Ashley Rees is an energetic young soprano from Edmonton, Alberta. After a childhood of choirs and an adolescence on the musical theatre stage, she turned her focus to opera. She completed her Bachelor of Music in vocal performance at the University of Alberta in 2012 under the tutelage of Elizabeth Turnbull. Since moving to Winnipeg to study with Tracy Dahl Ashley has completed her Post-Bacclalaureate Diploma and is currently working on her Masters of Music in vocal performance. Recent roles include Sprite 2 in MUO’s 2015 production of Cendrillon, Fortuna/Damigella in L’incoronazione di Poppea performed in Sulmona, Italy as well as Eurydice in Orphée aux enfers and Celie in Pasatieri’s Signor Deluso, both with the University of Alberta’s Opera Workshop program.
Ashley has always been interested in serving the public and establishing community engagement and brings many years of experience in event planning and arts administration. She holds the firm belief that it only takes witnessing one good opera to make a fan for life and is continually asking herself “and how can I get the people to the opera?”
Brenna Corner has worked as a director, actor, singer, choreographer, and fight director across Canada, the United States and Europe. Brenna is currently a member of the Yulanda M Faris Young Artist Program with Vancouver Opera for her second season. She will be making her debut with the Canadian Opera Company in 2016 as the assistant director for their upcoming production of Carmen. Ms. Corner is also the artistic director of Prince George’s new opera company Fraser Lyric Opera as well as Winnipeg’s Indie opera company Manitoba Underground Opera.
Past directing projects include: The Four Note Opera (Yulanda M. Faris Vancouver Opera Young Artist Program), Cendrillon and Alcina (Manitoba Underground Opera), Béatrice et Benedict (Fraser Lyric Opera), Die Lustig Witwe (Vancouver Music Academy), Le Doctor Miracle (Yulanda M. Faris Vancouver Opera Young Artist Program), La Clemenza di Tito (Manitoba Underground Opera), The Turn of the Screw and Don Giovanni (Accademia Europea dell’ Opera); Summer Opera Workshop 2013 & 2012 (Indiana University), 1791: Mozart Finale (Prince George Symphony Orchestra). Past assistant directing projects include: Rigoletto, Dark Sisters, Sweeney Todd, Stickboy, and Carmen (Vancouver Opera), Macbeth (Shakespeare in Action); Der Fliegende Hollander and L’Italiana in Algeri (Calgary Opera); Le Nozze di Figaro (Vancouver Summer Opera Studio); The Velveteen Rabbit (The Little Opera Company) . Past roles include: Dorabella (Cosi Fan Tutte); Juliet (Romeo and Juliet); and Lady Macbeth (Macbeth).
She is also a certified member of Fight Directors Canada and has choreographed many fights for both opera and theatre. Brenna has a degree in music from The University of Manitoba, and theatre diplomas from Grant MacEwan College and The British American Drama Academy.
Born in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan and raised in Manitoba, Brendan McKeen has conducted orchestras all over North America including orchestras in South Carolina, New York, Baltimore, Ottawa as well as his own Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra.
Brendan recently completed his Masters of Music degree in Orchestral Conducting at Northwestern University under the tutelage of Maestros Victor Yampolsky and Bob Hasty. Brendan served as Assistant Conductor for Northwestern University’s production Così fan tutte under Maestro Emanuele Andrizzi and previously served as Assistant Conductor for Opera Nuova’s Albert Herring under Rosemary Thomson.
Due to his great passion for opera Brendan founded Manitoba UNDERGROUND Opera in September 2008. Now entering its eighth season UNDERGROUND has grown into an established part of the Winnipeg community presenting two full productions in August of every year.