Born and raised in Toronto/Tkaronto, “the place in the water where the trees are standing,” Canadian soprano Sara Schabas has been praised for her “crystalline singing” (Schmopera), “pure sound” (Ludwig van Toronto) and for maintaining a “clear soft tone, despite her vocal power” (Opera Canada). A 2019 Regional Finalist in the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, Schabas was the 2018 winner of the Career Blueprint Award from the International Resource Centre for the Performing Arts, chosen by Adrianne Pieczonka, O.C. She is the 2019/2020 recipient of the Hnatyshyn Foundation Grant for Classical Vocal Performance and a 2020 recipient of a grant from the Canada Council for the Arts.
This season, Schabas returns to Pacific Opera Victoria to sing the Dormouse in a filmed production of Elizabeth Raum's The Garden of Alice, conducted by Timothy Vernon and directed by Glynis Leyshon, records a digital recital for Highlands Opera Studio with Marie-Ève Scarfone in the Spiegelsaal of the Opernhaus Zürich, and joins Manitoba Opera as the soprano in their quartet of Digital Emerging Artists. She sings excerpts of L’incoronazione di Poppea and Alcina in Prangins, Switzerland, and performs in a gala with Théâtre Lyrichorégra in Montréal, Québec as a Lauréate of their Jeunes Ambassadeurs Lyriques. She also returns to Highlands Opera Studio as Zerlina in Don Giovanni, and looks forward to returning to the Internationale Barocktage Melk in Austria, singing First Witch and covering Belinda in Dido and Aeneas with the Concentus Musicus Wien in a televised performance conducted by Stefan Gottfried (postponed to 2022 due to Covid-19).
In the 2019/2020 season, Schabas debuted with Vancouver Opera and Pacific Opera Victoria, starring as the Hummingbird in the world premiere of Maxine Goulet’s The Flight of the Hummingbird, in a tour of Western Canada. She made a soloist debut with the Bach-Elgar Choir in Handel’s Messiah, and performed as Anne Frank in the world debut of Cecilia Livingston’s Singing Only Softly with Loose Tea Music Theatre, earning her a Dora Award Nomination for Outstanding Performance by an Individual. A former artist-in-residence with the Dayton Opera, Schabas’ previous roles have included Papagena (Die Zauberflöte), Juliette (Roméo et Juliette), Corinna (Il viaggio a Reims), Najade (Ariadne auf Naxos), Frasquita (Carmen), as well as Henri in the Dora-nominated production of Bandits in the Valley with Tapestry Opera. Previous soloist engagements have included performances with the Dayton Philharmonic, Mississauga Symphony, Stratford Summer Music Festival, Oakville Chamber Orchestra, the Canadian Opera Company Free Concert Series, and in Mahler’s Fourth Symphony at the Castleton Festival under the late Lorin Maazel.
A graduate of the University of Toronto and Roosevelt University in Chicago, Schabas’ fellowships have included the Aspen Opera Center, Toronto Summer Music Festival, the Castleton Festival and the Fall Island Festival. Passionate about the intersection of music and social justice, Schabas has also produced the Canadian premieres of Jake Heggie’s Holocaust one-act operas Another Sunrise and Farewell, Auschwitz, and has worked as a singer and volunteer for the charities Songs by Heart and Sharing Notes, bringing music to hospital patients and people living with Alzheimer’s and Dementia. As a writer, her work has been published in Opera Canada Magazine, Ludwig Van Toronto, Schmopera and the Canadian Jewish News.
Schabas currently lives in Geneva, Switzerland.