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BIOGRAPHIES

Elizabeth DeGrazia, Soprano

Elizabeth DeGrazia first came to prominence in Toronto at the Pantages Theatre as Christine Daaé in the Toronto production of Andrew Lloyd Webber's THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA. She created the role of Blanche in the world premiere of John Caird's JANE EYRE in Toronto on Broadway.  With ‘pops’ conductor Erich Kunzel, Elizabeth has appeared with the Cincinnati Pops, Toronto Symphony, Naples Philharmonic, and the Portland Symphony many programs including LOVE, LERNER & LOEWE and other programs featuring hits from CATS, SHOWBOAT, A CHORUS LINE and MY FAIR LADY. Ms. DeGrazia starred in the 2004 Stratford Festival production of ANYTHING GOES as Hope Harcourt.

Elizabeth is a favorite with Toronto Operetta Theatre and has been featured as Yum Yum in THE MIKADO, Kathy in THE STUDENT PRINCE and Gianetta in THE GONDOLIERS. Ms. DeGrazia debuted with the New York Philharmonic as soprano soloist in Haydn's CREATION. Closer to her home in Nebraska, she was personally chosen by composer/conductor John Rutter as soloist for the Midwest Premiere of his REQUIEM. Further credits on the concert stage include Mozart's REQUIEM, Honegger's KING DAVID, and the CHRISTMAS ORATORIO of Saint-Saëns. On CD, Ms.DeGrazia can be heard as Blanche in the original cast recording of Caird's JANE EYRE, and on her solo album “One Love, One Lifetime.”

Keith Klassen, Tenor

Canadian tenor Keith Klassen is an honours graduate of the Opera Division at the University of Toronto. Since graduating he has been engaged across Canada, as well as in Scotland, Germany, the United States, and the Czech Republic. The Star Phoenix described him as having, "...a big ringing voice and great stage presence", Classical 96.3 called him, "...an intense performer, a superb singer/actor." and Opera Canada raved that his Rodolfo was "...dramatically convincing, sung with passionate sincerity ensuring the audience's love."

In the past season alone, critics and audiences alike have enthusiastically received Keith's performances of Rodolfo (La Boheme), Samson (Samson et Dalilah), Uriel (Haydn's 'Creation'), Tamino (Magic Flute), Robert (Hin und Zuruck) and Bunthorne (Patience). He has also been busy breaking ground in new opera, singing the roles of Adam (Gotcha!), Jimmy (Knotty Together), Isaac (Tyendinaga), Marcus (Shattered Glass), The Scholar (Airline Icarus) and the tenor leads in Tapestry New Opera's 'Opera To Go', 'Opera Lib Lab' and 'Opera Briefs'.

Highlights of previous seasons have included the roles of Don Jose (Carmen), Des Grieux (Manon), Bacchus (Ariadne auf Naxos), Albert (Albert Herring), Jenik (Prodana Nevesta), Laurie (Little Women), Rafael Ruiz (El Gato Montes), Rinnuccio (Gianni Schicchi), Ruggero (La Rondine) and Ivan Lykov (The Tsar's Bride). Upcoming engagements include the roles of Alfredo in Maritime Concert Opera's 'La Traviata' and Spoletta in Opera Ontario's 'Tosca'.

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Robert Longo, Baritone

Robert Longo has sung in every major city in North America and is best known for his portrayal of Inspector Javert in the International touring company of Les Miserables. Bob performed in the Broadway revival of Shenandoah, and played the Beast in Disney’s Beauty and the Beast.  Other credits include The Chocolate Soldier, Chess in Concert, The Student Prince, The Secret Garden, Forever Plaid, Camelot and roles with Opera Atelier, The Minnesota Opera, and Anchorage Opera. Recently he was featured as the Singing Wiseman in the Television Feature Comfort and Joy.

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Gabrielle Prata, Mezzo-Soprano

Gabrielle Prata is known for a wide range of roles from opera to musical theatre. She made her New York debut as Rosina in Il Barbiere di Siviglia, which she also sang for many companies across Canada. Other favourites include starring roles in Carmen, Norma, Madama Butterfly, Cinderella, Cosi fan Tutte and West Side Story. Gabrielle’s concert repertoire ranges from oratorio to pops concerts with leading symphonies in Canada and the United States. Her television and film credits include Il Barbieri di Siviglia, The Making of an Opera, and The Makropoulos Case.

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Jeffrey Huard, Pianist

Jeffrey Huard’s conducting career embraces the worlds of opera, music theatre and the concert stage. His recent performances of Kurt Weill’s LADY IN THE DARK for Toronto Operetta Theatre met with critical acclaim. During last season, he conducted a new production of Sondheim’s SWEENEY TODD for the Calgary Opera and premiered the musical PELAGIE at Toronto’s CanStage. His credits include musical supervision for productions of Hal Prince's SHOWBOAT (Toronto, New York, London, Sydney), THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA (Toronto), KISS OF THE SPIDER WOMAN (Toronto, London, New York), SUNSET BOULEVARD (Toronto) and RAGTIME (Toronto, Los Angeles, New York). Jeffrey has conducted the world and Broadway premieres of SHOWBOAT and KISS OF THE SPIDER WOMAN, the Canadian premiere and Broadway production of THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA, the Canadian production of SUNSET BOULEVARD, THE MUSIC OF ANDREW LLOYD WEBBER IN CONCERT and the world premiere of RAGTIME in Toronto. He also continues as an active participant in the creation and development of new musicals. Recordings include THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA, KISS OF THE SPIDER WOMAN, SHOWBOAT and SUNSET BOULEVARD.

GUEST PERFORMERS

June Crowley

"The Sweet voiced Crowley is Simply Superb” (The Toronto Sun) and “Crowley has the Pipes” (The Globe and Mail) is how critics describe the vocal talent of Soprano June Crowley. Her vocal ability spans a three-octave range and she is equally adept in Musical styles from Opera to Swing. June has performed from Coast to Coast on Canadian Stages and in the United States. She has appeared with The Stratford Festival, The Shaw Festival, The Canadian Opera Company, The Windsor Symphony Orchestra, The Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra, and The Elora Festival.

Concert Performances: Rogers and Hammerstein with Hart; The Windsor Symphony Orchestra’s Salute to Broadway; Star Bright; Give My Regards to Broadway; A Salute to Richard Rodgers; The Music of Andrew Lloyd Webber; An Evening With Kurt Weill; A Palm Court Evening and Benefit Performances including A Grand Night For Stratford; Leading Ladies of the Canadian Musical Stage; Enchanted Evening; Nothin’ Like A Dame; Broadway A 2 Seuss and Broadway Villains. Notable Artists June has worked with include: Karen Kain, Ross Petty, Frank Augustyn, Jeff Hyslop, Mandy Patinkin, Betty Buckley, Patty Lupone, David Rogers, Michael Burgess, and directors Hal Prince and Brian Macdonald. June is currently on the teaching staff in the Musical Theatre Performance Program at Sheridan College.

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