Guest Artists – Una Serata Bella – Friday, April 4th, 2014


Headshot3-150x150Hailed as “a young vocalist to watch… with a rich and penetrating operatic voice,” Canadian soprano Charlene Santoni’s career is on the rise. Having made her professional debut at the age of 22, this young singer’s operatic credits are many. They include appearances with The University of Toronto’s Opera Division, Edmonton Opera, Opera New Brunswick, Saskatoon Opera, Pacific Opera Victoria, The VOICExperience Foundation, The Center for Opera Studies in Italy, Tapestry New Opera, Highlands Opera Studio and The Tanglewood Music Center, which is run by the Metropolitan Opera’s James Levine.

Concert and recital appearances include work with Soundstreams Canada, Queen of Puddings Music Theatre, Off Centre Music Salon, Masterworks of Oakville, The Highlands Festival Singers, The Bach Elgar Choir, The Canadian Sinfonietta, The Mountain View International Festival of Song and Chamber Music, Symphony Hamilton, The Saskatoon Symphony Orchestra and The National Arts Centre Orchestra.  Charlene also sang in a production of Sondheim’s A Little Night Music with The Boston Pops in 2008, under the baton of Keith Lockhart.

Roles include Mimi (La Bohème), Miss Wordsworth (Albert Herring), La Charmeuse (Thais), Bubikopf (Der Kaiser von Atlantis), Rosalinde (Die Fledermaus), Dortchen (The Brothers Grimm), Monica (The Medium), Konstanze (Die Entführung aus dem Serail), Madame Goldentrill (The Impresario) and multiple appearances as The Queen of the Night (The Magic Flute).  Montreal newspaper La Presse applauded Charlene’s last performance of the wicked Queen regarding her as “terrifying… with notes so precise that one might say they were produced by a computer.”

Oratorio works include appearances in Handel’s Messiah, Fauré’s Requiem, Vivaldi’s Gloria, Poulenc’s Gloria and recurring appearances in Orff’s monumental Carmina Burana.  Charlene is also no stranger to modern music having performed Riley’s “In C”, Reich’s “Proverb”, Menotti’s “La Loca”, Gervais’ “The Enslavement and Liberation of Oksana G.”, Ross’ “Northern Lights, Eastern Fire” and Sokolovic’s “Six Voices for Sirens”, the last of which was recorded for the CBC in 2007.

Charlene was also recently heard in her first solo cross-over cabaret recital with pianist Christopher Mokrzewski at the Lower Ossington Theatre’s Green Door Cabaret series. Presently, Charlene can be heard singing whistle tones in Canadian Composer John Oswald’s “Qui”, which is part of a permanent installation at the Royal Ontario Museum.  This work was remastered into a music video that premiered at Toronto’s Nuit Blanche Festival in 2010 earning a Scotiabank People’s Choice Award.  Charlene is currently pursuing a Doctoral Degree in Voice Performance at the University of Toronto where she works with acclaimed Canadian voice pedagogue Mary Morrison.

You can also check her website for further info:

Andrew Tees PhotoAndrew Tees is one of the most dynamic and charismatic singers of his generation. Blessed with a rich ringing chocolate toned baritone, he is at home whether singing opera, oratorio, or pops.

On the operatic stage Tees has performed the title role in the Nozze di Figaro for many companies including Opera Ontario and Pacific Opera. The swarthy baritone made a seductive Don Giovanni for Ottawa’s Opera Lyra. He debuted for Edmonton Opera as Silvio in Leoncavallo’s I Pagliacci. He sang a robust Escamillo for Manitoba Opera. Andrew was a moving Sonora for Vancouver Opera in La Fanciulla del West. He was given top vocal honours by Opera Canada for his portrayal of Marcello in Opera York’s La Boheme. He sang a charming Danilo for Orchestra London’s Merry Widow. For Zweigroschen Oper in Germany Andrew made a vengeful Monterone in Rigoletto. Andrew debuted with Opera York as Rossini’s Figaro, since then he has returned to sing many roles including Don Giovanni, Mozart’s Figaro, Escamillo, Gianni Schicchi, While a member of the Canadian Opera Company’s Ensemble Studio Tees made frequent appearances on the main stage. He won tremendous praise for the rapist Tarquinius (Rape of Lucretia) Donald in Billy Budd, Sonora in La Fanciulla del West, as well as Fiorello in Il Barbiere di Siviglia. While with the COC he covered many roles including Marcello, Belcore, Don Giovanni, Figaro, Billy Budd, and Krusina. While with the COC he sang Papageno in their Magic Flute tour and Peter in their Hansel and Gretel tour. Since leaving the Ensemble Studio Andrew has returned to the COC to sing several roles including the Mill Hand in Lady McBeth of Mtstensk and Marquis D`Aubigny in La Traviata. Mr. Tees’ repertoire is broadening into more dramatic roles. He made a commanding Scarpia in Maritime Concert Opera’s Tosca as well as Giorgio Germont in Verdi’s La Traviata for the same company. He debuted as Golaud in Pelleas et Melisande for Toronto’s Opera by Request.

No stranger to debuting new works, Tees has premiered Ian McAndrew’s Cassandra for Amphion Opera. He sang the role of the unprincipled Oil Executive Walter Swenson in Isa Suarez’ Carpe Diem to be aired on Bravo Television this fall. He played Gandalf in Dean Burry’s The Hobbit with the Canadian Children’s Opera Chorus. For the Stratford Summer Music Festival he depicted a tyrannical Claudius in the Premier of Mark Richard’s Hamlet. He was a Madrigalist in Henze’s Venus und Adonis for the Canadian Opera Company, a role he repeated at Amsterdam’s Concertgebou. He made a sympathetic Stash in the North American premiere of And the Rat Laughed by Israeli composer Ella Milch-Sheriff. 

He made a swashbuckling Pirate King for Cleveland Opera. He won rave reviews as Private Willis for Toronto Operetta Theatre’s Iolanthe. His other Gilbert and Sullivan roles include Pooh bah (Mikado) and Giuseppe (The Gondoliers) both for Montreal’s Savoy Society. Andrew played Old Bill in Rogers and Hammerstein with Hart for Hamilton’s Theatre Aquarius. He was a slightly dim Karl Magnus for Second Company’s A Little Night Music Other roles include Sky Masterson (Guys and Dolls) Lun Tha (The King and I) Maximillian (Candide). For Bravo Television he recorded an Evening with Cole Porter. His film credits include John Masterson in Film 4’s True Blue and Polar Bear in Masato Harada’s Rowing Through.
Andrew has been a guest of many choirs and symphonies singing Handel’s Messiah. He was praised for his portrayal of the title character in Handel’s Saul for the Grand River Choir. He was praised for his interpretation Carmina Burana for Toronto’s Amadeus Choir. He has sung Brahms Requiem for the Oakville Symphony and Kitchener’s Grand Philharmonic Choir. He has performed the Duruflé Requiem with Hamilton’s Bach Elgar Choir and the Kingston Chamber Choir. Andrew made a majestic Elijah for the Northumberland Symphony and sang a moving St Paul for Toronto’s Pax Christ Chorale. A great admirer of the works of Haydn, Tees has performed The Creation, The Seasons, Mass in a Time of War and the Nelson Mass. He received great praise for his interpretation of Verdi’s Requiem for Masterworks of Oakville. No stranger to the works of Vaughn Williams he has performed both the haunting Five Mystical Songs as well as the Fantasia on Christmas Carols. For Hamilton’s Redeemer College Choir he sang Jean Gilles haunting Requiem. Andrew received top honours for his Beethoven’s 9th Symphony with the Brantford Symphony. He has performed Beethoven’s Mass in C with Sarnia’s International Symphony. Among his other highlights are Arvo Pärt’s Passio with Toronto’s Mendelssohn Choir and Christos Hatzis’ Kyrie with Soundstreams Canada.

A natural on the pops stage, he has sung with the Toronto Symphony, the National Arts Center Orchestra, Windsor Symphony, Oakville Symphony, Thunder Bay Symphony, Hamilton Philharmonic, Oshawa Symphony, and Guelph Symphony.

Andrew and his partner, pianist Kate Carver, maintain a video song blog called The Pianist the Singer and the Song and can be reached by going to

You can also check her website for further info: