Miriam Khalil is an acclaimed Lebanese-Canadian soprano specializing in opera and concert performance. She has been lauded as a “skilled, versatile artist” with a “signature warm lyrical voice” by Musical Toronto, described as “dark, dangerous and alluring” by Opera Going Toronto, and praised for “making her fine soprano express every emotion with exactness and feeling” by the Globe and Mail.
Miriam is a graduate of the prestigious Canadian Opera Company Ensemble Studio, the Ravinia Steans Institute for Young Artists and the Britten-Pears Young Artist Programme in England. While in her last year of the COC Ensemble Studio, she advanced to the semi-finals of the Metropolitan Opera Council auditions and represented the Great Lakes Region on the Met stage, during which she was featured in the documentary film The Audition. She is a recipient of multiple awards and grants from the George London Foundation, the Canada Council for the Arts, Ontario Arts Council and the Metropolitan Opera National Council Audition Scholarships.
Miriam has appeared on numerous opera stages across Canada and Europe, including a stint at the renowned Glyndebourne Festival Opera in the United Kingdom. Notable roles include Mimi in La bohème (Minnesota Opera, Opera Hamilton and Against the Grain Theatre); Musetta in La bohème (Edmonton Opera); Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni (Opera Tampa and Against the Grain Theatre/The Banff Centre/Ottawa International Chamber Music Festival); Mélisande in Pelléas et Mélisande (Against the Grain Theatre); the Governess in The Turn of the Screw (Against the Grain Theatre); Cleopatra in Giulio Cesare (Glyndebourne Festival Opera, U.K.); Almirena in Rinaldo (Glyndebourne Festival Opera, U.K.); and Susanna in Le Nozze di Figaro (Pacific Opera Victoria, Opera Lyra Ottawa and Against the Grain Theatre).
Equally at home on the concert stage, Miriam has been a frequent recitalist in Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. She has performed a variety of repertoire with orchestras across Canada including oratorio, song and opera galas. These include Symphony Nova Scotia, Victoria Symphony, Thunder Bay Symphony, Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra, Thunder Bay Symphony and Sudbury Symphony.
She is a proud founding member of the Dora Mavor Moore Award-winning chamber opera company Against the Grain Theatre (AtG). With vision and dedication, AtG explores diverse and innovative ways of presenting opera to new and familiar audiences. Miriam is delighted to help shape “one of the most important opera companies in Canada” (Calgary Herald).
This season Miriam looks forward to making her Minnesota Opera debut as Mimi, returning to the concert stages of Victoria Symphony in Handel’s Messiah, and Thunder Bay Symphony’s ‘A Night at the Opera’. With Against the Grain Theatre she performed Golijov’s haunting song cycle Ayre following her highly acclaimed performances of the same work at the Banff Centre and Ottawa International Chamber Festival. She looks forward to appearing in Edmonton Opera’s 2018 season.
|Bernstein||Maria||WEST SIDE STORY|
|Britten||Governess||THE TURN OF THE SCREW|
|Debussy||Mélisande||PELLÉAS ET MÉLISANDE|
COSI FAN TUTTE
|Prokofiev||Fata Morgana||L’AMOUR DES TROIS ORANGES|
|Purcell||Dido||DIDO AND AENEAS|
|Zeller||Empress Elizabeth||THE BIRD SELLER|
|Bach, J.S.||Christ Lag in Todesbanden|
|Chausson||Chanson de la Mer et de l’Amour
|Daniels||Neruda Canciones (Canadian)|
|Haydn||Mass in Time of War|
|Barber||The Hermit Songs|
|de Falla||Siete canciones populares españolas|
|Granados||La maja dolorosa I, II, III|
|Hétu||Les clartés de la nuit (Canadian)|
|Messiaen||Poème pour Mi|
|Obradors||Canciones clàsicas espaňol|
|Schubert||Suleika I & II|
“Khalil has one of the most attractively-coloured sopranos I’ve heard in some time. The voice is lustrous and velvety, big without being strident, and remarkably even throughout its range. Top notes are plush, but it’s her port-wine, beautifully supported low register that stands out. There’s something in her beguiling, sensual timbre and even her countenance — expressive dark eyes in a heart-shaped face — that brings to mind a young Victoria de los Angeles.” [Ottawa Recital] Ottawa Citizen, Natasha Gauthier
“Miriam Khalil wheedles, begs, suffers and rages as Elvira, the jilted lover, making her fine soprano express every emotion with exactness and feeling.” [Against the Grain Theatre, Uncle John] The Globe and Mail, Robert Harris
“Miriam Khalil is Elvira, dark, dangerous and alluring, her fiery sound ablaze with passion. A skilled, versatile artist, Khalil’s voice entrances, a kaleidoscope of tumbled emotion.” [Against the Grain Theatre, Uncle John] Opera Going Toronto, Ian Ritchie
“And Miriam Khalil was the ideal Elvira. Vengeful, torn by her love for John, and downright upset in every scene, she handled every virtuoso aspect of the role with no problem. Thanks to her, (and Joel Ivany’s great writing) the opera bounds along with narrative briskness. In Elvira’s world, she’s a constant party crasher of John’s plans, and for that reason she is perfectly cast – in the act one quartet (Anna, Elvira, Ottavio, John) the balance is very good in spite of singers being spread out across a distance of more than ten metres, and in the open air acoustic. I enjoyed the transladaptation of this scene, and Miriam Khalil in particular, not just here but throughout.” [Banff, Uncle John] Opera Blog, Stephan Bonfield
“Miriam Khalil is a lovely Mélisande. Dressed by designer Ming Wong in a gown like an ancient women’s chiton with her long dark hair in ringlets, Khalil looked like she has stepped out of a painting by Edward Burne-Jones. Her crystal-clear soprano with its hint of darkness perfectly suited the mysteriously withdrawn young woman. Khalil is not as fragile a Mélisande as some but fully communicated her character’s sense of oppression that even she does not fully understand.” [Pelléas et Mélisande – Against the Grain Theatre] Stage Door, Christopher Hoile
“Miriam Khalil, who seemed as if she had stepped right out of Monet’s Garden at Sainte-Adresse as Mélisande incarnate. Her signature warm lyrical voice countered the lower male voices to great effect.” [Pelléas et Mélisande – Against the Grain Theatre] Musical Toronto, Michael Vincent
“Singing the role of Mélisande, soprano Miriam Khalil gently floats her clear, buoyant voice on the ebb and flow of Debussy’s wistful music, lovingly capturing the vulnerability and grace of the ethereal princess. Her rendition of Melisande’s enchanting semi a cappella air Mes longs cheveux descendent (“My long hair falls down”), one of the few aria-flavoured solos in an opera built almost entirely on speech-inflected recitative, is exquisitely beautiful.” [Pelléas et Mélisande – Against the Grain Theatre] Opera Going Toronto, Ian Ritchie
Miriam Khalil is a lovely Mélisande. Dressed by designer Ming Wong in a gown like an ancient women’s chiton with her long dark hair in ringlets, Khalil looked like she has stepped out of a painting by Edward Burne-Jones. Her crystal-clear soprano with its hint of darkness perfectly suited the mysteriously withdrawn young woman. Khalil is not as fragile a Mélisande as some but fully communicated her character’s sense of oppression that even she does not fully understand. [Pelléas et Mélisande – Against the Grain Theatre] Stage Door, Christopher Hoile
“Miriam Khalil’s Mélisande is delicate, vulnerable, and breathtaking. She is a joy to hear.” [Pelléas et Mélisande – Against the Grain Theatre] Charlebois Post, Ramya Jegatheesan
“The piece is anchored by the Mélisande of Miriam Khalil. She conveys the fragility of the character beautifully while singing with a gorgeous rich, but not over heavy, tone.” [Pelléas et Mélisande – Against the Grain Theatre] Opera Ramblings
“Miriam Khalil’s Mélisande was not a waif, but a woman of flesh and blood, her lovely, dark-hued lyric soprano conveyed the proper mix of innocence, mystery and allure.” [Pelléas et Mélisande – Against the Grain Theatre] Opera Canada
“Soprano Miriam Khalil shows us once again why she’s one of Canada’s best young sopranos. Her voice is silky, smoky, and so very expressive. Coupled with her strong acting choices and her remarkably exotic look…” [Pelléas et Mélisande – Against the Grain Theatre] Schmopera, Greg Finney
“Similarly Miriam Khalil’s was a very poised Mélisande, inscrutably beautiful, vocally secure.” [Pelléas et Mélisande – Against the Grain Theatre] Barczablog, Peter Barcza
“Soprano Miriam Khalil, an especially adroit and polished comedienne, is bright and spunky as Susanna, though the richness of her sound hints that there are hidden depths to this soubrette.”
Victoria Times Colonist, Kevin Bazzana
“Khalil had gorgeous vocal tones, particularly in her lower register. She has the capacity to soar above the waves of music as well as ground us in the quieter passages.”
The Chronicle Journal, Michael Sobota [Raminsh, Missa Brevis in C]
“The triumph of the evening went to Miriam Khalil’s Mimi. Singing with ease and conviction, her dusky tone voice easily dominated the theatre even with a whisper. She was also a consummate actress with great diction. My friend who is hard of hearing did not always know what was going on, but understood every word Mimi said.”
The Charlebois Post-Canada, Axel Van Chee [La boheme]
“Khalil has a gorgeous, romantic, arching sound that immediately commands the ear. Hers is truly a beautiful and distinctive voice.”
Opera Canada, Paula Citron
“George Frideric Handel made Popera’s A-list this year with Khalil effectively capturing the mood changes in Piangero from Giulio Cesare.”
The Hamilton Spectator, Leonard Turnevicius [Giulio Cesare]
“The trio of Puccini excerpts came across with the composer’s intended love and happy discovery of this famous relationship. In Mimi’s aria, soloist and conductor immediately settled into the ebb and flow, producing a memorable result. Highlights included…Khalil’s reverently thoughtful Song to the Moon.”
S. James Wegg, JWR 2009
“Miriam Khalil provided a wonderful afternoon of French art songs and operatic arias, as well as two well-received encores following a standing ovation from our large, enthusiastic audience”
“Someone to watch is Soprano Miriam Khalil, who has a strong stage presence and voice.”
Toronto Star, John Terauds
“Miss Khalil, new this season, is a real find.”
The Globe and Mail, Ken Winters
“An unexpected highlight was the duet from West Side Story, featuring a lovely Maria in Miriam Khalil who is vocally suited to this repertoire.”
La Scena Musicale, Joseph So
“There was a little moment last night where Miriam Khalil sang the word “joy” in such a way that it produced joy in one’s heart.”
Whole Note Magazine, Andrew Porter
“The richness of Khalil’s tones … are a fine contrast to the bustle and overt passion of the group numbers.”
The Ottawa Citizen, Iris Winston
Song to the Moon from Rusalka by Antonin Dvorak
“Lascia chio pianga” from Rinaldo by Handel
Miriam Khalil performs “A Night at the Opera” with the Thunder Bay Symphony Orchestra singing arias and duets of Puccini, Verdi, and more on February 23.
Miriam Khalil sings Mimì in La Bohème with the Minnesota Opera. The opera opens on May 6 and runs through May 21.