The 2017 Bach Festival concludes with a glorious performance entitled OUR HOME AND NATIVE LAND.

Under the baton of Artistic Director Gerald Fagan, 170 musicians will celebrate the 150th Anniversary of Canada. An All-Canadian cast featuring the Festival Massed Choir, the Festival Symphony Orchestra, and four Internationally Renowned Soloists are preparing a once in a lifetime event.

Soloists include bass John Avey (Metropolitan Opera), contralto Anita Krause (Stratford Festival “Sound of Music”, Leslie Fagan (Carnegie Hall), and Colin Ainsworth (Seattle Opera).

Featured are four new commissioned works written especially for this concert

Four leading Ontario composers have been busy crafting their amazing music for this Premiere Performance.

  • Jeff Smallman (Hensall)
  • Matthew Emery London)
  • Stephanie Martin (Toronto)
  • Elise LeTourneau (Ottawa)

OUR HOME AND NATIVE LAND will be a landmark concert in the history of our Festival, an event to celebrate Canadian values and to honour our past.

The audience is invited to meet the performers at the post concert reception.

Gerald Fagan

In a distinguished career, Gerald Fagan has influenced generations of musicians. As Conductor of Chorus London and the Concert Players Orchestra, he conducted virtually all of the major symphonic/choral masterpieces. His chamber choir, The Gerald Fagan Singers toured Europe many times, bringing Canadian music to England,  Belgium, the Netherlands,   Germany, Poland, the Czech Republic, Lithuania, Monaco, France and Spain.

As well as the Founding Conductor of the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir, Mr. Fagan  (three times Conductor of Festival 500 in Newfoundland and Labrador),  lead All Provincial Choirs in Nova Scotia, Newfoundland, Ontario, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Saskatchewan and Alberta. In 2010, Gerald Co-founded the Bach Music Festival of Canada, and organized his new chamber choir CHOR AMICA.

Honours bestowed on Mr. Fagan include the “Citizens Medal” of Lithuania, the Queen’s Jubilee Medal of Canada, an Honorary Licentiate from Conservatory Canada, Cultural Citizen of the City of London, and an Honorary Citizen of Huron County.

Together with his wife Marlene, they received membership to the Wall of Fame at Western University, and in April of this year were awarded entry into the Jack Richardson London Music Hall of Fame

In 2012, Gerald received the Order of Ontario; and in February of 2017 he was awarded the Order of Canada.…..the highest civilian honours of the Province and of our Country.

The Soloists

Anita Krause

Celebrated for her gorgeous voice and impeccable musicianship, Canadian mezzo-soprano Anita Krause is equally esteemed in the concert hall and the opera stage. She has performed with many of North America’s leading orchestras including the Chicago Symphony, L’orchestre Symphonique de Montreal, the Baltimore Symphony and the Toronto Symphony. She has also appeared with Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra, the National Arts Centre Orchestra, the Colorado Symphony, the Rochester Philharmonic, the Grant Park Symphony and Les Violons du Roi as well as the orchestras of Vancouver, Calgary, Quebec, Winnipeg and Edmonton. She has collaborated with such leading conductors as Christoph Eschenbach, Kent Nagano, Charles Dutoit, Paavo Jarvi, Yannick Nézet-Séguin, Hans Graf, Bernard Labadie, Gerard Schwarz, John Nelson and Bramwell Tovey. She has also appeared on numerous occasions with the Canadian Opera Company as well as Seattle Opera, Glimmerglass Opera, Chicago Opera Theatre, l’Opera de Francaise de New York, and the opera companies of Vancouver, Calgary, Victoria and Quebec. In 2015 Ms Krause made her Stratford Festival debut in The Sound of Music. Upcoming engagements include performances with Vancouver Opera and concerts with The Florida Orchestra. She has been a faculty member at the University of Western Ontario since 2002.

Please visit Dean Artists Management for a biography, list of upcoming engagements, and reviews.

Leslie Fagan

“….on March 7, (Ms. Fagan) gave a marvelous interpretation of Poulenc’s Gloria with the ORATORIO SOCIETY OF NEW YORK under the direction of KENT TRITLE. Fagan managed the trickiest aspects of this high-lying part with stunning precision and musicality; for me, it was one of the most memorable performances of the entire season.” (Opera News, April 2011)

For a fifth consecutive season, Ms. Fagan returns to Carnegie Hall this time for two performances of Handel’s Messiah.  Last season, of her Carnegie appearances Opera News acclaimed her Poulenc’s Gloria as “one of the most memorable performances of the season” and of her Israel in Egypt lauded “Soprano Leslie Fagan sang effortlessly, with clear shimmering tone”

Having performed under the batons of such noted conductors as Hans Graf, Sir David Willcocks, Jukke Pekke Saraste, Kent Tritle, Heinz Ferlisch, Elmer Isler and Daniel Lipton, Ms. Fagan has delighted audiences and critics alike at Royal Albert Hall, Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Bordeaux Opera House, Roy Thomson Hall and Massey Hall.

Highlights of Ms. Fagan’s past engagements include: a solo concert of music of Stravinsky and Debussy with the Bordeaux Aquitaine Symphonie Nationale, France; Bach’s Weinachts Oratorium in Stuttgart, Germany; Handel’s Messiah at the Royal Albert Hall in London, England;  Tafelmusik Orchestra and Choir in Toronto, Ontario; an engagement as guest soloist at the International Choral Festival in Gouda, Netherlands. In the spring of 2009, Leslie premiered 5 Mendelssohn Lieder at Steinway Hall in New York with the Clarion Music Society. The previous season marked Ms. Fagan’s official Carnegie Hall debut and her Lincoln Center debut.  She was invited by both the Oratorio Society of New York under the direction of Kent Tritle and Music Sacra under the baton of Richard Westenburg to sing their performances of Handel’s Messiah at Carnegie Hall in December.   Leslie made her Lincoln Center Debut in May singing Carmina Burana with Musica Sacra and the world premier of Alessandro Cadario’s Cantata for Revival.

Ms. Fagan has been fortunate enough to share the stage with many great artists including Victor Borge, Lois Marshall and Maureen Forrester.
On the opera stage, Ms. Fagan has sung the title role in Donizetti’s Linda di Chamounix; Pamina in Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte; Sophie in Massenet’s Werther; Musetta in Verdi’s La Boheme and Nanetta in Verdi’s Falstaff. At the Aldeburgh Festival in England Ms. Fagan performed the roles of Tytania in Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Zerlina in Mozart’s Don Giovanni.

Ms. Fagan can be heard frequently on CBC radio and has appeared on CBC television and both BBC radio and television. Leslie Fagan’s recordings include her debut solo album “le miroir de mon amour” and “A Song for all Seasons” with The Toronto Children’s Chorus.

John Avey

John Avey is a well-known, experienced and respected member of Canada’s bass- baritone fraternity, whose repertoire encompasses a wide range of major operatic and concert works. He has sung with all of Canada’s leading opera companies and most of its major orchestras as well as performances in the United States and Europe. He made his Metropolitan Opera debut as Enrico in Lucia di Lammermoor, subsequently appearing there as Germont in Verdi’s La Traviata, a role he has sung with the opera companies of Arizona, Calgary, Montreal and Vancouver. Career highlights include Peneios in Richard Strauss’ Daphne with the New York City Opera, Rimsky-Korsakov’s Mozart and Salieri with the Vancouver and Calgary Symphonies as well as the title role of The Mikado in Brian Macdonald’s legendary production at the Stratford Festival and on tour. John has enjoyed particular success in the title role of Rigoletto and as Baron Scarpia in Tosca with both Pacific Opera and Orchestra London. He has performed on CBC Radio in such works as Vaughan Williams’ the Five Mystical Songs, the Verdi Requiem with the Vancouver Symphony while for CBC TV, Avey sang the world television premiere of The Spirit of Haida Gwai broadcast on their series “Opening Night.”

Colin Ainsworth

“Ainsworth has always been blessed with an unusually high, pure tenor. Now it thrills with remarkable power and expressivity.” Stagedoor 2016

Canadian tenor Colin Ainsworth has distinguished himself with his exceptional singing and diverse repertoire. This versatile and thrilling tenor has worked across the world with opera companies and orchestras and is acclaimed for his interpretations of the major Classical and Baroque tenor roles. His many performances have included the title roles in Orphée et Euridice, Pygmalion, Castor et Pollux, Roberto Devereux and Albert Herring; Don Ottavio in Don Giovanni, Tamino in Die Zauberflöte, Almaviva in Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Ernesto in Don Pasquale, Rinnucio in Gianni Schicchi, Fenton in Falstaff, Tonio in La Fille du Régiment, Nadir in Les Pêcheurs de Perles, Pylades in Iphigénie en Tauride, Renaud in Lully’s Armide, Tom Rakewell in The Rake’s Progress, and Lysander in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. An avid supporter of new works, he has appeared in the world premieres of John Estacio’s Lillian Alling at Vancouver Opera, Stuart MacRae’s The Assassin Tree at the Edinburgh International Festival, Victor Davies’ The Transit of Venus with Manitoba Opera, and Rufus Wainwright’s Prima Donna at Sadler’s Wells in London and at the Luminato Festival. Other past opera engagements have included appearances with the Canadian Opera Company, Chicago Opera Theatre, Glimmerglass Opera, L’Opéra de Français, Opera Atelier, Pacific Opera Victoria, Edmonton Opera, Royal Opera (London) and the Greek National Opera.

Also a prolific concert singer, Mr. Ainsworth has appeared with the Cincinnati Symphony, Montreal Symphony, Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Ensemble Pygmalion, Vancouver Symphony, Calgary Symphony, Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra of San Francisco, Music of the Baroque in Chicago, Mercury Baroque in Houston, Les Violons du Roy in Montreal, and Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra in Toronto. He has also appeared at the Lanaudière, Montreal Baroque, Elora and the Aldeburgh Connection festivals, and has toured throughout Germany. His vast concert and recital repertoire includes Bach’s Mass in B Minor and the Evangelist in  St. John and Matthew’s Passion, Handel’s Messiah, Orff’s Carmina Burana, Mozart’s Requiem, Schumann’s Dichterliebe and Janácek’s The Diary of One Who Vanished.

Mr. Ainsworth’s growing discography includes Vivaldi’s La Griselda (Naxos), Castor et Pollux (Naxos), Schubert Among Friends (Marquis Classics), Gloria in Excelsis Deo with the Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra (CBC Records), the collected masses of Vanhal, Haydn, and Cherbuini with Nicholas McGegan (Naxos), and the premiere recording of Derek Holman’s The Heart Mislaid which was included on the Aldeburgh Connection’s Our Songs (Marquis Classics). He also appears in a live DVD recording of Lully’s Persée with the Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra (Euroarts). His new disc of songs of Derek Holman will be released the fall of 2016.

This season, Mr. Ainsworth sings Renaud in Lully’s Armide with both Opera Atelier (in Toronto and Versailles) and Opera Columbus, makes his debut both at Teatro Nacional de São Carlos in Iphigénie en Tauride and at Seattle Opera as the Steersman in Der fliegende Holländer. He also appears in concert with Music of the Baroque, Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, and the Grand Philharmonic Choir.