top of page

Meet the Minds Behind the Stories of Canadian Opera Fest 2019

In our inaugural Canadian Opera Fest last year, we provided two local composer and librettist teams with the opportunity to premiere their brand new operas on the Vera Causa Opera stage. For this year's festival, we held a competition among students in the Waterloo Region and Wellington County to create a concept for an opera. We selected five winners from the competition, and paired them up with two local composers to create five mini-operas which will be presented as this year's Canadian Opera Fest program. We are now proud to present the winners of VCO's 2019 Opera Concept Competition!


Vanessa Kerr and Lexie McCorkindale- L'étrange et belle

Lexie McCorkindale is from Waterloo, Ontario. When she is not working on schoolwork, she enjoys spending time with family and friends, playing piano, and doing track. Though the world of opera is somewhat new to her, she finds it beautiful and like nothing else out there. She is excited for her ideas to come to life and collaborate together with everyone working on the opera.

Vanessa Kerr is 16 years old, and comes from Waterloo, Ontario. She enjoys spending time with her friends and family in her free time.

When asked to write a play for a French assignment in school, the girls were inspired by psychological thrillers and horror movies, and found it easy to bounce ideas off one another because of their shared interest in the genre. Vanessa and Lexie are excited to share their ideas with VCO audiences and are interested in seeing how the story they created develops as it becomes an opera.

Chloe Bissada- The Village Girl

Chloe Bissada is 12 years old and comes from Kitchener, Ontario. She loves animals and likes to play the piano. Though she is new to operas, music is very important to her and she loves exploring new areas of music.

She was inspired to write The Village Girl because of the inequality in the world. She believes that everyone in the world should be able to have what they need and deserve, despite being poor. She has always been interested in what goes on behind the scenes of movies and plays, so she is looking forward to seeing how her opera gets put together.

Rivi and Kyri Friedman- The Shoemaker's Orphans

Kyri Friedman is 11 years old and was born in Kitchener, Ontario. Her pastimes include reading, hanging out with friends, and adding to her collection of memorized licence plates. Rivi Friedman is 13, and was born in New Jersey. She enjoys singing classical music, dancing, and exploring the arts. Both Rivi and Kyri were dancers in our production of The Fairies earlier this season, so they are quite familiar with opera, though it is not exactly something they listen to in their free time.

Inspired by historical fiction, Kyri and Rivi came up with the storyline for The Shoemaker's Orphans one day, originally intending it to be a musical. They didn't think it would go anywhere until they saw the opportunity with VCO's Opera Concept Competition. Kyri is excited to experience a behind-the-scenes perspective on the arts, and Rivi is excited to hear her ideas turned into a reality.

Charlotte Lilley- Refracted

Charlotte Lilley is 18 years old and is from Cambridge, Ontario. In September, she will be attending the University of Western Ontario to study musical composition. In her spare time, she likes drinking tea, visiting second-hand book shops, and practicing the oboe. Though she has studied some opera in music classes, it is a new experience for her to approach opera from the perspective of a composer or librettist.

Refracted was inspired by her own personal experiences with social media, and the challenges that are unique to the young generation surrounding our online presence. She wanted to explore what makes "Gen Z" tick, and has incorporated into her opera studies of the effects of social media on individuals and society.

Charlotte is excited for Canadian Opera Fest as it is an opportunity for her to gain greater insight into the field she hopes to pursue as a career. She is enthused about enhancing her understanding of different elements of music in a genre and style of music that she hasn't had the opportunity to explore previously.

Emma Lemieux- La jugement

Emma Lemieux is 16 years old and hails from Kitchener, Ontario. She comes from a family of four and has a puppy named Willow. Emma is a competitive dancer, track-and-field athlete, artist, and award-winning poet. Emma is new to opera, but sometimes writes songs in her room and likes to express herself through dance and movement.

Emma wanted to write La jugement to give insight into the mind of someone with an eating disorder, and how it can affect anyone, no matter how they were raised. Her inspiration came from the experiences that many women and teens have with body image.


Get your tickets for Canadian Opera Fest today to see the fruits of labour from these talented young minds!

bottom of page