At MYOpera we pride ourselves in our team of artists and leaders that support the company’s mission and values. Past Artistic Team members include Jennifer Szeto (2011-2012), Blair Salter (2013-2014), and Alison Wong (2010-2015). Since her time with MYOpera, Ms. Szeto was a 2016 Merola Artist and has been a member of the Atelier lyrique at l’Opéra de Montréal and of the Ensemble Studio at the Canadian Opera Company. She is now an Adler Fellow with the San Francisco Opera. Ms. Salter has been a 2014 Merola Artist, and is pursuing doctoral studies at the University of Michigan under the esteemed tutelage of Martin Katz. Alison Wong is the Artistic Producer of b current.
MYOpera’s 2016/17 team includes:
Kate Applin, Founder & Artistic Director
Stephanie Applin, General Director
Janaka Welihinda, Operations Director
Natasha Fransblow, Music Director
Anna Theodosakis, Stage Director
Maeve Strathy, Fundraising Director
Tasha Adhihetty, Volunteer Coordinator
Kate Applin is lauded for her passionate work in Toronto’s operatic community. In 2010, at age 23, Kate founded MYOpera with a plan to give emerging artists in Toronto their first opportunities to perform complete roles and be compensated. In addition to her role as Artistic Director of MYOpera Kate performed with the company for four years as Despina in Così fan tutte (2011), Adina in L’elisir d’amore (2012), Serpina in La serva padrona (2013), and Gretel in Hänsel & Gretel (2014).
In 2015, Kate completed her Master’s in Business Administration at Wilfrid Laurier University with a specialization in Marketing. Kate’s long-term goal is to return to the arts sector and implement savvy business models to impact change in the arts community at a high level.
A life-long lover of opera, Stephanie got her first taste when she was four years old, playing the role of Madama Butterfly’s son in the inaugural run of Brian McDonald’s iconic production for the Canadian Opera Company (COC). Stephanie sang with the Canadian Children’s Opera Company for nearly a decade and has appeared as a supernumerary in over a dozen COC productions. Stephanie has been involved with MYOpera since its inaugural season and joined as General Director in 2014, expanding MYOpera’s activities and events, including an annual Season Launch party and MYOpera’s network of Alumni. Stephanie has worked as the Project Manager for the launch of Indie Opera Toronto, the Toronto collective of independent opera producers, and works to drive their goal of supporting one another as advocates of innovative opera and chamber music experiences.
Janaka Welihinda joins the MYOpera team for the 2016/17 season as Operations Director. An alumnus twice over (Triple Bill: La Serva Padrona, 2013 and Béatrice & Bénédict, 2015) and an experienced manager in the restaurant industry, Janaka is thrilled to take his first role in arts management with the company that gave him his first role in opera. Janaka is passionate about MYOpera and is excited to push forward the company’s mandate and help it grow.
As a baritone, Janaka Welihinda has been captivating audiences nationally with his “clear talent for comic acting and very agreeable, clear voice” (Opera Canada). Janaka holds a Bachelor of Music in Performance and Literature from Brandon University and a Masters of Music in Performance and Literature from the University of Western Ontario.
Natasha has enthusiastically carved her space in Toronto’s vibrant classical music community as an active and sought-after vocal collaborator and coach. She is a graduate of Dalhousie University (B.Mus.) and the University of Manitoba (M.Mus.). Natasha held a faculty position as Undergraduate Vocal Coach at the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, and worked closely with their Opera Studies department. Since her move to Toronto, she has music directed with Summer Opera Lyric Theatre (Martha, 2015), Toronto Operetta Theatre (HMS Pinafore, 2015), and Loose Tea Music Theatre (Carmen, reimagined, 2016). She joined MYOpera in 2014 on Hänsel & Gretel for the Kawartha Concerts Encore Series in Lindsay, ON, and continued with Béatrice et Bénédict (2015) and The Rape of Lucretia (2016), to rave reviews. Recent engagements include Rodelinda with the 2016 Halifax Summer Opera Festival, and a cross-Canada recital tour with tenor Jan Van der Hooft.
Anna Theodosakis is a Toronto based director and choreographer originally from Vancouver. Anna has a Masters in Opera Performance from UBC and recently graduated with her Diploma in Operatic Stage Direction from the University of Toronto under the guidance of Michael Albano. This March she directed Opera Laurier’s Les contes d’Hoffmann and was the assistant director for the Glenn Gould Conservatory’s La Cecchina.
2016 directing credits include Muskoka Opera Festival’s Eugene Onegin, Manitoba Underground Opera’s The Magic Flute, Toronto Summer Music Festival’s Rape of Lucretia, and MYOpera’s Rape of Lucretia. Anna was the assistant director for Paul Curran’s Lucretia at The Banff Centre this past summer. She also assistant directed Joel Ivany’s staged Mozart’s Requiem with the TSO. This fall Anna choreographed UofT Opera’s Orphèe aux enfers and teaches the dance classes for the Masters and Diploma opera students. In 2015 Anna had the honour of being the student to direct a UofT Opera main stage opera with The Medium.
Anna is the Resident Stage Director for MYOpera as well as The Canadian Art Song Project. In May she will direct the Canadian Opera Company Ensemble members in a new art song cycle “dawn always begins in the bones” by Ana Sokolovic, commissioned by the COC and Canadian Art Song Project. The premiere will be May 17th at the Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre as a part of the free noon hour series and it will also be performed May 25th as a part of the 21C Festival. Other upcoming productions include directing L’elisir d’amore at the Centre for Opera Studies in Italy as well as assistant directing Tim Albery’s Arabella this fall at the COC.
Maeve Strathy is a passionate fundraising professional, focused on inspiring donors to make an impact on the causes they love through philanthropy. Her full-time work is as a Fundraising Strategist with Blakely, providing strategy for charities on integrated direct response campaigns. Previously, she developed the mid-level giving program at Wilfrid Laurier University, and built a young alumni giving program at Trinity College School. Maeve also supports the fundraising efforts of independent arts and culture organizations, namely the Grand River Film Festival and MYOpera. In her spare time, Maeve likes to work out, watch TV and movies, read, cook, and write for her fundraising and philanthropy-focused blog, whatgivesphilanthropy.com
Always one to be involved with the performing arts in any capacity, Tasha has a choral music background most notably with the Hastings Prince Edward County Children’s Chorus.
Her first real-life exposure to opera came in recent years when she began supernumerary work with the Canadian Opera Company. She has had the pleasure of working on Un Ballo Maschera (2014) and Roberto Devereux (2014) and enjoys community theatre in her spare time, most recently performing in Etobicoke Musical Productions’ Ragtime (2015).
Tasha is very excited to join the MYOpera family as they continue their journey in the local opera circuit.