Bio - English
Critically acclaimed Susan Tsagkaris has emerged as one of Canada’s foremost dramatic sopranos. Celebrated for her powerful high notes, voluptuous tone, extensive range, and mastery of niche dramatic repertoire, Susan is a true artist with a passion for music.
Susan triumphed in her American debut of the role of Turandot in Pucciniʼs Turandot with St. Petersburg Opera Co., Florida. Having received a generous Ontario Art Council/ Chalmerʼs award, Susan recently returned from a month of intensive coaching in Europe, for the role of Elektra (R.Strauss) with world renowned Wagner/Strauss expert Klaus Sallmann (the Berlin Staatsoper). Previously, Susan prepared the entire role of Isolde with Klaus and returned to Berlin where she recorded Wagner and Strauss repertoire with him.
Susan’s career is expanding internationally both in Europe and the USA. With family and a residence in Europe Susan looks forward to working there. In addition to her training in Berlin, Susan developed her dramatic repertoire through extensive mentoring from acclaimed opera coaches Eric Weimer (the Lyric Opera of Chicago) and Jane Eaglen (Wagnerian soprano).
Susan continually challenges herself to grow and evolve. Endorsed and coached by Wagnerian Diva, Jane Eaglen, Susan is focusing on the Wagnerian roles of Isolde and Brünnhilde (all three Ring operas), Elektra and Turandot. Eaglen invited Susan to attend the Wagner Intensive in Cleveland, Ohio where she performed Wagner excerpts in the roles of Brünnhilde from Die Walküre and Götterdämmerung, and as Isolde from Tristan und Isolde. This led to recognition and a scholarship from the Wagner Society of Ohio. While in Ohio, Susan was featured in a Deutsche Welle TV special which commemorated the bicentennial of Wagner’s birth and aired across Europe.
Susanʼs natural musical talent is shown by her success and ability to sing across a wide range of musical styles. Recognized for her outstanding musicianship, she successfully sight read the role of Brünnhilde on a moments notice when the soprano in a concert production of Wagnerʼs Siegfried suddenly fell ill. She also performed Brünnhilde in a concert version of Götterdämmerung in Toronto. A versatile artist, Susan participated in the Toronto International Art Festival Luminato in Rufus Wainwright’s internationally acclaimed opera Prima Donna, directed by Tim Albery. Film appearances include her portrayal of Opera Singer in the motion picture Johnny Mnemonic starring Keanu Reeves and Opera Singer in the CBC television movie Under the Piano starring Teresa Stratas and Megan Follows.
Having performed alongside numerous Canadian Symphonies, her notable performances include; Verdi’s Requiem with both Masterworks Oakville and Niagra Symphony/Chorus Niagra, Britten’s War Requiem with McGill Orchestra, Beethoven’s 9th Symphony with Symphony Nova Scotia, Boris Brott Festival and Kitchener/Waterloo Symphony, Handel’s Messiah with Symphony Nova Scotia, and Saffi in the Gypsy Baron with Symphony Nova Scotia. Other accomplishments include the soprano in Richard Fanshawe’s African Sanctus at the North York Centre for the Performing Arts. Moreover, Susan sang her premier performance of Wesendonck Lieder with Euphonia in Toronto before traveling to Europe where she performed in concerts in both France and Belgium.
Her extensive range, thrilling sound, and emotionally powerful delivery have proven to go unnoticed. Early in her career, Susan was honoured to perform alongside Ben Heppner in the final duet from Andrea Chenier, in addition to Wagner arias at an Opera Canada gala. Excitement shown by the audience was an early indication that Susan was destined for the specialized hoch dramatische soprano niche.
Susan has lent her voice to many notable Canadian opera companies, in performances such as; Konstanze in Pacific Opera’s Die Entführung Aus Dem Serail. Calgary Opera’s productions include Verdi’s Rigoletto and Nabucco, Bizet’s Carmen, Rossini’s La Cenerentola, Humperdinck’s Hansel und Gretel and Menotti’s Amahl and the Night Visitors. Susan appeared in Toronto Opera in Concert’s (Voicebox) productions of La Wally as Wally, L’Arlesiana as Vivetta, and Der Vampire as Janthe.
Lotfi Mansouri first discovered Susan and invited her to join the Canadian Opera Company Ensemble. She appeared in numerous mainstage/touring productions throughout Ontario and internationally in roles such as; Mimi in La Boheme, Despina in Cosi FanTutte, Polly Peachum in The Beggar’s Opera, Jessie in The Little Mahagonny Songspiel, and Clorinda in La Cenerentola. Susan appeared in numerous other Canadian Opera Company productions including Salome, La Traviata and Boris Goudonov.
Susan graduated from the University of Calgary with a Bachelor of Music and attended two seasons in the opera division at the Banff Centre for the Arts. Along side her operatic singing, Susan mentors and teaches a number of up-and-coming Canadian opera singers.
To learn more about Susan, see her profile in this issue of Insider Magazine.