Opera Sustenida was formed in 2020 out of a desire to bring engaging and illuminating operatic performances to the public in a safe and engaging manner. The ensemble features the talents of Canadian musicians Stephanie DeCiantis (spinto soprano), Nicole Whitney Dubinsky (coloratura soprano), Daniella Theresia (mezzo-soprano), and Suzanne Yeo (pianist). “The Divas,” as they like to refer to themselves, have created an innovative online concert format that incorporates beautifully edited video performances with informative live chat segments. Audience members can also interact with The Divas in real-time during their concerts, thanks to their livestream format. All aspects of concert creation and production are handled “in-house” by The Divas, including virtual stage direction and video effects and editing by Ms. DeCiantis.
The Folks Behind It All
Stephanie DeCiantis, spinto soprano
Stephanie DeCiantis is a Canadian soprano gaining attention for her “powerful” sound (Jake Evans, the Intelligencer) and “lush musical ebb and flow” (Opera Canada). Recent performances include virtual concerts with the Southern Ontario Lyric Opera, Opera Sustenida, and as Donna Elvira in Brott Opera’s digital production of Don Giovanni. She has previously appeared as Nedda in Southern Ontario Lyric Opera’s production of Pagliacci (Leoncavallo), and as Senta and Leonora in Opera by Request’s productions of Der fliegende Holländer (Wagner) and Il trovatore (Verdi), respectively. Ms. DeCiantis is thrilled to be returning to live performance with the Kindred Spirits Orchestra in Toronto, appearing as the soprano soloist in Shostakovich’s exciting Symphony No. 14 in September 2021. In addition to being a founding member of and performer in Opera Sustenida’s concerts, Ms. DeCiantis also creates and directs the ensemble’s unique virtual staging, and edits each piece to create universally accessible and dynamic performances.
Nicole Whitney Dubinsky, coloratura soprano
Nicole Whitney Dubinsky has been praised for her “warm, engaging soprano voice and excellent, nuanced dramatic presentation” (Weill Music Institute). Currently, Ms. Dubinsky is looking forward to recording and premiering the role of Mirella in The Lion Heart, a new original opera written by Canadian composer/librettist duo Corey Arnold and Kyle MacDonald. During the 2019-2020 season, Ms. Dubinsky was thrilled to sing the role of Lucy in Toronto City Opera’s video broadcast of Menotti’s The Telephone. She was also invited to share the stage with the Paskke String Quartet in concert and was delighted to perform the rare triple role of Olympia, Giulietta, and Antonia in Toronto City Opera’s production of Les contes d’Hoffmann. Ms. Dubinsky has sung the iconic Queen of the Night role (Die Zauberflöte) with Opera York, Premiere Productions Ottawa, the Accademia Europea dell’Opera in Amsterdam, and in Opera Laurier’s 100th Anniversary production. As a founding member and contributor to Opera Sustenida, she continues to perform celebrated arias, duets, and ensembles in their virtual concerts, and serves as the group’s public liaison.
Daniella Theresia, mezzo-soprano
Daniella Theresia, mezzo-soprano, is a founding member, performer, audio editor, and primary copywriter for Opera Sustenida. Since moving to Canada in 2017, she has appeared as a soloist and ensemble member throughout the Greater Toronto Area with such organizations and companies as the Etobicoke Centennial Choir, Opera for All, Opera by Request (as Unulfo in Rodelinda and Idamante in Idomeneo), Toronto City Opera (as Marcellina in Le nozze di Figaro), and Toronto Masque Theatre (as Alto I in the chorus of Dido & Aeneas/Aeneas and Dido). With pianist Suzanne Yeo, she co-hosts The Art Song Podcast, whose inaugural series “The Eternal Feminine Podcast Series” explored the lives and works of female composers and poets. Ms. Theresia has released two solo CDs: Alma Mahler in the Mediterranean, a celebration of Mediterranean languages, cultures, and stories; and The Eternal Feminine (with Yeo), which includes selections from American composer Lori Laitman’s song set The Years.
Suzanne Yeo, pianist
Suzanne Yeo is a Toronto-based collaborative pianist. Since her return to music after a stint as a doctoral candidate in the German department at Princeton University, she obtained her M.Mus. in piano performance from the University of Toronto and has since appeared regularly in concerts in Toronto and the GTA. In 2019, Ms. Yeo was a Vocal Collaborative Fellow at the Miami Music Festival, where she was the répétiteur and recitative player for Le nozze di Figaro, and has also worked as a conductor – she was the assistant conductor at the Hart House Chorus from 2015-2017, after having made her public début as an orchestral conductor in Jan Harrington’s choral/orchestral conducting masterclass at the Princeton Festival. In her capacity as a founding member of Opera Sustenida, she serves as both their resident pianist and primary graphic designer.