MEET THE DIVAS
nicole whitney dubinsky
social media liaison
Stephanie DeCiantis is a ‘…top Canadian voice’ (Opera Canada) gaining attention for her “powerful” sound (Jake Evans, the Intelligencer) and “lush musical ebb and flow”(Opera Canada). Recent performances include at the Meermusik festival in Dusseldorf, Germany, Donna Elvira in Brott Opera’s virtual production of Don Giovanni, the Overseer in Powerhouse Opera’s Elektra, and the Soprano Soloist in Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 14 with the Kindred Spirits Orchestra. Ms. DeCiantis was recently a semi-finalist for the Vincerò World Singing Competition, and was previously a winner and laureate of the Jeunes Ambassadeurs Lyriques with Thèâtre Lyrichorégra 20 and a semi-finalist for both the Elizabeth Connell prize for Dramatic Sopranos and the Francisco Araiza Sonora International Opera Competition. Performance highlights include Nedda from Leoncavallo’s Pagliacci (Southern Ontario Lyric Opera), Senta from Wagner’s Der Fliegende Höllander (Opera by Request), Leonora from Verdi’s Il trovatore (Opera Sustenida), and Rosalinde in Strauss, Jr.’s Die Fledermaus (Opera Sustenida). Ms. DeCiantis also served as Stage Director for Opera Sustenida’s 2022 production of Il trovatore, a role she will repeat for their upcoming Die Fledermaus. She is the creative force behind Opera Sustenida’s innovative performance videos, serving as video editor for their online concerts and upcoming “Il trovatore: The Movie.”
Nicole Whitney Dubinsky has been praised for her “warm, engaging soprano voice and excellent, nuanced dramatic presentation” (Weill Music Institute). Recently, Ms. Dubinsky was a featured soloist with the Burlington Symphony Orchestra in their “Afternoon at the Opera.” She also participated in the ‘MeerMuzik’ festival in Düsseldorf. Ms. Dubinsky recorded and premiered the role of Mirella in The Lion Heart, an original opera written by Corey Arnold and Kyle MacDonald. Ms. Dubinsky was thrilled to sing Lucy in Toronto City Opera’s video broadcast of Menotti’s The Telelephone (2019-2021 season). Other notable performances have included a concert appearance with the Paskke String Quartet and the unique triple role of Olympia/Giulietta/Antonia in Toronto City Opera’s production of Les contes d’Hoffman. Ms. Dubinsky has sung the formidable Queen of the Night with Opera York, Premiere Productions Ottawa, the Accademia Europea dell’Opera in Amsterdam, and in Opera Laurier’s 100th Anniversary Production. She serves as Opera Sustenida’s Social Media Liaison as well as producer for their 2022 run of Verdi’s Il trovatore. Ms. Dubinsky will perform the role of Adele in Opera Sustenida’s upcoming Die Fledermaus.
Conductor, pianist and vocal coach Suzanne Yeo has performed in North America, Europe and Asia, to much praise for the intensity and sensitivity of her interpretations. After a stint as a doctoral candidate in the German department at Princeton University, she returned to music and obtained her M.Mus. in piano performance from the University of Toronto. Her long-standing affinity for opera and Lieder led her to the sphere of collaborative piano, and in 2020 she co-founded Opera Sustenida, an opera collective noted for its wittily modern takes on the standard repertoire. She has also been active as a conductor since her public conducting début at Jan Harrington’s choral/orchestral conducting masterclass at the Princeton Festival. Most recently, as assistant conductor in two Toronto City Opera productions (Nabucco and Cavalleria rusticana), she conducted one performance of each opera, and, as one of Orchestra Toronto’s Apprentice Conductors for 2022, she led a performance of de Falla’s Ritual Fire Dance in their “Carmen!” concert. Ms. Yeo served as Music Director and conductor for Opera Sustenida’s production of Il trovatore, a role she will reprise for their Die Fledermaus.
Back in 2020, we were all confined to our homes and wishing we could be performing; we decided to create a virtual concert series so that at the very least, we could bring beautiful music to our audience, even if we couldn’t see them in person. We were applying for grants and needed a name for our ensemble. Being an avid word puzzler, Daniella began playing with different combinations of our names and landed on “sustenida” = SU(zanne) + STE(phanie) + NI(cole) + DA(niella).
“Opera” seemed a logical addition and thus Opera Sustenida was born!
Three years later, we are thrilled to be pivoting from purely virtual concerts to hybrid multimedia-enhanced live operatic productions!
Thank you for joining us on this musical adventure – we hope to see you soon!
The Divas 💝