Cast in order of appearance
Click names below to view photos and read biographies.
Jamaican-born Canadian spinto tenor Paul Williamson has appeared with Opera York (Toronto), singing Manrico in Verdi’s Il Trovatore in November 2013, Edgardo in Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor in November 2014. He made his debut at Carnegie Hall as tenor soloist in Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony with the New York Festival Orchestra in December 2013 and again appeared at Carnegie Hall in March 2014 as tenor soloist in Mozart’s Requiem, and Beethoven’s Choral Fantasia. In March 2017, he appeared as Beppe in an independently staged production of Leoncavallo’s Pagliacci. In May 2017, he appeared as the Scrivener in Khovanshchina by Mussorsky with Opera In Concert, and in March 2018, he debuted at the Southern Ontario Lyric Opera (SOLO) as Rinuccio in their production of Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi. Paul recently performed the role of Aegisthe in the Strauß opera Elektra with Powerhouse Opera, a small independent opera company in Toronto, in March 2022.
Shanice Skinner is a soprano from New Glasgow, Nova Scotia. She graduated from Wilfrid Laurier University with an Honours Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance in 2017 and an Opera Diploma in 2020, having studied with Lynda Mieske and Leslie Fagan, respectively.
Some of Shanice’s recent roles include Zerlina (Don Giovanni, Halifax Summer Opera Festival, 2018) and Rena “Bird” McLean in the world premiere of The Llandovery Castle by Canadian composer Stephanie Martin (Opera Laurier, 2020). Shanice was the Nova Scotia Talent Trust’s 2016 special award winner of the Portia White Award for exceptional commitment and potential in voice. In 2021, Shanice placed second in the Emerging Artists stream for voice at the 2021 FCMF National Music Festival of Canada. Shanice has most recently concluded studies in a Master of Music in Classical Voice at the Royal Conservatoire The Hague in the Netherlands, studying with Catrin Wyn-Davies.
Dallas Chorley plays Catherine MacKenzie, secretary to Alexander Graham Bell; Gertrude Hubbard, mother of Mabel Hubbard; and Elsie Bell Grosvenor, Alec and Mabel’s daughter.
Known for her bright tone (Ludwig van Toronto), Canadian soprano Dallas Chorley is an exciting new face in the opera and oratorio scene. Dallas is thrilled to finally be returning to the stage this summer in The Bells of Baddeck- the Alexander Graham and Mabel Bell Story. Dallas is will be performing as the soprano soloist in Mozart’s Requiem this fall with the choir B-Xalted. Ms. Chorley has an extensive list of opera and oratorio credits, including shows such as La Traviata, La Bohème, The Magic Flute, The Messiah, Vivaldi’s Gloria andMagnificat and many others.
Dallas holds a Master of Music Degree from the University of Toronto, a Bachelor of Music Degree from McGill University and a Graduate Certificate in Arts Administration and Cultural Management from Humber College. Other studies include the St. Andrew’s Opera Workshop, Halifax Summer Opera Festival, Orford Festival, Opera Nuova, Vox Musicae, and Summer Opera Lyric Theatre.
Benjamin Done plays Casey Baldwin, pilot/engineer of the AEA and Melville Bell Grosvenor, Alec and Mabel’s grandson.
Benjamin Done, tenor, has recently completed his first year of graduate studies at the University of Toronto Opera School under the tutelage of Dr. Darryl Edwards. Originally from Georgetown, Ontario, Ben completed his Bachelor of Arts (honours) in Music, majoring in Piano, and his Bachelor of Education at Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario. Ben sang with the Laurentian University choir, the Ontario Youth Choir, was a founding member and soloist of the Sudbury Studio Singers, and toured France and Portugal with the World Youth Choir in 2019. In addition to singing in the chorus of their Fall production of Il barbiere di Siviglia, he made his solo operatic debut as Mr. Splinters in the University of Toronto Opera’s production of Copland’s The Tender Land. Most recently, Ben performed the role of John Adams in Virgil Thomson’s The Mother of Us All with VOICEBOX: Opera in Concert.
Maeve Palmer plays Jean MacDonald and Daisy Bell Fairchild, Alec and Mabel’s daughter. She is also the Dance Captain for the show.
“Virtuoso singer” (WholeNote), and “triple-threat … talented coloratura” (OperaCanada) Maeve Palmer is an alumna of the Rebanks Family Fellowship, and the University of Toronto (UofT) Opera School. Maeve is the winner of the 2021 Jim and Charlotte Norcop Prize in Song (UofT), and is a prize winner of the Eckhardt-Gramatté National Music Competition. She has performed with Tapestry Opera, New Music Concerts, Continuum Contemporary Music, Opera Atelier, and on the COC Free Concert series. Her voice can be heard in the Hollywood film The Space Between Us. Recent operatic roles include Robot Ensemble in Tapestry Opera’s production of RUR: A Torrent of Light (Nicole Lizée), Susanna (The Marriage of Figaro, UofT Opera), and Zerbinetta (Ariadne auf Naxos, Highlands Opera Studio). World and Canadian premieres include works by Nicole Lizée, Alice Ping Yee Ho, and Samuel Andreyev. Maeve is delighted to make her first trip to Nova Scotia to perform in The Bells of Baddeck!
Nicholas Borg has been praised as “an engaging visual and vocal actor” (Opera Canada) with a “warm, sonorous baritone” (Stage Door Toronto). This fall Nicholas looks forward to making his debut as Dandini in La Cenerentola with Manitoba Opera. He recently performed as Don Alfonso in Cosi fan tutte with Brott Opera, and was a participant in the Manitoba Opera Digital Emerging Artist Program. He was a member of the Yulanda M. Faris Young Artist Program at Vancouver Opera for the 2019/2020 season, where he performed the roles of Barone Douphol in La traviata, and Fiorello in il barbiere di Siviglia and was the recipient of the Kurt Sickert Award from the Vancouver Opera Foundation. Nicholas graduated with a Masters in Music degree from the University of Toronto Opera, under the tutelage of renowned soprano Wendy Nielsen, and he holds a Bachelor of Music degree from McGill University.
Robyn Cathcart plays Alec’s father Melville Bell and Arthur McCurdy, Editor of Cape Breton Island Reporter.
As a tenor, voice teacher, director, coach, clinician and academic, Mr. Cathcart is a multi-faceted, dynamic and in-demand artist whose forty-two year career spans the worlds of opera, musical theatre, jazz, pop, concert performance, commercial performance and recording. With over 200 productions, concerts and recital appearances to his credit, he is the owner/operator of “Sing: The Voice Studio of Robyn Cathcart”, and has garnered a Cape Breton Vitality Award for his contributions and leadership in the Arts & Culture Sector of Cape Breton Island. Mr. Cathcart has also been nominated as one of the area’s top entertainers by The Cape Breton Post. Additional tenures have included being on the teaching faculty (Voice & Opera Studio) at the Victoria Conservatory of Music (Victoria, BC) and serving as Associate Director of the historic Savoy Theatre (Glace Bay, NS).
Bradley Christensen plays Gardiner Hubbard, Boston lawyer and financier; JAD McCurdy, pilot of the Aerial Experimental Association; & David Fairchild, husband of Daisy.
New Zealand-born baritone Bradley Christensen has continued to earn praise for his “most well-rounded instrument…focused, rich, and sympathetically communicative” (Natasha Gauthier, Ottawa Citizen). Bradley obtained his Master’s degree from the University of Toronto; he is also an alumnus of the prestigious Rebanks Family Fellowship and International Performance Residency Program; and he furthered his artistic development as a young artist with Opera on the Avalon, Highlands Opera Studio, and Opera North.
Bradley’s schedule takes him right across Canada to appear with companies such as Fraser Lyric Opera, Manitoba Underground Opera, Opera Atelier, Southern Ontario Lyric Opera, and Opera on the Avalon. In 2017, Bradley made his professional U.S. debut performing the role of Agamemnon in Offenbach’s La belle Hélène with Opera North.
Bradley is also a keen recitalist, having performed in the Canadian Opera Company Concert Series, with the Pocket Concert Group, and most recently, a staged version of Brahms’ Die schöne Magelone in Auckland, New Zealand.
Morgan Reid sings the role of Mabel August 2, 3, 9, 10, 13, 14, 17 and 18.
Morgan is a Cape Breton-born portfolio artist whose diverse skillset informs her career as a performer, administrator, and academic. Praised as “vocally delightful” (Opera Canada), she is a versatile performer of recital, musical theatre, and operatic repertoire. Selected stage credits include Tytania in Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Happy Prince in Arden’s The Happy Prince, and Elle Woods in Legally Blonde: The Musical. An advocate for contemporary compositions, Morgan has been featured on programs performing the works of Heggie (New Voices in Song – SongFest, 2019), Cusson (U of T Vocalis, 2022), Beckwith (Confluence Concerts, 2021), Previn (National Opera Institute, 2019), and recently premiered a set of songs written for her by Brazilian-American composer Paulo do Nascimento Brito. Morgan is currently pursuing her Doctor of Musical Arts in Voice Performance at the University of Toronto, under the tutelage of Dr. Darryl Edwards.
Laura Brandt sings the role of Mabel August 4, 5, 7, 11, 12, 16, 19 and 20.
Laura has been hailed as a “tour-de-force” and a “powerhouse soprano”. Credits at Calgary Opera include Frasquita (Carmen), Aurore (Le Portrait de Manon), Gretel (Hansel and Gretel), and Female Chorus (The Rape of Lucretia). Laura also had forty performances as Lily in Theatre Calgary’s production of The Secret Garden. She has been a featured soloist with the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra, Luminous Voices, The Festival Chorus, Spiritus Chamber Choir, The Mountain View Chamber Festival, The Calgary Civic Symphony, The Newfoundland Symphony Orchestra, Opera on the Avalon, Opera New Brunswick, and Cowtown Opera. Laura is originally from New Glasgow, NS and has a B.Mus. from Mount Allison University and an M.Mus. in vocal performance from the New England Conservatory. She teaches voice and piano in Calgary. In her free time Laura enjoys getting outdoors with her husband and five year old, hiking, knitting, and enjoying the mountains.
Marina Rutherford plays Miss Stone, a student at the Clark School for the Deaf; and Mabel Grosvenor, Alec and Mabel’s grandchild.
Marina Rutherford has been acting in theatrical fundraisers for the Baddeck Library since moving to Cape Breton from Ontario in 2016. In the library’s first ever Christmas performance, they didn’t have much stage time – only thirteen lines! Every year since though, they have worked their way up, playing the lead roles in the last two plays! Most recently, Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz, and Susan in The Miracle on 34th Street, while also playing the roles of Mr. Macy and Louie the postman in the same production. They have performed annually in two other unique theatrical events for the library. In Dead Feminists, actors choose a woman of note, write a monologue and perform it in silouhuette, and in Living Mannequins, actors choose a book, then write and perform a sketch based on it. Marina is very excited to be part of the Bells of Baddeck this year.
Martin MacDonald plays Mr. Jones, a deaf student at the Clark School for the Deaf; Melville Bell Grosvenor; and AGB Sandy Fairchild, grandchildren of Alec and Mabel.
Martin MacDonald is an emerging Cape Breton artist involved in local productions from a very young age. He recently co-directed and appeared as Luke in the Riverview High School production of the Lighting Thief: The Percy Jackson Musical. Some of his credits include playing Tessie in Annie: The Musical (Savoy Theatre), appearing in Oliver (Boardmore Playhouse), or in Frozen Jr. (Highland Arts Theatre). Martin plays several instruments and studies voice under the direction of Robyn Cathcart and Paul Gatchell. Coming up this fall, Martin will be entering studies in the Music program at Acadia University to pursue a career in Music Therapy. Performing in the original productions of The Bells of Baddeck, Martin is delighted for the opportunity to return on the AGB Museum stage this summer. He is thrilled to work with this fantastic creative team again and along the amazing cast of the 2022 production.
Hazel Macdonald plays Elsie (May) Bell, daughter of Alec and Mabel; Young Gertrude Grosvenor and Carol Grosvenor, grandchildren of Alec and Mabel.
Hazel loves all things musical and is ecstatic to be on stage with the “Bells of Baddeck”. At eight, this is her first production, but she hopes not her last! She loves horseback riding, swimming, and ballet and would rather cartwheel than walk. She’s excited to share the “Bells of Baddeck” experience with her little sister and best friend, Georgia, and learn lots along the way.
Georgia MacDonald plays Daisy (Marian) Bell, Elsie’s sister and Nancy Bell Fairchild, Alec and Mabel’s grandchild.
Georgia is thrilled to be a part of the “Bells of Baddeck”, and it is her first time on stage. She will turn seven mid production! When she’s not dancing in the kitchen to her favorite songs, she loves to swim, paint, play with her siblings and bake. She’s looking forward to performing (especially with her biggest sister, Hazel) and having so much fun with the AGB and Mabel story.
Christopher Wilson plays Glenn Curtiss, pilot of the Aerial Experimental Association and Gilbert “Bert” Grosvenor, husband of Elsie, and is also the Assistant Director of this production.
Christopher is a professional performer, arts educator, writer / composer and independent theatre producer. Selected theatre credits include: Theatre Calgary, Citadel Theatre, Neptune Theatre, Drayton Entertainment, Toronto Operetta Theatre, National Arts Centre, Pacific Opera, Canadian Opera Company, Living Arts Centre, Ross Petty Productions, Stratford Festival and Charlottetown Festival. As writer / composer, Christopher created the critically acclaimed contemporary musical drama, Living With Henry (2011 Toronto Fringe, 2012 Next Stage Festival, 2012 New York Musical Theatre Festival). He also performed his one-man musical cabaret, Two Kittens & A Kid (A Gay Man Raising His Inner Diva) internationally (2016 Edinburgh Fringe, Toronto, New York City). As an arts educator, he currently teaches with Dalhousie University and the Sheridan College Bachelor of Musical Theatre Program. Christopher is also the Artistic Producer of Toronto Musical Concerts, having presented: Into The Woods, Assassins, Company, Merrily We Roll Along and most recently, Parade.
Angelo Moretti is a Canadian-Italian tenor, born and raised in Toronto, Ontario. In 2020, Angelo graduated with honours from his Bachelor of Music Degree in Voice Performance at UofT’s faculty of music. This year, he completed his Master of Music degree in Opera Performance at the University of Toronto’s Opera School, where he studied in the studio of Dr. Darryl Edwards. His recent appearances include performing as Count Almaviva in UofT Opera’s first ever production of Rossini’s Il Barbiere di Siviglia and most recently as Martin in Aaron Copland’s The Tender Land, directed by Tim Albery. He has also had the privilege of working in masterclasses with the likes of mezzo-soprano, Susan Graham and tenors, Piotr Beczala and Lawrence Brownlee. Angelo is extremely excited to be continuing his performing career as an artist-in-residence at Opéra de Montréal’s Atelier Lyrique starting in the fall of 2022.
Production Team & Musicians
Born in Port Morien, Nova Scotia, soprano Lorna MacDonald enjoys a career of distinction as Professor of Voice, Head of Voice Pedagogy and the Lois Marshall Chair in Voice Studies at the University of Toronto.
Her early years in the Cape Breton mining and fishing village of Port Morien provided Lorna with an insatiable love for singing and performance, and a deep respect for teaching. She is the recipient of numerous singing awards and two teaching awards. With a performance career that spanned many genres over 40 years, highlights include New York’s Metropolitan Opera, and the Graz’ Stephaniensaal, special concerts in Los Angeles’ Disney Hall, Vimy Ridge, France and across Canada and the US.
Studying African singing and drumming in Ghana figures among her musical highlights. Solo and operatic performances and giving master classes have taken her to Austria, Germany, France, Taiwan, the Republic of China, Russia, Africa, Wales, Ireland, England, Bermuda, and across North America.
“MacDonald’s agile, bright, sensitive voice beautifully illuminated the depth of Giovanni Bottesini’s songs for soprano and double bass and Richard Strauss’ song cycle with piano.” (Indianapolis NUVO 2014)
“MacDonald’s freshness of tone, her clarity of style and diction, and her beautifully expressive musicianship are served by a perfection of technical mastery” (Halifax Herald 2006)”
“…an absolute jewel” (Edmonton Journal 1994)
Among the multi-media works she has developed and performed are Marrying Mozart, Lois Marshall in Russia, and the Group of Seven. Lorna has enthusiastically “come home” to sing many concerts with Début Atlantic, Musique Royale, the St. Cecelia Series, with Coro Cantabile and the Cape Breton Chordsmen, for Opera Nova Scotia, Celtic Colours, Symphony Nova Scotia and to record for CBC Radio.
A recipient of Ontario’s OCUFA Award for “teaching excellence and outstanding contributions to university teaching”, she created a multi-faceted program in Voice Pedagogy at the University of Toronto in which doctoral, graduate and undergraduate students learn methods of artful voice teaching throughout the human life span. In building a program for talented singers and emerging teachers, hearing-impaired patients, and creating new performance models, the sharing of song and voice is at the heart of her life’s work.
Anna Theodosakis is a stage director and choreographer based in Toronto. She has been a sessional lecturer for the University of British Columbia and a guest lecturer with McGill University, University of Toronto, Dalhousie University, Wilfrid Laurier University, University of Lethbridge, the Glenn Gould School, and the University of Manitoba. Anna is a dramatic coach for the Canadian Opera Company’s Ensemble Studio and directed the Ensemble in their 2019 mainstage performance of La bohème as well as their 2018 Ensemble Showcase featuring Dido and Aeneas. She also directed the COC’s Opera for Young Audiences WOW Factor: A Cinderella Story. For the 2021/2022 season Anna will direct Love Songs (University of Ottawa/Musique 3 Femmes), Vocalis: A Night at the Opera (University of Toronto), L’elisir d’amore (Western University), a workshop of Limit of the Sun (Opera McGill), and a to be announced production for Saskatoon Opera. She will also assistant direct the COC’s Gianni Schicchi & The Magic Flute and choreograph UofT Opera’s The Tender Land.
Born in Glace Bay, N.S., Stuart Calvert has lived, and worked, in the United Kingdom for the past 41 years. As an accompanist, he has played for artists as diverse as Betty Buckley, Petula Clark, Chevy Chase, Albert Finney, Tom Jones, Nathan Lane, Dame Gillian Lynne, Moira Shearer, Andy Williams, and Miss Piggy.
In the field of musical-theatre, amongst the shows he has conducted are Brigadoon, Cats, Chess, Chicago, Martin Guerre, Les Miserables, Miss Saigon, The Producers, Riverdance, Showboat, Shrek, South Pacific, Sunset Boulevard, Witches of Eastwick, in London’s West End, on tour in the UK, Denmark, Ireland, Japan, Portugal, Sweden, and in the USA.
As an arranger/orchestrator, he has written for The Bach Choir (London), Cape Breton Chorale, Cape Breton Orchestra, City of London Sinfonia, Elmer Iseler Singers, Gothenburg Opera Orchestra, The Hallé Orchestra (Manchester, UK), The Menuhin School, The Nash Ensemble, The Showbiz Pops Orchestra, Stockholm Sinfonietta, Toronto Children’s Chorus, Wermland Opera, and he has composed music for BBC-TV.
Esder Lee has currently graduated from University of Toronto in Violin Performance major with Professor Jonathan Crow. Esder completed her bachelor’s degree at McGill University, Schulich school of Music with Jinjoo Cho. Esder Lee has received both Terence Clarkson and Cornelis van de Graaff Graduate Scholarship, and University of Toronto Fellowship. She participated in the Encore Chamber Music Festival from 2016 to 2018, the Toronto Summer music Festival in 2021, and the Colorado college Summer Festival in 2022. Esder was a concertmaster for the Opera ‘The Barber of Seville’ at the University of Toronto orchestra last year. She became particularly interested in teaching young and inspiring musicians to help them excel in their musical career and intends to pursue her studies at the Royal Conservatory of Music in the Artistic Diploma program and pedagogy.
Not just bound to the realm of classical music – the ever eclectic cellist Brendan Rogers is an innovative performer and music educator. A recent recipient of the Felix Galimir chamber award (for two years in a row) and the Laura Kinton Muir prize, he is always eager to be on stage in any form. Prior to this he was extremely honoured to have given the inaugural performance of a cello sonata written for him by the talented budding composer Julian Cruz. In the preceding years Brendan has been extremely active as a performer – sitting in with several orchestras such as the Ontario Philharmonic, Canadian Sinfonietta, and the Georgian Bay symphony. In addition to this he has also played as a session musician for touring artists at great venues including the Mod Club. In a similar vein, he also regularly records for performing artists (such as ‘Russ’) and was recently featured on Nick Vereschak’s latest EP ‘Details’.
Rose Morrison has been a professional musician for more than 20 years, touring and teaching internationally. She first came onto the scene at age 11 as an original member of The Cottars. The group recorded three albums, toured North America, Europe, and Japan, earned themselves two East Coast Music Awards, and performed at Carnegie Hall to a sold-out audience. She has since recorded and performed with Oscar and Grammy Award-winner Glen Hansard and Brendan Begley, among others, and continues to tour with many well-known artists in North America and internationally. Rose released her first solo album, The MacKenzie Project, in 2010 and her second album, Atlantic, won Instrumental Recording of the Year at the 2018 East Coast Music Awards. Later that year, Rose was artistic creator and director of the Celtic Colours special project Voices of the Naomhóg which featured artists and musicians from Nova Scotia, Ireland, and Scotland building traditional Irish row boats and included traditional music, Gaelic song, and dance from both sides of the Atlantic. Rose is now working on her third solo studio album with Dave gunning as producer. She released ‘Let Our Love’ which can be watched here.
Kate Munro-Bergfeldt (she/they) is a Stage Manager from Sydney, Nova Scotia. She currently works at the Highland Arts Theatre as Mainstage Technician, and has had the incredible opportunity to stage manage nearly every show at the theatre since starting there in October of 2020. Even when they’re not stage managing, you can usually find Kate in the lighting booth at the HAT, or working front of house. She is also pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology with a minor in Theatre from Cape Breton University, and is serving as President of both respective student’s union societies. Having spent the previous 5 summers working for Parks Canada in Louisbourg, she is excited to now come to AGB and see the beautiful story of Alec and Mabel Bell come to life!
Jade Chapman has worked on stage and backstage in many local productions. She has volunteered in multiple of the annual library fundraisers including the Christmas plays, Dead Feminists, and Living Mannequins. Jade has also worked for Theatre Baddeck as an assistant stage manager. The first ever production she was in was The Bells of Baddeck in 2015 and she is very happy to be a part of it again.
Corwin Ferguson has worked across Canada and abroad as a video and projection designer. In 2019-2020 he worked as Head of Projection Technology at the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity. For his designs, he has earned a Robert Merritt Award, the CITT/ICTS Technical Merit Award, and multiple other award nominations. Corwin’s professional theatrical experience also includes performance, direction, graphic design, set, props, and sound design. Corwin is a Studio 58 acting graduate, holds a Bachelor’s degree in Performing Arts from Capilano University, and is a member of the Associated Designers of Canada. Select company credits include: Arts Club Theatre Company, Alberta Theatre Projects, Atlantic Ballet, Bard On The Beach, Calgary Opera, Charlottetown Festival, Pacific Opera Victoria, Persephone Theatre, Saint John Theatre Company, Shaw Festival, Vancouver Opera.
Ken Heaton has been actively involved in theatre for over 35 years, designing the lighting for almost every show and event at the Cape Breton University Boardmore Playhouse for as long as many can remember, working and collaborating with a range of groups from student productions to professional touring groups.
Ken is also Head of Electrics and Resident Theatre Lighting Designer for both the Highland Arts Theatre (HAT), and at the Savoy Theatre.
Ken ‘s recent lighting designs include pretty much everything produced at the HAT since 2014, as well as the recent musicals ‘Grease’, ‘Matilda the Musical’, ‘Cabaret’, ‘Samqwan’, and ‘Dear Rita’.
Ken has created lighting for productions at many other venues throughout the Maritimes, working with theatre groups as diverse as ‘Made With Purpose’, ‘St Anne’s Bay Players’, New York’s ‘Yara Arts Group’, ‘Bells of Baddeck’, and the ‘Zuppa Theatre Co.’
R. DOWNEY AND N. HIGGS – Original Surtitle Design
U OF T OPERA – Costumes
JAMES JACOBS – Original Props
The Bells of Baddeck thanks the following for their support and assistance:
St. John’s United Church, Port Morien
Bethel Presbyterian Church, Sydney
Dr. Ron de Jager
Che Anne Loewen
Dean Ellie Hisama
For Parks Canada: