Teaching Instructors

Leah Giselle Field Head Shot

Leah Giselle Field

Mezzo Soprano

Mezzo soprano Leah Giselle Field is a graduate of Vancouver Opera’s Yulanda M. Faris Young Artists Program. She is a district winner and regional finalist of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, a finalist for the Jeunesse Musicales Maureen Forrester Award Tour, and a semifinalist in the Marcello Giordani Foundation International Vocal Competition. She is a graduate of the DMA program in Voice and Opera at the University of British Columbia, and holds a MMus in Literature and Performance- Voice from the University of Western Ontario and a BMus in Opera from UBC.

Recent performances include Beethoven’s Symphony No.9, Le Nozze di Figaro and Hansel and Gretel with Vancouver Opera, and productions of Luisa Miller, Suor Angelica, and Aida. Upcoming performances include Verdi’s Requiem, Mahler’s Symphony No. 8, Salome, and Eugene Onegin.

An active performer, Leah has sung in North America, Europe, and China. She has performed with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, the Vancouver Metropolitan Orchestra, the Sea to Sky Symphony, the Okanagan Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra Toronto, the West Coast Symphony, and the UBC Symphony Orchestra, and as a recitalist throughout British Columbia, Alberta, and Ontario.

Sarah Pelzer

Sarah Jane Pelzer


Sarah Jane Pelzer is a Canadian stage director and teacher based in Vancouver, BC.  She has directed, assisted and taught across the country at Edmonton and Manitoba Opera, Opera on the Avalon, Pacific Opera Victoria, Opera Kelowna, the Victoria Conservatory of Music and Vancouver Opera. Upcoming she will join the guest lecturer roster at the VSO school of music.

Favourite projects include Dido and Aeneas, an original adaptation of The Fairy Queen and Pauline Viardot’s Cendrillon.

Ms. Pelzer is also a performer and theatre-maker most known for originating the role of Jane Doe in Atomic Vaudeville’s international award-winning musical Ride the Cyclone and as artistic associate and co-founder of SNAFU Dance Theatre.

LesleyLesley Sutherland


Lesley has been working in the television and film industry since 1993, writing and composing for television series, documentaries and independent films. She is the Co-owner of the audio production company, Fresh Air Audio, located in the heart of Gastown, Vancouver, B.C. and composes and writes in her home studios, located in Tsawwassen, B.C. and Scotch Fir Point, Powell River. In 2007, Lesley co-created and wrote the popular Kids’ CBC Preschool television series, “See the Sea” in current International broadcast, for which she also composed the musical score. A huge supporter of community music, Lesley is very active within the field of vocal music, and has composed and arranged a vast array of community choir repertoire. Lesley is the Choral Director for Vancouver Opera’s Kettle Choir and South Delta’s wonderchoir. As a vocalist, Lesley composed and performed the vocal score for the feature film, “Heart of Clay.” Lesley currently has several writing and composing projects in creative development.

Sami Van GoghSami van Gogh

Teaching Assistant

After studying for 5 years in the Delta School District’s arts programs, including the Performance Academy with Vancouver Opera and the Film Acting Academy, Sami has returned to the Performance Academy classroom as a teaching assistant. This gives her a very unique and “tuned-in” perspective with the students. Also as a lead performer in many school theatre productions, Sami has been able to develop her music theory to support her vocal talents which has provided an excellent understanding of the many aspects required in a young artist’s education.

As the recipient of many fine-arts awards, Sami was a natural choice to fill this support role. Not only does she learn everyday through teaching students, but she is incredibly grateful to be mentored by the amazing professionals that run the academies.


Colleen Maybin

Director of Education & Community Engagement, Vancouver Opera

Colleen Maybin was born and raised in Victoria BC. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Music from the University of Victoria as well as a Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree in Education from the University of British Columbia. Colleen spent the first 5 years of her career as a music educator and in 1999 was seconded as an instructor and advisor in UBC’s Department of Education Fine Arts and Media in Education program. In 2001 she took on a transformative position with the Sarah McLachlan School of Music as the Children’s Choir Director. This opportunity directly led to her decision to move into Arts Management and focus on community based arts education and engagement. In 2009 she moved to London, England where she was the Arts College Manager at the Camden Community School. Her work resulted in partnerships with the London Symphony Orchestra, The Royal Shakespeare Company and Central St. Martin’s College of Art and Design as well as emerging modern ensembles including Chroma and the London Philharmonia. Her work earned her an Arts Works award from Central St. Martin’s College of Art and Design in 2011. She was the District Manager for Arts Umbrella in Surrey overseeing their expansion into the community in 2012. An avid musician throughout her life, Colleen has performed around the world with Band of the 15th Field Artillery Regiment and played with the Pacific Symphonic Wind Ensemble in Vancouver BC as well as the award winning Kew Wind Ensemble in London, England. Colleen currently sits on the board of Music on Main and the Coalition for Music Education in British Columbia and sings in the Vancouver Bach choir.


Rory Cowal

Composer and Pianist

Rory Cowal performs dually as both a classical and jazz pianist. He is also a member of Adanu Habobo, a local dance and drum ensemble that performs traditional music from Ghana. In addition to his role as a teaching artist for Vancouver Opera, he is an instructor at St. James Music Academy in the Downtown Eastside.

sheila-christie-headshot-1Sheila Christie

Voice Instructor

Dramatic soprano Sheila Christie most recently appeared with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra as both the soprano soloist in Benjamin Britten’s War Requiem under the baton of maestro Bramwell Tovey and in A Night in Vienna with maestro Gordon Gerrard. For their 2013/2014 season, Sheila was chosen as sole soprano in Vancouver Opera’s Yulanda M. Faris Young Artist Program. As a member of that program, she performed the title character in Gustav Holst’s Savitri and covered four mainstage roles including, Tosca (Tosca), Lady Billows (Albert Herring), Donna Anna (Don Giovanni), and Elisabetta (Don Carlo). Further credits include, the High Priestess in Aida and Giovanna in Rigoletto with Vancouver Opera, Hanna Glawari in The Merry Widow with Burnaby Lyric Opera, Marguerite in Faust with the Usti nad Labem City Opera, soprano soloist in Fauré’s Requiem with the Lethbridge Symphony Orchestra, and soprano soloist in Beethoven’s 9th Symphony with the Vancouver Philharmonic Orchestra. Sheila is a long-standing member of the Vancouver Opera Chorus and has also been seen performing in Vancouver Opera’s community events to promote numerous operas including: Madama Butterfly, Macbeth, Aida, Tosca, Don Giovanni, and Don Carlo.

Sheila holds a Master of Music degree in Opera Performance from the University of British Columbia. She was semi-finalist in The Third Annual China (Ningbo) International Vocal Competition and received an Encouragement Award at the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions. She was recently awarded the Vancouver Opera Guild’s grant for a promising BC singer, a VOCE grant, and the Joe Boxer Memorial Fund Award from Vancouver Opera.

In addition to her performing career, Sheila is a member of the musical theatre faculty at the Richmond Academy of Dance and offers private vocal instruction in her home studio.

1-head-shot-8x10Eve-Lyn de la Haye

Voice Instructor

Soprano Eve-Lyn de la Haye’s ‘liquid-clear, fragrant and intensely sweet voice’ has placed her in the front ranks of Canadian lyric coloraturas of her generation. Accomplished across a wide range of musical genres, recent performance highlights include Nannetta in Verdi’s Falstaff and Yum Yum in The Mikado for Calgary Opera, Mendelssohn’s Elijah and Bach’s St Matthew Passion with the Vancouver Bach Choir and her Vancouver Opera debut as Zina in the Canadian premiere of Dark Sisters by Nico Muhly.

Internationally, Ms. de la Haye’s roles have included Tytania in Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream at the International Vocal Arts Institute of Tel Aviv, Lucia in The Rape of Lucretia at the Aldeburgh Festival, a ‘poignant and compelling’ portrayal of Julie Jordan in Carousel by Rogers and Hammerstein with the Boston Pops and a fellowship at the Tanglewood Music Centre where she sang Norina in Act 1 of Don Pasquale under James Levine and Second Woman in Dido and Aeneas with the Mark Morris Dance Group.

Ms. de la Haye is a graduate of the Victoria Conservatory of Music’s Diploma in Music Program and the University of Toronto’s Opera Division where she was the recipient of the Paul Baker Opera Graduation Scholarship. Further honours include a grant for career development from the Jacqueline Desmarais Foundation and grants from the B.C. Arts Council. In 2013, Ms. de la Haye settled in East Vancouver with her husband and two young children where she is also a teaching artist for Vancouver Opera.

frederik-headshotFrédérik Robert

Voice Instructor

Vancouver French Canadian tenor Frédérik Robert has performed with Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton and Saskatoon Opera companies. In concert he has been featured with the Winnipeg and Regina Symphonies, National Arts Center Orchestra, and Vancouver Symphony Orchestra.

Recent performances: The Bells (Vancouver Bach Choir), Dragging Piaf (Queer Arts Festival), Carmina Burana (Vancouver Bach Choir), Messa di Gloria (West Coast Symphony), A Night in Roma (Vancouver Symphony), Eva’s Brother in Evita (Vancouver Opera), Stickboy title role (Vancouver Opera workshop), L’araldo reale in Don Carlos (Vancouver Opera), and Spoletta in Tosca (Vancouver Opera).

Upcoming engagements: Vancouver Symphony Orchestra What a Wonderful World!, Verdi’s Requiem with the Vancouver Bach Choir, and Inmate 1 in Dead Man Walking with Vancouver Opera.

Frédérik is currently on voice faculty at the Vancouver Academy of Music.


Eva Tavares

Voice Instructor

A graduate from UBC Opera and the Banff/Citadel Theatre Professional Training Program, Eva Tavares has been offered various performance opportunities, most notably Maria in West Side Story at the Citadel Theatre, Out of a Dream with Patrick Street Production, Anne in A Little Night Music with The Confidential Musical Theatre Project, and Mi in the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra’s concert of Land of Smiles. She is active in the dance community with teaching and choreographing, most recently choreographing Die Fledermaus for Vancouver Opera. Tavares is currently a teaching artist with Vancouver Opera, a member of Health Arts as an ArtsWay Ambassador, and a singer and choreographer with a 1940′s revival group The Lady Larks.

Allen des Noyers

Allen Desnoyers

Composer, Playwright, & Pianist

Nominated for three Jessie Richardson awards for outstanding work as an actor, musical director and composer, Allen is an internationally produced playwright, soundtrack composer, author of over a dozen plays and musicals and composer of over a hundred songs.  Creator of the Rosebud Opera House  in Alberta and Co-founder of Vancouver’s Pacific Theatre, he has performed in over 3000 performances of his own musical productions.  Allen Desnoyers (A.R.C.T)