Hansel & Gretel Cast & Crew
KELSEY WHEATLEY – HANSEL
Kelsey Wheatley utilizes the combination of voice, movement, and acting into many vocal styles from gospel to classical. She has a Theater Arts diploma from Grant Mac Ewan University, a diploma in classical music studies from the Victoria Conservatory of Music, and a BFA in vocal performance from the University of Victoria. Kelsey has performed in various opera productions with Pacific Opera Victoria including roles as the Ghost Women in Lucia di Lammermoor and Bianca in Otello. She also performed as the alto soloist in Haydn’s Nelson Mass, and in Durufle’s Requiem, as well as Mozart’s concert aria, Ch’io mi scordi di te? with the University of Victoria Orchestra. Other role highlights include Eponine in Les Miserables (2013) with Judy Russell Productions and Kristen in Captain Lovelock (2013) with the Victoria Conservatory of Music Opera Studio.
AMY STEGGLES – GRETEL
Amy Steggles has sung in Germany, Italy and from coast to coast in Canada. Praised for her warm sound and powerfully expressive performance, notable roles include Fiordiligi from Così fan tutte, Norina from Don Pasquale, and Susanna from Le Nozze di Figaro. A versatile performer, Amy is equally at home singing opera, operetta, oratorio and art song. Amy is co-founder of Fear No Opera in Victoria.
SKYE DONALD – MOTHER
Vancouver Island born and raised, Errington coloratura soprano Skye Donald is a well-known local singer. Her rich, dramatic tone allows her to explore a wide range of roles. Some of her recent engagements include solo work for the Island Consort, Malaspina Choir, and the Nanaimo Chamber Orchestra. Skye is pleased to be returning to Nanaimo Opera for their second production, Hansel and Gretel: she also played the role of the Mother in their 2015 production of Amahl and the Night Visitors.
NEIL REIMER – FATHER
Neil is a co-founder and co-artistic director of Fear No Opera, Victoria’s opera company for emerging artists. He has performed with Opera Nuova, Halifax Summer Opera Workshop, and Winnipeg’s Contemporary Opera Lab as well as chorus with Pacific Opera Victoria. Neil completed his Bachelor of Music in Voice at the University of Victoria in 2007. He studies with Kathleen Brett in Victoria and Roberta Cunningham in Berlin.
Neil’s opera credits include many lead roles in Fear No Opera. Neil has also played the Commandante in Puccini’s Manon Lescaut with Pacific Opera Victoria. He performed the role of Jim Wilson in the first-ever staging of scenes from Robert Wilson’s Canadian opera The Brideship with Winnipeg’s Contemporary Opera Lab.
TALIA BOWELL – DEW FAIRY
Talia is thrilled to be a part of Hansel and Gretel! While this is her first production with Opera Nanaimo, she has performed in several local musicals, competed vocally in the Upper Island Music festival and Nanaimo Teen Festival and won both but was unable to compete at the Provincial level. Last June, Talia had the opportunity to play Mary Poppins through her high school, John Barsby’s amazing theatre program. She also made a Christmas CD called Christmas is Calling. This year she is in grade 10 and involved in school leadership and theatre. Talia has studied voice with Christine McMahon and currently studies with Donna Falconer of Long Lake Studios. She is honoured to play the Dew Fairy and hopes you enjoy the show!
KAREN HUNTER – SANDMAN
Karen comes to the world of singing and opera only recently after a history of performance and teaching in contemporary dance. She was awarded the 2015 Royal Conservatory of Music BC Gold Medal, Level 5, and currently studies with Sharon Wishart in Nanaimo. Karen sings with two local choirs: Island Bel Canto Singers and Vancouver Island Symphony Choir, and was part of the chorus in Opera Nanaimo’s 2016 production of Ahmal and the Night Visitors. She is very excited to be part of the Hansel and Gretel cast and crew!
BREE HORTON – WITCH
Mezzo Soprano Bree Horton is a recent graduate of the New England Conservatory under the tutelage of Jane Eaglen. While there she performed the role of Mrs. Herring in Albert Herring by Britten and in scenes from the Magic Flute by Mozart. Other roles include Dorabella in Mozart’s Cosi fan tutte (Halifax Summer Opera Festival), Miss Todd in the Old Maid and the Thief by Menotti (Fear No Opera), and Flora from The Turn of the Screw by Britten (Baldwin Wallace University.
STAGE DIRECTOR – MARI LYN KELLY
After studying voice at Ottawa University, the American Academy of Dramatic Arts, and in New York, and in directing at the Royal National Theatre, London, England, Mari Lyn has performed many roles behind and in front of the curtain in theatre, opera and operetta from community through to the professional stage. As a professional actor/singer and director she has created and directed productions of Gilbert & Sullivan, Musical Theatre and Drama with performers of all ages in the Ottawa area as well as being the Assistant Director for Opera Lyra Ottawa’s productions of Hansel & Gretel. She brings all of these skills now to Nanaimo area audiences and directed last season’s Opera Nanaimo’s production of Amahl and the Night Visitors. She has performed in Qualicum Beach and recently in the Vagina Monologues in Port Alberni. She balances her theatre hat with that of being a Practical Nurse Instructor for Discovery Community College.
MUSICAL DIRECTOR – CAROL FETHERSTON
Carol obtained a B.Music from U.B.C. and sang for a number of years with the Vancouver Opera Association as well as obtaining an A.R.C.T. in piano. She was accepted into the Opera School at the University of Toronto and continued to study voice there with several prominent coaches and took lead roles in several operas. While working as a choral director for the Toronto Board of Education, Carol obtained her M.Music from U of T and studied vocal pedagogy and choral conducting as well as working with the Elmer Eisler Singers, the choir-in-residence at the University. Since moving to Vancouver Island, Carol has performed as a soloist with the Malaspina Singers, Parksville Community Choir and the Cowichan Consort. She was the musical director/conductor for Opera Nanaimo’s last production of Amahl and the Night Visitors. Carol continues to conduct Vocal Workshops with choirs, as well as an Opera Workshop for Nanaimo Conservatory of Music.
Alaria Lessard Northrup, Andrea Stachow, Domenic Skelcher, Ella Hannesson, Katrin Hannesson, Laura Hansen, Skyla Thomas, Sophia Fan, Taryn Pistor, Zoe Oshun-Hyman, Katharina Toft, Julianna Toft, Cora Wessler, Emma Britton, Annabelle Bentley with Music Director – Marian Smith