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*header image of Nolan Kehler and Gwendolyn Yearwood by Stephanie Sedlbauer

Applications for the 2022 National Opera Intensive are now closed.

The National Opera Intensive (NOI), presented by Against the Grain Theatre and UofT Opera is returning for the fourth consecutive year—in-person for the first time since August 2019!

NOI is a three-week program, running from August 2nd to 18th, 2022, focused on the exciting canon of modern-contemporary works and engaging workshops to expand the mind of the modern artist. 

The collaboration, featuring Against the Grain Theatre’s outside-the-box approach to traditional opera matched with UofT Opera’s educational excellence, will be focused on the exploration of contemporary operatic repertoire, culminating with a live performance on the stage of the epic MacMillan Theatre.

Participants will be immersed in the study and performance of scenes and arias from operas composed in the 20th and 21st centuries. During the program, all participants receive:

  • Personalized Vocal Coaching,
  • Private Voice Lessons
  • In-Depth Staging Sessions
  • Masterclasses delivered by visiting Guest Artists
  • Professional Development Opportunies

This program aims to support fifteen (15) post-graduate artists looking to bridge the gap between academic life and an emerging professional career. However, bachelor and graduate-level singers are also welcome to apply.

All participants and faculty will participate in mandatory anti-oppression training and bystander intervention training to facilitate a brave and productive working environment. 

Key Program Information: 

Tuition: $2,000

Program Dates: August 2nd – 18th, 2022

Final Performance: August 18th, 2022

Travel and accommodation are not included in the tuition fee. 



Contact with “[Your Full Name] + National Opera Intensive” in the subject line, and an actual human will reply ASAP.

Every single one of the instructors was fabulous. They each had unique outlooks and ways of teaching, and the variety made the learning experience fresh and eye-opening.

Michaela Chiste, NOI Participant (2021)

The seminars/workshops provided were extremely informative and necessary for those of us wanting to help reshape the community towards an inclusive and accessible environment.

Taryn Plater, NOI Participant (2021)


MacMillan Theatre in the Edward Johnson Building
University of Toronto, Faculty of Music
80 Queens Park, Toronto, Ontario

National Opera Intensive Faculty


Michael Albano
Andrea Grant
Sandra Horst
Joel Ivany
Miriam Khalil
Mario Pacheco

Michael Albano

Resident Stage Director, University of Toronto Opera

With U of T Opera Michael Albano has directed over 40 productions and has developed a graduate course in operatic composition. Michael Albano has directed at: New York City Opera, Yale School of Music, Manhattan School of Music, Opera Theatre of St. Louis, COC. Selected Directorial credits include: Il barbiere di Siviglia, Le Comte Ory, Le nozze di Figaro, L’elisir d’amore, La belle Hélène, La Traviata, The Gondoliers, Die Fledermaus, La Bohème, Gianni Schicchi, Swoon, Così fan tutte, L’Enfant prodigue, Paul Bunyan.

Selected original libretti include: The Machine Stops; Footsteps in Campbell House; Rob Ford, the Opera; The Last Duel; The Very Last Green Thing; A Dickens of a Christmas; Laura’s Cow, the Legend of Laura Secord; Alice in Wonderland. Currently working on Fall River, the legend of Lizzie Borden.

Joel Ivany

Stage Director, AtG Founding Artistic Director, & Edmonton Opera Artistic Director

Joel Ivany is the Founder and Artistic Director of AtG, is the artistic director of Opera at Banff Centre and was recently appointed Artistic Director at Edmonton Opera. His directing credits include productions of Verdi’s Macbeth (Minnesota Opera), Carmen (Vancouver Opera), Les Contes d’Hoffmann (Edmonton Opera), Gavin Bryars’ Marilyn Forever (Adelaide Festival) and Le nozze di Figaro (revival at Norwegian National Opera). He is the author of seven (and counting) original librettos for companies such as the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra and the Canadian Opera Company. He is a multiple Dora Mavor Moore Award nominee for Outstanding Direction as well as for Outstanding New Opera/Musical, winning one for Figaro’s Wedding. Recent mainstage directing credits include Dead Man Walking at Minnesota Opera and the multiple award-winning production of Gluck’s Orphée⁺ with Opera Columbus, AtG and Banff Centre. He has directed productions for the Canadian Opera Company (Hänsel und Gretel, Carmen), Toronto Symphony Orchestra (Mozart’s Requiem, Kurt Weill’s The Seven Deadly Sins), the Canadian Children’s Opera Company (Brundibár), Vancouver Opera (Carmen, Dead Man Walking), and Claude Vivier’s Kopernikus (AtG and Banff Centre). Recent highlights include Messiah/Complex (AtG) and directing the Governor General’s Performing Arts Awards. He is a proud graduate of the Opera School at U of T and is a member of the Alumni Wall of Fame at his alma mater, Western University.

Andrea Grant

Vocal Coach, University of Toronto Opera

BMus (WLU), MMus (UWO), Opera Diploma (UofT), also Head of Music Staff for Wexford Festival Opera; music staff of Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, Operavision Academy, and Highlands Opera Studio.
Engaged by COC, Tapestry New Opera Works, Queen of Puddings Music Theatre, Soundstreams Canada, Calgary Opera, Opera Atelier, Mirvish Productions, Banff Centre’s “Opera as Theatre” and has freelanced across Canada.
Miriam Khalil headshot

Miriam Khalil

Soprano & Against the Grain Theatre Associate Director

Juno nominated artist Miriam Khalil has appeared on numerous opera stages across Canada and Europe, including a stint at the renowned Glyndebourne Festival Opera (GFO) in the United Kingdom. An alumna of the Canadian Opera Company Ensemble Studio, she won first place in the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions (Great Lakes Region) and subsequently appeared in the 2007 documentary The Audition. Her performance credits include Glyndebourne Festival Opera, Canadian Opera Company, Minnesota Opera, Opera Tampa, Fargo-Moorhead Opera, Opera Hamilton, Against the Grain Theatre (AtG), Edmonton Opera, Pacific Opera Victoria, Opera Lyra Ottawa, and prominent orchestras across Canada, in roles such as Mimì (La bohème), Mélisande (Pelléas et Mélisande), Governess (The Turn of the Screw), Susanna (Le nozze di Figaro), Donna Elvira (Don Giovanni), Cleopatra (Giulio Cesare), Almirena (Rinaldo), and the title role in Alcina. Ms. Khalil’s 2020/21 season includes appearances as Mimì in La bohème with Edmonton Opera, recitals with Music in the Morning, Concerts in Banff and Rockport and Strauss’ Four Last Songs with Thunder Bay Symphony Orchestra.

Sandra Horst

Director of Music Studies, University of Toronto Opera & Chorus Master at the Canadian Opera Company

BMus (WLU), MMus (NEC), COC Ensemble Studio. UofT conducting credits: L’elisir d’amore, La voix Humaine, Les Mamelles de Tiresias, Hansel and Gretel, L’Enfant et les sortilèges, L’Heure espangnol, Taptoo!, HMS Pinafore, Don Pasquale, Paul Bunyan. Chorus Master at COC since 1998; Audition Consultant for Opera Theatre of St Louis; frequent judge for the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions. Recognized by Wilfrid Laurier University as “100 Alumni of Achievement”. Formerly chorus master of Opera Theatre of St Louis and Edmonton Opera and vocal coach/repetiteur at Juilliard Opera Center, Chautauqua Institute School of Singing, Boston Lyric Opera, Opera Saskatchewan, Opera Ontario, Banff Centre for the Arts. Heard as the host of CBC Radio’s “This is My Music” and in recital on CBC and WGBH Radio in New England.

Mario Pacheco

Stage Director, University of Toronto Opera alumnus


2021 Alumni

D’Arcy Blunston
Gabrielle Brochu
Michaela Chiste
Madison Craig
Angela Gjurichanin
Nansee Hughes
Natalie Mitchell
Ruby Nightingale
Mihnea Nitu
Taryn Plater
Alessia Vitali

2020 Alumni

Madison Angus
Corey Arnold
Sawyer Craig
Marina Davis
Máiri Demings
Renee Fajardo
Elizabeth Harris
Kristian Lo
Stéphanie McKay-Turgeon
Elise Noyes
Cristina Paoletta
Georgia Perdikoulias

2019 Alumni

Dani Agostino
Madison Angus
Anna Boyes
Alasdair Campbell
Julie Ekker
Jocelyn Fralick
Lauren Halasz
Nolan Kehlar
Christina Lanz
Virginie Mongeau
Amy Moodie
Brittany Rae
Morgan Reid
Stephanie Sedlbauer
Whitney Sloan
Carmen Sprecht
Caroline Stanczyk
Charlotte Stewart-Juby
McKenzie Warriner
Gwendolyn Yearwood

2018 Alumni

Madison Angus
Shaelyn Archibald
James Brown
Kallie Clayton
Gwenna Fairchild-Taylor
Jaclyn Grossman
Camille Holland
Meghan Jamison
Kieran Kane
Philip Klaasen
Janelle Lapalme
Emili Losier
Jonathan MacArthur
Julia Morson
Justine Owen
Annie Ramos
Jonelle Sills
Whitney Sloan
Rebecca Townsend
Gwendolyn Yearwood


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