An Alberta native, Michelle grew up performing. She spent most of her early school years in dance classes and music lessons. By the time she was thirteen years old, she was singing in a professional children’s choir and seriously studying ballet, voice, and piano. It was during those years that she discovered her love for singing and the stage, and it hasn’t stopped since.
Michelle chose to advance her studies while completing both her Honours BMus and MMus in Voice Performance and Literature with Theodore Baerg at the University of Western Ontario. During her studies she performed contrasting roles in both operatic and cabaret repertoire where she could use both dance and vocal skills, including Ottone in L’incoronazione di Poppea, Mae Jones in Street Scene, Brenda in Smokey Joe’s Café, Cercatrice in Suor Angelica, and Lulu in The Merry Widow.
Michelle was the Best of Festival Rose Bowl winner in the Rotary Music Festival and earned a first place standing in the provincial festival for two consecutive years. She was also a finalist in the renowned International Eisteddfod Music festival in Llangollen, Wales.
Michelle currently resides in Toronto where she has founded the Amici School of Music with fellow singer Leigh-Ann Allen. There she enjoys teaching both piano and voice while specializing in early childhood music. Aside from teaching, Michelle recently performed as a soloist for Opera Toronto and for her Majesty the Queen at the St. James Anglican Cathedral. This season, Michelle is excited to be performing with Opera Five, The Heliconian Women’s Ensemble, Opera Toronto, and Opera in Concert.
Soprano Leigh-Ann Allen is known for her versatility in many vocal genres and has developed significant roles in both modern and classic soprano repertoire. Most recently in Italy she performed Suor Genovieffa in Puccini’s Suor Angelica. Other credits include Rose in Street Scene, Jeanette in the Canadian debut of Too Many Sopranos, Poppea in L’incoronazione di Poppea, and has sung with Pacific Opera Victoria in Madama Butterfly. In demand as a solo artist, Ms Allen has sung the Fauré Requiem, Schubert Ständchen, and Ligeti’s challenging chamber work Aventures, and Messiaen’s Poèmes pour Mi.
Leigh-Ann has worked in masterclasses with esteemed musicians such as Martin Katz, Richard Miller, Stuart Hamilton, Adrianne Pieczonka, Tom Diamond, and John Hess. Ms Allen received first place in both the Louis Marshall Voice Competition and Conservatory Canada’s Young Artists’ Competition. She was a finalist for the London Concerto Competition, London Music Scholarship, and London Opera Guild Scholarship recipient. This season, Leigh-Ann will be singing the premier of Canadian composer Andrew Ager’s song cycle Voglio in Toronto. Upcoming debuts include Gilda in Talk Opera, Susanna in Il segreto di Susanna with Opera Five Toronto, a Nymph in Armida with Toronto Opera in Concert, and Clo-Clo in The Merry Widow with Toronto Operetta Theatre.
Leigh-Ann recently finished with her Masters at the University of Western Ontario. After graduation Leigh-Ann turned her focus to co-found the Amici School of Music for young children in Toronto with fellow singer Michelle Garlough, with which she is still passionately involved. Leigh-Ann enjoys the challenge of balancing her solo career with her passion for teaching and managing a music school.