2018-2019 Wirth Vocal Prize Finalists

Elisabeth Boudreault@018-19 Wirth Vocal Prize finalist Elisabeth Boudreault

Why did you choose to study at the Schulich School of Music?

I applied to study at Schulich because I wanted to work with my teacher, Aline Kutan. But, I chose Schulich because I knew that I would be surrounded by an amazing faculty and some of the most talented young singers in Canada.

Read more

2. Where do you call home?

I like to make myself at home everywhere I go, so every city I’ve lived in so far feels like home to me. However, going back to Saguenay is always special to me. The smell of the woods and the calmness of the night makes me feel so safe. It simply feels right every time I go back.

3. What is one unexpected talent or pastime that you have?

I’m an aunt to six amazing nephews and nieces, and I’ve therefore developed a quite outstanding capacity at inventing games – my favorites being the ones that involve lightsabers.

I’m also particularly talented at cake fights,which is a tradition in our family. I'm always proud to say that it's a talent that I inherited from my father. Let’s just say that you really want to be on our team…

4. What went into choosing the repertoire for the finals of the 2018-19 Wirth Vocal Prize? Which piece(s) are you most excited to perform, and why?

I’m pretty excited about my program for the finals! When it comes to choosing repertoire for a competition, I often feel it is easy to automatically pick the most virtuosic arias of your repertoire (especially when you are a coloratura soprano), but it was really important to me to present pieces that deeply inspire me and I’m really happy that I’ve been able to include works from almost all of my favorite composers. I think the one that I’m most looking forward to singing is probably Ophelia’s Song by Jake Heggie.

5. What would it mean to you to be named the winner of the Wirth Vocal Prize?

I already feel very lucky to be amongst the four finalists, but winning the Wirth Vocal Prize would obviously be an honour for me. I think that we have to acknowledge how incredible it is to have a competition of this importance at our school. Whatever what the outcome is, I find it truly amazing that this prize exists and that it will greatly contribute to the development of a young singer’s career.

6. Who are you studying with and who will be your collaborative pianist?

I am studying under Aline Kutan, and my pianist will be the lovely Julie Choi!


Sarah DufresneHeadshot of 2018-19 Wirth Vocal Prize finalist Sarah Dufresne

Why did you choose to study at the Schulich School of Music?

I chose to study at the Schulich School of Music because of the many opportunities that it offers its voice students. I really enjoy singing early music, opera, art song and musical theatre, and at McGill I have had the opportunity to do them all. Being a well-rounded singer is very important to me and McGill offers all of its singers many opportunities to achieve this goal.

Read more

2. Where do you call home?

I’m originally from Niagara Falls Ontario!

3. What went into choosing the repertoire for the finals of the 2018-19 Wirth Vocal Prize? Which piece(s) are you most excited to perform, and why?

For the Wirth Vocal Prize I chose to sing repertoire that I love! I chose many of my favourite arias and songs, and I’m very excited to sing the whole program! However, I’m most excited to sing Der Hölle Rache from The Magic Flute because I am currently preparing to sing the role of the Queen of the Night with Opera McGill this coming February. The Queen has been my dream role to sing since I started singing!

4. What would it mean to you to be named the winner of the Wirth Vocal Prize?


To be named the winner of the Wirth Prize would mean so incredibly much to me. I really love studying at McGill and to be awarded this prize would make me feel very honoured. I would like to thank Schulich for this incredible opportunity and I the other finalists good luck!

5. Who are you studying with and who will be your collaborative pianist?

I currently study with Tracy Smith-Bessette, and during the finals, my collaborative pianist will be the incredible Jennifer Szeto.


Marcel d'Entremont (winner)Headshot of Marcel-d'Entremont Wirth Vocal Prize 2018-19 finalist

Why did you choose to study at the Schulich School of Music?

I chose to study at the Schulich School of Music specifically to work with my professor, Joanne Kolomyjec. In 2014, I competed at the National Music Festival of Canada which was being adjudicated by Joanne. I was very fortunate to win the competition, and we kept in semi-regular touch, and I had lessons with her whenever I was in Montreal from then on. After two years of working following my Master’s degree, I realized that there were still vocal issues that I wanted to sort out and, after speaking with Joanne, decided that I should come here to work with her!

Read more

2.  Where do you call home?

Home for me is the very small community of Merigomish, Nova Scotia, located roughly between Halifax and Cape Breton. I’m not sure of the exact population, but I would guess that it is around 200.

3.  What is one unexpected talent or pastime that you have?

Perhaps this isn’t so unexpected since I’m a music student, but I do like to play the piano! I took piano lessons for 9 years before starting voice, and did some collaborating during my undergraduate degree. I was also the full-time music director and organist at a local church during my grade 12 year of high school.

4.  What went into choosing the repertoire for the finals of the 2018-19 Wirth Vocal Prize? Which piece(s) are you most excited to perform, and why?

It took me a very long time to get my full program together! I wanted to select music that didn’t make me feel overly nervous, but which also showed a variety of different colours and moods, and also played to my strengths. I did a lot of discussion with my voice teacher, as well as my coaches, and also just did a lot of personal thinking about what music I felt connected to. It was very difficult, but I think that I have a good program which highlights many different things that I feel good about as a singer. I’m probably the most excited to perform Erlkönig by Schubert, since I love the drama of the different characters, and also because my pianist plays it very well! That being said, I’m also VERY partial to I Bought me a Cat, by Aaron Copland. It’s very fun.

5.  What would it mean to you to be named the winner of the Wirth Vocal Prize?

Being named the Wirth Vocal Prize winner would mean an awful lot to me. To be recognized for the work, time, and money that I have dedicated to bettering myself as an artist would be really fantastic, and the prize money would mean opening a lot of doors for my future in regards to auditions, applications, and travelling. That being said, there isn’t anyone competing who doesn’t deserve to be recognized for their similar dedication to the art. We are all working hard and strive to create music and make a living doing it, and at the end of the day I am confident that I will want to continue making music, no matter the outcome.

6.  Who are you studying with and who will be your collaborative pianist?

My voice teacher is Joanne Kolomyjec, and my collaborative pianist (and also my roommate!) is Dakota Scott-Digout, and they are both absolutely fantastic! I’d also like to give a shout-out to some of my other teachers, who helped me to get to this point: Monica George-Punke, Donna Hargreaves-Cameron, Peter Groom, Christianne Rushton, and Wendy Nielsen all have all of my love, admiration and thanks!


Vanessa Croome2018-19 Wirth Vocal Prize finalist Vanessa Croome