Past Events 


Voice Masterclass with Eric Owens

Tuesday, Feb 19, 2019
1:00 pm, Old Auditorium

Bass-baritone Eric Owens has a unique reputation as an esteemed interpreter of classic works and a champion of new music. Equally at home in orchestral, recital, and operatic repertoire, Mr. Owens brings his powerful poise, expansive voice, and instinctive acting faculties to stages around the world.
In the 2018-2019 season, Mr. Owens returns to Lyric Opera of Chicago to make his role debut as the Wanderer in David Poutney’s new production of Wagner’s Siegfried. He also stars as Porgy in James Robinson’s new production of Porgy and Bess at the Dutch National Opera and makes his role debut as Hagen in Götterdämmerung at the Metropolitan Opera conducted by Philippe Jordan. Concert appearances include the world premiere of David Lang’s prisoner of the people at the New York Philharmonic conducted by Jaap van Zweden, the King in Aïda at the Chicago Symphony Orchestra conducted by Riccardo Muti, Verdi’s Requiem with the Minnesota Orchestra, and Mozart’s Requiem with Music of the Baroque. Mr. Owens will also go on a multi-city recital tour with tenor Lawrence Brownlee.
Mr. Owens launched the 2017-2018 season with his role debut as Wotan in David Pountney’s new production of Wagner’s Die Walküre. He also sang Filippo II in Verdi’s Don Carlo at Washington National Opera, Don Basilio in Rossini’s Il Barbiere di Siviglia at Houston Grand Opera, and the Forester in Janáček’s The Cunning Little Vixen at the Glimmerglass Festival, where he served as Artist in Residence and Artistic Advisor. Concert appearances included Rossini’s Stabat Mater with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra conducted by Riccardo Muti, Verdi’s Requiem with both the National Symphony Orchestra led by Gianandrea Noseda and the Nashville Symphony Orchestra, and Mendelssohn’s Elijah with Music of the Baroque.
Mr. Owens has created an uncommon niche for himself in the ever-growing body of contemporary opera works through his determined tackling of new and challenging roles. He received great critical acclaim for portraying the title role in the world premiere of Elliot Goldenthal’s Grendel with the Los Angeles Opera, and again at the Lincoln Center Festival, in a production directed and designed by Julie Taymor. Mr. Owens also enjoys a close association with John Adams, for whom he performed the role of General Leslie Groves in the world premiere of Doctor Atomic at the San Francisco Opera, and of the Storyteller in the world premiere of A Flowering Tree at Peter Sellars’s New Crowned Hope Festival in Vienna and later with the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Mr. Owens is an avid concert singer, who collaborates closely with conductors such as Alan Gilbert, Riccardo Muti, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Sir Simon Rattle, Donald Runnicles, and Franz Welser-Möst.
He has been recognized with multiple honors, including the Musical America’s 2017 “Vocalist of the Year” award, 2003 Marian Anderson Award, a 1999 ARIA award, second prize in the Plácido Domingo Operalia Competition, the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, and the Luciano Pavarotti International Voice Competition. In 2017, the Glimmerglass Festival appointed him as its Artistic Advisor.
A native of Philadelphia, Mr. Owens began his musical training as a pianist at the age of six, followed by formal oboe study at age eleven under Lloyd Shorter of the Delaware Symphony and Louis Rosenblatt of the Philadelphia Orchestra. He studied voice while an undergraduate at Temple University, and then as a graduate student at the Curtis Institute of Music. He currently studies with Armen Boyajian. He serves on the Board of Trustees of both the National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts and Astral Artistic Services. Starting in 2019, Mr. Owens becomes the co-chair of the Curtis Institute’s opera department.


Angela Meade

Dec 5, 2018

Hailed as “the most talked about soprano of her generation” (Opera News), American soprano Angela Meade is the winner of both the Metropolitan Opera’s 2012 Beverly Sills Artist Award and the 2011 Richard Tucker Award. In 2008 she joined an elite group of history’s singers when, as Elvira in Verdi’s Ernani, she made her professional operatic debut on the Met stage. Since then she has fast become recognized as one of today’s outstanding vocalists, excelling in the most demanding heroines of the 19th-century bel canto repertoire as well as in the operas of Verdi and Mozart.

In the 2017–18 season, Angela Meade sang the title roles in Rossini’s Semiramide conducted by Maurizio Benini and Bellini’s Norma under the leadership of Carlo Rizzi at the Metropolitan Opera, Handel’s Alcina with Washington National Opera, and Cilea’s Adriana Lecouvreur with Oper Frankfurt. In addition, she will sing the role of Giselda in Verdi’s I Lombardi at Teatro Regio di Torino. Concert performances will include Mahler’s Symphony No. 8 with the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Yannick Nézét-Séguin and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 with Seattle Symphony. She will give recitals in Philadelphia, Santa Fe, and Waterford, Virginia.


Renée Fleming

"Music and the Mind"
Sep 18, 2018

Renée Fleming’s Music and the Mind presentation explores the power of music as it relates to health, including childhood development, music therapy, and discoveries that are changing our understanding of the brain. Ms. Fleming’s presentation is inspired by the Sound Health initiative, which she spearheaded as part of her role as Artistic Advisor to the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. The initiative, established in partnership with the National Institutes of Health and in association with the National Endowment for the Arts, explores and brings attention to research and practice at the intersection of music, health, and neuroscience.

Throughout Ms. Fleming’s journey as an artist, she has been struck by music’s power to heal and transform lives. “Today we are riding a wave of scientific discovery in music and neuroscience, and I’m fascinated by the breadth of the research being conducted. Beyond its ability to enthrall and entertain, music can offer a host of health benefits – from childhood development to therapeutic applications for Alzheimer’s disease, autism, PTSD, Parkinson’s disease and chronic pain,” said Ms. Fleming. “And close to my heart, singing can retrain the brain to use different neural circuitry, helping those who have sustained a traumatic brain injury or suffered a stroke regain the ability to speak.”


Russell Braun

Jan 19, 2018

Russell Braun rightfully claims his place on the concert, opera and recital stages of the world. His intelligent and thoughtful portrayals of Chou En-lai, Billy Budd, Prince Andrei, Figaro, Papageno, Count Almaviva, Don Giovanni, and The Traveller have captivated audiences at the Metropolitan Opera in New York, l’Opéra de Paris, the State Opera in Vienna, the Royal Opera, Convent Garden, the Los Angeles Opera, La Scala in Milan and the Salzburg and Glyndebourne festivals.

WATCH: Russell Braun performs a recital with members of UBC Opera.


Sondra Radvanovsky

Mar 29, 2017

Sondra Radvanovsky is a globally celebrated artist who is regarded as one of the premiere Verdi sopranos today. The sincerity and intensity she brings to the stage as one of the most prominent sopranos of her generation have won her accolades from critics and loyalty from passionate fans. The exquisite depth and colour of her voice are matched by her artistry and versatility across a remarkable range of repertoire, including the enormously challenging Norma by Bellini. It is in this role that she will open the 2017/18 Metropolitan Opera Season, making her one of only three sopranos to sing Norma at the Met. In the Met Opera’s 2015/16 season, Ms. Radvanovsky performed all three queens in Donizetti’s “Tudor” operas, the only singer to ever perform all three in one season.

WATCH: An afternoon of music and conversation with Sondra Radvanovsky.


Ben Heppner

Sep 29, 2016

"So... You have a big voice..."

An inspiring evening of insight into the dramatic voice with special guest Ben Heppner and members of the UBC Opera Ensemble. Ben Heppner gives us a rare opportunity to look into the training, careers and life of dramatic voice types in opera. 

WATCH: Opera roundtable featuring Ben Heppner and the UBC Opera Ensemble


Judith Forst & Simone Osborne 

Mar 3, 2016

Join Nancy Hermiston and the UBC Opera Ensemble for an evening with two of Canada’s great operatic talents, Judith Forst and Simone Osborne. Both UBC Alumna who won the Metropolitan Opera Competition and went on to international success, they have appeared on stage together in the Opera Ensemble’s presentation of The Dreamhealer.

How has career changed since Judith started on her journey to stardom? How important is technology to a singer’s career? What is it like to be a woman in this very competitive and demanding profession? How does one cope with relationships, families, and the physical demands on stage? How does a singer transition as their voice matures? How does an artist stay interesting to employers and audiences?

Enjoy delightful music and an opportunity to join these singers in an intimate conversation.


Philippe Castagner & Denise Gaudry

Oct 8, 2015

Philippe Castagner returns to UBC taking on the leading role in Massenet’s Manon. Joined by international opera coach Denise Gaudry and the UBC Opera Ensemble, the Peter Wall Institute presents this roundtable discussion and concert entitled “The Singer Behind the Song.” With their long years of operatic and art song experience, Philippe and Denise will unravel the mystery of how the singer prepares and presents songs – no matter what genre – Schubert, Schumann, Mozart, Puccini, Massenet, Verdi.