Maria Pellegrini, OMRI – Founder and Executive Consultant
After starring in the soprano lead role of Gilda in Rigoletto for the Canadian Opera
Company at age 19 and winning the Metropolitan Opera Council Auditions, Maria Pellegrini embarked on a brilliant soprano career, which took her to the World’s most prestigious opera houses and concert halls of Europe, Canada, United States, Asia and the Caribbean.
Her tenure at The Royal Opera House Covent Garden, under the baton of Sir Georg Solti, continued for eleven seasons. It is where she co-starred as Mimì in La Bohème opposite Luciano Pavarotti.
Maria Pellegrini went on to sing many major roles worldwide, being significantly recognized internationally for her signature role of Cio-Cio-San in Madama Butterfly. The Earl of Harewood referred to Maria as “the greatest Butterfly alive”. In New Jersey, critics reported “If Pellegrini is the greatest Butterfly, then her Mimì and Violetta cannot be far behind”. Media have also referred to her as the “Callas of Canada”.
After retiring from her successful singing career, Maria taught voice at the McGill Schulich School of Music, held masterclasses in Toronto, Montréal and Ottawa and presently gives private voice lessons in Ottawa.
In 2007, Maria Pellegrini was honoured with the award of the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic “Cavaliere Ordine al Merito della Repubblica Italiana” (OMRI). In 2008, the Italian city of Pescara, where Maria was raised, invited her to sing at a concert in her honour.
Maria founded Pellegrini Opera in 2004 with the intention to bring opera to people who would not normally have the chance to experience this art form. Today, Pellegrini Opera provides the opportunity for young Canadian opera singers to demonstrate their performance skills
before a live audience, while maintaining the highest professional quality. Maria was the Artistic Director of the company from its inception until 2013. Maria continues as the Executive Consultant in all areas of the company. http://www.mariapellegrini.ca
Vincent Thomas – Artistic Director
Vincent began his acting career at an early age, when he participated in dramatic and musical productions in high school. After attending Humber College for the Performing Arts, Vincent worked at Medieval Times Dinner and Tournament, where he was one of the Knights for nearly 7 years. Since then, he has appeared with many theatrical companies across Canada and abroad, before moving into Film and Television productions.
Vincent has been involved with Pellegrini Opera since its inception in 2004 and sang baritone roles in a few of its earlier productions. He became the stage director in 2010 and went on to become the Artistic Director in 2014.
In the fall of 2014, Pellegrini Opera produced The Singing Swords, a unique show developed and directed by Vincent Thomas. The show consisted of different choreographed fight scenes from several operas.
Vincent Thomas is engaged in every aspect of the company and its productions including set designs and wardrobe. He aspires to grow the company by creating new shows and collaborating with prominent artists to bring exciting productions to the Ottawa region. http://vincentthomas.workbooklive.com/
Michel Brousseau – Principal Conductor
An accomplished musician, Canadian conductor and pianist Michel Brousseau is currently the Artistic Director of the New World Philharmonic Society which includes the Orchestra and the New World Philharmonic Choir, the Ottawa Classical Choir, Les Chanteurs de Sainte-Thérèse Choir, the Choeur Tremblant. He is also the artistic director of the International Choir which was created in 2008.
Michel Brousseau was introduced to music very early in life. His passion and talent were quickly noticed and he started intensive piano studies at the age of nine. He rapidly developed a special interest in symphonic music and, at the age of fourteen, already knew that he would become a conductor. He studied conducting under maestro Raffi Armenian, completing his studies at the Montreal Conservatory of Music, where he was unanimously awarded the First Prize in piano. He also studied conducting with Otto Werner-Müller, Milen Nachev, Valery Vachev and Aldo Faldi, among others. In 2005, he was a finalist in the “Luigi Mancinelli” International Opera Conducting Competition in Italy. He has conducted in Italy, France, the Czech Republic, Romania, Bulgaria, Ukraine, the United States and Canada.
D. Kai Ma – Chorus Master
In 2000, when participating as a tenor in performances of the Taipei Capital Opera Company, the renowned tenor William Wu and his wife, pianist Minato Meibi accidentally discovered his rare gift in falsetto and suggested that he shifts to counter-tenor singing. Since 2001, D. Kai Ma has been an active counter-tenor singing a wide variety of pieces and solo concerts. After immigrating to Ottawa in 2003, he was engaged by the Ottawa Bach Choir and the Choir of the Christ Church Cathedral as a soloist, and has collaborated closely with prominent early music groups.