Mezzo Madness

Mezzo Madness

February 13, 2019 at 7:30 PM
Convocation Hall

This concert features popular vocal repertoire performed by three prominent Canadian mezzo-sopranos: Norine Burgess, Renée Brad, and the Department of Music's Elizabeth Turnbull. Accompanied by Shannon Hiebert (piano).

  • 1. Program

    Renée Brad, Norine Burgess and Elizabeth Turnbull, mezzo-sopranos
    Shannon Hiebert, piano

    Classical Madness

    Featuring selections by Mozart, Hahn, Stepovyi, Handel, Poulenc and Rossini.


    Music Theatre Madness

    Featuring selections by Sondheim, Coward, Lehrer, Rodgers, Hart and Loesser.

  • 2. Bios

    Elizabeth Turnbull has been hailed by the critics as 'a revelation', with 'controlled passion, acute timing and glistening presence'. Her many credits include appearances with major orchestras and opera companies across North America. She also portrayed 'Lyubija' in the European (France, Serbia and Ireland) and Canadian (Toronto, Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver) tours of Svadba. Her roles range from the baroque ('Juno' in Semele), to the romantic ('Carmen' in Carmen), modern ('Augusta Tabor' in the Canadian premiere of The Ballad of Baby Doe) and new (creating the role of 'Maria Picariello' in Filumena). Concert experience has included the oratorios of Bach, Bruckner, Handel, Mendelssohn, Saint-Saëns and Vivaldi, the symphonies of Beethoven and Mahler, the songs of Brahms, Mahler, Tchaikovsky, Mussorgsky and Rachmaninov, as well as numerous new music compositions.



    Recent performances have included the creation of the role of 'Elizabeth' in Opera on the Avalon's new John Estacio opera, Ours, a reprise of 'Maria' in Calgary Opera's 2017 remount of Filumena, and the role of 'Larina' in Calgary Opera's Eugene Onegin.



    Ms. Turnbull's discography includes 3 CDs with Toronto's Bach Consort, two recordings with the Ukrainian Art Song Project (songs of Lysenko and Stepovyi), as well as a self-produced disc of Irish and Scottish Songs, entitled The Meeting of the Waters. Many of her Canadian operatic performances have been heard across the country on CBC's Saturday Afternoon at the Opera.


    Ms. Turnbull is an instructor of voice and chamber music at the University of Alberta, where she has also taught Opera Workshop, and where she has been teaching since 2009. In 2017, she received a teaching award for her work in the Department of Music, as well as a University of Alberta Alumni Award of Excellence for founding the Mysterious Barricades Concert Society, whose annual live and live-streaming cross Canada concert uses music to provide the healing power of music to combat the stigma surrounding suicide and to support mental health awareness. She is in demand as an adjudicator and as a masterclass clinician at festivals and young artist programs across the country.


    Canadian mezzo-soprano Renée Brad has performed in opera, oratorio, musical theatre, and chamber and solo recitals throughout Canada and in New York. Renée created and premiered a cabaret Motherhood: The Second Oldest Profession for the Golden Apple Theatre Company. She has appeared with Edmonton Opera, delighting audiences as Cousin Hebe in their Sterling Award winning production of HMS Pinafore. Also for Edmonton Opera, she has sung Kate in Pirates of Penzance, Annina in La Traviata, Berta in Il Barbiere di Siviglia and the Dama/Hexe in Macbeth. She appeared as The Mother in Menotti's Amahland the Night Visitors and The Witch in Hansel and Gretel with Opera Nuova. Roles for Opera Saskatchewan include Tisbe in La Cenerentola, Kate Pinkerton in Madama Butterfly, and Berta in Il Barbiere di Siviglia. She has sung Mercedes in Carmen with Saskatoon Opera, Popova in Walton's The Bear, and Kate in Elizabeth Raum's The Dream of Nicholas Flood Davin with the Regina Centenary Project.

    Favourite theatre roles include Rose in The Secret Garden, Meg Page in The Merry Wives of Windsor, Katisha in The Mikado, Amy in Company, and Ella in Bells are Ringing. A frequent soloist with orchestras, Renée has sung Karl Jenkin's Stabat Mater, Haydn's Lord Nelson Mass and Paukenmesse, Schubert's Mass in E-flat, Bruckner's Te Deum, Mozart's Coronation Mass and Requiem, Bach's Weihnachts Oratorium and Johannes Passion, Vivaldi's Magnificat and Gloria, Handel's Messiah, and Beethoven's Ninth Symphony.

    Renée's recording of Elizabeth Raum's How Bodies Leave Ecstatic Marks with the Contrasts Trio for the CMC Centrediscs label won a 2008 Western Canadian Music Award. A member of CAEA, Renée teaches voice in the Theatre Arts Department at MacEwan University, maintains an active private studio, and is in demandas an adjudicator and clinician.


    Praised for her bright, elegant and lambent-toned voice, Canadian mezzo-soprano Norine Burgess has performed in opera houses and with leading orchestras throughout North America and around the world, including the Salzburg Festival, the Vienna Volksoper, the Stopera in Amsterdam. Conductors she has worked with include Alan Gilbert, Yannick Nézet-Séguin, Sir Charles MacKerras and Charles Dutoit.

    Norine's refreshingly compelling, charismatic and touching interpretations bring vigour and dimension to her signature roles, including Maddalena in Verdi's Rigoletto, Prince Orlofsky in Strauss's Die Fledermaus, Siebel in Faust and Nicklausse in Offenbach's Tales of Hoffmann. Her enormous success after an extended run as Miss Mary Lloyd in the Vienna Volksoper's production of Kálman's Die Herzogin von Chicagohas made it one of her most memorable characters.


    A consummate recitalist, Norine has sung frequently with baritone Russell Braun, tenor Michael Schade, and sopranos Isabel Bayrakdarian and Donna Brown. Highlights include Brahms's Liebeslieder Walzer in New York's Weill Recital Hall (Carnegie Hall) with an all-star Canadian cast of Michael Schade, Russell Braun and Isabel Bayrakdarian. Ms. Burgess is a graduate of the University of Calgary and University of Toronto's Opera School, also receiving additional training at the Banff Centre and as a member of the COC Ensemble.


    Shannon Hiebert is highly regarded as a collaborative pianist, vocal coach, conductor and music director. A native of Winnipeg, she began her studies at the University of Manitoba and went on to train at the Banff Centre with Martin Isepp and the University of Michigan, in the prestigious studio of world renowned pianist, Martin Katz. Much in demand as a collaborative artist, she has been heard in recital and broadcast across Canada and the United States as well as Europe, Taiwan and Japan.

    A diverse performer, Shannon has performed with the Royal Winnipeg Ballet, Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, Manitoba Chamber Orchestra, Edmonton Opera, Groundswell and the Winnipeg Singers, Citadel Theatre and several musical theatre productions. Shannon has toured with Broadway Across Canada in productions of Mamma Mia, Spamalot, Wicked and The Book of Mormon. In 2009, she joined the Toronto Company of Jersey Boys. Ms Hiebert has acted as Music Director for Grant MacEwan University's Theatre Arts productions of Spring Awakening and A Little Night Music. She has also provided musical direction for the Plain Jane Theatre Company's Sterling Award nominated productions of Fiorello, Little Fish, Mack and Mabel and A New Brain.

    In 2013, Shannon received a Sterling Award nomination for outstanding musical direction. A passionate teacher, Ms Hiebert has served on the faculties of the University of Manitoba, University of Toronto and the University of Alberta, Opera NUOVA, Calgary Opera's Artist Program and the Centre for Opera Studies in Italy (COSI) and Cantilon Choirs. In 2017, Shannon received a teaching award for her work at the University of Alberta. Her students have gone on to universities and programs around the world including, Opera Merola, Chicago Lyric Opera (LOCA), Canadian Opera Company, Calgary Opera, Vancouver Opera, Opera Atelier, The Britten-Pears School, The Banff Centre, The Franz Schubert Institute, Tanglewood and Netherlands Opera Theatre. Many of her students now enjoy international performing careers.

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