masterworks of Oakville, and several performances of Handel’s Messiah.

This past October Christina was in the UK, recording Mahler’s Symphony no. 2 with internationally-renowned organist David Briggs, accompanied by the City of Birmingham Choir and conducted by Dr. Christopher Robinson, for Chestnut Music.  

When not performing, Christina teaches privately and is the Music Assistant at the Cathedral Church of St. James in Toronto as well as the Artistic Director of a monthly Bach cantata series entitled “Cantatas in the Cathedral”.    

Clarence Frazer - Baritone

Hailed as a “singer to watch” (Musical Toronto), Canadian baritone Clarence Frazer is praised for having a “silvery baritone that retains its silky texture through his entire range” (London Free Press) who “possesses a powerful, robust voice” (Paula Citron). His “brilliant and stalwart singing” (Calgary Herald) earned him praise last summer in The Banff Centre’s production of Crush – “Mr. Frazer’s acting was excellent, his singing melodious, rhetorically balanced and beautiful” (Calgary Herald).

Mr. Frazer recently made debuts with Pacific Opera Victoria singing the title role in Il Barbiere di Siviglia and with Canadian Stage/Soundstreams Canada as Jean in the North American Premiere of Philippe Boesmans’ opera Julie.  

Mr. Frazer is an alumnus of Calgary Opera’s Emerging Artists Program, and of the Canadian Opera Company’s Ensemble Studio, where he made his mainstage role debut (Spring 2015) as Figaro in Il Barbiere di Siviglia. As Figaro Mr. Frazer was “very polished,” “made for the part” and “right from his first entrance did not disappoint” (John Gilks, Opera Ramblings). Other COC credits include: Prince Yamadori in Madama Butterfly, Schaunard in La Bohème and Guglielmo in Così fan Tutte. Future engagements include: Figaro in Il Barbiere di Siviglia (Saskatoon Opera; Summer 2016). Other credits include Marcello in La Bohème and Publio in La clemenza di Tito; Prince Yamadori and Imperial Commissioner in Madama Butterfly (Edmonton Opera); Dottore Grenvil in La Traviata, Ford in Falstaff, Pinellino in Gianni Schicchi, Daggoo in Moby-Dick and Alcindoro and Schaunard in La Bohème (Calgary Opera); Escamillo in Carmen and Dandini in La Cenerentola and Sid in Albert Herring.   On the concert stage Mr. Frazer most recently performed Wagner’s Wesendonck at The Banff Centre with The Banff Centre Chamber Orchestra and Maestro Christopher Mokrzewski; Jesus in Bach’s St. John Passion with the Metropolitan United Church Festival Choir and Orchestra. 

In April 2010 he made his Orchestra London debut singing the Bass Solo in Bach’s Cantata 205 under the musical direction of Maestro Timothy Vernon. Other concert credits include: Bass Solo in Mozart’s Requiem; Bass Solo in Beethoven’s Mass in C; Baritone Solo in Orff’s Carmina Burana and Bass Solo in Mozart’s Coronation Mass. In addition to his opera and concert work Mr. Frazer won the inaugural Lois Marshall Voice Competition and was a finalist in Palm Beach Opera’s International Voice Competition and the International Vocal Competition held in Hertogenbosch, Netherlands.  

Daevyd Pepper - Tenor

Daevyd Pepper, Tenor is currently completing his Master's in Opera Performance at the University of Toronto, in the studio of Frédérique Vezina. Daevyd received his BFA: Music at York University studying with Norma Burrowes.  Daevyd's most recent credits include Orpheus in Orphée aux Enfers (U of T Opera), Lensky in Eugene Onegin (Muskoka Opera Festival) and Male Chorus in The Rape of Lucretia (MYOpera).
This upcoming season Daevyd will be originating the role of Addison Witless in Prima Zombie (UofT Opera), singing the tenor solo in Mozart's Requiem (Toronto Mozart Players) and will also be attending the Opera Theatre St. Louis' Gerdine Young Artist Program.  He is really excited and grateful to be joining the MSO for his debut performance of Handel's Messiah.