Miriam Khalil


Miriam Khalil


Canadian Citizen

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 Ludwig Van 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.

Refusing to be categorized, Ms. Khalil’s 2019-2020 season moves easily from the works of Puccini to a re-imagined Handel mashup by Canadian composer Kevin Lau. She reprises Mimì in La bohème for Calgary Opera, stars as Rosina (Countess) in Figaro’s Wedding for Against the Grain Theatre, sings the role of Hanna Glawari in Lehar’s Merry Widow with Brott Music Festival and Osvaldo Golijov’s critically acclaimed song cycle Ayre for Koerner Hall’s 21C Music Festival. Last season she appeared as Mimì in La bohème for the Canadian Opera Company, Marzelline in Beethoven’s Fidelio for Pacific Opera Victoria, and was featured by the Victoria Symphony in their Viennese New Years gala. She was also heard in Mahler’s Rückert Lieder for the Thunder Bay Symphony and performed Osvaldo Golijov’s Ayre with Pacific Opera Victoria and the Aventa Ensemble.

The busy soprano made her Washington DC debut with UrbanArias as Mamah Cheney in Daron Hagen’s opera Shining Brow; her Fargo-Moorhead Opera debut in the title role of Handel’s Alcina, and was featured in a special project for the Vancouver Symphony premiering music by Bramwell Tovey, among others. She also returned to the Banff Centre for the Arts and Creativity to sing Eurydice in Orphée + by Gluck/ Berlioz and was heard for the Rockport Music Festival in Massachusetts in Ayre, a work that earned her a Juno Nomination, and also marked her South American debut in Buenos Aires, where she gave the Argentinian premiere. She has also performed Golijov’s cycle to critical acclaim in Banff, Ottawa and Toronto and it has become her signature piece.

Miriam is a graduate of the prestigious Canadian Opera Company Ensemble Studio, the Steans Institute for Young Artists (Ravinia) and the Britten-Bears Young Artist Programme. While in her last year of the COC Ensemble, 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 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.

The Ottawa native 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 Mimì 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 oratorios, song cycles and opera galas with orchestras across Canada including Symphony Nova Scotia, Victoria Symphony, Thunder Bay Symphony, Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra 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 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).

September 2019


Bernstein Maria WEST SIDE STORY
Bizet Frasquita/Micaëla CARMEN
Britten Governess THE TURN OF THE SCREW
Guerrero Adriana LOS GAVILANES
Hagen Mamah Cheney SHINING BROW
Handel Almirena RINALDO
Mozart Pamina
Puccini Mimi/Musetta LA BOHÈME
Rolfe, James Leah SWOON
Torroba Carolina LUISA FERNANDO
Wilson Elizabeth D’Aulnières KAMOURASKA
Zeller Empress Elizabeth THE BIRD SELLER


Bach, J.S. Christ Lag in Todesbanden
Brahms Deutsches Requiem
Chausson Chanson de la Mer et de l’Amour
Chanson Perpetuelle
Daniels Neruda Canciones (Canadian)
Golijov Ayre
Handel Messiah
Haydn Mass in Time of War
Louie Songs of Enchantment (Canadian)
Mahler Rückert Lieder
Mendelssohn Elijah
Mozart Exultate Jubilate
Pergolesi Stabat Mater
Ravel Shéhérazade
Szymanowski Stabat Mater
Vivaldi Gloria


Barber The Hermit Songs
Brahms Acht Zigeunerlieder
Debussy Ariettes oubliées
de Falla Siete canciones populares españolas
Granados La maja dolorosa I, II, III
Hétu Les clartés de la nuit (Canadian)
Mercure Dissidence
Messiaen Poème pour Mi
Obradors Canciones clàsicas espaňol
Poulenc Airs Chantés
  Fêtes Galantes
Respighi Italian Songs
Schubert Suleika I & II
  Mignon Lieder

“[Khalil] was vocally the most compelling of the cast. With a voice high and strong enough to bring full emotion to the big passages, Khalil also possesses a strong middle register and a memorable beauty of tone colour. This was a portrayal of Mimi that she can, so to speak, take to the bank: many companies will be happy to have Mimi as natural on stage as this, and who can bring a tear to the eye in moments of passion or pathos.” [La bohème, Calgary Opera] Kenneth Delong, Calgary Herald

“The soloist is the extraordinary Canadian soprano Miriam Khalil… Golijov has said Khalil “takes it to a whole new place.” She delivers the Arabic texts with unmatchable authenticity.”
[Ayre Live, CD by Against the Grain Records] Joshua Rosenblum, Opera News

“… Khalil, who speaks fluent Arabic and even grew up singing some of the songs Golijov chose, performs this cycle with a personal understanding that makes this recording a mature iteration of the work.
… Few singers have the stamina or the stylistic palette that Khalil employs throughout Ayre, and it’s even more impressive when one remembers this is a live recording.
… As an opera singer, Khalil spends her voice generously in Golijov’s stretchy, hovering soprano lines. And unlike an opera singer, she sets few limits on how she uses her instrument. She begins the cycle with a sound that’s close to a Western classical voice, one that could translate into a recital of songs by Debussy or Schubert; but over Goliov’s expansive arc, she moves her voice into the technically risky sound worlds of chest voice and nasal production. As the styles intertwine, it’s astonishingly organic to hear her womanly, spinning vibrato hover over an electronic beat that is totally danceable.”
[Ayre Live, CD by Against the Grain Records] Jenna Simeonov, Globe and Mail

“Miriam Khalil is clearly at home in European and a range of other musical traditions. Her performance on this album shows her to be more than a singer: she is an elemental force. There are no missteps here as each song is performed with dramatic depth, a nuanced understanding of the range of emotions and tones required by poetry and music.”
[Ayre Live, CD by Against the Grain Records] Freddy Dominguez, Opera Wire

“…perfectly cast beloved Miriam Khalil, the ideal voice for the pastoral Eurydice […] Ms. Khalil, for her part, is gentle and understated, but carries enormous sympathy throughout the final act and involving believability, a result of subtle creamy dark-roast vocal timbre combined with an ease of lyrical technique.”
[Orphée+, Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity, Opera Columbus, Against the Grain Theatre]
Stephan Bonfield, Calgary Herald

“Most of all, the evening belonged to Miriam Khalil, the singer in Ayres, described as a soprano in the program, but that’s sort of like calling Niagara Falls a water feature. She had a range in notes, and expressive scope far beyond the usual soprano, a sense of drama and motion in her voice, in her whole body that was utterly captivating. It was nearly a one-woman show, a cycle of politics, love, folklore, tragedy and ecstasy.  As somebody who previously was an admirer rather than a lover of Golijov’s music, I was won over. It takes a performer like her to tie together what can seem to be a bit too much of curation rather than inspiration. But she found the thread. Worth hearing more of on all counts.”
[­Golijov Ayre, Opening Night at 2018 Rockport Chamber Music Festival] Arthur Smith, afewreasonablewords.com

“At its center, the Lebanese-Canadian soprano Miriam Khalil fearlessly embodied the parade of characters represented in these songs, spinning out tales of ancient battles with an urgency and charisma that made them feel like yesterday’s news.”
[­Golijov Ayre, Opening Night at 2018 Rockport Chamber Music Festival] Jeremy Eichler, Boston Globe

“Soprano Miriam Khalil is Noor Haddad, simultaneously vulnerable and proud, reflective and defiant. Her haunting air,  ‘Ah! My soul is trembling with fear,’ memorably set to ‘Ah! Mio cor, schernito sei!’ from Alcina glows with lustrous expression. Wrapping the piece in an extraordinary melismatic Middle Eastern-tinted coda, Khalil entrances.”
Bound, Against the Grain Theatre] Ian Ritchie, Opera Going Toronto

“I especially liked the sultry Miriam Khalil as Mamah Cheney … Khalil showed a remarkable ability to modulate the soprano lines, and her soft vocalizes especially delighted me…”
Shining Brow, Urban Arias] Susan Galbraith, DC Theatre Scene

“In ‘Frank, how much longer must I endure…?,’ Khalil’s powerful voice shake even herself into a true realization of what kind of a man Lloyd Wright is.”
Shining Brow, Urban Arias] Em Skow, DC Metro Theatre Arts

“Highest praise goes to soprano Miriam Khalil, whose sinewy vocal strength and dark-hued tone brought out the sultry side of the potentially unsympathetic character of Mamah, the unfaithful wife. In the letter scene (‘Frank, how much longer must I endure’) at the end of the second act, Khalil’s suavely soft tone and stage presence communicated some of the enthralling power of the woman over the architect.”
Shining Brow, Urban Arias] Charles T. Downey, Washington Classical Review

“…Miriam Khalil’s Mameh Cheney, who exudes a charming allure to match a voice of equally lush timbre. Khalil’s aria ‘Even Now I Hear An Echo’ stops the show with its stunning melodic moments and sense of genuine desperation.”
Shining Brow, Urban Arias] Erin Ridge, MD Theatre Guide

“The string of songs was woven by the Lebanese-Canadian soprano, Miriam Khalil with enormous voice versatility and formidable stage presence: her capacity marvelled from the sweetest lyrical song and lullaby to the harshness of a harsh war cry. Her diction also allowed us to refer to the different languages that the work includes, ranging from a Sephardic cradle song or an Arabian hymn to a Santaolalla song in exquisite Castilian.”
Ayre, Against the Grain Theatre] Virginia Chacon Dorr, La Nacion

“The voice that really stole the show was the rich, melodious and plummy tones from Miriam Khalil as Adriana. Right from her first entrance, she sang with the ease and grace of a seasoned pro. Throughout the performance, her character became more and more real. By the end, her final scene ‘No merece ser feliz’ (‘He does not deserve happiness’) enraptured the audience and was met with thunderous, well-deserved applause. Ms. Khalil is a force to be reckoned with and I look forward to hearing more from her in the future.”
[Los Gavilanes, Toronto Operetta Theatre] Jenna Douglas, Schmpoera.com

“A fine cast of principals reacts to Giovanni’s felonious deeds… Miriam Khalil as Donna Elvira masters a difficult love-hate aria with a tragic urgency.”
Don Giovanni, Tampa Opera Festival] Andrew Meacham, Tampa Bay Times

“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] Natasha Gauthier, Ottawa Citizen

“Miriam Khalil wheedles, begs, suffers and rages as Elvira, the jilted lover, making her fine soprano express every emotion with exactness and feeling.”
Uncle John, Against the Grain Theatre] Robert Harris, The Globe and Mail

“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.”
Uncle John, Against the Grain Theatre] Ian Ritchie, Opera Going Toronto

“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 adaptation of this scene, and Miriam Khalil in particular, not just here but throughout.”
Uncle John, Against the Grain Theatre] Stephan Bonfield, Opera Blog

“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] Christopher Hoile, Stage Door

“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] Michael Vincent, Musical Toronto

“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] Ian Ritchie, Opera Going Toronto

“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] Greg Finney, Schmopera.com

“Similarly Miriam Khalil’s was a very poised Mélisande, inscrutably beautiful, vocally secure.”
Pelléas et Mélisande, Against the Grain Theatre] Peter Barcza, Barczablog

“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.”
[­The Marriage of Figaro, Pacific Opera Victoria] Kevin Bazzana, Victoria Times Colonist

“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.”
Missa Brevis in C, Raminsh] Michael Sobota, The Chronicle Journal

“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.”
La Bohème] Axel Van Chee, The Charlebois Post-Canada

“Khalil has a gorgeous, romantic, arching sound that immediately commands the ear. Hers is truly a beautiful and distinctive voice.”
La Bohème] Paula Citron, Opera Canada

“George Frideric Handel made Popera’s A-list this year with Khalil effectively capturing the mood changes in Piangero from Giulio Cesare.”
Giulio Cesare, Hamilton Opera] Leonard Turnevicius, The Hamilton Spectator

“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.’”
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”
OperaBuffs News

“Someone to watch is Soprano Miriam Khalil, who has a strong stage presence and voice.”
John Terauds, Toronto Star

“Miss Khalil, new this season, is a real find.”
Ken Winters, The Globe and Mail

“An unexpected highlight was the duet from West Side Story, featuring a lovely Maria in Miriam Khalil who is vocally suited to this repertoire.”
Joseph So, La Scena Musicale

“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.”
Andrew Porter, Whole Note Magazine

“The richness of Khalil’s tones… are a fine contrast to the bustle and overt passion of the group numbers.”
Iris Winston, The Ottawa Citizen


Miriam’s CD with Agains the Grain Records, Ayre: Live, continues to get rave reviews! Check out the thoughtful article written by Joshua Rosenblum on the August, 2019 print issue of Opera News here.

Miriam sings as Mimì in the Canadian Opera Company’s La bohème. Her performances are on May 5, 11 and 22, 2019. coc.ca

Miriam is Marzelline in Pacific Opera Victoria’s upcoming production of Beethoven’s Fidelio. Performances are from October 11 through 21, 2018. Then, in a back-to-back engagement with the POV, she sings Golijov’s song cycle Ayre from October 25 through 28. pov.bc.ca/fidelio

Miriam sang with the Vancouver Symphony including a world-premiere of Bramwell Tovey’s new work, The Girl for Sale. Concert on May 13, 2018.

Miriam Khalil sings the title role in Handel’s Alcina with the Fargo Moorhead Opera. Performances run February 9 – 11, 2018.


Miriam sings selections of Golijov’s Ayre at the 2019 CBC Juno Awards ceremony

Ayre by Osvaldo Golijov at the 2018 Rockport Chamber Music Festival

‘I Know That My Redeemer Liveth’ from Handel’s Messiah

‘How Beautiful Are The Feet’ from Handel’s Messiah

‘Then Shall the Eyes of the Blind be Opened’ from Handel’s Messiah

‘Song to the Moon’ from Rusalka by Antonin Dvorak

‘Songs of Enchantment’ by Alexina Louie

“Lascia chio pianga” from Rinaldo by Handel