The ‘Atelier lyrique’ Talent 2017 : Opéra de Montréal Selects Stars of Tomorrow

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Every year the Atelier Lyrique holds auditions to find the operatic talents of the future. This year they are betting on a slightly new formula: Talent 2017. Instead of holding the entire audition process behind closed doors, the public can assist (with the purchase of a $150 ticket) to the final round held on November 15, 2017 at Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier in Montreal. This workshop is already one of the most popular training programs in Canada. It will allow the winners entrance to two years of stage experience in the productions of Opéra de Montréal as well as the necessary assistance to help them develop: stage presence, coachings, diction lessons, vocal technique and masterclasses. This new initiative will also allow Opéra of Montréal to raise their public profile, and to raise the funds that are so necessary to develop new talent.

In total, eleven finalists competed for five spots in the workshop, out of 120 contestants that applied from across Canada. They were also competing for the people’s award ‘Étoile Stingray’ worth $3000. The winner of this award was selected by the public by electronic vote at the end of the concert and it went to soprano Anna-Sophie Neher.

Soprano Anne-Sophie Neher, winner of the “Étoile Stingray” award

The participants were: Daniel Thielmann (baritone) Elizabeth Polese (soprano) Andrea Carolina Nunez (soprano),  Anne-Sophie Neher (soprano), Olivier Gagnon, (ténor), (baryton-basse) Brenden Friesen, Tenor Marcel d’Entremont, Georgia Burashko (mezzo), Spencer Britten (tenor) Florence Bourget (contralto) and Sarah Bissonnette (Mézzo-Soprano).

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Two female voices stood out: Andrea Carolina Núñez was one of the most technically accomplished singers in the competition and she performed a ‘Caro Nome’ that was full of nuances and displayed the assurance of a seasoned professional. Anna-Sophie Neher showcased a generous and vibrant sound, a timbre of voice that was clear, bright but also soothing, she also had great stage presence and projection, she was able to fill the large Wilfrid-Pelletier with her voice.

As for the men, Marcel d’Entremont sang “Una Furtiva Lacrima” and showcased his ability to sing very contrasting nuances. Bass-baritone Brenden Friesen is also an intriguing talent, he possesses a timbre that is very unique and interesting stage presence, a kind of (je ne sais quoi) type of talent.

La Scena picks the following five singers to win a spot in the Atelier Lyrique: Andrea Carolina Núñez, Anne-Sophie Neher, Brenden Friesen, Marcel d’Entremont and Elizabeth Polese. According to the official press release, the final choices will be announced in the next few weeks.

Here is the entire press-release:

TALENT 2017: An all-new benefit event supporting Canada’s emerging opera artists A resounding success!

Montreal, November 16, 2017 – The Opéra de Montréal last night held its all-new gala showcasing the Atelier lyrique’s national auditions in Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier at Place des Arts. The prestigious event, entitled TALENT 2017, brought together over three hundred music-lovers to celebrate the emerging generation of Canadian opera artists with an unforgettable event benefitting the Opéra de Montréal and the Atelier lyrique.

The 11 finalists in the Atelier lyrique’s national auditions—chosen out of over 120 artists from across the country—vied for a spot in our prestigious artist-in-residence program. The final selections will be made known in the coming weeks. We are also very proud to have had Stingray Music participate in the event, through the awarding of the Stingray Star Award to Anna-Sophie Neher. The General Director of the Opéra de Montréal, Mr. Patrick Corrigan, added: “The success of this first event is especially moving for us as it shines a spotlight on future Canadian opera stars embarking on their national and international careers, while once again positioning Montreal as a fertile ground for great opera talent.”

The event also raised well over in excess of $100,000 for this inaugural edition. The presence of several partners at this initial event unequivocally affirmed the business and cultural communities’ strong support for opera-related philanthropic efforts. Young artists in the Atelier lyrique’s advanced training program focus on learning repertoire, receiving coaching from stage directors, language specialists, and career managers, and appearing in Opéra de Montréal productions.

  • Sarah Bissonnette, mezzo-soprano – Quebec
  • Florence Bourget, mezzo-soprano – Quebec
  • Spencer Britten, tenor – British Columbia
  • Georgia Burashko, mezzo-soprano – Ontario
  • Marcel D’Entremont, tenor – Nova Scotia
  • Brenden Friesen, bass-baritone – Saskatchewan
  • Olivier Gagnon, tenor – Quebec
  • Anna-Sophie Neher, soprano – Quebec
  • Andrea Núňez, soprano – Ontario
  • Élizabeth Polese, soprano – Ontario
  • Daniel Thielmann, baritone – Ontario

This most festive and welcoming event also included a cocktail reception with snacks and champagne, a recital of well-loved opera arias by the finalists, and a magnificent dinner on stage amid the sets for La Cenerentola with a cabaret performance and special guests.


The Atelier lyrique is an artist residency program for Canadian opera singers, pianist-vocal coaches, and stage directors that serves as a veritable springboard to a professional career. Offering training and on-stage experience at the Opéra de Montréal, the program aims to adequately equip young artists for every aspect of their careers: vocal technique, musical and dramatic performance, operatic diction, languages, health, mental preparation for performance, fiscal matters, professional image, etc. Several internationally renowned artists have been Atelier members over the years, including Julie Boulianne, Etienne Dupuis, Marianne Fiset, Marc Hervieux, Marie-Josée Lord, and Michèle Losier.


Founded in 1980 and based in Montreal, the Opéra de Montréal is the largest francophone opera company in North America. Each season, close to 50,000 spectators make their way through the company’s doors. Under the direction of General Director Patrick Corrigan and Artistic Director Michel Beaulac, the company’s season is made up of four to five operas, activities and concerts by the Atelier lyrique, and outreach activities. The Opéra is a key player in the city’s economic, cultural, and social development as, each season, it maintains working relationships with over 360 local businesses, and hires no less than 800 artists and craftspeople. Close to 80% of the artists appearing at the company are Canadian.





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