The Cast


Sumidagawa (15th C) will be given in the first half of the programme.

Denise Fujiwara / Madwoman

Denise Fujiwara is a legendary dance artist in Canada. Upon completing an Honours B.F.A. in Dance at York University (1979), she became one of the founders of T.I.D.E. (Toronto Independent Dance Enterprise). She has created and toured five exquisite solo concerts. Sumida River has been featured in dance festivals in Seattle, Washington DC, Vancouver, Calgary, Copenhagen, Ecuador and India. It was named the Best Dance Performance of 2000 by Toronto’s NOW Magazine.

There’s never a move that’s made, not so much as the blink of an eye, that’s without significance.  The concentrated energy that she brings to her dance heightens details, so that each short solo is like a full-length drama… Employing Butoh dance principles, she’s an ever-evolving expressionist painting in which hidden emotions rise to the surface and an inner life is briefly glimpsed.—Susan Walker, Toronto Star

Denise Fujiwara is a Toronto dance legend whose career spans a quarter of a century.  Elegant and stately on one hand, risky and experimental on the other, Fujiwara is always redefining herself.

—Paula Citron, The Globe & Mail, Toronto

A butoh dance of remarkable purity… This noble allegorical tale [Sumida River] of great depth, brilliantly brought together by dancer Fujiwara and choreographer Nakajima.

—Valerie Lehmann, Le Devoir, Montreal

… most couldn’t help but adjust their expectations and be enveloped in the beauty of Fujiwara’s performance.  The meticulous attention to detail and Fujiwara’s painstaking believability in all of her movements captured the hearts and minds of the audience.  An eerily mystic and tragic story of a mother who loses her child and spirals into a world of insanity.

Lindsay Tsuji, Nikkei Voice

Curlew River

Curlew River (1964) will be given in the second half of the program.

Isaiah Bell / Madwoman

Isaiah Bell is a "rising star opera singer" (Times Colonist) praised for his "beautiful, pure tenor" (TC), his confident, exciting performances (Review Vancouver) and his ability to communicate with his audience (Cleveland Classical). His opera roles include Tamino (Die Zauberflöte), Almaviva (Il barbiere di Siviglia), Benedict (Berlioz's Béatrice et Bénédict) and Martin (Copland's The Tender Land), as well as roles in numerous Canadian pieces. A student of renowned Canadian tenor Benjamin Butterfield, Bell trained at Calgary Opera's Emerging Artist Program, the Pacific Opera Victoria Young Artist Program, the University of Victoria School of Music and the Universität Mozarteum in Salzburg, Austria. He was also recently awarded 1st prize in voice at the National Music Festival of Canada.

Not limited to opera, Bell has appeared on the recital stage in performances of Erik Satie's symphonic monodrama Socrate, Schumann's Liederkreis, op. 39, Janáček's manic cycle of nursery rhymes Řikadla, and Benjamin Britten's Serenade for tenor, horn and strings. Equally at home in Baroque music, he has sung the Evangelist in both of Bach's Passions and tenor solos in Handel's Jephtha, Messiah, Ode on St. Cecilia's Day and Dettingen Te Deum.

John Minagro / Abbot

John Minágro is a singer of vast experience and wide repertoire. Last year, he stunned City Opera audiences with his vivid portrayal of Death in Der Kaiser von Atlantis. He has also performed for such companies as San Francisco Opera, Oakland Opera Theatre, Berkeley Opera, West Bay Opera, Pocket Opera, Festival Opera, and Livermore Valley Opera, taking such roles as Scarpia, Amonasro, Banquo, Cadmus, Capulet, Don Basilio, Elder McLean, Escamillo, Fernando, Gianni Schicchi, Friar Lawrence, Mephistopheles, Pogner, Ruslan, Sarastro, Schaunard, Sciaronne, Sharpless, Sparfucile, Tomsky, and Tonio. In 2007 he created the role of General Howell Cobb in the San Francisco Opera premiere of Appomattox, by Philip Glass and Christopher Hampton. He sang regularly in the San Francisco Opera Chorus from 1985 to 2004, where he also created the role of Astradamors in that company’s US premiere of Ligeti’s Le Grand Macabre.

Sam Marcacinni / Ferryman [photo]

Sam Marcaccini is emerging as one of Canada’s rising vocal talents.  He has coached with renowned  baritones Theodore Baerg, John Avey and John Fanning.  Sam has been praised for his warm baritone voice and his comedic and exuberant stage presence.  Often heard at Pacific Opera Victoria, his recent solo roles include Peter in Hänsel und Gretel and Frank Maurrant in Street Scene. Sam debuted the role of Norimo in Canadian composer Tobin Stokes’ opera The Vinedressers. Previous roles include Gianni Schicchi, Dr. Bartolo in Barber of Seville, Count Almaviva and Antonio in Le Nozze di Figaro, Dr. Grenvil in La Traviata, Alcindoro and Benoit in La Bohème,  and Count Carnero in The Gypsy Baron.

Joel Klein / Traveller

Vancouver-based baritone Joel Klein has sung professional leading roles in La Boheme, The Merry Widow, Rossini’s L’Italiana in Algeri, and both Dr. Bartolo and Figaro in various productions of The Barber of Seville, along with the title role in Don Giovanni, Sid in Albert Herring, Harry Easter in Street Scene, and Schlemil in The Tales of Hoffman. Recent performances have taken him throughout Eastern Europe and Saskatchewan, Alberta, and British Columbia, in which province he has sung with nearly every professional orchestra.  Most recently his performing career has focused on a mixture of Baroque, Early Romantic and New Music, in which field he has been privileged this year to perform the world premieres of Lloyd Burritt’s cantata Lake of Souls and Jerry Semchychyn’s eerily timely new micro-opera Poema Letkoho Mista, which he looks forward to repeating at the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra New Music Festival early next year.

The Vancouver Cantata Singers / Monks

Eight male members of the Cantata Singers will take the roles of the monks in this production. The Vancouver Cantata Singers are one of British Columbia’s leading ensembles, led by the well-known Eric Hannan, graduate of UBC and graduate student at the Universities of Michigan and Illinois. Recently known for its innovative collaborations with regional and international artists and ensembles, the choir also commissions new works from critically acclaimed composers, offering works from baroque to contemporary repertoire. In the 2008 CBC National Choir Competition, The Vancouver Cantata Singers placed first in the Chamber Choir category in addition to winning the coveted Healy Willan Grand Prize, awarded to the choir giving the most convincing performance in musicianship, technique and program.