The People Behind the Project
DU YUN, born and raised in Shanghai, China, and currently based in New York City, works at the intersection of opera, orchestral, theatre, cabaret, musical, oral tradition, public performances, electronics, visual arts, and noise. Her body of work is championed by some of today’s finest performing groups and organizations around the world.
Known for her “relentless originality and unflinching social conscience” (The New Yorker), Du Yun’s second opera, Angel’s Bone (libretto by Royce Vavrek), won the 2017 Pulitzer Prize in Music. She was nominated for a Grammy Award in the Best Classical Composition category for her work Air Glow. Her collaborative opera Sweet Land with Raven Chacon (for opera company The Industry) was the 2021 Best New Opera by the North America Critics Association. Four of her feature studio albums were named The New Yorker’s Notable Recordings of the Year, in 2018, 2019, 2020, and 2021, respectively.
A community champion, Du Yun was a founding member of the International Contemporary Ensemble; served as the Artistic Director of MATA Festival (2014-2018); conceived the Pan Asia Sounding Festival (National Sawdust); and founded FutureTradition, a global initiative that illuminates the provenance lineages of folk art and uses these structures to build cross-regional collaborations from the ground up. Du Yun was named one of 38 Great Immigrants by the Carnegie Foundation (2018), “Artist of the Year” by the Beijing Music Festival (2019). In 2022, she was granted a Creative Capital Award for an AR inter-generational Kun-opera project. Asia Society Hong Kong has honored her for her continued contribution in the performing arts field. Other notable awards include Guggenheim, American Academy Berlin Prize, Fromm Foundation, Foundation for Contemporary Arts.
As an avid performer and bandleader (Ok Miss), her onstage persona has been described by the New York Times as “an indie pop diva with an avant-garde edge.”
Du Yun is Professor of Composition at the Peabody Institute, and Distinguished Visiting Professor at the Shanghai Conservatory of Music. Her concert music is published worldwide by G.Schirmer.
To learn more about Du Yun, visit: https://channelduyun.com/
Royce Vavrek is a Canada-born, Brooklyn-based librettist and lyricist who has been called “the indie Hofmannsthal” (The New Yorker) a “Metastasio of the downtown opera scene” (The Washington Post), “an exemplary creator of operatic prose” (The New York Times), and “one of the most celebrated and sought after librettists in the world” (CBC Radio). His opera “Angel’s Bone” with composer Du Yun was awarded the 2017 Pulitzer Prize for Music.
His work has been presented at or performed by the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Brooklyn Philharmonic, Los Angeles Opera, Brooklyn Academy of Music, Carnegie Hall, New York City Opera, The Kitchen, Alarm Will Sound, International Contemporary Ensemble, Opera America, American Lyric Theater, Beth Morrison Projects, Brooklyn Youth Chorus and Peak Performances @ Montclair, among others. His recent commissions include operas for Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, Fort Worth Opera, Opera Philadelphia, Houston Grand Opera and the Prototype Festival, along with a musical for Signature Theater. Vavrek's filmmaking credits include From Sky and Soil, which was created as part of the Corus Young Filmmakers Initiative for broadcast on the W Network, through a prize administered by the Canadian Film and Television Production Association.
Royce is co-Artistic Director of The Coterie, an opera-theatre company founded with Tony-nominee Lauren Worsham. He holds a BFA in Filmmaking and Creative Writing from Concordia University’s Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema in Montreal and an MFA from the Graduate Musical Theater Writing Program at New York University. He is an alum of American Lyric Theater’s Composer Librettist Development Program.
To learn more about Royce, visit: http://www.roycevavrek.com
Asitha Tennekoon (he/him)
Tenor, Boy Angel
Praised by The Globe and Mail for ‘...his silky, emotional presence on stage – both vocally and dramatically...’ Sri Lankan tenor Asitha Tennekoon has established himself as one of Canada’s most versatile singing artists. He is sought after for performances spanning from Baroque to new, and experimental music.
Winona Myles (she/her)
Soprano, Girl Angel
Winona is a multi-disciplinary performer from the Secwépemc Nation. She grew up working in the community and professional theatre scenes in Greater Vancouver and studying voice independently, training up to Grade 8 with Royal Conservatory of Music, as well as performing with various choral groups nationwide.
Eliza Bagg (she/her)
Soprano, Girl Angel
Eliza Bagg is a Los Angeles-based experimental musician, working primarily as a vocalist in the field of contemporary classical music along with producing her own work. She has collaborated with prominent experimental artists ranging from performing in Meredith Monk’s opera Atlas with the Los Angeles Philharmonic to touring regularly as a member of Roomful of Teeth.
Alyssa Samson (she/her)
Mezzo-Soprano, Mrs. XE
Alyssa Nicole Samson is a Filipino-Canadian mezzo-soprano based in Vancouver, BC. A 2022 recipient of the Vancouver Opera Foundation Bursary (for an aspiring BC opera singing student), She has performed internationally in Portugal, Italy, Spain, and Austria. Her artistic presence is established through her dedication to bridging the gap between her Western classical education & her Filipino heritage.
Alexander Dobson (he/him)
Baritone, Mr. XE
Recognized for his "ringing, present sound" and "rich, flexible, baritone", British-Canadian Alexander Dobson has been praised for his musicality and dramatic awareness on both opera and concert stages. Roles include the title roles in Wozzeck and Don Giovanni, Guglielmo (Così Fan Tutte), Belcoré (L’elisir d’amore), The Count (The Marriage of Figaro), and Marcello (La Bohème),
Sergio Augusto (he/they )
Tenor, Tenor 1
Mexican-Canadian tenor Sergio Augusto has a burning passion for operatic music and its power to move the human heart. Highlights from his U.K. stay were performing leading roles such as Orombello in Bellini’s rarely performed ‘Beatrice di Tenda’ with the London Bel Canto Festival.
Chloé Hurst (she/her)
Soprano, Soprano 2
Vancouver soprano, Chloé Hurst, is an active performer and teacher. Hailed by Opera Canada as having “enviable clarity and precision,” her talent has taken her around the world. Chloé has performed across North America, Europe and China in operas, concerts and competitions, recently winning first prize in the Canadian Division of the 28th World Music Competition.
Turgut Akmete (he/him)
Tenor, Tenor 2
Hailed by Opera Canada for his “clear and resonant tenor voice,” Turkish-Canadian Tenor Turgut Akmete performed with Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, UBC Opera, City Opera Vancouver, and other companies across Canada, Austria, China, Germany, the Czech Republic, and Turkey.
Emma Parkinson (she/her)
Mezzo-Soprano, Alto 2/Victim B
Chinese-Canadian mezzo-soprano Emma Parkinson has performed across Canada and internationally, she has been hailed as "an outstanding voice" (La Scena Musicale). As a three-time laureate of the Jeunes Ambassadeurs Lyriques, Emma performed a concert tour of six cities in China. This summer, Emma was honoured to perform as a special guest soloist for Ballet BC’s 35th Anniversary Gala.
Sarah Jo Kirsch (they/them)
Soprano, Male Soprano/Victim A
Sarah Jo Kirsch is an accomplished interpreter of western art music who has performed across Canada and in Europe and West Asia as a soloist and collaborator. They have been hailed as "...one of the finest contemporary dramatic vocalists in Canada today," (Calgary Herald) "...with the ability to get under the skin of everything she sings," (Winnipeg Free Press).
Renee Fajardo (she/her)
Mezzo-Soprano, Alto 1/Victim Understudy
Born and raised in Manila, Filipino Mezzo-soprano Renee Fajardo has performed on the opera stage and as a solo recitalist in the Philippines, UK, Europe, and Canada. Winner of the Metcalf Performing Arts Grant, she was the 2021/2022 Producing Intern at Against the Grain Theatre. She is the Artistic Producer for Sound the Alarm Music/Theatre, & the Programs Coordinator at Gateway Theatre.
Yuhui Wang (he/him)
Baritone, Bass 2
Yuhui Wang is a Chinese baritone. He is currently nearing the completion of his Doctor of Musical Arts at the University of British Columbia's School of Music. Since 2015, Yuhui has performed major roles; including: the Count in Le nozze di Figaro; Escamillio, Zuniga, and Moralès in Carmen; In September, Yuhui performed the role of Uncle Toy in the world premiere opera, Chinatown, with Vancouver City Opera.
Luka Kawabata (he/him)
Baritone, Bass 2/Mr. XE Understudy
Praised for his “well-projected, heroic baritone” (Opera Canada), Nikkei-Canadian, Luka Kawabata is a current participant in the Yulanda M Faris Young Artist Program with Vancouver Opera. He previously appeared as Bill Bobstay in HMS Pinafore, in the 2020-2021 digital season as Dmitri in Wargo’s The Music Shop and Escamillo in Bizet’s Carmen: Up Close and Personal.
Lateral Leadership Team
Debi Wong (she/her)
Debi is an interdisciplinary performance artist that loves to weave together sound, text, movement and technology to create contemporary stories. Her performances have been recognized as “unique and magical” (Rondo Classic, Finland) and “electric & poignant” (Schmopera). Debi is the founding artistic director of re:Naissance Opera in Vancouver, BC.
Brenda Lochhead (she/her)
Human Trafficking Context Committee Manager, Dramaturge
Lochhead is a social worker with Family Services of Greater Vancouver and has more than 25 years of experience in the anti-violence sector, where she supports victims in the Vancouver Police Department Counter Exploitation Unit. She provides services to victims of sexual exploitation and human trafficking. She was instrumental in the development and implementation of a coordination framework for supporting trafficked and exploited individuals, which has been recognized by other policing agencies.
Naomi Woo (she/her)
Naomi Woo is a prominent young Canadian conductor and pianist, recognized by CBC Radio, ARTV, and Flare magazine as a rising star on the Canadian classical music scene. Currently Assistant Conductor of the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, Naomi is a finalist for the position of Artistic and Music Director of l'Orchestre Symphonique de l'Estuaire, and a member of Tapestry Opera’s Women in Musical Leadership program.
Alaina Viau (she/they)
Alaina is a daring director, creator and producer based in Toronto. She is the Founder and Executive Artistic Director of award nominated opera company Loose Tea Music Theatre where they creates genre defying productions that center on critical social issues, raising underrepresented voices and cross-cultural relationships.
Alan Corbishley (he/him)
Alan is known as a baritone having sung throughout North America and Europe, and is now more focused on producing and stage direction. Alan is the founding Artistic Director of Sound the Alarm: Music/Theatre and as a stage director, his productions have been named in Vancouver’s Annual Best Music Events by vanclassicalmusic.com
Stephanie Wong (she/her)
Born in colonial Hong Kong, Stephanie Wong (she/her) is a multidisciplinary artist living on the ancestral and unceded lands of the xʷməθkwəy̓əm, Skwxwú7mesh, and Səl̓ílwətaʔ peoples. An acting graduate of Studio 58, and the Associate Artistic Director of re:Naissance Opera, her current work includes directing, new work development, design, producing, and performance.
David Schotzko (he/him)
As a soloist, chamber musician, and curator, percussionist David Schotzko is a passionate advocate for contemporary composers, having premiered over 300 works with percussion by composers from around the globe. He was a founding member of the renowned International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE) in New York and Chicago and was ICE’s Program Director from 2002 to 2008.
Perri Lo (she/her)
Assistant Music Director
Perri Lo is a pianist and vocal coach, working in opera, chamber music, and dance. Her career has taken her across Canada: serving as pianist in Montreal’s Institut Canadien d’Art Vocal, in Toronto to study Opera Répétiteuring at the University of Toronto Opera(’18), and most recently in Banff as staff pianist and coach at the Banff Arts Centre Opera in the 21st Century Program.
Social Context Committee
Turiya Wild Rose (she/her)
Turiya is an Indigenous womyn, a mother, a registered therapeutic counsellor, Tantric Shamanic Priestess trained in Kundalini dance and a best selling author of a chapter called "unapologetcially YOU" inspiring folks to embody emotional intelligence. For the last 12 years she has supported folks navigating the intersections of trauma, violence and abuse, sex work and sexuality to embody their most authentic and empowered self and live their sacred purpose.
Her role with the National Inquiry into Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women and Girls was as a witness (statement gatherer) to the stories of other survivors and family members, that delivered a final report to the governemnet of Canada, identifying the root causes as a consequence of Colonial, Patriarchal, Capitalistic systemic violence and calls to action.
Her work is informed by her lived experience (she was sex traffikked as a youth from the ages of 13-16 in street level and indoor sexual exploitation), somatic therapy and marrying ancient wisdoms and practices of the Feminine principle with the best of modern science or Masculine principle.
She loves to dance and shares that dance was her sanctuary through her complex trauma childhood experiences. She values authenticity, self-expression, personal sovereignty AND interdependence. Re-imagining a world rooted in our connection to the land and Shared Power.
Ala'a Founouni (he/him)
Ala'a Founouni created and developed a men's accountability program titled "Redefining Manhood", which aims to prevent violence against women and encourages bystander intervention. The provincially-funded workshops were presented to high school students across British Columbia.
Ala'a also coordinated and facilitated online safety workshops on behalf of Children of the Street Society, an organization dedicated to preventing the sexual exploitation of children and youth. He is currently employed as a Youth & Family Counsellor and continues to be very passionate about raising awareness around the issue of human trafficking.
Kim Fleming (she/her)
Kim Fleming (she/her) MSW RSW is of Scottish ancestry & born on Mi’kma’ki homelands colonially known as Nova Scotia. Kim has a private clinical practice that centres the healing of historical, intergenerational, structural, developmental and relational trauma. Kim provides clinical consultation to health practitioners and organizations.
As a settler with colonizer roots, Kim is also committed to personally reckoning with & healing colonial legacy & its ongoing impacts. As a guest on this stolen, living Land, Kim is deeply grateful to the xʷməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skmwxwú7mesh (Squamish), Səl̓ílwətaʔ/Selilwitulh (Tsleil-Waututh) ancestors & peoples who have shared & cared for these beautiful homelands since time immemorial.
Charlee Beckett (they/them)
Charlee Beckett (aka Keigh) is a local independent indoor sex worker. She’s been in the business for six years and is a staunch advocate for decriminalization and destigmatization, and raising awareness about the difference between sex work and trafficking. In her spare time, she volunteers with PACE society; she spoke on the morning show on Global News about sex work on their behalf and has helped lead workshops at local organizations about the legalities and stigma surrounding sex work.
VICE magazine included her experience being excluded from online dating apps as a result of her profession. Also a musician, Charlee is honoured and excited to be working with this talented and varied team to ensure the line between consensual and coerced work remains clear in this project.
Hayden Averill (he/him)
Hayden Averill is the current Program Coordinator of Redefining Manhood: Acting Out Against Toxic Masculinity and Exploitation. This program consists of a 60 minute, interactive, workshop with secondary school students (aged 13-18). Hayden discusses the role that men, and by extension masculinity, play in sexual violence. He challenges young men to challenge traditional concepts of masculinity and educated about how toxic aspects of masculinity contribute to the issue of sexual assault in Canadian high schools. Hayden created the curriculum, books workshops, coordinates travel, as well as runs the social media of the Redefining Manhood program.
Creative and Production Team
Holly Meyer-Dymny (she/her)
Set & Lighting
Holly Meyer-Dymny is an award-winning Canadian theatre designer, artist, painter, mentor, educator, advocate, and a board member of the Associated Designers of Canada IA local 659. She creates Set, Lighting, and Projection Designs for theatre, dance, opera, and musical theatre. Her theatre work has a focus on conversation, collaboration, holistic design, and accessible, greener practices.
Joline Rath (she/her)
Joline Rath is an up and coming costume designer based in Victoria, BC. A seamstress by trade, she has a rich background of technical experience ranging from sustainable garment manufacturing to gymnastic apparel to furniture upholstery. Joline is a graduate of The National Theatre School of Canada’s Set & Costume Design Program where she received specialized training in costume breakdown and interned under a master cutter. Always interested in combining the technical with the creative, Joline’s understanding of how things are made inspires and refines her artistic work.
James Nesbitt (he/him)
Jamie designs across North America and Europe: Stratford, Shaw, Canadian Stage, NAC, Soulpepper, MTC, Vancouver Playhouse, Citadel, Theatre Calgary, Palazzo Circus, Calgary Stampede, Bard on the Beach, Arts Club, Charlottetown Festival, Electric Company, Kidd Pivot, Pacific Opera, Opera Quebec, Company 14, Vancouver Opera, Why Not, Neptune, Belfry, Old Trouts, ARC, Cahoots, PTE, Touchstone, Vertigo, Pi Theatre, Theatre Network, Rumble, and many more. Jamie is the recipient of numerous awards.
Tina Chang (she/her)
Vancouver pianist and coach Tina Chang has appeared in many recitals throughout Canada and the United States. Currently on the music staff at Vancouver Opera as répétiteur and coach, she was most recently assistant conductor with the company’s production of Nico Muhly’s Dark Sisters. Past engagements include music directorship with Fear No Opera in Victoria, and as pianist and coach with the Atelier lyrique at the Opéra de Montréal. She has toured with the group QuintEssence (whose members include Robyn Driedger-Klassen, Barb Towell, Frédérik Robert and Peter Alexander) to bring Classical music to communities throughout British Columbia.
Rachel E. Ross (they/them)
Rachel E. Ross is a stage manager, theatre technician, and classically trained musician originally from Calgary, Alberta. Passionate about all things music, theatre, and arts related, they are in their last term of study in Studio 58’s Theatre Production program. Having previously earned a Bachelor of Music in Voice Performance from the Oberlin Conservatory, Rachel shares an alma mater with Angel’s Bone composer Du Yun. Select credits with Studio 58 include Blue Stockings and The Rocky Horror Show (Stage Manager), Six of One (Set Crew Head), and Everybody (Assistant Stage Manager). They have also recently worked with Bard on the Beach on their 2022 Season and with the Arts Umbrella Dance Company.
Celeste English (she/her)
Assistant Lighting Designer
Celeste English is a lighting designer born and raised in Vancouver, BC. Design credits include; Michif Medicines (Vni Dansi), The Virtual Full Light of Day (Electric Theatre Company), OW, Bloom (Mascall Dance), The Sea (Slamming Door Collective), Still Life Continuum (RedShift Music Society), Sex with Strangers, Body Awareness (Mitch & Murray Productions), Topophilia, Books (SFU SCA). Associate Design credits include; Made in Italy (The Arts Club, Theatre Aquarius). Assistant Design credits include; The Burnt City (Punchdrunk), Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley (Arts Club), Kleptocracy (Arena Stage) and The Enemy (Firehall).
Blake Kriedemann (he/him)
Jacqueline Wax (she/her)
Business and Production Manager
Jennifer Wilson (she/her)
Assistant Stage Manager
Assistant Projection Designer
Andrew Smith (he/him)
Anna Brew (she/her)
Assistant Stage Manager
Leah Field (she/her)