Canadian soprano Allison Cecilia Arends is quickly making her mark as a versatile singer whose “voice is stunningly beautiful and [is used] with intelligence and great sensitivity” (Hnatyshyn Foundation). Highly sought-after as an interpreter of opera, new music, and concert repertoire, she is noted for having “charmed listeners with her lyrical upper tones” and for her “empathetic acting” (Opera Canada).
Allison commenced her 2017-2018 season with pop-up events for Revue Cinema in its presentation of La Bohème, both on screen and on stage, as well as events for Artery and Operatta. Concert performances include fundraising concerts and Strauss’ Vier Letzte Lieder with the Etobicoke Philharmonic, the debut of David Zhang’s concerto for coloratura soprano, Maple Kingfisher, with the Toronto East-West Symphony and Choir, Rheinberger’s Star of Bethlehem with the Oakham House Choir and Toronto Sinfonietta, an opera gala for the Cambridge Symphony, and both Dvorak’s Te Deum and Vaughan Williams’ Dona Nobis Pacem with the Regina Philharmonic Chorus and Symphony Orchestra. On stage, Allison will create the role of Violetta in Verdi’s La Traviata with the Cambridge Symphony and Milton Philharmonic, as well as appear as the “Opera Girl” in several evenings of Hit and Run Dance Productions’ Legends of Horror at Casa Loma in Toronto. She will appear in recital at the Latvian Society with the L’Amero Ensemble, Russell Hill Centre with pianist Zhenya Yesmanovich, the Regina Musical Club with pianist Peter Tiefenbach and trumpeter Miles Newman, the Neapolitan Connection in an all-Schubert recital with pianist William Shookhoff, and the Toronto Heliconian Club with pianist Suzanne Yeo. In addition to maintaining a busy private music studio and training to become a voice examiner with the Royal Conservatory of Music, Allison looks forward to adjudicating classical voice, music theatre, and speech arts in Scarborough, Markham, Port Coquitlam, Outlook, Regina, and Saskatoon. Additionally, she will be conducting opera, vocal, and choral workshops, and masterclasses for Opera Atelier in partnership with the Canadian National Institute for the Blind, Ryerson Oakham House Choir, the Royal Canadian College of Organists, the Regina Conservatory of Music, and the private studio of Diana Woolrich in Regina, respectively.
Allison commenced her 2016-2017 season with a Gilbert and Sullivan concert at Casa Loma with the Toronto Concert Orchestra. Operatic appearances this season include Violetta in Verdi’s La Traviata with the Southern Ontario Lyric Opera and Adina in Donizetti’s L’elisir d’amore with Opera York. With the choirs of Timothy Eaton Memorial Church, Grace Church-on-the-Hill, and Christ Church Deer Park, she sang as soprano soloist in Vaughan Williams’ Mass in G minor. Allison will make recital appearances with the Waterdown Arts Festival, Neapolitan Connection, Heliconian Club, Arts and Letters Club, Latvian Society, Dignitas International, Russell Hill Retirement Residence, as well as a self-produced recital with baritone Michael York, violinist Michael Sproule, and pianist Sandra Mogensen. Allison looks forward to adjudicating music festivals for the Saskatchewan and British Columbia Music Festivals.
Allison is a graduate of Calgary Opera’s Emerging Artist Program, and completed a Masters of Music at the University of Toronto Opera School and a Bachelor of Music at the University of Victoria Voice Performance Program. Allison currently studies with W. Stephen Smith, and has previously studied under the tutelage of Mary Morrison, Timothy Noble, Wendy Nielsen, Alexandra Browning, Selena James, and Diana Woolrich. She has completed summer studies at the Alliance Française, Goethe Institut, Britten-Pears Young Artist Program, Opera Workshop for Advanced Singers in St. Andrews, Highlands Opera Studio, Centre for Opera Studies in Italy, International Vocal Arts Institute in Israel, Queen of Puddings Music Theatre, Banff Centre, Franz Schubert-Institut in Austria, and Stuttgart Festival International Choir under the direction of Maestro Helmuth Rilling.
As a recipient of the Hnatyshyn Foundation’s Artist’s Grant, Allison was afforded the opportunity to perform at Rideau Hall in Ottawa. She also had the honour of being the guest artist at the Inter-American Development Bank Governor’s Dinner, as well as singing the National Anthem at the International Annual Meeting of the Boards of Governors, which was attended by Prime Ministers, Governors, Delegates, and Ministers of Finance and Foreign Affairs from forty-five different countries. Additionally, she toured China with the Brahms Symphonie Orchester, has appeared in concert on numerous occasions in Jamaica, was recorded and broadcast by CBC Radio Saskatchewan, and joined Toronto’s Eglinton St. George United Church Choir as a soloist and choir member on their tour of the major cathedrals of Italy. Allison’s awards include first place and audience choice in the Clifford Poole Voice Competition, being named a Laureate of the Jeunes Ambassadeurs Lyriques, second place in the Barry Alexander International Voice Competition, third place in the Spazio Musica International Competition, the Hnatyshyn Foundation Governor General’s Award for Classical Voice, a Senior Award through the B.C. Arts Council, an Encouragement Award through the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, the Holbrook Opera Tour Graduating Award, and scholarships from the Johann Strauss Foundation, the Aldeburgh Foundation, the Wagner Society, ARIAS (formerly COVC), and the Universities of Toronto and Victoria. She was also a participant and semi-finalist in the Joy in Singing masterclass series and competition in New York.