The Scene


Miriam Khalil

Miriam Khalil
Shayne Gray Photography.

Miriam Khalil is an acclaimed Lebanese-Canadian soprano specializing in opera and concert performance. She has been lauded as a “skilled, versatile artist” with a “signature warm lyrical voice” by Ludwig Van Toronto, described as “dark, dangerous and alluring” by Opera Going Toronto, and praised for “making her fine soprano express every emotion with exactness and feeling” by the Globe and Mail.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Miriam pivoted masterfully to the digital stage. Her 2020 holiday season was highlighted by Messiah/Complex, an internationally acclaimed ATG/Toronto Symphony realization of Handel’s Messiah filmed against iconic Canadian landscapes sung in six languages by twelve soloists and 4 choirs. Miriam also sang the role of Elle in Poulenc’s La Voix Humaine in a unique Poulenc/Cocteau digital project with VOICEBOX: Opera in Concert. She sings in recital with Baritone Russel Braun and pianist Carolyn Maule, premiering a song cycle by Afarin Mansouri in the Mazzoleni Masters series at the Royal Conservatory, commissioned by Canadian Art Song Project. Upcoming, Miriam is featured in Against the Grain Theatre’s digital production of Bound, and also picked up a direction credit on their film of Holst’s Sāvitri.

In 2021, she participated in Pacific Opera Victoria’s ‘For All to Hear’ series, where she created, directed, produced and sang an online Arabic video recital, Songs My Parents Taught Me. She mentored their Apprentice Civic Engagement quartet to create, produce and direct their own recitals. She also led masterclasses and talks about artist identity and authentic voice in repertoire that is unique to each artist. Passionate about teaching the next generation of artists, in the same year, Miriam joined the voice faculty at the University of Alberta.

Refusing to be categorized, Ms. Khalil’s 2019-2020 season moved easily from the works of Puccini to a re-imagined Handel mashup by Canadian composer Kevin Lau. She reprised Mimì in La bohème for Calgary Opera, starred as Rosina (Countess) in Figaro’s Wedding for Against the Grain Theatre, sang the role of Hanna Glawari in Lehar’s Merry Widow with Brott Music Festival, and Osvaldo Golijov’s critically acclaimed song cycle Ayre for Koerner Hall’s 21C Music Festival. Projects at the Banff Centre, for Music in the Morning and the Thunder Bay Symphony have been put on hold by the global pandemic. In 2018-2019, she appeared as Mimì in La bohème for the Canadian Opera Company, Marzelline in Beethoven’s Fidelio for Pacific Opera Victoria, and was featured by the Victoria Symphony in their Viennese New Year’s gala. She was also heard in Mahler’s Rückert Lieder for the Thunder Bay Symphony and performed Osvaldo Golijov’s Ayre with Pacific Opera Victoria and the Aventa Ensemble.

The busy soprano made her Washington, D.C. debut with UrbanArias as Mamah Cheney in Daron Hagen’s opera Shining Brow; her Fargo-Moorhead Opera debut in the title role of Handel’s Alcina, and was featured in a special project for the Vancouver Symphony premiering music by Bramwell Tovey, among others. She also returned to the Banff Centre for the Arts and Creativity to sing Eurydice in Orphée + by Gluck/ Berlioz and was heard for the Rockport Music Festival in Massachusetts in Ayre, a work that earned her a Juno Nomination, and also marked her South American debut in Buenos Aires, where she gave the Argentinian premiere. She has also performed Golijov’s cycle to critical acclaim in Banff, Ottawa and Toronto and it has become her signature piece.

Miriam is a graduate of the prestigious Canadian Opera Company Ensemble Studio, the Steans Institute for Young Artists (Ravinia) and the Britten-Pears Young Artist Programme. While in her last year of the COC Ensemble, she advanced to the semi-finals of the Metropolitan Opera Council auditions and represented the Great Lakes Region on the Met stage, during which she was featured in the documentary The Audition. She is a recipient of multiple awards and grants from the George London Foundation, the Canada Council for the Arts, Ontario Arts Council and the Metropolitan Opera National Council Audition Scholarships.

The Ottawa native has appeared on numerous opera stages across Canada and Europe, including a stint at the renowned Glyndebourne Festival Opera in the United Kingdom. Notable roles include Mimì in La bohème (Minnesota Opera, Opera Hamilton and Against the Grain Theatre); Musetta in La bohème (Edmonton Opera); Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni (Opera Tampa and Against the Grain Theatre/The Banff Centre/Ottawa International Chamber Music Festival); Mélisande in Pelléas et Mélisande (Against the Grain Theatre); the Governess in The Turn of the Screw (Against the Grain Theatre); Cleopatra in Giulio Cesare (Glyndebourne Festival Opera, U.K.); Almirena in Rinaldo (Glyndebourne Festival Opera, U.K.); and Susanna in Le nozze di Figaro (Pacific Opera Victoria, Opera Lyra Ottawa and Against the Grain Theatre).

Equally at home on the concert stage, Miriam has been a frequent recitalist in Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. She has performed oratorios, song cycles and opera galas with orchestras across Canada including Symphony Nova Scotia, Victoria Symphony, Thunder Bay Symphony, Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra and Sudbury Symphony.

She is a proud founding member of the Dora Mavor Moore Award-winning chamber opera company Against the Grain Theatre (AtG). With vision and dedication, AtG explores innovative ways of presenting opera to new and familiar audiences. Miriam is delighted to help shape “one of the most important opera companies in Canada” (Calgary Herald).

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