TRYPTYCH CONCERT AND OPERA
Brampton, Ontario born Edward Franko has distinguished himself as one of Canada's most energetic and experienced stage directors. His career has also included stints as producer, artistic director, educator, actor and lyric tenor. Mr. Franko has been hailed for his vivid imagination and his unique interpretations of theatre, traditional and contemporary opera and musical theatre. He has developed a large operatic directing repertoire while working with Opera Anonymous, TrypTych, Opera York, Opera Mississauga, Westben Arts Festival Theatre and many others. His innovative stagings have included successful productions of Menotti's The Consul, Menotti's The Medium, Stravinsky's The Rake's Progress; Puccini's Il Tabarro, Mozart's Cosi Fan Tutte, Fiddler on the Roof and Puccini's La Boheme.
Mr. Franko has been instrumental in the formation and development of such groups as Songstar Productions, Opera Anonymous (where he acted as chairman of the board, managing director and production director) and TrypTych, a group he co-founded along with William Shookhoff and Lenard Whiting. With TrypTych, he heads TrypTych Concert and Opera division. He has directed Poulenc's La Voix Humaine, Mihalovici's operatic version of Krapp's Last Tape, and Weisgall's operatic version of The Stranger. As well, he has directed the play Krapp Last's Tape by Samuel Beckett and the play The Stronger by August Strindberg. Mr. Franko directed and performed in Mahagonny Songspiel for Tryptych.
He has created and produced a series of cabaret concerts including A Song in My Heart, Heart and Soulstice, Love Notes, The Sound of Sondheim. A Holly Jolly Christmas Cabaret, A Little Fright Music and many others. Mr. Franko also directed Opera Anonymous' English language world premiere of Joseph Quesnel's Lucas et Cecile at the Glenn Gould Studio which garnered rave reviews. He has directed the Canadian Premiere of Frid's The Diary of Anne Frank to critical acclaim. He directed the world premiere of Andrew Ager's Frankenstein to great critical acclaim. He also directed the first staged performance of Mark Richards' Hamlet (abridged).
He made his successful European directorial debut with his original production of Frid's The Diary of Anne Frank at the Three Rings Festival in Prague, Czech Republic. As well, he stage directed Britten's The Beggar's Opera as part of the Summer Opera School in Chichester, Great Britain.
He helped spearhead the Toronto International Chamber Music Festival, which made its debut in the summer of 2003, returned in 2004 and 2006. As producer, director and performer, he, along with his partners Lenard Whiting and William Shookhoff, presented a series of original programs featuring artists from Australia, Austria, Germany, United States, Canada and England.
Active as an opera educator, Mr. Franko has worked with The Royal Conservatory of Music, Toronto (Rodelinda, Magic Flute); Creative Artist's Productions (Cosi Fan Tutte, The Impresario, Orpheus in the Underworld, Old Maid and the Thief ); Opera Anonymous (Abduction from the Seraglio) and JHS Opera (Il Trittico, Lucia di Lamermoor). He has been a regular contributor to Pro Voce's annual opera/vocal workshop for many years. He has acted as stage director for Yoriko and Her Shooting Stars in Ottawa, a programme aimed at educating youth about opera, and that has featured the esteemed Stuart Hamilton as narrator. As well, he has acted as the original Artistic Director of Bytown Opera Works (Ottawa, Ontario).
With TrypTych, he has helped develop its workshop division and has stage directed Rigoletto, The Tales of Hoffman, The Most Happy Fella, The Boys from Syracuse, A Kurt Weill Kabaret, Send in the Sondheim, Little Women and many others. He has directed Adamo's Little Women with Halifax Summer Opera Workshop in 2009 and returned in 2012 to be a mentor for first-time opera directors as well as present master classes in operatic performance.
TrypTych has partnered with Cathedral Bluffs Symphony Orchestra going on five years, and in that time has presented Don Giovanni, Il Tabarro, Gianni Schicchi, Amahl and the Night Visitors and Suor Angelica under the stage direction of Mr. Franko. Christmas 2017 TrypTych will present a new production of Hansel and Gretel.
Mr. Franko has been stage director since 2015 for Opera Belcanto of York directing La Boheme, La Traviata and Madame Butterfly. He returns next season for Lucia di Lammermoor and the following season for Aida.
As a professional tenor, Mr. Franko has many oratorio and opera roles to his credit. In oratorio, he has been heard in Messiah, Mozart's Requiem, Elgar's Coronation Ode, Haydn's St. Cecilia Mass and many others. His operatic roles include Lensky in Eugene Onegin, Charles Darwin in The Leviathan Hook, Charlie in Weill's Mahagonny Songspiel and the lead fowl in Doolittle's Charlie the Chicken. He has made many cabaret appearances in shows including Another Opening, Another Show, Life is a Cabaret, Heart Songs, Heart and Soulstice, Brush up Your Tenor, Holly Jolly Christmas Cabaret and many others. He has performed with the Canadian Opera Company, Opera Ontario, Opera York, Opera Anonymous, Maritime Concert Opera and many others.
Mr. Franko continues an active performing career and has developed a series of eclectic programs. These include A Tale of Two Tenors, A Tale of Two Tenors 2, To Lucia with Love, Lotza Lanza and Za'more and A Two Tenor Tribute to Tattie. These popular and audience-friendly programs have been seen across Ontario.
Edward has been a proud member of Canadian Actors' Equity Association for 25 years.
ENSEMBLE TRYPTYCH CHAMBER CHOIR
Ontario born, Lenard Witing has sung professionally for the past
two decades. Over the course of his distinguished career he has
worked with the Canadian Opera Company, Opera in Concert, Vancouver
Opera Company, Toronto Operetta Theatre, Summer Opera Lyric Theatre,
Opera Anonymous, Opera York, Maritime Concert Opera in Nova Scotia
and Opera Mississauga.
His many oratorio performances include Bach’s St. Matthew
and St. John Passion, Weihnachts Oratorium and Magnificat, Britten’s
St. Nicholas, Dvorak’s Stabat Mater, Handel’s Messiah
and Ode on the Death of Queen Elizabeth, Haydn’s Creation
and various Masses, Mendelssohn’s Lobgesang and Elijah,
Mozart’s Requiem, Masses and Vespers, Puccini’s Messa
di Gloria and Vaughan Williams' Hodie and Serenade to Music.
Among his memorable appearances were an evening celebrating English
composers, most notably Benjamin Britten, at an Opera Anonymous/Tryptych
Concert and Opera's performance in Toronto, and at a highly successful
presentation of Sir Edward Elgar's Dream of Gerontius, one of
the greatest choral works to come from a British composer since
Purcell, brought to Toronto audiences by the Pax Christi Chorale
with Lenard singing the part of Gerontius.
Equally at ease with lieder recitals, particularly with his interpretation
of Franz Schubert's Die Winterreise and Schumann's Dichterliebe,
Lenard represented Canada at a four-continent-wide Chamber Music
Festival, Lebensstürme, which had a most successful inauguration
in May 2001 in Austria and which immediately resulted in an invitation
for Lenard to participate again in 2002 in Austria, Australia,
Canada, and Japan.
Lenard's repertoire includes Bruckner's Mass in F minor, recitals
in Eastbourne, Chichester and Portsmouth, England, the Festival
in Austria, and a concert series with Princess Caroline Murat
of Monaco, performances at Place des Artes, Montreal. In July
2002 Lenard was a featured soloist in a gala concert presented
to Pope John Paul II during his visit to Toronto. He has performed in the Toronto International Chamber Music Festival,
where, among other things, he sang the Canadian premiere of Andrew
Ager's Campfire in the Sun song cycle. He has also performed with Consort Carititis' European tours performing in Hungary, Slovakia, Czech Republic and Austria.
Lenard has been a regular performer with Maritime Concert Opera since its inception singing the lead tenor roles in Cavelleria Rusticana, Madama Butterfly, Carmen and others. He has also been seen with Opera Nova Scotia in Mozart's Zaide and The Abduction from the Seraglio. As well, as the popular show Opera Valenitine. He also regularly performs with Opera by Request in Toronto singing the lead roles in Tosca, Manon, La Forza del Destino, and Siegfried. He has regularly performed with TrypTych Concert and Opera. His many roles included the world premiere of Andrew Ager's Frankenstein in the role of Victor Frankenstein; Pete in Doolittle's Boiler Room Suite; Attila in Verdi's Attila, Der Corrigedor in the Canadian premiere of Wolf's Der Corrigedor; and many others.Lenard has also been on staff as a vocal coach with Halifax Summer Opera Workshop for two seasons.
Lenard was born in Kenora, Ontario, and educated at the Faculty
of Music at the University of Toronto. He is an alumnus of the Canadian Opera Company Ensemble and the Univeristy of Toronto Opera Division. As well, he had the honour of working with famed Canadian tenor Leopold Simoneau in the summer program Opera Piccola in Victoria, BC. Mr Whiting also spent two summers studying in the opera program at the Banff School of Arts.
He lives in Toronto where
he is also active as a conductor and music educator He has been on staff as an instructor at University of Toronto, Scarborough College for a number years where he leads a number of choral ensembles and teaches music theory and appreciation. He has also been a choral and vocal instructor at Redeemer College in Ancaster, Ontario. For a number of years, he acted as assistant conductor for The Toronto Welsh Male Voice Choir.
As co-founder/producer of TrypTych
Concert and Opera,
he directs Ensemble Tryptych Chamber Choir, where he has conducted numerous programs including Messiah, Puccini's Messa di Gloria, Gounod's Messe Solenelle, Saint-Saens Mass for 4 voices, Widor's Mass and many others. He regularly performs with Edward Franko and Brett Kingsbury in an entertaining series of programs which include A Tale of Two Tenors, A Tale of Two Tenors 2, To Lucia with Love, Lotza Lanza and Za'more and A Two Tenor Tribute to Tattie.
He is also church organist and choir director at Trinity Presbyterian
Church, Toronto where leads the weekly worship and an enthusiastic and dedicated choir. As well, Mr. Whiting enjoys the occassional opportunity to perform organ concerts in Toronto, Barrie, Kenora and Stratford. Lenard enthusiastically shares his passion of
music with all with whom he comes in contact.