Soprano Heidi Klassen has been firmly established as one of Canada’s most versatile and exciting performers having sung with Canada’s leading orchestras and opera companies in a career that spans over 30 years. Internationally Ms. Klassen has sung with the Dallas Symphony, the Franz Liszt Chamber Orchestra of Budapest, the BBC Scottish Orchestra and BBC Radio and toured extensively in Europe with live recordings at the Rudolfinum in Prague of Verdi’s Requiem and Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis.
Ms. Klassen’s performances have been described as “…unforgettable, rare and serenely beautiful,” Brahm’s Requiem (London Press); “boundless…a voice of stunning range, clarity and sonority”, Verdi’s Requiem (Waterloo Reporter) and “one could wait a long time, perhaps forever, to hear expressive singing to equal that of Heidi Klassen,” Mozart’s Mass in C Minor (Winnipeg Free Press). She has brought many roles to the operatic stage including Fiordiligi in Mozart’s Cosi Fan Tutte with Montreal Opera, Countess Almaviva in Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro with Manitoba Opera, and Opera Saskatchewan, Donna Elvira in Mozart’s Don Giovanni with Manitoba Opera, Musetta in Puccini’s La Boheme with Edmonton Opera, Opera Lyra Ottawa, Opera Grand Rapids and Opera Saskatchewan. Rosalinde in Strauss’ Die Fledermaus, with Edmonton Opera and Opera Lyra Ottawa; Micaela in Bizet’s Carmen, with Edmonton Opera, Pacific Opera Victoria, and Gold Coast Opera, Florida, Blanche in Poulenc’s Dialogues des Carmelites, and First Lady in Mozart’s Die Zauberflote with Vancouver Opera; Miss Jessel in Britten’s The Turn of the Screw and Camilla in Nosferatu, with Manitoba Opera, a role written for Ms. Klassen by composer Randolph Peters. Her performance of Violetta in Verdi’s La Traviata was described as “moving beyond words, drenched with expressiveness” and “shimmering with sonic tenderness” (London Press).
Her extensive concert repertoire with an international array of Orchestras spans a wide range of styles from the intimate Passions of Bach, the Oratorios of Haydn, Handel, Mendelssohn, the Mozart Mass in C Minor and his Exultate Jubilate with the Franz Liszt Orchestra of Budapest, the Requiems of Mozart, Brahms, Faure, Dvorak, Verdi and Britten to Villa – Lobos’ Bachianas Brasilieraswith the Manitoba Chamber Orchestra, and Webern’s Cantata 2 sung with the BBC Scottish Orchestra, showing the versatility of her artistry. She debuted in its entirety Malcolm Forsythe’s extraordinary work, Evangeline, with the Manitoba Chamber Orchestra in 1997 and mounted again by Edmonton’s NUOVA.
Ms. Klassen is also the Founder & Artistic Director of The Opera Project since 1997 and has produced and stage directed Strauss’ Die Fledermaus and Puccini’s La Boheme, Mozart’s Cosi Fan Tutte 1998, the 2000 Virginia Zeani Master Classes and Gala Concert, the 2001 production at the Winnipeg Fringe Festival, Menotti’s Amelia Goes to the Ball and the 2002 production of Offenbach’s Orpheus in the Underworld. TOP presented a brilliant cast in a concert version of Mozart’s Cosi Fan Tutte at Edmonton’s Opera Nuova’s 2004 summer festival professional track.
In The Opera Project’s new home, Vancouver, since 2004, among the wide variety of concerts offered she has produced and directed Murder They Sang 2006, Cosi Fan Tutte 2007, Opera, Cabaret and All That Jazz 2008, Love's Labyrinth (in recital with her studio singers) and Die Zauberfloete 2010, Return to Resonance Mastery Series 2010/2011, Le Nozze di Figaro 2011, Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi and Puccini's La Boheme 2012, Verdi's La Traviata 2013, Renaissance Workshops 2014, and Resonance Concert Series 2014/2015.
Ms. Klassen holds a Masters of Music with Distinction from Indiana University where she studied with the legendary soprano Virginia Zeani and with whom she continued to study her roles throughout her career. Ms. Klassen’s career as teacher extends 30 years in which she has taught at the University levels including as Head of the Voice department, University of Manitoba School of Music, on faculty at Edmonton’s NUOVA and is in demand internationally as a voice teacher, adjudicator while sustaining a private voice studio in Vancouver. The summer of 2011 Ms. Klassen, to much acclaim, taught at the newly and highly successful Vancouver Summer Opera School which recruited singers from as far away as Brazil, France, Germany and Greece as well as the United States and Canada.
Presently Ms. Klassen looks for and creates projects that raise awareness for charities and humanity’s awakening. In 2012 she co-created and performed in the Heaven on Earth Project as a fund raiser for the University of British Columbia. A supporter of Amnesty International, it was said of the 2009 concert in Vancouver,
“Her stage presence is bigger-than-life. Elegant and poised, she captivated the audience and held us all in her heartfelt song. Her vocal style is technically flawless…and at the same time sings with such conviction and spiritual strength that it moved some audience members to tears. All who were present knew that this was not merely entertainment, it was holy.”