About ME

As Despina – Cosi fan tutte

An artist of diverse musical integrity and exceptional theatrical dexterity, soprano Michelle Danese continues to prove herself to be an artist of many dimensions. She sang the lead role of the Vixen in Leoš Janáček’s Czech opera, The Cunning Little Vixen with the Canadian Operatic Arts Academy and she is currently collaborating as a soloist with Dj’s and musicians around the globe. Michelle has recently released two dance tracks, “Alive” and “Dynamite” under Glovel Records and a third release with  Royal Beat Records, “Take My Breath Away.” As a past member of the former classical crossover group, Naria, Michelle recorded and released two full albums (Opera Pop Supernova & Opera Pop Fantasia) and an EP (Aria of the North). As an actress, Michelle  appeared on CW’s TV series, “Reign” which aired on March 26, 2015. She has also appeared on the big screen in the feature film “Dr. Cabbie”, alongside co-star Kunal Nayyar (The Big Bang Theory) which hit theatres on September 19th 2014, as well as, CTV’s “The Listener” which aired on June 23rd 2014. Her operatic vocals can also be heard in the film “Dr. Cabbie” as well as indie film “I Wish You Love”. In April 2013, Michelle was named the new face and social ambassador for Mercedes Benz after winning a Canada wide contest. She has also been invited to sing the National Anthem for various sporting events including the Toronto Argonauts and the Mississauga Power Team. As opportunities continue to present themselves, Michelle is quickly making her mark as a performer in the arts.

Traveling abroad has taken Michelle to Bergen, Norway where she took part in Den Nye Opera’s production of Giuseppe Verdi’s La Traviata under the direction of Michael McCarthy and led by Norwegian conductor Kjell Seim. While in Norway, she studied with American voice teacher Patricia McCaffrey along with various sought out coaches from around the world in the prestigious LidalNorth International Opera Workshop. She also had the opportunity of joining Metropolitan Opera’s assistant conductor, Joan Dornemann, at the International Vocal Arts Institute in Montreal, Quebec, as well as American baritone, Sherrill Milnes, at the V.O.I.C.Experience program in Tampa Bay Florida. Furthermore, Michelle performed in Tuscany, Italy where she was chosen to participate in the Daniel Ferro Vocal Program. Past performances with Naria have taken her to Vancouver, Mexico and Cannes, France where the group were the winners of the Midem Music Festival showcase.

As a recent graduate of The Glenn Gould School of The Royal Conservatory of Music, Michelle performed the roles of Despina in Mozart’s Cosi fan tutte under the baton of Maestro Mario Bernardi and Calli in the world Premiere of Dean Burry’s Pandora’s Locker conducted by Brian Current and directed my Jennifer Parr. At her graduating performance, “this beautiful young artist presented a recital in which every song on her program reflected her profound musicality” (Stuart Hamilton).

Additional roles include Monica in Gian Carlo Menotti’s opera, The Medium, with Summer Opera Lyric Theatre and directed by Guillermo Silva-Marin; Rebecca in Cavalli’s La Didone and Celeste 1 in Sondheim’s Sunday in the Park with George with the Canadian Operatic arts Academy; and Barbarina in Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro with Opera By Request under the musical direction of William Shookhoff. She has also appeared in Lehar’s The Merry Widow with Toronto Operetta Theatre conducted by Kevin Mallon and sung the role of Maria in Leonard Bernstein’s much adored musical, West Side Story.

Michelle has worked with a number of wonderful conductors, directors, teachers and coaches including Timothy Nelson, Diana Soviero, Francesco Milioto, Martin Katz, David Friedman, John Norris, Tom Diamond, Peter Tiefenbach, Jennifer Tarver, John Lidal, Jan Philip Sculze, Mark Schnaible, Boris Anifantakis, Elizabeth Norberg-Schultz, Russell Braun, Timothy Noble, Lotfi Mansouri, Carol Isaac and Wendy Nielsen, as well as participated in over twenty-five Masterclasses by distinguished artists.

Born in Toronto, Michelle holds a B.F.A Honors in Music from York University where she studied under the instruction of soprano Norma Burrowes. She then completed a Post-Bachelor Artist Performance Diploma in voice at The Glenn Gould School of The Royal Conservatory of Music in the studio of mezzo-soprano Jean MacPhail.

Michelle has been a recipient of numerous awards and scholarships, most notably she was the recipient of the Kay Hughes Vocal Scholarship, winner of the York University Concerto Competition, Best Operatic Performance Overall at the Newmarket Voice Festival, the Orpheus Award, and the Patricia and Robert Martin Award, as well as the Elizabeth Thomas Memorial Scholarship. Her photo and accomplishments have been featured in MaClean’s Magazine, City Life Magazine, The Mississauga News and The Vaughan Citizen newspaper, and she was named York Catholic District School Board’s Distinguished Alumni.