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Summer Opera Intensive
For Singers and Pianists



Performances August 9-18, 2024

Intensive July 20-August 18 2024


PRODUCER - Denise Williams






MASTERCLASS CLINICIANS - Teiya Kasahara, Michael Warren, Marcia Whitehead

Rehearsal location:

Willowdale Presbyterian Church, 38 Ellerslie Ave, Toronto


Opera Performances:

August 9,10, 11, 16, 17, 18, 2024

Adjala ON


Opera Excerpts:

August 8, 2024

Adjala ON


Opera Pub:

August 14, 2024

The Granite Brewery, Toronto


Openings for: Principle Roles, Adult Chorus, Children's ensemble

Role preparation, diction classes,masterclasses, individual coaching, repetiteur and leadership program for emerging pianists and flute players.


Masterclasses (Acting Through Song and Audition Preparation)



$675 CDN $500 US (Adult Principles)*

$350 CDN $260 US (Youth Principles, Adult Chorus)*

$400 CDN $300 US (Pianists)

$250 $185 US (Flute players)

*Alumni $650 and $325 respectively

Still casting the following  roles: 

Tamino, Papagena, 3rd Lady, 2nd Priest, Monastatos, Sarastro 

submit resume photo and video of 2 contrasting opera selections 

(1 selection must be in German)

with subject line, MAGIC FLUTE, to

*If we are familiar with your work, kindly just send us your resume and photo*

Chorus please fill out and submit these forms. 




Denise Williams is an established professional singer, voice teacher, concert producer and music facilitator.  She is a passionate advocate for the performing arts, leveraging her extensive professional experience to promote artistic expression, education, and foster inclusivity. Her international performance career has put her on the concert, opera, and theatre stages.  Her most well-loved self-produced music project is her cross-cultural, Walk Together Children concert program, uniting African Jewish and Muslim cultural music intersections as a commentary on commonalities of forcibly migrant cultures, musical assimilations, and attempts at bridging social gaps.  


Denise is Founding Artistic Director of No Strings Theatre (2005) and is currently on the music theatre voice faculty of Sheridan College and operates her Voices of Colour Music (VCM) music studio. She is a certified advanced voice teacher affiliate for the Royal Conservatory of Music and has been an RCM examiner and national vocal adjudicator since 2000. Her professional memberships include The Ontario Registered Music Teachers Association (Immediate Past President of the Central Toronto Branch), The National Association for Teachers of Singing, as well as ACTRA and CAEA. Denise has also recently been appointed on the Board of Directors of the Elora Festival and Elora Singers. 


She continues to advocate, through international performance and community leadership, for addressing cross-cultural sharing of music traditions and equity, diversity, and inclusion, on performance stages. She is honoured to have earned the ORMTA Contribution to Teaching award for 2024 and be on the 2024 list of 100 Black Accomplished Canadian Women Honourees.

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Canadian stage director Rob Herriot’s career has taken him across North America. He has directed productions of Cosi fan Tutte, Cenerentola, Madama Butterfly, Lucia di Lammermoor, La Boheme, Carmen, Rigoletto and Don Pasquale (Manitoba Opera), Barber of Seville, Don Pasquale and Elixir of Love(Livermore Valley Opera) Cosi fan Tutte (Opera Kelowna) Three Decembers, Magic Flute, The Walk from the Garden (Little Opera Company). New productions of Rigoletto (2019)HMS Pinafore (2018) Hansel and Gretel, and Magic Flute. Other productions for Edmonton include Turandot, Pirates of Penzance, La Fille Du Regiment, HMS Pinafore (Edmonton Opera-winner of a Sterling Award for Outstanding Musical of the Season); Tosca, The Mikado, La Cenerentola, all nominated for the Sterling Award’s Best Musical Production of their year. For Calgary Opera he has directed productions of Tosca and Barber of Seville, both nominated for Betty Mitchell awards for Best Musical of 2009 and 2018 seasons, as well as La Boheme for the 40th anniversary of the company. Other productions for Calgary include The Magic Flute, Pirates of Penzance and Candide, as well as numerous shows for their Emerging Artists program As a teacher and mentor, he has directed productions of Tuck Everlasting, The Fairy Queen, Tartuffe, Beatrice and Benedict, Don Giovanni, Oklahoma, La Boheme, Patience and quite recently, The Barber of Seville. Other productions include Wizard of Oz, Cinderella and Beauty and the Beast for Winnipeg’s Rainbow Stage.



William Shookhoff is a noted conductor, pianist and vocal coach throughout Canada and abroad. He has served on the music faculties of the Universities of Toronto, Alberta, Wilfrid Laurier, as well as the Banff
Centre for the Arts and the Johannesen Summer Institute of Music. He has been on the Music Staff of the Canadian, Netherlands, Edmonton, and Portland (Oregon) Opera Companies. Mr Shookhoff was the Associate Conductor of the inaugural Canadian production of Les Miserables, and of the Canadian Tour and Toronto productions of Phantom of the Opera. He
has been a guest Music Director with Neptune Theatre (Halifax), Persephone Theatre (Saskatoon), and Citadel Theatre (Edmonton). Mr. Shookhoff makes frequent appearances in those capacities throughout Western Europe and China, as well as maintaining an active coaching studio in Toronto. He is a regular guest conductor with the Bluebridge Festival and with Opera Kitchener. He has also devoted his efforts to the development and presentation of the Massed Piano or Monster Concert, and has conducted such events at Carnegie Hall, New York; Massey Hall and Nathan Philips Square, Toronto; the White House, Washington, DC;
and the Castel Sant'Angelo, Rome. Mr. Shookhoff is Artistic Director Emeritus at Tryptych Productions.



Repetiteur/Music Director

Nate Ben-Horin divides his time as a pianist and vocal coach between the US and Canada. He recently completed a 10-month residency with Opera Columbus, where he was also an adjunct professor at Capital University. He has worked widely in his native San Francisco Bay Area, including many seasons with West Edge Opera as a repetiteur, continuo harpsichordist, recitalist and choir director. He completed his education at McGill University under Michael McMahon and Stephen Hargreaves, and supplemented his training at Highlands Opera Studio, Lachine Vocal Academy and the CoOperative Program. He formerly served as a staff pianist and assistant choir director at UC Berkeley. 

Recent and upcoming engagements include Eugene Onegin and Threepenny Opera with Opera Columbus, and staff appointments with Sewanee Summer Music Festival and Wexford Festival Opera.  Alongside soprano Jaclyn Grossman he is the co-founder, pianist, and composer/arranger of Likht Ensemble, a duo dedicated to music from the Holocaust. Of his work there, reviewer Lynn Slotkin wrote, "Nate Ben-Horin is a graceful pianist and a gifted arranger of the music to best serve the song." In his free time he enjoys encountering animals, walking or driving while listening to audiobooks, and consuming snacks. 




Chinese-American Pianist Tingting Yao is an avid collaborative pianist and chamber musician, currently serving as the Staff Pianist at Sam Houston State University in Texas. Yao has performed throughout the United States, United Kingdom, Australia and China. 


Often performing and recording with the Covert Ensemble (with saxophonists Dave Camwell and Katerina Pavlikova), this group has produced more than 25 unique arrangements of popular classical music from J.S. Bach to contemporary composers such as Mix Richter. In March 2023, the ensemble premiered a new piece-The Sky Between Us, by American composer Jenni Brandon at the North American Saxophone Alliance Biennial Conference. In March 2022, the ensemble also toured Alabama and Florida, and recorded with the Pensacola Symphony Orchestra for a new double concerto by Czech composer Martin Hybler. 


Aa part of the Dubois-Yao Duo with violist Amaro Dubois, they released a second album in Jan 2023 titled “Luz” on the Parma Label. Together with their first album “Adoration”, this group actively features female, African American and Latin composers. The Duo was awarded 2021 Grand Prize Winners of the World Classical Music Awards and 2nd place Ensemble of 2021 King’s Peak International Music Competition.


A graduate of the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire, Yao has won every award she could have as an accompanist in the Conservatoire. She frequently performed in venues such as Town Hall Symphony Hall (Birmingham), St John's Smith Square (London), The Prince's Teaching Institute (London), among others. Prior to her time in the United Kingdom, she was selected from pianists all over the world to work at Lang Lang Music World in Shenzhen, China.


Yao holds an Advanced Postgraduate Diploma (APD) in Collaborative Piano, a Master of Music in Piano Accompaniment (with Distinction) from the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire (UK), a Master of Music from the University of Melbourne (Australia) and a Bachelor of Arts from Tongji University, China.

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Katie Mills is a recent graduate, performer, creator, and educator from Toronto. She holds a Honors Bachelor in Musical Theatre Performance from Sheridan College, at which she received the Award for Writing for Stage. As well as being a performer, Katie’s works have been
performed by various artists, including workshops of The Snow Queen, two productions of her original musical The Storyteller, and a workshop performance of Skylark. She has over 10 years of experience teaching in the arts and has worked with various organisations such as Broadway
Arts Centre, Sistema Toronto, No Strings Theatre, and The Railpath Arts Centre. Katie is passionate about teaching and creating a safe and inspiring environment for people of all ages to learn about theatre. Selected credits are as follows: Susanna Le Nozze di Figaro (OBR/NST),
Mercedes Carmen (OBR/NST), Sawyer The Storyteller (NST), Bellman The Hunting of the Snark (TYT Theatre), Sir Toby Twelfth Night (Theatre Sheridan).



Windsor native Bass-Baritone John Holland has embarked on a diverse career of opera, oratorio, and art song. In 2020, John won a JUNO award as a member of the Ottawa Bach Choir. His Operatic credits include Figaro in Le Nozze di Figaro at the Mozarteum in Salzburg, Leporello and Masetto in Don Giovanni at the Estates Theatre in Prague, Vodník in Rusalka in the Czech Republic, Taddeo in L’Italiana in Algeri at Casa Loma, Purkrabi in Dvořák’s Jakobin, Caspar in Der Freischütz, Achilla in Giulio Cesare, Belcore in L’Elisir d’Amore, Henry VIII in Anna Bolena, Baron Ochs in Der Rosenkavalier, and Alberich in Der Ring Des Nibelungen with Toronto’s Opera by Request.  

He has sung at such locales as the Canadian Opera Company, Mozarteum in Salzburg, Bachfest in Leipzig (2014, 2022), Smetana Hall and the Estates Theatre in Prague, and San Marco in Venice, and has shared the stage with the likes of Placido Domingo, Sherrill Milnes, Rene Pape, and Lorin Maazel. Recent performances include, Bass Soloist in Shostakovich Symphony 14, Bass Soloist for a CD recording of Bach’s Motets on ATMA Classique, and several oratorio concerts.


He was a winner of the 2002 CBC Radio Opera Quiz Competition, and a finalist in the London Opera Guild Competition in 2001 and 2003. A respected academic, John is a three-time lecturer for the Canadian Opera Company’s London guild, a regular lecturer at the Royal Conservatory of Music, and a nine-time judge for the JUNO Awards. He is also an alumnus of the University of Windsor and Western University music faculties.  

Dr. Holland completed his PhD in Musicology at York University in 2018. His scholarly work reaches over many genres, but is focused on the study of Czech Opera, Art Song, and Choral Works. His dissertation, Beyond the Silver Moon: Exploring the Lost Tradition of Dvořák's Operas Through a Study of Myth, Music, and Nationalism, critically analyzes these operas, and views them through the lenses of social, cultural, and political history, and pieces together the answers to why these operas are essentially lost works within the Czech lands, and abroad. In the fall of 2014, he produced the Canadian premiere of Dvořák’s opera Jakobin. He is also the founding director of the Canadian Institute for Czech Music, and continues to be in demand as a performer, choral conductor, and lecturer, as well as being a member of the contract faculty at York University.

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Heralded as “an artist with extraordinary things to say” (The Globe and Mail) and “a force of nature” (Toronto Star), Nikkei Canadian settler Teiya Kasahara 笠原貞野 (they/them) is a transgender opera singer and interdisciplinary theater creator based in Tkarón:to (colonially known as Toronto, Canada). Teiya comes from a background of nearly 20 years of singing both traditional and contemporary operatic roles across Turtle Island and Europe including the Queen of the Night Die Zauberflöte, Cio-Cio San Madama Butterfly, Solana When the Sun Comes Out, and the soprano solos in Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony and Verdi’s Requiem.


Teiya’s critically acclaimed operatic-play The Queen In Me recently had a sold-out run at the National Arts Centre, and has played at the Belfast International Arts Festival, Meridian Arts Centre in Ontario, and the Canadian Opera Company where it premiered in 2022.


In their practice they explore the intersections of identity through reimagining the operatic and classical music canon in works such as their iterative Butterfly Project, Little Mis(s)gender, and Dichterliebe: Whose Love? with their collaborator, David Eliakis. Later this season they will launch Project T, an autoethnographic and multidisciplinary endeavour at the ChamberQUEER Festival in New York, also with Eliakis.

Teiya is a co-founder of Amplified Opera, an artistic associate with Confluence Concerts, and long-time collaborator with re:Naissance Opera. For more information follow @teiyakasahara or visit To follow Project T, follow @projecttdoc or visit

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Marcia Whitehead sang professionally as a mezzo soprano with Opera companies and Symphonies across Canada for over 15 years. She apprenticed with Montréal Opera's L'Atelier Lyrique and is an alumnus of numerous young artist programs. Today, she passes her stage experience and training on to her private students, as well as the singers who attend her high energy masterclasses at High Schools and Universities in Toronto and online. Marcia's vocal memoir, Botox Me, has evolved into a public speaking career that launches in September 2024 at private girls colleges in Toronto. Marcia is thrilled mentor the young artists of Opera by Request's summer production of The Magic Flute. To learn more about Marcia, please visit




His gift for identifying the innate strengths in each voice and his command of vocal mechanics have contributed to 3 decades of success in the prominent vocal studio of Michael Warren, D.M.A. Teaching online (and phone lesson) for over 30 years has given him a unique ability to teach singing remotely. Michael’s students are noted for their exceptional range and stamina, even registration, and for the individuality of their vocal quality and timbre. Several have debuted in leading roles at the Metropolitan Opera. His students have sung in all the major opera houses of the world including Covent Garden, La Scala, San Francisco, and Bayreuth, and have appeared with such renowned artists as Luciano Pavarotti, Plácido Domingo and Mirella Freni. They have also performed leading roles on Broadway and in major jazz venues globally. Many have established significant careers as voice teachers. He has a track record of rehabilitating and enhancing the voices of established performers as well as cultivating emerging talent. Working from the natural function of the voice, his singular pedagogical approach enables each singer’s own instrument to develop from its particular strengths. This emphasis builds vocal health and frees performers from cautious, overthought singing. The result is a legion of loyal voices with distinctive power and vivid artistic expression.

He earned his Doctorate in Vocal Pedagogy and Performance from the University of Maryland, along with Bachelors and Masters degrees from the University of Denver. He has served as vocal pedagogy instructor at Finland’s Korsholm Festival, sharing faculty status with Nicolai Gedda. Houston Grand Opera named Dr. Warren one of the top 10 voice teachers in New York City. Michael’s expertise has developed outside the academy walls as well. His teaching philosophy has been shaped by decades of studying the world’s great performers in every genre combined with his observation of the vocal development of his six children.

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