- Matt Cooksey
"nothing short of heroic. ... both an engaging actress and singer. Schabas’ singing demonstrated her mastery of English lyric diction. She sang each word clearly and with the perfect balance of operatic grandeur and humanity."
Are you more like your father or your mother?
I’m lucky to have inherited traits from both my parents. While I certainly look like my mum and share many of her mannerisms, personality traits, habits (including her love of reading) and artistic sensibilities, I also like to think I take many qualities from my father: his jovialness, work ethic and musicality (he was originally a french horn player). Music, art and social justice stretch throughout my family tree, and many of my aunts, uncles, grandparents and cousins are either artists or work in the arts or are engaged in human rights in some way.
What is the best or worst thing about what you do?
The best thing about what I do is I have the opportunity to make an immediate connection and impact on other people. Whether it’s five minutes of joy or a life-changing performance (though of course those are rare!), I get to share something intimate with people I’ve never met before. It’s also a huge privilege to constantly engage with an art form that awakens and inspires all aspects of the human condition. The classical music tradition is so rich and varied that every day I get to learn and discover something new.
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By David Perlman
Soprano Sara Schabas' newly created Electric Bond Opera Ensemble is definitely the new kid on the indie opera block, but Schabas herself is not, having grown up in the world of “the opera.” So she comes to this project with a deeply rooted, organic passion for the storytelling power of the medium. Her grandfather, Ezra Schabas, among other musical achievements, was head of the University of Toronto Faculty of Music performance and opera department from 1968 to 1978, where Sara Schabas herself went on to complete an undergraduate degree in vocal performance. “Dad was a french horn player before he became a lawyer,” she explains, “and both my parents and all my grandparents had a huge love for opera. Starting at age four, they’d put on a VHS of La Boheme, Act 1 for me. I’d listen to Saturday Afternoon at the Opera every week. I was that weird kid who loved opera from a very young age. So it’s always been a very natural thing for me.”
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