COC Opera Teaching ArtistsMeet our talented roster of Opera Teaching Artists, a diverse group of professional artists with specializations in composition, voice, dramaturgy, stage direction, dance, collaborative piano, music technology, libretto writing, visual art, and set design.
Our Opera Teaching Artists deliver interactive workshops, concerts, and educational programming in both school and community settings.
Annemarie Cabri is a Canadian performer, choreographer, and Teaching Artist. She is best known for her ability to create movement stories in the non-dance-trained individual, allowing them to nurture the power and beauty of self-expression through dance.
Upon graduating from the National Ballet School of Canada, Annemarie danced professionally in a vast repertoire of classical ballet and contemporary works for the Dutch National Ballet. Years later, setting off for Vancouver, she danced with the Judith Marcuse Repertory Company, and later, multiple contemporary dance and opera projects with tours on world stages.
Tkaronto (Toronto, Canada) has been Annemarie’s base since 2010 as Senior Teaching Artist for both the National Ballet of Canada and the Canadian Opera Company, while also teaching Silver Swans ballet for older adults. Her passion, curiosity for the individual, and attention to detail, is cultivated from many decades immersed in this art form that today still excites her.
Canadian soprano and teaching artist Gwenna Fairchild-Taylor holds an M.Mus in Opera (University of Toronto) and a B.Mus in Voice Performance (Western University). She recently completed the Holland Community Opera Fellowship at Opera Omaha. Gwenna was a 2020 recipient of an Encouragement Award at the Nebraska District Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions. Recent performance highlights Opera Outdoors and Opera to Go (Opera Omaha), originating the role of Nature in Cries of the Earth (Artsong Collaborative Project), Berta in The Barber of Seville (Indian River Festival, Stratford Summer Music), Fiordiligi in Così fan tutte (Toronto Lyric Opera Centre/Toronto Mozart Players), and Soprano Soloist in Beethoven Symphony No. 9 (London Symphonia, Durham Youth Orchestra). This past summer, Gwenna premiered several new compositions with the Artsong Collaborative Project and participated in several workshops including a new piece with FAWN Chamber Creative.
Known for her playful textures, bright palette, and captivating concepts, Isabella Fassler is an interdisciplinary artist based in Toronto who is passionate about exploring the different ways art can transform our perceptions. Her discipline is within illustration and design, mainly working as a freelance artist for publishers and editorial. Some of her clients include the New York Times, The Walrus, Demetres, Shopify, and Reader's Digest, and she is currently working on a whimsical picture book with Kids Can Press. Recently, she has completed a mural for the city of Toronto and is hoping to continue to create art that can be more accessible to the general public. She believes that everyone has the power to create, and truly believes in its importance in our communities and in its power to create positive change in our society.
Tiffany Folmeg is a visual artist and secondary school educator, hailing from both York Region and Simcoe County. Her art practice focuses on 3D elements, sculpture, and all modes of building. She also has a knack for photography, teaching, and practicing the importance of a specific eye and focal point. Both media merge into a symphony of style, propping up one another for display purposes and to further the discussion on her primary topic, mental health.
Currently, Tiffany is an Art Department Head working with students from grade 9 to 12, teaching them critical thought development and building their own artistic theory. In the summer, she hopes to revisit her stone carving discipline to venture into new and traditional practices.
Chenise Mitchell considers herself a Jazzer; an all around performing artist driven by rhythm and social connection. With 17 years of professional experience, Chenise has toured across North America, appeared in commercials (Hasbro, Rogers, MMVAs), and performed in festivals (Fringe, Ignite!, Provocation, Particle and Wave, Fluid Fest, MADbeatz, Calgary International noChildren’s Festival and more), concerts (WE Day, Fenulla Jiwani), music videos (Witch Prophet and others), musicals (Nunsense), plays (Streetcar Named Desire, inVISIBLE and others) and has created with: Dance Matters, Toronto History Museums, Nuit Blanche, SummerWorks, Toy Guns Dance Theatre, EveryBODY On Stage, Downtown Disney, Wildseed Centre for Activism and Art and many others. Chenise believes that Jazz ignites a connection to the rhythm of life like no other. Chenise feels belonging with Jazz because it is healing, it is social, it is connection, it is community. Chenise is passionate about emphasizing the revolutionary nature and Black origins of Jazz and this rhythm and connection is infused in her education, creation and performances.
Ineza Mugisha is a multi-genre musician and actor from Toronto, Ontario. She is a 2022 graduate from the University of Toronto Voice Performance Program, under the tutelage of Monica Whicher. She was the recipient of the University of Toronto Kinghorn and Arnold Walter Memorial Award.She has been able to share her voice in different venues, and concert halls across North America. Since graduating she has debuted at Roy Thompson Hall as a soprano soloist at the 2022 Future Stops Festival as well as being the Soprano Soloist in Nathaniel Dett Chorale’s 2022 production of Nathaniel Dett’s oratorio “The Ordering of Moses”. As of this year,she recently performed in her first production “Of the Sea” with Tapestry opera as well as her first professional principal role as Priscilla in Volcano Theatre’s “Treemonisha” in collaboration with Luminato, COC, and TOLive.
Renée is a vibrant performing arts professional with twenty-five years of diverse performing, teaching, writing, and directing experience from stage to film, to everything in between. Creative opportunities have taken Renée all over the UK, Europe, Canada, Korea, Central Asia, and many other inspiring places. Highlights as a director/performer over the years include, English Touring Opera (company principal and teaching artist), D'Oyly Carte Opera Company (Savoy Theatre, 2002 Season, ensemble and swing), The Arcola Theatre (Marsinah in Kismet), Edinburgh and Toronto Fringe Festivals (Associate Director - Noise, Ensemble and Director - Little Red), Opera York (Director - Le Nozze di Figaro, L'elisir d’amore, Il Barbiere di Siviglia, The Merry Widow, Die Zauberflote, Don Pasquale), Opera Revue (Blitzkeig Cabaret), and writing and producing with long time creative partner Allyson Devenish (Rubi: Shades of Love, Struggle and Protest). Projects during the pandemic saw Renée remotely direct Endymion’s Dream, Pirates of Penzance with an updated libretto, La Clemenza di Tito with narration written by Renée for COSA Canada, and continue to operate her voice studio online.
Saman Shahi is a JUNO-nominated composer, pianist and conductor based in Toronto. His music has been described as “Powerful and empowering” (The Wholenote), and “Lucid and dramatic” (Musicworks).
Saman's compositions have been performed around the globe by renowned groups such as the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Windsor Symphony, Sinfonia Toronto, and National Ballet of Canada. His piano music was also recently published in UK's official conservatory method book by London College of Music, and also included in the 2022 Royal Conservatory of Music's syllabus.
Saman holds a master's degree in composition from the University of Toronto, is an affiliate Member of the Canadian League of Composers, Associate Composer at the Canadian Music Centre, as well as a SOCAN member. He is also a Co-Founder and the Executive Director at ICOT.
Anna Theodosakis is a Dora Award-nominated stage director and choreographer based in Toronto. For the 2021/2022 season she directed The Magic Flute (Canadian Opera Company), Carmen (Saskatoon Opera), The Bells of Baddeck (Parks Canada), L’elisir d’amore (Western University), a workshop of The Limit of the Sun (Opera McGill), Love Songs by Ana Sokolović (University of Ottawa/Musique 3 Femmes) and choreographed The Tender Land (University of Toronto). Anna is a Dramatic Coach for the Canadian Opera Company’s Ensemble Studio and a COC Teaching Artist. She has been a sessional lecturer for the University of British Columbia and a guest lecturer with McGill University, University of Toronto, Dalhousie University, Wilfrid Laurier University, University of Lethbridge, the Glenn Gould School, the University of Ottawa, and the University of Manitoba. Anna is a RBC Future Launch Artist Mentor with the Association for Opera in Canada and a mentor for Pacific Opera Victoria’s Civic Engagement Quartet.
Chris Thornborrow is an award-winning composer for theatre, film, and the concert stage. His work has been described as “heightened and brashly percussive” (Variety), “urgent, masterful” (NOW Magazine), “powerfully virtuosic” (Barcza Blog), and “elegiac music that casts a spell” (Hollywood Reporter). Recognition for his work includes the Karen Kieser Prize in Canadian Music, multiple SOCAN Awards for Audio Visual Composers, and the Louis Applebaum Composers Award Nomination. Chris is a leading facilitator in contemporary music theatre for young people, in demand with school boards and esteemed arts organizations across Ontario. Through his work with the Canadian Opera Company, he has collaborated directly with thousands of students on over sixty original operas.
Creating “Exquisitely layered soundworlds” (I care if you listen) and writing music “Brimming with youthful vitality” (Winnipeg Free Press), Chinese-Canadian composer Dr. Roydon Tse seeks to communicate to audiences from all backgrounds with music that reflects our lived experiences.
Performed in over 16 countries, Roydon has collaborated with groups such as the Brussels Philharmonic, Hong Kong Philharmonic, Shanghai Philharmonic, Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Vancouver Symphony, Hamilton Philharmonic, Winnipeg Symphony, Edmonton Symphony, Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony, Verona Quartet, Brno Philharmonic, Atlanta Opera, City Opera Vancouver, Vancouver Bach Choir, and members of the Paris Opera and La Scala Orchestras. Upcoming highlights in 2023 include premieres with l’Orchestre Symphonique des Trois-Rivieres, Esprit Orchestra, and Symphony 21.
Born in Hong Kong, Dr. Tse studied music in England before graduating from the Universities of British Columbia and Toronto in composition. He was a Toronto Symphony Orchestra NextGen composer for their 2020/21 season and is a current composer fellow of the Gabriela Lena Frank Creative Academy of Music.
Embracing the fairy-tale influences from her childhood, Meredith Wolting’s artistic style today ripples with notes of magic and bold colours. She discovered an interest in set design through combining her passion for performing on stage with her creativity on paper, and she received her Bachelor of Arts in Theatre from York University after studying Devised Theatre and Set & Costume Design with a focus in physical theatre
Meredith designs and teaches throughout Toronto, creating sets, props, and costumes for theatre and film, as well as illustrating children’s books. Meredith’s work in brand and graphic design ranges from logo creation to album art and merchandise, including a limited-edition T-shirt design for Ford and the Toronto Maple Leafs. She also illustrates comic books for Opera Atelier as part of a resource package for young audiences. As a Teaching Artist with the COC, Meredith strives to empower the next generation of artists and hopes to ignite a spark of creative possibility in everyone she meets.
Praised for her stage presence, Montreal-born soprano Karine White is passionate about the performing arts. An active and versatile artist, she enjoys both performing and teaching voice, dance, and drama. Karine is proud to have been awarded the Peter and Helen Hunt Award in Opera, The National Joseph-Armand Bombardier Canada Graduate Scholarship, the prestigious Royal Conservatory of Music Silver medal, and has received First Class Honours with Distinction for her Associate Performer exam with Conservatory Canada.
When not on stage or in rehearsal, she can be found teaching Movement Classes at the University of Toronto, collaborating with the Canadian Opera Company as a Teaching Artist, and pursing a Masters of Teaching at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education. Karine is a distinguished graduate of Western University with a Masters of Music in Performance and Literature and holds a Diploma in Operatic Performance from the University of Toronto. Karine is also a vocal instructor and academic advisor for the Bachelor of Arts Music program at Tyndale University.