Juno nominated artist, Miriam Khalil has established herself as one of Canada’s most versatile and expressive performers. She has become increasingly known for her non traditional performances of opera, art song and concert repertoire.
She has sung on numerous opera stages across North America and the UK, including a stint at the renowned Glyndebourne Festival Opera ( GFO) in the United Kingdom. Notable roles include Mimì in La bohème (Canadian Opera Company, Minnesota Opera, Opera Hamilton, Calgary Opera and Against the Grain Theatre (AtG)); Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni (Opera Tampa and AtG/The Banff Centre/Ottawa International Chamber Music Festival); Mélisande in Pelléas et Mélisande (AtG); the Governess in The Turn of the Screw (AtG); Cleopatra in Giulio Cesare (GFO); Almirena in Rinaldo (GFO); Susanna in Le Nozze di Figaro (Pacific Opera Victoria, Opera Lyra Ottawa and AtG), Alcina (Fargo Moorhead Opera), Marzelline in Fidelio (Pacific Opera Victoria) and Mamah Cheney in Hagen’s Shining Brow (Urban Arias) among others.
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 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.
She is a proud founding member and Associate Artistic Director of the Dora Mavor Moore Award-winning chamber opera company Against the Grain Theatre (AtG). With vision and dedication, AtG explores different 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 past year Miriam was nominated for a Juno Award for Classical Album of the Year: Vocal or Choral, for her debut album Ayre: Live, a song cycle by Argentinian composer Osvaldo Golijov. With this song cycle, she made her South American Debut, and premiered Ayre in Buenos Aires. She has also sung this piece to critical acclaim in Banff, Alberta, Ottawa and Toronto, Ontario, Victoria BC and the prestigious Rockport Music Festival, making this Song Cycle her signature piece. She is elated to be opening the 21c Music Festival at Koerner Hall this coming season with this very piece.
Miriam made her much anticipated major role debut with the Canadian Opera Company as Mimì in La Bohème this past May. A role she revisited with Calgary Opera this season. She also looks forward to singing the role of Rosina in AtG’s Dora winning production of Figaro’s Wedding and reviving her signature piece, Golijov’s song cycle Ayre at Koerner Hall.read more
News & Features
March 31 2019
Mimi to Mimi: Our Leading Ladies in La Bohème
This spring, we welcome two fantastic casts for our production of Puccini's La Bohème who talk about about their approaches to the role, their opera journeys, and what's kept them going in this wonderful (but challenging!) art form.read more
May 3 2019
Miriam Khalil talks COC’s La Bohème and the life of an artist
This Mother’s Day will be accompanied by a family first: I will take my daughter to her first opera at the Canadian Opera Company (COC). The opera is Puccini’s La Bohème, and she will see acclaimed Lebanese-Canadian soprano Miriam Khalil sing the role of Mimì (which she alternates with American soprano Angel Blue).read more
TWIN CITIES ARTS
April 23 2017
Soprano Miriam Khalil On Bohème And More (Minnesota Opera)
The economics and programming of opera during the so-called Golden Age of Opera – the mid-19th-century up to the start of the First World War – were very different than they are today. Most opera companies operated on a repertory model; if a new opera did not perform up to expectations, it could be cancelled outright and the following day’s performance substituted with a crowd favorite.read more
May 8 2017
Perf Chat with Minnesota Opera's Nicole Cabell and Miriam Khalil
Giacomo Puccini's La Bohème opened this past weekend at Minnesota Opera, and it runs through May 21. There are two Mimis in this production — Nicole Cabell and Miriam Khalil — and Classical MPR's Julie Amacher recently sat down with them for a Perf Chat in the Maud Moon Weyerhauser Studio.read more
May 1 2019
Indie opera is enticing newcomers, but is it enough to keep the genre relevant?
The founder of an indie opera troupe says people are lining up to attend her free concerts in pubs and bars around Toronto — but not everyone thinks the trend will save Canadian opera.read more
April 1 2019
Gryphon Trio, Miriam Khalil | Osvaldo Golijov: Ayre (selections, arr. Roberto Occhipinti)
Gryphon Trio and Miriam Khalil perform Osvaldo Golijov: Ayre (selections, arr. Roberto Occhipinti)read more
March 1 2018
Notes: A Conversation with Soprano Miriam Khalil
In the leadup to tonight’s opening, we asked AtG Founding Member and Ensemble Studio graduate Miriam Khalil to share her thoughts on the challenging process of creating art that responds to contemporary realities of persecution, oppression, and asylum…read more
THE GLOBE & MAIL
November 9 2016
Music To Express Human Condition With Ayre
Against the Grain is one of Toronto’s – if not the country’s – most innovative opera/theatre companies, producing on a shoestring exciting evenings of musical theatre. They’re known for their reworking of Mozart operas to fit contemporary settings, but they’ve also experimented with many other ideas, both here and at their annual residency at the Banff Centre...read more
July 31 2015
A Sopranos Story Part One: Miriam Khalil
Before the move the young girl, with the music moving her, could go to church with her father and sing in the choir. Today, it would not happen. While she prays for friends who are left behind in the brutal war engulfing her birth country, her family, which is Lebanese, is not there. They are in Canada or in Lebanon.read more
December 3 2015
In 2014, they put up #UncleJohn (based on Don Giovanni), featuring soprano Miriam Khalil as Donna Elvira; Khalil has since reprised Elvira in #UncleJohn for two subsequent productions, in at Toronto's The Theatre Centre and at the Ottawa Chamber Music Festival...read more
April 18 2015
Music Review: Soprano Miriam Khalil sings lustrous mix of the familiar and the Arabic
Young Lebanese-Canadian lyric soprano Miriam Khalil has started to make a name for herself on Canadian opera and concert stages. The University of Ottawa alumna will be appearing at Chamberfest this summer, as Elvira in #UncleJohn...read more
June 25 2015
This is What O Canada Sounds Like in Arabic
“When you hear something that is being said in your mother tongue, it has more emotional impact, and makes you pay more attention,” Raja Khouri, president of the institute, told Metro News Toronto…read more
“Her lullabies are heartbreaking in the work, her violent outbursts frightening, her recitation of Arab texts engaging, her range of emotional compass overwhelming.”
The Globe & Mail
“It is as if she was born to sing it, or, even better, born for each other, she and Ayre.”
- Osvaldo Golijov, composer
AYRE LIVE has received a JUNO nomination for Classical Album of the Year, Vocal or Choral. AtG Records’ debut album is a critically acclaimed fusion of lush Arabic, Hebrew, Sardinian, and Sephardic folk melodies and texts. Argentinian composer Osvaldo Golijov’s Ayre is a brilliant example of 21st-century cultural counterpoint. This recording is the culmination of performances in Toronto for audiences at the breathtaking Ismaili Centre featuring Against the Grain Theatre founding member, soprano Miriam Khalil.
AYRE LIVE is now available for purchase and download on the following platforms. To learn more, check out the links below.
“...dark, dangerous and alluring, her fiery sound ablaze with passion. A skilled, versatile artist, Khalil’s voice entrances, a kaleidoscope of tumbled emotion.”
Opera Going Toronto
Credits: Shayne Gray Photography
As Mimì, and Joshua Guerrero as Rodolfo in the Canadian Opera Company’s production of LaBohème, 2019, photo by Michael Cooper