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IN A TALE FROM THE AGE OF LEGEND, THE MOST CHIVALROUS KING OF THE MIDDLE-AGES – KING RICHARD I THE LION HEART – HAS BEEN CAPTURED BY THE VENGEFUL DUKE LEOPOLD OF AUSTRIA, AND IMPRISONED IN THE FOREBODING CASTLE DÜRNSTEIN WHERE HE MUST COMPETE IN FEATS OF STRENGTH WITH THE OAFISH WALO, RESIST THE AFFECTIONS OF THE FAIR MIRELLA, AND SURVIVE A LION-HEARTED CHALLENGE.

CAN HE ENDURE LONG ENOUGH TO BE FOUND BY HIS LOYAL BARD?

"In the Lion Heart, culled from Medieval legend, Kyle McDonald conjures a tale in lush, classical poetry that ennobles, but also seems fresh and contemporary, with characters that we at once recognize in our lives today: the cheeky dare-devil, the sensitive soul, the braggart, and the overbearing parent. The English libretto is meticulously shaped to offer maximal drama with minimal bloat, and gallops with grace without sacrificing form as the heroic King is captured, imprisoned, and forced to confront a rabid lion ­– and the consequences of his own daring.

 

Corey Arnold's score, arranged for 15 instruments, is carefully calibrated to offer the most expansive and flexible sound with the least effort, and draws on the most successful and far-reaching contemporary musical influences found in film and video games. With an astonishing sensitivity to the subtleties of the human love of melody and harmony, he’s created a soundscape that’s sure to leave audiences humming all the way home."

Orchestral Arranger: Corey Arnold

Audio Engineer: Kyle McDonald

RICHARD I the Lion-Heart..............Kyle McDonald

BLONDEL de Nesles.........................Cian Horrobin

LEOPOLD, an Austrian Duke...........Corey Arnold

MIRELLA, his daughter....................Nicole Dubinsky

WALO, his loutish son......................John Kirby

CAPTAIN of the guards....................Andrew Tees

Male CHORUS, soldiers of the Duke: Ardavan Taraporewala, Evan Sokolowski, Ryan Hofman.

 

The action takes place at castle Dürstein in Austria, 1193.

BIOGRAPHIES

COREY ARNOLD - Tenor (Leopold), Composer

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Corey Arnold is a young operatic tenor and composer with a vision for the future of opera. A recent laureate of the Jeunes Ambassadeurs Lyriques, a semi-finalist at the International Singing Competition of Marmande (France), the Vincero World Italian Opera Competition, and a finalist in the Clifford Poole Vocal Competition, and the composer of two new operas in the past two years… Corey has kept busy!

 

A regular on the operatic stage, Corey has been seen recently as Roméo in ROMÉO ET JULIETTE and Pinkerton in MADAMA BUTTERFLY with Pellegrini Opera, Il Duca in RIGOLETTO in concert with the Cambridge Symphony Orchestra, and Calaf in TURANDOT with La Belle Voix in Ottawa. Corey has also worked extensively with Opera by Request: Pinkerton in MADAMA BUTTERFLY, Mario Cavaradossi in TOSCA, and the Italian Singer in CAPRICCIO. Spring 2022 will have Corey singing Qidan in the brilliant new opera pastiche “Conan and the Stone of Kelior.”

Also active in concert work, Corey has sung frequently with Operottawa, most recently for their Opera Gala evening as well as their Handel’s Messiah. He has sung as tenor soloist for Musica Viva, Caelis Academy, and Coro Vivo Ottawa, singing various Haydn and Mozart Masses including the Lord Nelson Mass and the Theresienmesse. While a student of the Oberlin Conservatory of Music, Corey was immediately humbled at the raw talent of some of the best young singers of a generation. While he was comfortable in a variety of musical disciplines, including composition, conducting, arranging, and accompanying (at the piano) he was inspired by his peers to focus his time on the pursuit of extraordinary singing. This brought him to the

pedagogical worlds of Linklater Voice Technique, Lessac Kinesensics, and the Feldenkrais Method of Somatic Education, the latter in which he became a practitioner. He continued his exploration during his time at the University of Ottawa and beyond working with various regional opera companies. Most recently, Corey has begun auditioning in various venues in Europe and hopes to expand his singing horizons there.

 

As a composer, Corey finished his first musical at 18 years old as part of the Oberlin Playwright Festival. In the ensuing years, arranging for jazz bands, choirs, and musical theatre productions were his primary output. Now, he dedicates his time to new operatic and classical vocal works. Most recently, his piece “Si ce n’est pas l’amour…” was premiered by Théâtre Belvédère in Ottawa. He is currently preparing a workshop performance of his first opera “The Lion Heart,” as well as an opera for families “The Bat and the Bells,” both with libretti by Kyle McDonald. In the works are a song cycle with Californian poet, Tyler Knott Gregson, a piano concerto, and his next operatic work, a horror opera involving demonic possession, with a libretto by Kyle McDonald. Corey has also worked as a pianist, music directing/accompanying musicals and operas in Ottawa, Toronto, Detroit, Oberlin, Elyria, and Lorain County.

KYLE MCDONALD - Bass (Richard I), Librettist

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Kyle McDonald is a Toronto based actor, writer, singer, director, and producer; he studied Theatre and Drama Studies at the University of Toronto and Sheridan College joint program, and has an HBA in Theatre and Drama and a minor in Classical History. Vocally, he trained with the late Donna Sherman, with Helga Tucker at the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto, and with Operatic legend Maria Pellegrini.

 

Kyle just recently sang the roles of Timur in Turandot, Basilio in The Barber of Seville, Friar Lawrence and the Prince in Gounod's Romeo et Juliette, Angelotti, in Tosca, James Bond in James Bond: A Convenient Lie, the Marquis of St. Evermonde in the world premiere of an opera based on A Tale of Two Cities with Summer Opera Lyric Theatre, and Sparafucile in Pellegrini Opera’s production of Rigoletto. Some of his other operatic roles include Colline in Puccini's La Boheme, and Plunkett in Flotow’s Martha.

In the Theatre, some of his favourite roles include The Head in Macbeth's Head, Hamlet in Hamlet Live, Clint in The Market, Cassio in Othello, and Romeo in Romeo and Juliet.

 

In the world of film and television, Kyle has most recently appeared on season four of The Handmaid’s Tale as a Commander, on season fourteen of Murdoch Mysteries as the dandy Courtney Van Doren, his short film Street Smarts, the feature film The Market (which is currently streaming on Amazon Prime), the short films Insight (developed and produced by the RTA School of Media) and Phoenix, and co-starred in the short films The Car, and Made in Paris, (both of which were selected for the short-corner at Cannes); on television, he’s appeared as Lord Dunbar on Reign, and as the Dog Mocker on a new musical series for the web called Haunted. He's also appeared as Nyuk Nyuk on the pilot for a three camera sit-com called Space Bacon, the super badie Azul in Connor Undercover 2 on Family Channel on demand, and Lieutenant Tannis on the award winning web series, Space Janitors, as well as Tom on the webseries Ryan Gosling Must Be Stopped.

 

As a producer Kyle has apprenticed under Canadian legend Dale Barnes, and has produced several stage productions – Macbeth’s Head (NNNN- Now Magazine), James Bond: A Convenient Lie, The Market (co-producer), and Hamlet  Live (co-producer), which was live-streamed to Sick Kids’ hospitals across the country (a Canadian first) – several short films – How to Be More Inclusive, Revenge for the Duchess of Malfi (co-produced), Movies Matter, The Car (co-produced), and Street Smarts – two webseries – This is Bill, and Actorapists – and line produced on the feature film The Market. He was recently a finalist in the Innoversity Summit Pitch Competition for one of his digital series, Gamers Anonymous. His two new operas – The Lion Heart, and Conan and the Stone of Kelior will be premiering in 2022.

In the world of voice over, in addition to numerous commercial appearances, he has most recently played Laurence Fishbowl in the animated feature Gracie & Pedro, the Scotiabank popcorn astronaut in Cineplex Theatres, the villainous Cornacabra in Finish Line Games’ puzzle video game Maize, George Washington and Vice President on the Emmy Award winning animated series Peg + Cat, Yoshio on Beyblades, Taylean on Bakugan Brawlers IV, and Metazor on Skatoony, as well as Dyson on the Lost Girl motion comic (nominated for a Gemini), was the voice for the Evergreen charitable organization on the radio public service announcement called Trees, which won the Crystal award from the Radio Marketing Bureau for best PSA, and was also the voice for Condom T.O. which picked up a bronze award at the Epica award show in Amsterdam.

As a writer, he’s been produced as a playwright (Macbeth’s Head, Don Juan: An Episode), and screenwriter (Street Smarts, This is Bill, Revenge for the Duchess of Malfi, Movies Matter, Actorapists, The Car, Gamers Anonymous), and written librettos for three operas, The Lion Heart, The Bat & the Bells, Possession (music composed by Corey Arnold), and created the book and score for two new operas in pasticcio: James Bond: A Convenient Lie, and, his newest creation, Conan and the Stone of Kelior, which will be staged May 5-15 2022 in Toronto. He was awarded the Winning Writer’s War Poetry award for The Rose Of Ilium, a poem composed in heroic couplets that tells of the doomed love between Achilles and Penthesilea, and he’s recently completed his novel length epic poem, The Blessèd, which can be found here as a fully scored and foleyed audiobook.

 

He's also recently completed his first Synthwave album called Machine City, a not so optimistic musical journey into a future with autonomous AI. Link on the Mightier Productions landing page.

 

For details on upcoming shows and ongoing projects, visit www.mightierproductions.com or www.kylemcdonald.org. Subscribe for updates! On instagram find him @kyledmcdonald

*Appearing courtesy of Canadian Actors Equity Association

CIAN HORROBIN - Tenor (Blondel)

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NICOLE DUBINKSY - Coloratura Soprano (Mirella)

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Ms. 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 as Mirella in THE LION HEART, a new original opera written by Corey Arnold and Kyle McDonald. As a founding member and contributor to OPERA SUSTENIDA, she continues to perform celebrated arias, duets, and ensembles in the groups’ ticketed Virtual Concert Series!

 

In 2019-2021 seasons, Ms. Dubinsky was thrilled to sing Lucy in Toronto City Opera’s video broadcast of Menotti’s THE TELEPHONE! She was invited to share the stage with the Paskke String Quartet in concert and was delighted to perform as Olympia/Giulietta/Antonia in Toronto City Opera’s production of LES CONTES D’HOFFMANN. 

Ms. Dubinsky has sung the Queen of the Night with Opera York, Premiere Productions Ottawa, the Accademia Europea dell’Opera in Amsterdam, and in Opera Laurier’s 100th Anniversary Production. 

 

“Nicole Dubinsky nailed the Queen of the Night’s treacherous coloratura with aplomb” (Opera Canada).
Additional roles include Gretel in the Toronto Opera Initiative’s production of HӒNSEL UND GRETEL, Cleopatra (GIULIO CESARE), Mademoiselle Silvertone (IMPRESSARIO) for the Grand Opening of the Milton Centre for the Arts, Zerlina in DON GIOVANNI, Susanna (LE NOZZE DI FIGARO), Diane in ORPHÉE AUX ENFERS with L’Opera de Périgord, Sandrina in LA FINTA GIARDINIERA, Soprano Soloist in Händel’s MESSIAH with the Bach Elgar Chamber Orchestra and the Kincardine Summer Music Festival, and Sister Constance in DIALOGUES OF THE CARMELITES.

 

She has performed with Tapestry New Opera 101, The National Vocal Arts Institute, Accademia Europea dell’Opera, performed as Arcady’s Emerging Artist (culminating with the interpretation of an original work, written for her, by Ronald Beckett), and sang in a series of concerts with Orchestra London; also singing the role of Susanna (LE NOZZE DI FIGARO) in the Orchestra’s school tour.
 

Ms. Dubinsky holds a MMus in Voice Performance and Literature from the University of Western Ontario, an Opera Diploma, & an Honours BMus in Voice Performance from Wilfrid Laurier University.

JOHNATHON KIRBY - Bass-Baritone (Walo)

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“His total command of the stage made it impossible to look away from him”
(Opera Canada), “…with virility in his sound and exhaustive energy in his movements…
his singing is the best I’ve heard” (Schmopera).

 

Johnathon Kirby is a bass-baritone from Newmarket, Ontario who is building a national reputation for his vocal skill, stage presence and energetic enthusiasm. In 2018 he received critical acclaim and a DORA nomination for best performance of an individual as Figaro in Opera Five’s production of Barber of Seville.

 

You can see him next as Guglielmo in Cosi fan tutte with Opera Nova Scotia.  www.JohnathonKirby.com

 

*Appearing courtesy of Canadian Actors Equity Association

ANDREW TEES - Bass-Baritone (Captain)

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Andrew Tees has sung across Canada the U.S and Europe. His stage roles include Germont ,Escamillo Figaro, Don Giovanni, Marcello, Gianni Schicchi, and Scarpia. Theatre roles include Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof, Sky Masterson in Guys & Dolls.

His oratorio repertoire includes Handel’s Messiah, Beethoven’s 9th Symphony, Mendelssohn’s Elijah, Carmina Burana and Requiems by Mozart, Brahms, Faure, and Verdi.

 

A natural at pops repertoire, Andrew has sung with the Toronto Symphony, National Arts Center Orchestra, Hamilton Philharmonic to name but a few.

*Appearing courtesy of Canadian Actors Equity Association