Handel’s Messiah

Monday, December 16, 2019 at 7:30 pm
Emmanuel United Church East, Peterborough

Featuring: Sopranos – Michaela O’Connor | Kayla Ruiz | Jane Fingler | Rebecca Genge | Lindsay McIntyre  Mezzo-sopranos/Countertenors – Georgia Burashko | Veronika Anissimova | Ryan McDonald | Danielle Nicholson  Tenors – David Walsh | Nicholas Veltmeyer | Arieh Sacke Basses/Baritones – Matthew Li | Adam Kuiack |  Ian Sadler, organ | Paul Otway, trumpet | Stan Ewing, timpani

Apparently, writing a masterpiece like the Messiah in 24 days was not an unusual feat for Handel. He wrote an entire opera in one week after he finished his most famous oratorio! He inscribed SDG (Soli Deo gloria—To God alone the glory) at the end of his musical depiction of the birth, suffering, and resurrection of Jesus, perhaps acknowledging his inspiration. Get inspired yourself! Come and experience once again, or for the very first time, the wonder of this sublime music, performed by the Peterborough Singers with Ian Sadler at the mighty Casavant organ, along with trumpets, timpani, and talented and promising soloists from the University of Toronto’s Historical Performance program.

Be lifted up and thrilled, as Handel’s first audience was almost 300 years ago in Dublin, Ireland.

Sponsored by:



Michaela O’Connor is a young classically trained soprano currently studying with countertenor Daniel Taylor in her MA of Voice Performance at the University of Toronto. In June of 2018, she graduated with a Bachelor of Music in Voice Performance at U of T under the guidance of Laura Tucker. Recently, O’Connor has performed as a soloist in the University of Toronto Collegium Musicum’s production of Acis and Galatea and in Purcell’s King Arthur with the University of Toronto’s Schola Cantorum.  She also appeared in the latter group’s previous performances of A Child’s Prayer and Handel’s Messiah. O’Connor attended the Victoria Conservatory of Music Advanced Oratorio programme in July 2018 and appeared in a Bach Cantata Evening and Handel’s Solomon. In December 2019, O’Connor will return in the soprano role for Handel’s Messiah with the Bay of Islands Musical Arts.




Soprano Kayla Ruiz completed her undergraduate degree at York University, with a Bachelor of Fine Arts Honours in Vocal Performance in the studio of Norma Burrowes (2017). While at York, Ruiz was a chosen soloist in Handel’s Dixit Dominus, Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana, Mozart’s Great Mass in C Minor, and several other performances. She also won the Dixie Jean Andrews Memorial Scholarship (2016) from Newmarket’s Voice Festival. She is now completing the final year of her MA in Historical Performance – Voice at the University of Toronto, in the studio of Canadian countertenor, Daniel Taylor. While at U of T, she was a chosen soloist for Schola Cantorum’s performances of Handel’s Dixit Dominus and The Glory of Monteverdi. Past performance highlights include the role of Oronte in Handel’s Alcina in Lucca, Italy, at the Accademia Europea Dell’Opera (AEDO).  She became a full-time professional chorister and soloist with the Ottawa Bach Choir in 2017 under the direction of Dr. Lisette Canton, and was praised in Gramophone Magazine for her “exquisite” contribution on that choir’s 2019 CD recording of Handel’s Dixit Dominus. Most recently, Ruiz appeared with the chorus in Opera Atelier’s 2019 production of Mozart’s Idomeneo at the Ed Mirvish Theatre.



Jane Fingler is a soprano from Winnipeg who recently moved to Toronto to pursue an MA in Historical Performance at the University of Toronto in the studio of Mary Morrison and Daniel Taylor. Since graduating with a BA in Voice from the University of Manitoba in 2014, Fingler has been performing music old and new, both as an ensemble member and as soloist. She was a dedicated member of the Winnipeg-based Camerata Nova, Canzona Baroque Choir, and Polycoro Chamber Choir, where she was often featured as a soloist. Career highlights include performing the soprano solos in Handel’s Messiah with the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra (2017); Hilmar Örn Hilmarsson’s Seven Friends, a piece for orchestra and soprano, in the Winnipeg New Music Festival (2018); and as a soloist in Canzona’s performance of Handel’s Israel in Egypt with the Manitoba Chamber Orchestra (2019). Fingler looks forward to future performances with Toronto’s Theatre of Early Music and U of T ensembles Schola Cantorum and Collegium Musicum.



Rebecca Genge is a Toronto-based soprano, originally from Victoria, British Columbia. She performs frequently in both cities, with ensembles such as the Theatre of Early Music, University of Toronto’s Schola Cantorum, the Elora Singers, the Pacific Baroque Orchestra, and the Victoria Baroque Players. In 2017, she made her operatic debut as Papagena in Mozart’s Magic Flute with Pacific Opera Victoria, and she returned to the company as Jano in Janáček’s Jenůfa in October. As an avid choral singer, she has been a part of several recordings including Trinity Choir’s Four Thousand Winter for Sony, on which she is a featured soloist. Genge is currently pursuing a Doctorate in Historical Performance at the University of Toronto.





Hailed as “a standout,” soprano Lindsay McIntyre has quickly established herself as a sought-after soloist and chorister within the city of Toronto. As a soloist, McIntyre has been featured with the Grand Philharmonic Chamber Singers and University of Waterloo Chamber Choir, the Elora Singers, the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir, the Theatre of Early Music, MYOpera, and Abridged Opera Windsor, and she looks forward to working with Soundstreams this season.

As a chorister, McIntyre is a member of the Elora Singers and has sung with Opera Atelier and the Theatre of Early Music, and she is a professional core member of the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir. McIntyre is currently pursuing a Doctorate of Musical Arts in Historical Performance at the University of Toronto under Daniel Taylor and Mary Morrison, where her research focuses on negative self-talk in undergraduate voice majors.




Georgia Burashko is a mezzo-soprano based in Toronto, Canada. She received her MMus from the University of Toronto Opera School and her BMus of vocal performance at McGill University’s Schulich School of Music. Burashko spent the 2018/19 year as a Rebanks Family Fellow at the Royal Conservatory of Music. She previously studied with celebrated Canadian soprano Mary Morrison and has participated in summer festivals such as the International Vocal Arts Institute (IVAI), the Canadian Vocal Arts Institute (ICAV), the St. Andrews by the Sea Opera Workshop, the Tafelmusik Baroque Institute, Opera in the 21st Century at the Banff Centre for the Arts and Creativity, and the Neil Semer Voice Institute (NSVI). Recent operatic roles Burashko has performed include Juno (Orphée aux Enfers), Tirinto (Imeneo), Zosha (Farewell Auschwitz), Dritte Dame (Die Zauberflöte), and Zerlina (Don Giovanni), in which she was praised for her “heartfelt delivery, her luminous voice matching her radiant beauty” (Opera Canada). A founding member of Halcyon Ayres, Burashko is working with co-founder harpsichordist David Henkleman to bring the works of Rosenmüller to a wider audience. She is also a yoga teacher who loves bringing her extensive knowledge of the human body into her work as an opera singer.




Mezzo-soprano Veronika Anissimova was recently heard in Marilyn Horne’s final The Song Continues at Carnegie Hall and has been described as an artist with “lovely presence” (Susan Hall, Berkshire Fine Arts) and “impressively quick and precise coloratura” (Matthew Timmermans, Ludwig Van Toronto).

This fall Anissimova sings Mozart’s Exsultate, jubilate with the Hart House Orchestra as a winner of the 2019 Hart House Concerto Competition, and she returns to the chorus of Opera Atelier for Don Giovanni.  Recent operatic performances include Zulma in Rossini’s L’Italiana in Algeri with the Toronto Concert Orchestra, Sophie in Massenet’s Werther at the Margison Opera Studio in Lunenburg, and Despina in Mozart’s Così fan tutte with the Toronto Lyric Opera Centre.

As an early music specialist, Anissimova has sung Polluce in Cavalli’s Elena with the Toronto Consort; l’Architecture in Charpentier’s Les Arts Florissants as a Voice Fellow at the Oberlin Baroque Performance Institute; Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater with the Cor Unum Ensemble; Purcell’s Fairy Queen, Handel’s Dixit Dominus, and Mozart’s Exsultate, jubilate with the U of T Schola Cantorum; and Bach’s Mass in B Minor at the 2017 American Bach Soloists Academy (Early Music America Scholarship).

Winner of the 2014 National Gold Medal in voice performance at the Royal Conservatory of Music, Anissimova holds a MMus (2018) in historical voice performance and a BMus (2016) in piano and Italian studies from the University of Toronto. She is a student of Inna Golsband and Daniel Taylor.




Countertenor Ryan McDonald was recently hailed by Opera Canada for his performance in Dido and Aeneas: “Ryan McDonald, a young Newfoundland and Labrador countertenor, made a particularly favourable impression as Spirit. McDonald has a voice of luminous, fresh colour, combined with natural musicality and an exciting sense of narrative drama.” A recent prize winner from the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, he has been seen on stage as Athamas in Handel’s Semele, First Witch in Purcell`s Dido and Aeneas, Cobweb in Britten’s A Midsummer Nights Dream, L’enfant in Ravel’s L’enfant et les sortileges, Cupid in John Blow’s Venus and Adoniss, and Jack in Sondheim’s Into the Woods.

In concert, McDonald has been a featured soloist in Orff’s Carmina Burana, Mozart’s Requiem, Bach’s B Minor Mass with the London Handel Orchestra, and Handel’s Messiah with the Schola Cantorum. He can be heard on Sony’s Juno-nominated Four Thousand Winter as well as on multiple discs for ATMA. He made his debut with the Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra performing two new roles in William Rowson’s The Virgin Charlie and Abigail Richardson-Schulte’s The Perfect Screw.  McDonald and other queer artists recently launched their own opera company focusing specifically on presenting queer theatre, by queer artists for queer audiences. McDonald led the reimagined production of Purcell’s Dido and Belinda as the titular character, Dido.




Canadian mezzo-soprano Danielle Nicholson, hailing from the Rocky Mountains of British Columbia, has performed in solo recital, musical theatre, choral, and voice competition settings. She is the recipient of awards from the East Kootenay Performing Arts Festival, the Kelowna and Penticton Kiwanis Music Festivals, and the British Columbia Provincial Festival of Performing Arts. She has also received scholarships and awards from the University of Toronto, including the Music Alumni Association Scholarship (2016-19) and the Women’s Art Association of Canada Luella McCleary Award (2019).

May 2018 saw Nicholson debut in her first operatic role: Dorabella in a semi-staged production of Mozart’s Cosi fan tutte. The production was by the newly developed Toronto Lyric Opera Centre, an opera company created by young artists for young artists to showcase the vocal and instrumental talent at the University of Toronto Faculty of Music. Nicholson began her classical voice studies with Katherine van Kampen in 2012, and she has been studying at the University of Toronto since 2016. She is currently in the fourth year of her Bachelor of Music in Voice Performance, studying with Daniel Taylor and being coached by various individuals, including Karen Cargill, Daniel Lichti, Wallis Giunta, Karina Gauvin, Lynne Dawson, Krisztina Szabó, Isaiah Bell, and Charles Daniels. This year, she has the privilege of also studying with Jean MacPhail. In November 2017, she earned her ARCT Performer’s Diploma in Voice from the Royal Conservatory, receiving First Class Honours with Distinction. In 2018, she was accepted into the Opera Undergraduate Program at U of T, and played Willie Maurrant in U of T Opera’s 2018 production of Kurt Weill’s Street Scene. In March 2019, Nicholson was a winner at the AADGT International Young Musicians Festival and Competition in New York City, making her debut at Carnegie Hall in that festival’s Winners’ Recital at Weill Hall.




David Walsh, a native of Toronto, is going into his fourth year of a Bachelor of Music in Performance at the University of Toronto, Faculty of Music. He currently studies with Peter Barnes. He started classical vocal training in his last year of high school, began his studies in Music Education at the University of Toronto, and then auditioned successfully for Voice Performance programme two years later to follow his true passion.

Recently, Walsh has participated in a wide range of vocal performances. A highlight at the beginning of this year was his invitation to perform as part of the chorus for Opera Atelier’s production of Idomeneo. He was asked back to the Opera Atelier Chorus for the 2019/2020 season and has just finished singing in its autumn production of Don Giovanni. He will also be playing the supporting role of Don Curzio in Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro in the University of Toronto’s upcoming production. In the spring of 2018, Walsh was invited to perform with the Against the Grain Theatre as a chorus soloist for the opera Orphée et Eurydice. In May 2017, he was an opera chorus member in the critically acclaimed Oksana G, a new Canadian opera premiered by Tapestry Opera, where he had the honour of working with many esteemed artists. He is part of the Cor Unum Ensemble, an ensemble run by young adults from across Toronto.




Nick Veltmeyer is a dynamic musician who combines his diverse talents of singing, conducting, composition, and keyboard performance. Veltmeyer is completing his MMus with Daniel Taylor, Mary Morrison, and John Tuttle at the University of Toronto. Recently, he was a featured performer at the Music and Beyond Festival in Ottawa, as a soloist, keyboardist, and director. He was awarded a grant from the Canada Council of Arts for his group Aureas Voces, an ensemble of exciting rising stars who come together from across Canada and the United States. Veltmeyer performs regularly with the Theatre of Early Music, Opera Atelier, and the Toronto Bach Festival. He is featured as a tenor soloist on the latest recording from the Toronto Chamber Consort and as an organist on the latest recording by the St. James Cathedral Choir.

Veltmeyer was a long-term apprentice of five-time Grammy winner Paul Halley at the University of King’s College, where he earned a BA in classical literature and was named Associate of the Royal College of Canadian Organists. He is the recipient of multiple scholarships and bursaries, including awards from the Nova Scotia Talent Trust, and his academic achievements include a Junior Fellowship from Massey College, the Bevan Organ Scholarship from Trinity College, and scholarships from the “Historical Performance Field” at the University of Toronto.




Arieh Sacke, tenor, is in his fourth year of undergraduate studies at the University of Toronto under the tutelage of Darryl Edwards. Recent operatic credits include the roles of Don Curzio in Le nozze di Figaro (University of Toronto Opera), British Warrior in King Arthur (U of T Schola Cantorum), Motel in Fiddler on the Roof (COSI Connection), Ralph Rackstraw in HMS Pinafore (COSI Connection), Vincent Jones in Street Scene (U of T Opera), and Un notaio and chorus in Il barbiere di Siviglia (Opera5). Equally emerging in the realm of oratorio and concert performance, Sacke has been engaged as a tenor soloist in Respighi’s Lauda per la Natività del Signore (Chorus Hamilton) and Bach’s Gottes Zeit ist die allerbeste Zeit—BWV 106 (Trinity-St. Paul’s United Church). Recent concert engagements include a Canadian Art Song Project recital and Tenorissimi IX at the Arts & Letters Club of Toronto, the Toronto Hong Kong Lions Club Annual Charity Gala, and numerous events at the University of Toronto. He looks forward to performing later this month at Toronto’s Tranzac Club.

Also admired as an ensemble singer, Sacke is a founding member of the four-voice Fonitika Vocal Ensemble and has sung with the Toronto Chamber Choir Consort, the U of T Schola Cantorum, the Toronto Youth Choir, the Beth Tzedec Shir Hadash Ensemble, the Ontario Youth Choir, and the U of T Macmillan Singers. His supplementary training includes the Centre for Opera Studies in Italy, the Tafelmusik Baroque Summer Institute, and Early Music Vancouver’s Baroque Vocal Programme.




Recognized for his “stand-out, resonant bass voice” (Ludwig Van Toronto), bass Matthew Li is regularly on the concert stage as well as the operatic stage. Concert highlights include the role of Jesus in Schütz’s Johannes-Passion and the bass solos in Handel’s Dixit Dominus, Charpentier’s Messe des Morts and Missa Assumpta est Maria, Haydn’s Missa in Angustiis, Beethoven’s Choral Fantasy, Mozart’s Coronation Mass, and Faure’s Requiem.

On the opera stage, he has performed various roles, including Sarastro in Die Zauberflöte, Masetto and Il Commendatore in Don Giovanni, and Simone in Gianni Schicchi. He has appeared with some of the finest choral ensembles in Canada, including the Tafelmusik Chamber Choir, the Elora Singers, the Toronto Consort, and the Theatre of Early Music. Li holds a Bachelor of Music in Voice from the University of Toronto, where he studied under Daniel Taylor. He is also an alumnus of the Toronto Summer Music Festival, as well as the Tafelmusik Baroque Summer Institute. Currently, he is pursuing an MA in Voice at Indiana University, under the tutelage of Timothy Noble.




The promising young Canadian baritone Adam Kuiack is currently enrolled at the University of Toronto in the Master of Music – Opera Performance programme, studying with countertenor Daniel Taylor and baritone Russell Braun. Highlights of this season include Brahms’s Ein Deutsches Requiem, Handel’s Messiah, and the roles of Count Almaviva in Le nozze di Figaro and Sir Thomas Bertram in Mansfield Park.

He recently debuted with the Ottawa Symphony Orchestra, under the direction of Alain Trudel. Role credits include Papageno, Escamillo, and Count Almaviva. Kuiack has performed in master classes with Eric Owens, Donald Palumbo, and Michael McMahon and is a recipient of many scholarships.






Ian Sadler was a chorister at St. Paul’s Cathedral, London, England; Music Scholar at The King’s School, Canterbury; and Organ Scholar at Bristol University. Ian held the Organ Scholarship at St. Paul’s Cathedral where he worked under Christopher Dearnley and John Scott. Ian holds degrees in musicology and education, with organ diplomas from Trinity College of Music and The Royal College of Organists.

After St. Paul’s, Ian moved to Canada following appointments as organist at Grace Church on-the-Hill and choral director at Upper Canada College. In 1986, he won first prize at the Syracuse Poister Organ Competition, USA. Recitals have since taken him to Denmark, Sweden, Germany, France (Notre Dame, Paris), Austria (Vienna’s St. Stephen’s), Australia, the United States, and the UK (Westminster Abbey and King’s College, Cambridge ). This season, he has given recitals in Helsinki, Finland, and Kingston, Jamaica.

Highlights of Ian’s career include recitals given at the launching of the organs at three Canadian concert halls—Calgary’s Singer Hall, Toronto’s Roy Thomson Hall, and Edmonton’s Winspeare Centre; a Juno award for a CD by his Burlington chamber choir, Pro Musica; and the award of a Fellowship by The Royal Canadian College of Organists for the promotion of Canadian organ music.

Following three years as organist of St. James Cathedral, Toronto, Ian was recently appointed organist and director of music at St. Paul’s Cathedral, London, Ontario. He is the conductor of both the Stratford Concert Choir and the Cathedral Singers of Ontario, which he founded in 1999. Next month, Ian will conduct the Cathedral Singers of Ontario (CSO) for concerts and services in Kingston, Jamaica. This choir has been invited to perform at St. Alban’s and Coventry Cathedrals in the UK next July (2020). Ian has just recently conducted the CSO for a week at St Alban’s Cathedral.



Paul Otway is a freelance trumpet player in Southern Ontario. He works with several orchestras including the Windsor Symphony, the Ontario Philharmonic, the Toronto Concert Orchestra, the Talisker Players, the Niagara Symphony, and the Peterborough Symphony. Paul has also performed with the Canadian Opera Company, the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony, the Hamilton Philharmonic, and Orchestra London.

Paul has played in numerous Mirvish productions including Strictly Ballroom, The Wizard of Oz, Mary Poppins, The Sound of Music, Wicked, The Phantom of the Opera, and Les Misérables, as well as in Dancap Productions including My Fair Lady, Anne of Green Gables, South Pacific, and West Side Story. He has also performed in several productions at the Shaw Festival. Paul has been a part of over 40 professional productions, including ballets, operas, and musicals. He was also involved in the world premiere engagement of Sousatzka. Freelance work has allowed him to play with many well-known artists including Diana Krall, Boy George, Josh Groban, Marvin Hamlisch, and Idina Menzel.

Paul’s playing has been recorded on several CDs and broadcast on CBC Radio with a variety of ensembles. Paul can be seen in the movie Fever Pitch (look for the trumpet player!). He has performed for live audiences in 36 states and 7 provinces.



Stan Ewing was born in Belfast, Northern Ireland, and showed an interest in music at an early age. Upon emigrating to Canada, he became the Bandmaster of the Danforth Citadel Band in Toronto, before moving to Peterborough in 1978. Stan was a member of the Salvation Army Staff Band for 16 years, serving with distinction in the percussion section. The Staff Band travelled on conducted tours of the United Kingdom, Europe, Australia and New Zealand, and the United States, as well to many parts of Canada.

Stan has been involved with the Salvation Army Summer Music Camp programme and has been Bandmaster of the Peterborough Temple Band since 1985. Stan is also in demand to play with local community and theatre groups.