Handel’s Messiah

The Sudbury Symphony Orchestra will be joined by members of the Bel Canto Chorus and Sudbury Chamber Singers as well as some of Canada’s finest operatic soloists for this not to be missed performance. Handel’s Messiah has long been considered an essential holiday experience, and this powerfully emotional evening of music is the perfect way to kick off the Festive season.


G.F. Handel (1685-1759)


Handel’s Messiah is widely considered to be the most famous piece of classical music in the world. It premiered to great acclaim in Dublin in 1741 and has been popular ever since. The original work, written in just 18 days, was composed for a relatively small ensemble and designed to be easily performed in smaller public venues and churches.

The work was so popular that some of the greatest master composers, including Mozart, have tweaked and expanded the score over the years, and today it is possible to see Messiah performed with a massive orchestra and choirs in the thousands. Today’s performance though, will more closely mirror the original work and we humbly request, as was done at the 1742 premiere, that ladies remove their hoops and men their swords!


Robert Hall has degrees and diplomas in piano, voice, organ and choral music, including the Doctor of Music Arts in Choral Music from the University of Illinois and a Fellowship from the America Guild of Organists. For several years he sang professionally with the Vancouver Chamber Choir and the Tudor Singers of Montreal and since then has held faculty positions at the Universities of Regina and Saskatchewan, the State University of New York-Plattsburgh, the University of Guelph, and currently Laurentian University, including three periods as Chair of the LU Department of Music.

Recent vocal solo performances have included the baritone solos in the Beethoven Ninth Symphony with the Sault Ste Marie Symphony and in the Brahms Requiem with the Timmins Symphony Orchestra. In June 2015 St. Andrew’s United Church, Sudbury, celebrated his twentieth anniversary at the church with a special concert that featured him singing the baritone solo in the Vaughan Williams Five Mystical Songs.

Choral directing continues to be his main focus and with the Laurentian University Choir he has conducted performances of much of the standard oratorio repertoire including the Requiems by Mozart, Fauré, Brahms, and Duruflé, the Bach St. John Passion, the Haydn Creation, Handel’s Messiah and Belshazzar, Mendelssohn’s Elijah, and multiple performances of the popular Orff Carmina Burana. A graduate of Wilfrid Laurier University, over the past several years he has twice acted as guest conductor for the WLU Alumni Choir, once for the 100th Anniversary of WLU and recently for 40th Anniversary Celebrations for the Laurier Faculty of Music.


Since 1975 the Bel Canto Chorus has provided a welcoming venue for people who love to sing together, and has enjoyed direction by a number of talented musicians including Don Weir, Douglas Webb, David Matthies, Robert Hall, Susan Marrier, Malcolm Wechsler, Marion Harvey and present musical director, Pamela Teed. Pianist Suzanne Roy-Wilson has been accompanying the choir for over 20 years, preceded by June Brown and Jane Pitblado.

The chorus currently boasts over seventy members ranging in age from student to retiree, people from all walks of life and from all over Greater Sudbury. As invited guests, the choir has been featured in the Olympic Torch run for the 2010 Winter Games, 2012 professional figure skating show “Celebration on Ice” and more.

In addition to its regular four performance concert schedule, the Chorus has travelled to various cities in and around Northern Ontario. In 2013, the choir was invited to participate in a 400-voice performance of Handel’s Messiah at Lincoln Centre in New York City.


Deanne Wells-Hunt completed both a four year undergraduate performance diploma and a Bachelor of Music Performance at the Glenn Gould School of the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto. She also invested one year of post graduate studies in the Artist Diploma program at The Glenn Gould School.

Ms. Wells has performed such roles as Musetta in Puccini’s La Boheme with the Chautauqua Institute in New York. She has also performed the roles of Dorabella in Mozart’s Cosi fan tutte, Cendrillion in Massenet’s Cendrillion, and the Governess in Britten’s The Turn of the Screw. She received the Albert Roussel prize in the 2004 Interpretation of French music Montreal International Competition, placed third in the 2004 Elora Festival Competition, and was a 2005 finalist in the Czech and Slovak International Competition.

In 2006, Ms. Wells-Hunt was selected to represent Canada at the International Belvedere Competition in Vienna. For their ‘06 -’07 opera season, she performed the role of Marcella in Donizetti’s Il furioso al isola di San Domingo at the Musiktheater im Revier, Gelsenkirchen, Germany.

Ms. Wells presently resides in Sudbury, a mother of two, a financial security advisor and a vocal instructor at both Cambrian College and Laurentian University.


Joey Maxim Niceforo has an extensive and diverse career as a cross over singer; having made his debut at Carnegie Hall; performing a leading role as an opera singer in an ABC movie A Brave New Girl produced by Britney Spears, and later being the first student to receive the Italia Nel Mondo Award.

In October of 2015, Joey recorded his first solo album at Abbey Road studios in London, England. Joey’s incredibly talented team consists of Grammy and Juno award winners. They plan a world wide release in the early part of 2017.

Joey grew up in Sudbury, Ontario; he was schooled in French and later studied Italian while he trained in Siena, Italy. He showed an early love for music and went on to study at The Glenn Gould School at the Royal Conservatory (GGS) in Toronto and the University of Toronto’s Opera Division.

In 2005, Joey was invited to be a member of the Canadian Tenors, which led to the creation of his own critically acclaimed “popopera” group – Destino. This group has had wide exposure including a national 18 city tour with the Rankin Family, performances at the 2008 Beijing Olympics and the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, theMiss America Pageant in Las Vegas, and a Disney World concert where Joey shared the stage with Marie Osmond.

Joey made his professional debut in Opera in Concert’s Canadian Gala, and he has since performed several subsequent roles for them. He has also performed in operas across Canada, the United States, Italy and The Czech Republic.


Born in Sudbury, soprano Carla Huhtanen is in demand internationally for her soaring voice, winning stage presence, and her diverse repertoire. She debuted in the UK as Lisetta in Garsington Opera’s La Gazzetta (Rossini) and returned as Serpetta in La Finta Giardiniera (Mozart), which was repeated at the Barbican Centre. In Italy she sang Daisy Park and Athenaïs in Gershwin’s Lady, Be Good! and Cherubini’s Anacréon at Gran Teatro La Fenice, and in France, performed Angelica (Orlando) and Purcell’s The Fairy Queen in Aix, Marseille, Antibes and Chartres. She repeated Lady, Be Good! at Lisbon’s Teatro Sao Carlos and she was featured soloist in a Leonard Bernstein Tribute with the Israel Philharmonic as well as Cunegonde with the BBC Concert Orchestra. In her tenth season with Toronto’s Opera Atelier, her roles include: Susanna, Blonde, Zerlina and Ännchen, and roles in Lully’s Armide and Persée at the Opéra Royal de Versailles. A leading interpreter of contemporary music, Carla premieres many works with Tapestry New Opera, Soundstreams Canada, and Music on Main (Vancouver). Recent: a Bernstein Tribute with Ireland’s National Symphony Orchestra, Mass in B Minor with the Grand Philharmonic, and Soundstreams’ Steve Reich concerts. Upcoming: Mozart’s Abduction from the Seraglio (Konstanze) with Opera Columbus (OH), Electric Messiah with Soundstreams, and works by Boulez and Richardson with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra.


Saskatchewan-born, Sudbury-based baritone Peter McGillivray is a seasoned performing artist who first burst on to the scene as winner of the 2003 CBC Young Performers Competition. A former member of the Canadian Opera Company Ensemble Studio and alumnus of the University of Toronto, he has also spent a season on the roster of the Metropolitan Opera (La Bohème & Capriccio). Recent credits include work with Calgary Opera (Pagliacci, Moby Dick & Silent Night), Manitoba Opera (La Bohème), Edmonton Opera (Die Fledermaus), Vancouver Opera (Albert Herring), Pacific Opera Victoria (Barber of Seville), Opéra de Québec (Madama Butterfly), Opera Lyra Ottawa (La Bohème, Barber of Seville) & the Canadian Opera Company (Gianni Schicchi). Engagements for 2016-17 include stints with Dallas Opera (Moby Dick), the Elmer Iseler Singers (Messiah), Edmonton Opera (La Cenerentola and Opera de Québec (Le barbier de Séville).