30 Mar Joel Allison – Artist Profile
Bass-baritone Joel Allison sang the title role in UofT Opera’s production of Handel’s Imeneo earlier this month and this week gives the Norcop Recital at noon in Walter Hall. Looking at Joel’s schedule, it’s hard to believe he’s still in school; his resume reads like that of a seasoned pro. Here’s his 16 – 17 season…so far.
Last summer Joel made his debut with Saskatoon Opera as Basilio in Il barbiere di Siviglia, and performed the role of Antonio in Le nozze di Figaro with the Brott Summer Music Festival. In the fall Joel sang the title role in Handel’s Saul with the Schola Cantorum at the University of Toronto and made his debut with the Saskatoon Symphony in their baroque festival, performing Bach’s cantata BWV 140 Wachet Auf. He also performs with them this month in Larysa Kuzmenko’s Golden Harvest. With UofT Opera he sang the role of Jupiter in Offenbach’s Orphée aux enfers. Joel made his debut with Chorus Niagara in Messiah, a work he also performed with the Choral Connection in St. Thomas and the Peterborough Singers. He performed a recital of music and poetry from WW1 at the Arts and Letters Club in January and gave a lecture at Douglas College in Vancouver in February. Joel performs with the Talisker Players in March at Trinity-St. Pauls Centre for the Arts, in “Land of the silver Birch”, a program that includes the world premiere of Alexander Rapoport songs and Three French Folk Songs, arr. Ernest MacMillan. The program for the Jim and Charlotte Norcop Prize in Voice recital includes Vaughan Williams’ Songs of Travel, Brahms’ Vier ernste Gesänge and Loewe’s Tom der Reimer. Mélisande Sinsoulie collaborates at the piano. Joel will perform Mozart’s Requiem with the Choral Connection in St. Thomas on Good Friday and will make his solo debut with the Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra and Chamber Choir as the bass soloist in their performance of Mozart’s Mass in c minor at Koerner Hall in May. He returns to the Seventeen Voyces and Ottawa Baroque Consort to perform the role of Adonis in Jon Blow’s Venus and Adonis at the end of May. This July Joel joins the Art Song program at the Toronto Summer Music Festival as a Fellow.
Joel began studying the piano at the age of 7 and at 10 he joined the Christ Church Cathedral Men and Boys choir in Ottawa. He made his solo debut as a treble soloist with the National Arts Centre Orchestra at the age of 12 in Howard’s Shore’s Lord of the Rings Symphony. At 13 his voice changed and he joined the St. Matthew’s Men and Boys choir in Ottawa as a bass. At 11 he began to study violin and at 15 was accepted into the Ottawa Youth Orchestra (OYO). At the age of 17 he became an assistant concert-master in the OYO. From 2008-2010 Joel was a chorister in the Ontario Youth Choir. He also has his RCM Grade 8 in piano.
When Joel was 16 he was approached by Sandra Graham (University of Ottawa), who needed some extra male singers for the chorus of their production of Carmen. He also began to study voice with Sandra that year. Joel performed the role of Dancaïro in Carmen and was invited back in following years to sing the role of Bartolo in Le nozze di Figaro, and Sarastro in Die Zauberflöte. In the summer of 2011 he was accepted into the Austrian American Vocal Academy Salzburg to perform Sarastro and that Fall began his Bachelor degree at the University Ottawa, studying with Ingemar Korjus. In 2012 he joined the Theater of Early Music Choir under the direction of Daniel Taylor and was a member of the TEM Choir on the Juno nominated album “The Heart’s Refuge”. While studying at the University of Ottawa, Joel performed the roles of Leporello in Don Giovanni, Guglielmo in Così fan tutte, and Aeneas in Dido and Aeneas. As an undergrad, he also performed the roles of Marcello (La Bohème) and Don Alfonso (Così fan tutti) with the Capital City Opera Company and played second violin with the University of Ottawa Symphony. In 2013 Joel performed the role of Bepein the world premiere of Andrew Ager’s opera Casanova and sang Dancaïro in Julie Nesrallah’s production of Carmen on Tap in Ottawa. In 2013 he made his Toronto solo debut singing with the Talisker Players along side Erin Bardua and Vicki St. Pierre. In 2014 Joel was asked to perform a solo recital on the Fourth Stage at the National Arts Centre for the University of Ottawa. He also made his debut with the Strings of St. John’s Ottawa as soloist in Mozart’s Requiem. In the Summer of 2014, he participated in the Tafelmusik Summer Baroque Institute in Toronto. In 2015 he performed again with the Talisker Players, made his debut with the Peterborough Singers, and performed the title role in the Ottawa premiere of Telemann’s Don Quixote with the Seventeen Voyces and Ottawa Baroque Consort. He graduated Magna cum Laude from the University of Ottawa with a BMus in vocal performance. In the fall of 2015, he began his studies at the University of Toronto in the Opera diploma program under the tutelage of Daniel Taylor. He also became a full time chorister in the Tafelmusik Baroque Chamber Choir. Throughout his studies, at both Ottawa U and UofT, Joel has received numerous Awards and Scholarships. You can keep up with Joel’s very busy schedule by visiting www.joelallisonbassbaritone.