— opera featuring Tracy Dahl, Andriana Chuchman, Rihab Chaieb, Rose Naggar-Tremblay, and Nolan Kehler

Well, this is a first.

The MCO and conductor Anne Manson, in collaboration with theatre director Geneviève Pelletier, are bringing an opera to the stage at Crescent Arts Centre / Crescent Fort Rouge United Church. It’s going to be incredible.

• Please note that these concerts are in-person only
• Buy 7.30pm Jun 15th in-person ticket | $36 Adult | $34 Senior | $15 Under-30
• Buy 7.30pm Jun 17th in-person ticket | $36 Adult | $34 Senior | $15 Under-30

The opera is Handel’s Alcina (1735), a Medieval romance filled with enchantresses, knights, and lovers being transformed into beasts and rocks. Geneviève, one of Manitoba’s most imaginative directors, will bring these fantastical elements to life in this concert presentation. Alcina is glorious aria after aria featuring some of Handel’s finest melodies. Flashy, seductive, and heart-wrenching, these are arias practically written for world-class coloratura sopranos like Tracy Dahl and Andriana Chuchman, who join mezzo soprano Rihab Chaieb at this concert. A newcomer to the MCO, Rihab is one of Canada’s rising stars of opera: a regular with Canadian Opera Company and Metropolitan Opera, acclaimed for her dramatic charm and rich, powerhouse vocals.

As for Tracy and Andriana — what more can be said about them that hasn’t already? They are, without question, among North America’s top singers, and have appeared in leading roles at nearly every major opera house. What’s more, they have incredible synergy — together, they carry off the agile runs, trills, and leaps of the coloratura repertoire like graceful acrobats, and have forged a profound connection to Winnipeg.

What a concert to end the season.

The concert begins at 7.30pm on Thursday, June 15th, and on Saturday, June 17th, in Crescent Arts Centre / Crescent Fort Rouge United Church, 525 Wardlaw Avenue. There will be an intermission at this concert. Casual tickets will be available 10 August 2022 here and on MCO’s Ticketline at 204-783-7377.

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Manitoba Chamber Orchestra
Anne Manson, Music Director
Karl Stobbe, Concertmaster
Crescent Arts Centre / Crescent Fort Rouge United Church
7.30pm, Thursday, 15 June 2023, and Saturday, 17 June 2023

Anne Manson, conductor
Geneviève Pelletier, director
Alcina: Andriana Chuchman
Ruggiero: Rihab Chaleb
Morgana: Tracy Dahl
Bradamante: Rose Naggar-Tremblay
Oronte: Nolan Kehler


George Frideric Handel
Alcina, HWV 34

Season sponsor / CN
June 15th concert sponsor / Gail Asper Family Foundation
Volunteer sponsor / MB Liquor Mart
Media sponsors / Classic 107, Golden West Radio & Winnipeg Free Press

NEW! View our entire house program online!

Geneviève Pelletier

Geneviève Pelletier is a Métis performer and director from Winnipeg. Since 2012, she has been the Artistic Director of the Théâtre Cercle Molière. She’s interested in the intermingling of cultures—and the myriad possibilities, and fertile spaces for creation, opening up in a world getting smaller all the time. Demographic change within communities and the changing face of the Francophone and Métis communities are now reference points for a theatre company that, under her artistic direction, is continually searching for renewal and relevance.

Andriana Chuchman

Canadian/Ukrainian soprano Andriana Chuchman has earned much acclaim for her performances in a wide range of repertoire including the heroines of Mozart and Handel, 20th Century masterpieces, and the premieres of new operas and orchestral works.

Ms Chuchman’s recent opera engagements have included Adina in L’Elisir d’Amore, Miranda in The Enchanted Island, Gretel in Hansel and Gretel, and Valencienne in The Merry Widow at the Metropolitan Opera; the title role in a new production of Orphée et Eurydice, Zerlina in Don Giovanni, Yum-Yum in The Mikado, and Valencienne at the Lyric Opera of Chicago; Mary in Jake Heggie’s It’s a Wonderful Life at the San Francisco Opera; her house and role debut as Pat Nixon in Nixon in China and Michal in Handel’s Saul at the Houston Grand Opera; Micaëla in La tragédie de Carmen at the San Diego Opera; Lauretta in Gianni Schicchi at the Los Angeles Opera, Boonyi/India in the critically acclaimed world premiere of Jack Perla’s Shalimar the Clown at the Opera Theater of St. Louis, Gretel on the Glyndebourne Festival Tour, Magnolia in Show Boat and Marie in Fille du Regiment at the Washington National Opera, Magnolia at the Dallas Opera, John Adams’ A Flowering Tree at the Opera Omaha, Guinevere in Camelot at the Glimmerglass Festival, Yum-Yum, Cleopatra in Guilio Cesare, and several others.

In concert, Ms Chuchman has appeared in Lincoln Center’s White Lights Festival in staged performances of the Pergolesi Stabat Mater, and has also appeared at the Cincinnati May Festival in a performance of the Bach B minor Mass, the Detroit Symphony Orchestra in performances of the Brahms Requiem, the Rhode Island Philharmonic in performances of Orff’s Carmina Burana, the Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra in performances of Mahler’s Symphony No. 4, and the Ravinia Festival as a guest on the Prairie Home Companion radio show.

In her native Canada, Ms Chuchman recently sang the premiere of Larysa Kuzmenko’s Golden Harvest with the Winnipeg Symphony. She made her debut at the Canadian Opera Company as Olympia in Les Contes d’Hoffmann and most recently returned as Musetta in La bohème. She has also appeared at the Edmonton Opera as Yum-Yum and Marie in La Fille du Regiment; and at the Manitoba Opera as Susana in Le Nozze de Figaro and Pamina in Die Zauberflöte. Concert performances have included engagements with the Toronto, Edmonton, Prince George, and Winnipeg Symphony Orchestras.

Born in Winnipeg, Ms Chuchman received her Bachelor’s Degree in Voice Performance from the School of Music at the University of Manitoba. She is also an alumna of the Ryan Opera Center at the Lyric Opera of Chicago and the San Francisco Opera’s Merola Program. Ms Chuchman’s awards include the San Francisco Opera’s 2019 Emerging Star of the Year, Opera Theatre of St. Louis’ 2017 Mabel Dorn Reeder Award, and prizewinner at the Finals of the 2009 Neue Stimmen Competition in Germany.

Rihab Chaieb

Tunisian-born Rihab Chaieb is a graduate of the Metropolitan Opera’s Lindemann Young Artist Program where she appeared in numerous productions, including L’italiana in Algeri (Zulma), Luisa Miller (Laura), Cavalleria Rusticana (Lola) and Hänsel und Gretel (Sandmännchen). Returning as a guest in Don Giovanni (Zerlina) under Cornelius Meister, she appeared there last season as Nefertiti in Phelim McDermott’s unforgettable production of Philip Glass’ Akhnaten, conducted by Karen Kamensek.

In the 2021/22 season, Rihab Chaieb debuted at Washington National Opera in Così fan tutte (Dorabella), sang Penelope on a European concert tour and recording of Il ritorno d’Ulisse in patria with Ensemble I Gemelli and Emiliano Gonzalez Toro, returned to Opéra et Orchestre National de Montpellier as Maddalena in Marie-Eve Signeyrole’s new staging of Rigoletto, and joined Palm Beach Opera in the title role of Carmen. In concert, Chaieb joined the Toronto Symphony Orchestra for Handel’s Messiah, and Les Violons du Roy for Mozart’s Requiem.

Demonstrating strong repertoire versatility in recent seasons, Rihab Chaieb debuted as Charlotte in Werther at Opera Vlaanderen under Giedrė Šlekytė, at Houston Grand Opera in the world premiere of Tarik O’Regan’s The Phoenix, as Rosina (Il barbiere di Siviglia) at Cincinnati Opera and as Offenbach’s Fantasio at Opéra de Montpellier. For Dutch National Opera, Chaieb sang Lola in Robert Carsen’s new staging under Lorenzo Viotti, Dorabella at Teatro Santiago de Chile, Kasturbai in Philip Glass’ Satyagraha at Opera Vlaanderen, and received unanimous acclaim for her first Carmen in Lydia Steier’s intense new production for Oper Köln.

Tracy Dahl

Tracy Dahl, Canada’s most venerable coloratura soprano, has appeared throughout her career with such esteemed opera companies as the Metropolitan, San Francisco, Houston Grand, Santa Fe and Calgary operas; the Canadian Opera Company, Pacific Opera Victoria, Teatro alla Scala (Milan) and the Théâtre du Châtelet (Paris). Known for her agility and vocal range, Tracy values education alongside her impressive performing career as a Professor of Voice at the University of Manitoba.

Tracy Dahl’s recent engagement highlights included appearances with the Festival Opera de Québec, Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, and the Canadian Opera Company in Cosi fan tutte. She recently performed as soloist with the St. Louis Symphony in Carmina Burana, the Vancouver Symphony in Carmina Burana and Mahler’s Symphony No. 4, and the Toronto Symphony Orchestra in Bernstein’s Candide Suite.

Her past opera successes include Madame Mao in Nixon in China with Houston Grand Opera, Opera Colorado, Portland Opera, and Vancouver Opera. Among her many notable debuts are Adele in Die Fledermaus at the Metropolitan Opera, where she later returned as Zerbinetta in Ariadne auf Naxos, Florestine in the world premiere of The Ghosts of Versailles, and Valencienne in The Merry Widow; as well as Olympia in the San Francisco Opera production of Les contes d’Hoffmann opposite Plácido Domingo, where she returned as Oscar in Un ballo in maschera and the title role in Lucia di Lammermoor; and several others.

On concert stages, Tracy Dahl’s many appearances include an evening of Gershwin songs with the Philadelphia Orchestra; the Cleveland Orchestra at The Blossom Festival; the New York Philharmonic at Avery Fisher Hall; Vail Summer Music Festival; Mahler’s Symphony No. 8 with the Monterey Symphony; Britten’s Les Illuminations with the Manitoba Chamber Orchestra; a concert with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra; Handel’s Messiah with both San Francisco and St. Louis symphonies. Her discography includes A Disney Spectacular with the Cincinnati Pops (Telarc), Glitter and Be Gay with the Calgary Philharmonic (CBC), A Gilbert and Sullivan Gala with the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra (CBC), and Love Walked In, a Gershwin collection with the Bramwell Tovey Trio (Red Phone Box Company).

Born in Winnipeg, Tracy Dahl began her vocal training at age 12, and had her heart set on a career in musical theatre. During her studies at Banff Centre, she successfully debuted as Barbarina in Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro with the Manitoba Opera. Under the guidance of Mary Morrison and Martin Isepp, Dahl developed her career in opera, ultimately performing with world renowned symphonies, orchestras, and opera companies. In July 2017, Tracy Dahl had the high honour of being appointed to the Order of Canada for her accomplishments as an opera singer and for her commitment to mentoring the next generation of Canadian singers.

Rose Naggar-Tremblay

Contralto Rose Naggar-Tremblay studied at McGill University where she obtained a bachelor’s degree in vocal performance, with a minor in European literature and culture. She has been studying since 2020 with Lena Hellström-Färnlöf (Director of the Academy of Music and Opera at Mälardalen University).

During her time as artist-in-residence at the Atelier lyrique de l’Opéra de Montréal from 2017 to 2020, Rose Naggar-Tremblay was heard in Svadba and Twenty-Seven, among others. In 2021, she made a remarkable debut at the Sofia Opera in the role of Carmen, then won the First Prize at the Montreal Symphony Orchestra Competition, the First Prize at the Georges Enesco Paris Competition and the Young Hope scholarship Canadian lyric, then the Prize for the best interpretation of a Canadian work at the OSM competition with the Healing cycle, which she composed in collaboration with Éric Champagne. In 2022, she was named Revelation Radio-Canada in classical music 2022-2023, and won the Second Prize of the Prix d’Europe 2022. She also participated in March 2022 in the launch of the album of the opera based on life and the texts of Jack Kerouac, La nuit est ma femme, in which she held the role of Gabrielle.

An accomplished musician, she frequently puts her voice at the service of chamber music, taking part in numerous concerts and recitals. She recently sang as a soloist in Elgar’s Sea Pictures, Palmeri’s Magnificat, Handel’s Messiah, Vivaldi’s Dixit Dominus, Mozart’s and Duruflé’s Requiems as well as many Bach cantatas.

In 2023, she will make her debut at the Opéra de Metz in the role of the Second Spirit (Rusalka).

Nolan Kehler

Tenor Nolan Kehler brings a passion and energy to the stage that is tangible and infectious. This passion was instilled by a life on the Manitoba prairies, where he was bred on a steady diet of Mennonite choral music, James Taylor, and STOMP. (How this translates to the classical music world is still being worked out—and maybe it doesn’t fully have to be!)

Nolan completed his master’s degree in vocal performance at the University of Victoria in spring of 2019, where he studied with Benjamin Butterfield. Before this, he earned his Bachelor of Music in vocal performance at Canadian Mennonite University, where he studied with David Klassen. He also went to volleyball camp for a couple of weeks in the summers of his tween years, but his vertical definitely isn’t what it used to be.

A participant in the 2021 Digital Emerging Artists Program with Manitoba Opera, Nolan made company debuts during the pandemic with COSA Canada (Mr. Miggles in Caryl and Ross’ The Shop Girl), Good Mess Opera Theatre (Mosca’s aria from John Musto’s Volpone), and stepping in as Nerone for the University of Manitoba Opera Theatre’s production of L’incoronazione di Poppea. On the concert stage, Nolan’s recent highlights have included soloist debuts with the Regina Symphony Orchestra and the Canzona chamber choir in Handel’s Messiah under the baton of Gordon Gerrard, and The Winnipeg Singers under the direction of Yuri Klaz performing Tchaikovsky’s Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom and Handel’s Coronation Anthems. So much excitement he can barely ‘Handel’ it!

Alcina, HWV 34, complete opera in concert
George Frideric Handel

“Handel—to him I bow the knee”
—Ludwig van Beethoven.

Handel developed into a true cosmopolitan, an enormously skilled composer who wove together the various musical threads of his day into a rich and varied personal style. He began absorbing these influences early in his career. He spent that period first in Germany (his homeland) and then in Italy.

During the second decade of the eighteenth century, he settled in England, there to remain and there to win his greatest fame and influence. One of his reasons for locating there was the popularity of a type of music with which he was already quite familiar, and through which he had won great success: Italian style opera. Over the following 30 years, he devoted the major portion of his creative energies to supplying English audiences with that type of piece. For most of that period, London’s music lovers received his operas enthusiastically, with Giulio Cesare in Egitto, Ariodante, and Serse proving especially popular. With them he gradually overtook Giovanni Bononcini as the most popular operatic composer of the day.

The ornate style that he championed gradually lost its popularity and he suffered financially because of this trend. One reason was English audiences wanting to hear something in their own language. They came to prefer down-to-earth English-language comedies such as The Beggar’s Opera (1728). They also switched their major preference from opera to oratorio. Handel finally twigged to the trend and regained his fame through works such as Messiah (1742).

Mary Pendarves, Handel’s neighbour, recorded in her diary after attending the first rehearsal of Alcina on 11 April 1735 in Handel’s house in Brook Street: “I think it is the best he ever made, but I have thought so of so many, that I will not say positively ‘tis the finest, but ‘tis so fine I have not words to describe it … Whilst Mr. Handel was playing his part, I could not help thinking of him a necromancer in the midst of his own enchantments.”

Alcina premiered in London on 16 April 1735, during the inaugural season of the new opera house in the Covent Garden district of London. It enjoyed a successful run of 18 performances through 2 July, the close of the season. Its popularity faded quickly, however, and the first revival didn’t take place until 1828, in Leipzig, Germany. The lofty reputation it enjoys today flowed primarily from a 1957 production in London. It scored monumental success primarily through the performance of Australian soprano Joan Sutherland in the title role. Other prominent singers who have taken on the title part in recent years include Renée Fleming, Cecilia Bartoli and Joyce DiDonato. The role is technically demanding and emotionally multi-faceted—powerful lures for the crème de la crème of singing actors.

Handel used the libretto of L’isola di Alcina (The Island of Alcina), an opera that was set in 1728 in Rome by Riccardo Broschi, which he acquired the year after during his travels in Italy. Partly altered for better conformity, the story was originally taken from Ludovico Ariosto’s epic poem Orlando furioso (The Frenzy of Orlando, 1516). Handel drew upon it for two additional operas, Orlando (1733) and Ariodante (1735).

Synopsis / The famous knight Ruggiero has been abducted by a sorceress, Alcina. His fiancée, Bradamante, is determined to rescue him. Borrowing some of her brother’s clothes, she disguises herself as a soldier and convinces her guardian. Melisso, to sail to the enchanted island where this sorceress lives. But Alcina’s power is incredibly strong. Ruggiero does not remember his former life, and he does not recognize Bradamante. It is only through the use of a magic ring that Ruggiero is able to see Alcina’s island for what it really is: a desolate wasteland. Everything he has grown to love and know as home has been a lie.

Being reunited with Bradamante strengthens Ruggiero and he is able to defeat Alcina, and her hordes of monsters on the island. He destroys the urn that contains all of her power and the wild beasts and rocks transform back into men; all of Alcina’s former lovers that have been trapped on the island. Wickedness is defeated and true love triumphs—synopsis from