General & Co-Artistic Director
AS A REGISTERED CHARITY, YOUR TAX-DEDUCTIBLE DONATIONS TO THE HIGHLANDS OPERA STUDIO ARE GREATLY APPRECIATED. PLEASE CONSIDER MAKING A GIFT THROUGH CANADA HELPS AS A WAY OF SUPPORTING OUR OPERATIC TRAINING PROGRAM
Opera is an art form that we both have devoted our lives to and one that we continue to support in every way we can. Seven years ago we decided to start a program in the beautiful Haliburton Highlands (2 1/2 hours north of Toronto) for very advanced emerging operatic artists in which we would concentrate not only on the goals of performance excellence, but also on networking and potential employment opportunities for young singers. We also felt that at this level, these young artists should no longer be expected to pay for a summer program, and, therefore, all Canadian artists attending the month-long intensive program are on full scholarship. This limited number of participants is chosen through a rigorous cross-Canada (and International) audition tour during which we listen to on average close to 150 applicants. Out of those we choose on average 20-25 highly qualified participants.
The community of the Haliburton Highlands and the extended areas of Muskoka, Kawartha Lakes, and Bancroft, have welcomed us into the region. Since our inaugural year in 2007 we have focused on providing community interaction and audience education through pre-performance chats, run-out concerts, and ‘Random Acts of Opera’, short concerts in local venues. In 2011 we established the Highlands Opera Community School in which we offer voice lessons, masterclasses, the opportunity to observe the Opera Studio participants, and potential involvement in one or the other of our staged productions.
See you at the opera!
Experiencing in live performance the power and beauty of the unamplified trained human singing voice at its best can stir deep emotion and change the world.
HOS has grown steadily since 2007, from a 3-week program with 7 participants, to a 5-week program with 20-25 participants and the same number of staff and professional consultants. The company has been guided fiscally and artistically throughout this time by the General and Artistic Directors, Valerie Kuinka and Richard Margison, in conjunction with the Board of Directors, and the Accounting/General Management Personnel of Highlands Opera Theatre. HOS has never run a deficit and has maintained balanced financial statements since 2007.
Except for a modest one time administration fee of $400 [2021 administrative fee waived], ALL SUCCESSFUL CANADIAN PARTICIPANTS ATTEND THE 5-WEEK PROGRAM FREE OF CHARGE. THE COST TO HIGHLANDS OPERA STUDIO IS APPROXIMATELY $15,000 PER PARTICIPANT. This covers ALL TUITION, PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT & AUDITION OPPORTUNITIES, ACCOMMODATION, & 2 MEALS PER DAY, 6 days a week.
Fundraising is an ongoing and primary concern, and is an annual challenge.
The majority of funding has come from the private sector, including occasional individual corporate donations and ongoing support from BMO Financial Group, government support (Ontario Arts Council Opera Project grants, EODP through the Haliburton County Development Corporation (HCDC), fundraising events, individual donations, and revenue generated by ticket sales. In 2017 we received funding from Canada Council New Chapter and Canadian Heritage: Canada 150 Fund supporting the creation and presentation of ‘Mishaabooz’s Realm/Le Royaume de Michabous’, by Cree First Nation composer and librettist, Andrew Balfour. This new opera creation and presentation was in partnership with l’Atelier lyrique de l’Opéra de Montréal.
Since 2007, we have received and continue to build strong support and commitment from the community of Haliburton through a strong volunteer base and small managerial staff.
Highlands Opera Studio has been operating successfully since 2007, and has established the reputation of providing interactive, intimate opera of the highest calibre. Our professional development program has established an international reputation for providing the highest level of professional training, development, and performance experience including the opportunity to perform important standard repertoire while receiving relevant professional feedback from exceptional internationally acclaimed opera professionals. Although we are also extremely committed to the creation and performance of new and existing Canadian works, presenting standard operatic repertoire is still important to the development of emerging operatic artists and interesting to our audiences. In 2017, Art Song was also introduced as a specialized area of study for singers and collaborative pianists within the Independent Study Division. Creating a balance between what is important to the emerging professionals and keeping our audiences excited and engaged is at the core of our ongoing goals.
Highlands Opera Studio is extremely grateful for the generosity of the following organizations and individual lead donors of $5000 or more who have made the 2020 online professional training program possible.
Special Thanks to Nada Ristich
John & Thea Patterson
Margaret Swaine & Dr. Bill Siegel
We could not proceed without you!
We are also enormously grateful to all those who have donated the value of their tickets purchased for the 2020 season. See you next season, if not before!
Thanks to Our Audition Sponsors
Victoria Conservatory of Music
Vancouver Opera, Calgary Opera
Yorkminster Park Baptist Church, Toronto
Opéra de Montréal
National Opera Centre, New York
Highlands Opera Studio is operated by Highlands Opera Theatre, a not-for-profit organization. Donations are gratefully accepted and tax-receipts are issued after the end of each calendar year.
Tax deductible donations can be made to "Highlands Opera Theatre".
Please write a memo stating the money is for Highlands Opera Studio.
Charitable Registration Number 822457263 RR0001
HIGHLANDS OPERA STUDIO WISHES TO SINCERELY THANK THE CORPORATE AND INDIVIDUAL SPONSORS WHO HAVE SO GENEROUSLY DONATED. YOUR COMMITMENT AND VISION IS GREATLY APPRECIATED.
We most gratefully acknowledge the generosity of our LEAD CORPORATE DONOR, BMO Financial Group, and Director of Corporate Donations, Nada Ristich.
We wish to express special acknowledgment and gratitude to our LEAD INDIVIDUAL DONORS, who have given generously toward the establishment of the ARTIST SPONSORSHIP PROGRAM, at a donation level of $10,000:
sponsoring tenor, Scott Rumble
Vanda Treiser, in memory of Benjamin Treiser
sponsoring soprano, Lauren Margison
Dr. Bill Siegel & Margaret Swaine
sponsoring mezzo-soprano, Michelle Siemens
We are also extremely grateful for the sponsorship of the following visiting opera professionals and program participants:
John & Thea Patterson
sponsoring visiting master vocal coach, John Fisher
sponsoring visiting master vocal coach, Anthony Manoli
sponsoring mezzo-soprano, Frida Portillo McNally
The Estate of Selena James
sponsoring tenor, Kaden Forsberg
BMO Financial Group
Dr. Bill Siegel &
Vanda Treiser in memory of
Robert N. Lee (Piano donor)
Cesaroni Contracting Inc.
The Jane Skoryna
Foundation Estate of
John & Thea Patterson
John Bailey &
*Anne & Tony Arrell
Art & Leona DeFehr
Didi Hall & Craig Hind
Ginny & Paul Green
Howard & Susan Swartz
Dr. David P. Kostiuk &
Jill de Villafranca
George & Marusya
John & Kay McKellar
Randall Kelly &
Mme. Anne-Sophie Barette
Vreni & Marc Ducommun
Dr. Laurence Green
Ali Mafi & Caroline Montminy Alison Silcoff
Angele & John Raza
Bob & Jane Heyes
Bruce & Elizabeth
Carol & Michael Browne
Frederick Heese &
Jack & Patricia Brezina
John & Rosalie Cowan Julia Gersovitz
M. Guy Tremblay
Marie Francoise Jothy
Mrs. Maria Soledad
Mrs. Robin A Quinlan
Mrs. Sandra Lubarsky &
Dr. Robert Lubarsky
Paul and Susan Pethick
Ted & Jeanne Anthon
As of July 23, 2019