Calgary Opera has renamed its artist development program to honour the late W.R. Bob McPhee, past General Director and CEO of Calgary Opera, and 2015 Rubies Honouree. The program will now officially be named the McPhee Artist Development Program. During McPhee’s nineteen-year tenure with Calgary Opera, he is remembered for his exceptional leadership and dedication to fostering Canadian talent, which included six new works for opera, numerous Canadian premieres, and empowering young artists with skills to hone their craft. Among the many artists the program has supported in the past are distinguished Canadian operatic stars Andrew Love, Andrea Hill and Robert Clark.
“Bob was a great champion for Canadian artists and believed that Canadian talent deserved to be nurtured, showcased, and celebrated here at home,” said Mel Kirby, Manager of the McPhee Artist Development Program. “Our artist development program is the embodiment of these beliefs, and we are proud to honour his legacy with this new name.”
The McPhee Artist Development Program is one of four training programs for young professional singers in Canada. During the two year program, singers receive vocal coaching, training in acting and language skills, performing in numerous productions and developing the entrepreneurial skills required to succeed in the competitive opera industry.
McPhee was informed of the dedication prior to his passing away on March 13, 2021 after a long battle with cancer. He expressed gratitude in learning that the program he established in 2005 will continue to support aspiring artists under his name.
The 2021/22 ensemble of McPhee Artists includes: mezzo-soprano Simran Claire, baritone Jeremy Dubé, mezzo-soprano Alanna Fraize, soprano Juliana Krajčovič, tenor Tayte Mitchell, tenor Jeffrey Strand, soprano Eden Tremayne, and bass-baritone Dominic Veilleux. They will be featured in Calgary Opera’s upcoming production of The Enchanted Child in December.
More information and tickets are available here.