Ottawa native soprano Gwenna Fairchild-Taylor holds a Master of Music (Opera) from University of Toronto and a Bachelor of Music (Honours Voice Performance) from Western University. Highlights from this past season include Berta in The Barber of Seville at the Indian River Festival (PEI) and Stratford Summer Music, Soprano Soloist in Beethoven Symphony No. 9 under Bramwell Tovey, appearing in Tapestry Opera’s Songbook VI and Narrating Peter and the Wolf for the North York Concert Orchestra.
In 2015 she sang Lady with a Cake Box in Argento’s Postcard From Morocco with “great conviction and pathos” (Barczablog) and brought “heartfelt sadness to a lyrical aria of mourning” (NOWMagazine) in creating the role of Hanna Campbell in Footsteps in Campbell House, a new opera with libretto by Michael Patrick Albano. She is also a 2015 Laureate of Jeunes Ambassadeurs Lyriques.
An accomplished and experienced educator, Gwenna is a 2015 and 2016 recipient of a Government of Nunavut Culture and Heritage Grant for her projects with young women and children in the arctic in partnership with the Qulliit Nunavut Status of Women Council. She visits communities in Nunavut and Nunavik to present free workshops in music and drama designed to foster positive self esteem in participants of all ages and from all walks of life. Gwenna has worked as an Artist-Educator at the Canadian Opera Company and for schools in the Toronto District School Board.
Previous credits include excerpts from Wagner’s Wesendonck Lieder (North York Concert Orchestra), Lady Billows in Albert Herring (UofTOpera), creating the Box Office Attendant in Bekah Simms’ The Box Office, the title role in The Merry Widow (UWOpera), and Donna Anna in Don Giovanni (Opera NUOVA). Past summer seasons have brought Gwenna to Summer Opera Lyric Theatre (Toronto), the Centre for Opera Studies in Italy, and Contemporary Opera Lab (Winnipeg).
Tapestry Songbook VII:
“Gwenna Fairchild-Taylor, who gave a hilarious and memorable performance as the queen of a bee colony in Tapestry Songbook VI returned to the New Opera 101 program this year and was equally engaging and funny.” Mooney on theatre
“This was followed by In This World George is Heartbroken…By turns hilarious and violent…it featured three of the stars of the evening; Gwenna Fairchild-Taylor, Janaka Welihinda and, new to me, the very impressive Markéta Ornova on piano. ” Opera Ramblings
Postcard from Morocco:
“There were fine performances too from…Gwenna Fairchild-Taylor as the deeply weird Lady with a Cake Box. Her scene with Charles Sy and her “husband” was perhaps the most weirdly disturbing moment in the whole piece.” Opera Ramblings
“Gwenna Fairchild-Taylor as the Lady with the Cake Box was pushed in a somewhat comical direction by the production but she sang with great conviction & pathos.” Barczablog
Footsteps in Campbell House:
“Fairchild-Taylor brings brings heartfelt sadness to a lyrical aria of mourning.” Now Magazine
Tapestry Songbook VI:
“I am not sure if whoever decided to match Mr. MacArthur with soprano Gwenna Fairchild-Taylor knew they were giving birth to comedic gold, but their scene from “The Colony” was one of the most hilarious opera excerpts I have ever seen.” Mooney on theatre