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VOICES / 3 Operas



Courtney Atkins, Soprano

Courtney Atkins


Courtney Atkins was born and raised in Saskatoon, and began formal music trainin when she was 6 with piano lessons. At the age of 12, she joined the Saskatoon Children's Choir, and throughout her 7 years with them was fortunate to tour around Canada, Europe, and Asia, doing concerts and festivals. She began studying singing seriously at age 14, and continued through to the U of S, where she received degrees in Music and Education.


Since 2008, she has participated in numerous summer study programs including CSNY in New York City, and the prestigious Schubert-Institut in Baden bei Wien, Austria, studying German Lieder. In 2010, Courtney was the recipient of the Saskatoon Music Festival's Kinsmen Vocal Scholarship.


Courtney has been involved in numerous opera productions, including the Saskatoon Opera's productions of Le Nozze di Figaro (Barbarina) and Die Zauberflöte (Papagena); and Little Opera on the Prairie's production of Hansel and Gretel (Sandman/Dewfairy).


This March, she will appear again with LOOP in Voices, as well as in the much anticipated annual Masquerade in October.



Laurien Gibson, Soprano

Laurien Gibson


Laurien holds a Bachelor of Music from the University of Saskatchewan and an Artist Diploma from the Glenn Gould School. Ms. Gibson has been the recipient of numerous awards including first place in the Canadian Music Competition, Gordon Wallis Opera Competition and Young Artist Competition. She has also sung in the finals of the Hans Gabor Belvedere competition, an international contest held in Vienna.


As a soloist, Laurien has appeared with Little Opera On the Prairie, The Canadian Sinfonietta, Jeunes Ambassadeurs Lyriques, The Regina Symphony Orchestra, the Saskatoon Opera Association, the Opera Troupe of Saskatoon, and Edmonton's Opera Nuova. Laurien has been featured in many chamber works including: Orff's Carmina Burana, Poulenc's Gloria, Mozart's Coronation Mass, and Handel's Messiah. Her opera credits include the roles of Gretel (Hansel and Gretel), Titania (A Midsummer Night's Dream) l'Ecureuil (l'enfant et les sortileges), Amy (Little Women), Barbarina (Le Nozze di Figaro) and 1st Spirit (Die Zauberflöte).


Laurien is a huge fan of recital work and has worked extensively in this vein, most recently presenting Moonsong in an intimate house concert (Nov. 2014) and collaborating with Anastasia Winterhalt in a joint recital (spring 2015).


Ms. Gibson is proud to have been involved with LOOP since it's beginnings in 2012 and will be singing again with LOOP in their upcoming production: Voices, March 2016.


Outside of performing, she keeps busy being mom to a super 5 year old boy and teaching voice and piano lessons from her home studio. Laurien has also taught applied voice as a sessional instructor at the UofS.



Chelsea Mahan, Soprano

Chelsea Mahan


On the operatic stage, Canadian-American soprano Chelsea Mahan has been noticed for her panache of character (La Presse, 2015) but is equally at home in soundtrack recording, oratorio, recital settings and productions in unconventional spaces. These intimate performances in warehouses and abandoned churches include the roles of Monica in The Medium and Laurette in Bizet's comedy Le Docteur Miracle with Stu & Jess Productions.


Ms. Mahan has recently returned to Saskatchewan from Montreal, where she was a recipient of the Graduate Excellence Award and a graduate of the Masters of Music at McGill University. During her time there, Ms. Mahan appeared with Opera McGill as Erste Dame in Die Zauberflöte and Tytania in A Midsummer Night's Dream.


As a prize-winning competitor, her achievements include first prize in the 65th Young Artist Series Western Concert tour and first prize in the prestigious Gordon Wallis Opera Competition. Most recently, Ms. Mahan was appointed a Laureate of Jeunes Ambassadeurs Lyriques and named a finalist in the Concorso Internazionale per Giovani Cantanti Lirici in Riva del Garda, Italy.


Ms. Mahan has made appearances with La Compagnie Baroque Mont-Royal, Saskatoon Symphony Orchestra, Regina Symphony Orchestra, Opera Nuova, Halifax Summer Opera Festival, and most recently, Little Opera on the Prairie where she was seen on stage in Poulenc's one-woman opera La Voix Humaine.


Ms. Mahan is currently involved in projects throughout Western Canada, creating and collaborating to celebrate established repertoire and to introduce fresh, classical music to audiences, old and new.



Garry Gable, Bass-Baritone

Kerry Agnew
Collaborative Pianist


Since completing her Bachelor of Music and Bachelor of Education at the University of Saskatchewan, Kerry Agnew has had opportunities to partake in numerous Opera productions including Edmonton's Opera NUOVA 2010 Vocal Arts Festival (Romeo et Juliette), Winnipeg's Contemporary Opera Lab (premiering newly commissioned Canadian Operas), as well as working with the Saskatoon Opera Chorus.


Kerry has worked as a collaborative artist for Saskatchewan's newest opera company Little Opera On the Prairie "LOOP" since their inception.


In addition to teaching University and high school music, Kerry thrives on performing in chamber music settings around Saskatchewan. Kerry accompanies two Saskatoon Choirs; the University of Saskatchewan University Chorus, and the Saskatoon Children's Choir.


This summer, Kerry will return to Edmonton to be the principal rèpètiteur for Opera NUOVA's production of Puccini's classic La bohème.




Jessica Derventzis, Director

Jessica Derventzis
Stage Director


Stage director Jessica Derventzis hails from Toronto, Ontario and came to opera by way of playing piano. She began her studies at Queen's University as a music major, but quickly added theatre to her studies after accompanying rehearsals for the opera company in her first year. She went on to direct Les Dialogues des Carmélites and Trouble in Tahiti while in Kingston.


After graduating, Jessica took over the theatre department at her old high school, Mentor College. She spent 5 years there moulding young minds and directing over 20 productions including: Little Shop of Horrors, Twelve Angry Men, Crazy For You, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, and Neil Simon's Rumors.


Since leaving education, Jessica has worked steadily assisting and directing. She created an indie opera company with her best friend, conductor Stuart Martin, Stu&Jess Productions. So far, they have produced The Medium, Le Docteur Miracle, and L'Heure Espagnole together in Montreal.


Jessica also has the incredible honour of being mentored by Rob Herriot and has assisted him on three productions already with the Calgary Opera.


Most recently, Jessica directed the Canadian premiere of Ned Rorem's Our Town with Opera Nuova.


Coming up, she will be co-directing Die Fledermaus with Opera 5 in Toronto and directing Die Zauberflöte with Opera Kelowna.



Anastasia Winterhalt

Anastasia Winterhalt
Artistic Director/Producer


Short-listed for the 2014 Lieutenant Governor's Arts Awards "Leadership" Award by the Saskatchewan Arts Board, Anastasia is passionate about making opera exciting for Saskatoon residents and is focused on creating and producing works that attract new audiences and build support for opera in the city.


Anastasia is founder and artistic director of Little Opera On the Prairie (LOOP). Its mission is to increase the demand for opera through innovative and interesting performances, with a focus on community-building and education. The company was launched in 2012, with the support of an ArtsSmarts grant from the Saskatchewan Arts Board. Working in partnership with Susan Rescheny, Anastasia encouraged and supported school students as they wrote, performed and produced a 30-minute opera. The project helped to both break down classroom social barriers and inspire interest in opera and the arts among students.


In September 2012, LOOP pulled together a team of performers from across the province to produce Dean Burry's opera, Isis and the Seven Scorpions, which received support through the Organization of Saskatchewan Arts Councils (OSAC). In December 2013, LOOP produced Hansel and Gretel and in February 2013 joined forces with Saskatoon's Live Five Theatre, Ritornello Chamber Festival and the Saskatoon Chefs' Association for the Chefs' Showcase and Gala, an evening of music, theatre, opera and culinary delights. Anastasia has also collaborated with Saskatoon Summer Players Theatre and Trio Imagery.


Anastasia holds a master's degree in music from the University of Saskatchewan and an artist diploma in opera from the Glenn Gould Professional School. She has performed with Saskatoon Opera, Edmonton's Opera NUOVA and Toronto Operetta Theatre.


Production Archives

Hansel & Gretel - 2013



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