Sara Schabas


Born and raised in Tkaronto, Canadian soprano Sara Schabas joined Pacific Opera/Vancouver Opera in 2020 as Dukdukdiya in The Flight of the Hummingbird. Passionate about the intersection of singing and social justice, her recent projects have included “Was ich bin” with Manitoba Opera’s Digital Emerging Artists Program, a solo recital for the Canadian Opera Company’s Free Concert Series, and Dora-nominated performances as Anne Frank in Loose Tea Music Theatre’s Singing Only Softly and Henri in Tapestry Opera’s Bandits in the Valley. A Regional Finalist in the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, Schabas has received support from the Vancouver Opera Foundation, the Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal, the Hnatyshyn Foundation and the Canada Council for the Arts. Later this season, she looks forward to joining Barbara Hannigan as an Equilibrium Young Artist.

This season, Schabas looks forward to the premieres of her performances with Pacific Opera Victoria to sing the Dormouse in a filmed production of Elizabeth Raum’s The Garden of Alice, conducted by Timothy Vernon and directed by Glynis Leyshon, singing as soprano soloist in Messiah with the Kindred Spirits Orchestra, and the digital reprise of her Dora-nominated performance as Anne Frank in Cecilia Livingston’s Singing Only Softly with Loose Tea Music Theatre. She also looks forward to recording her debut album with Red Shift Records, funded by the Canada Council for the Arts, and joining Barbara Hannigan and Simon Rivard as an Equilibrium Young Artist, performing chamber music by Stravinsky in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia.

Despite the challenges of the Coronavirus pandemic, Schabas participated in many digital endeavours during the 2020/2021 season, including work with Pacific Opera Victoria, the airing of her performance as the Hummingbird in Pacific Opera and Vancouver Opera’s coproduction of The Flight of the Hummingbird, a digital recital for Highlands Opera Studio with Marie-Ève Scarfone in the Spiegelsaal of the Opernhaus Zürich, as well as projects with Manitoba Opera as the soprano in their quartet of Digital Emerging Artists. On stage, she performed excerpts of L’incoronazione di Poppea and Alcina in Prangins, Switzerland, sang in a gala with Théâtre Lyrichorégra in Montréal, Québec as a Lauréate of their Jeunes Ambassadeurs Lyriques. She returned to Highlands Opera Studio as Zerlina in Don Giovanni, and looked forward to returning to the Internationale Barocktage Melk in Austria, singing First Witch and covering Belinda in Dido and Aeneas with the Concentus Musicus Wien in a televised performance conducted by Stefan Gottfried (cancelled due to Covid-19).

In the 2019/2020 season, Schabas debuted with Vancouver Opera and Pacific Opera Victoria, starring as the Hummingbird in the world premiere of Maxine Goulet’s The Flight of the Hummingbird, in a tour of Western Canada. She made a soloist debut with the Bach-Elgar Choir in Handel’s Messiah, and performed as Anne Frank in the world debut of Cecilia Livingston’s Singing Only Softly with Loose Tea Music Theatre, earning her a Dora Award Nomination for Outstanding Performance by an Individual. A former artist-in-residence with the Dayton Opera, Schabas’ previous roles have included Papagena (Die Zauberflöte), Juliette (Roméo et Juliette), Corinna (Il viaggio a Reims), Najade (Ariadne auf Naxos), Frasquita (Carmen), as well as Henri in the Dora-nominated production of Bandits in the Valley with Tapestry Opera. Previous soloist engagements have included performances with the Dayton Philharmonic, Mississauga Symphony, Stratford Summer Music Festival, Oakville Chamber Orchestra, the Canadian Opera Company Free Concert Series, and in Mahler’s Fourth Symphony at the Castleton Festival under the late Lorin Maazel.

A graduate of the University of Toronto, Roosevelt University in Chicago, and with additional studies at Vienna’s famed Universität für Musik und darstellende Kunst, Schabas’ fellowships have included the Aspen Opera Center, Toronto Summer Music Festival, the Castleton Festival, and the Fall Island Festival. Passionate about the intersection of music and social justice, Schabas has also produced the Canadian premieres of Jake Heggie’s Holocaust one-act operas Another Sunrise and Farewell, Auschwitz, and has worked as a singer and volunteer for the charities Songs by Heart and Sharing Notes, bringing music to hospital patients and people living with Alzheimer’s and Dementia. As a writer, her work has been published in Opera Canada Magazine, Ludwig Van Toronto, Schmopera and the Canadian Jewish News.

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