Canadian soprano Maureen Batt is quickly becoming one of the most sought-after Canadian classical contemporary vocalists. Maureen maintains a busy and challenging performance schedule including opera, concert, and recital engagements. She has worked with the Windsor Symphony Orchestra, Opera in Concert (VoiceBox), Toronto Operetta Theatre, Maritime Concert Opera, Opera Nova Scotia, New Hamburg Live!, Open Ears Festival of Music and Sound, The Toy Piano Composers, as well as a number of recital series and festivals.
Maureen’s repertoire encompasses a wide range from early to contemporary. For the past several years, the focus of her solo career has been on performing works by living composers. As such she has collaborated with many established and emerging composers by commissioning, premièring, and re-performing their works. In new opera, she has created the roles of Helen (Aunt Helen, Monica Pearce), Keri Ferrell (Hipster Grifter, Elisha Denburg), Lorelei Henderson (Stockholm Syndrome, Fiona Ryan), Bride (Cake, Pearce), Hannah (Hannah & Paige and the Zombie Pirates, Christopher Thornborrow), Dorothy Parker (Etiquette, Pearce), Anna (Regina, Denburg), Cindy (Heather: Cindy + Mindy =BFFS 4EVER, Thornborrow), and Mother/Sister Mary Francis (Time of Trouble, Elizabeth Raum).
She has also premièred The Opening Number (Pearce), Tango (Gary Ewer), TAPTOO! (John Beckwith), Vocalise (Christian Floisand), and Fleeting Sounds (Nancy Tam). Most recently she premièred Yahoo Questions (James Lowrie), Imitation is the Sincerest Form of Flattery (Matthew Tozer), Cycle Scope (Julia Mermelstein), and Grow up (Xintong Wang). Through the Crossing Borders recital series, Maureen has given Canadian works their American première and vice versa. This year’s Crossing Borders tour includes a number of world premières (Höstman, Marasco, Crean), and continues to promote Canadian classical contemporary repertoire by giving it additional performances.
In addition to her solo career, Maureen is the co-artistic director of Essential Opera. Founded in 2010, Essential Opera is committed to presenting a wide variety of concert opera works, ranging from the baroque to contemporary. Essential Opera has been invited to perform with organizations around Ontario, including Open Ears Festival of Music and Sound and New Hamburg Live! Festival of the Arts. Essential Opera opened Season 5 with Gluck’s Paride ed Elena (Amor) in September 2014 in Toronto, and in Kitchener, and closed Season 5 with Vives’ Bohemios (Cosette). Season 6 began this fall, when Essential Opera was invited by the Gilsig Series to remount Elisha Denubrg’s Regina in Halifax in October 2015; this had previously been premièred as part of a triple bill of new Canadian operas in Toronto in 2014. Season 6 closed in April 2016 with “She’s The One”, a programme of Canadian and American operas and short operas exploring the lives of women.
Maureen’s opera credits from the standard repertoire include Belinda, Dido and Aeneas (Purcell); Silvia, L’isola disabitata (Haydn); Lauretta, Gianni Schicchi (Puccini); Rosa, Il campanello (Donizetti); Polly, The Threepenny Opera/Die Dreigroschenoper (Weill); Morgana, Alcina (Händel); Nina, Chérubin (Massenet); Susanna, Le nozze di Figaro (Mozart); Eusebia, Die Freunde von Salamanka (Schubert); Jenny, La Dame Blanche (Boieldieu); Papagena, Die Zauberflöte (Mozart); Zerlina, Don Giovanni (Mozart); Annina, La Traviata (Verdi); Despina, Così fan tutte (Mozart); Laetitia, The Old Maid and the Thief (Menotti); Serpina, The Maid Mistress (Pergolesi); Limonia, Ten Belles Without a Ring (Von Suppe); Miss Silverpeal, The Impresario (Mozart). Her selected concert and oratorio credits include Handel’s Messiah and Esther, Mozart’s Vesperae solennes de confessore and Exsultate Jubilate, Bach’s BWV 187 Es wartet alles auf dich, BWV 4 Christ lag in Todesbanden, and BWV 245 St. John Passion.
Maureen’s formal training includes a Master of Music from the University of Toronto, a Bachelor of Music from Dalhousie University, and a Bachelor of Arts from St. Thomas University (French and Spanish). She is an alumna of the St. Andrews Opera by the Sea workshop, the Halifax Summer Opera Workshop, the Casalmaggiore International Music Festival, the Daniel Ferro Vocal Program in Italy, and the Centre for Opera Studies in Italy. She was selected to participate in the inaugural Opera from Scratch, a singer-composer collaborative workshop (Janice Jackson/James Rolfe), performed in the 2013 Tapestry Songbook New Opera 101 programme, and participated in the Contemporary Performance Studies programme at the Vancouver International Song Institute, where she performed works by living Canadian composers, and worked with esteemed composers Jeffrey Ryan and Jake Heggie.
Maureen has had the distinguished honour of being invited to perform as a guest soloist for Their Majesties the Emperor and Empress of Japan during their visit to Ottawa, marking 80 years of diplomatic ties between Canada and Japan. Also, with the St. James Choir in Toronto, she sang for Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and His Royal Highness Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.
Among the list of conductors and directors Maureen has worked with are Andrew Ager, Derek Bate, Larry Beckwith, Michael Capon, Laura Caswell, Robert Cooper, Philippe Djokic, Gary Ewer, Richard Hornsby, Steven Jarvi, Walter Kemp, Kevin, Mallon, Peter Merrick, David Overton, David Passmore, Leigh Rivenbark, Ilkay Silk, Guillermo Silva-Marin, and Vicki St. Pierre. As part of the BlackCreek Music Festival Chorus, Maureen had the honour of singing under the batons of Marvin Hamlisch, Eugene Kohn, and Lorin Maazel.
As an actor, Maureen filmed the pilot for the TV series Oznaberg, which premièred in the 2011 Silverwave Film Festival, and has since aired on Rogers Television. Maureen has also appeared in Theatre St. Thomas University’s productions of Measure for Measure, Oh, What a Lovely War, and Caucasian Chalk Circle.