The Baby, The Family and The Voice
by Gaëtan L. Charlebois
Praised for her alluring stage presence and distinctive vocal tone, Lebanese-Canadian soprano Miriam Khalil is described as being “a lush lyric with spinto overtones” (Opera Canada) and “on the road to future greatness” (Classical 96.3 FM). Credits include Almirena in Handel’s Rinaldo and Cleopatra inGiulio Cesare, both with Glyndebourne Festival Opera, UK; Mimi in La Bohème with Opera Hamilton and Against the Grain Theatre (AtG); Musetta in La Bohème with Edmonton Opera; Susanna in Le nozze di Figaro with Opera Lyra Ottawa and AtG; Frasquita inCarmen with Pacific Opera Victoria; the Governess in The Turn of the Screw with AtG; and an Opera Gala with the Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra. She was heard recently with the Thunder Bay Symphony in Raminsh’s Requiem, made her debut with Opéra de Montréal in their annual Gala and sang Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 with Symphony Nova Scotia. An alumna of the Canadian Opera Company Ensemble Studio, she also holds degrees from The Glenn Gould School and the University of Ottawa. In 2007 she won first place in the Metropolitan Opera National Council auditions, Great Lakes Region, and is a previous member of both The Steans Institute for Young Artists at Ravinia and the Britten-Pears Young Artist Programme, UK. As a founding member of AtG, she is excited to help shape Canada’s most exciting young opera company.
CHARPO: I suspect Joel is the perfect father (correct me if I'm wrong) but there are now two schedules that have to be juggled with a little creature who pretty much treats the best laid plans with "screw that noise". The family must have to make huge adjustments! How?
When I was pregnant, I continued singing until I was five weeks away from my due date. Some people showed concern, however, I was relieved that the engager had confidence in me and actually told my agents that if I believe I can do it then he was more than happy to have me sing. When I later spoke with him, he mentioned that his wife is also a singer and also continued singing into her ninth month of pregnancy. I think that having children will inevitably make things more challenging. However, at this stage, it’s crazy to think that anything about this career is easy. I truly believe that it’s imperative to try to live the life you want. Not everyone offering work is going to be happy that you are pregnant. In the same regard, there will also be plenty of people that will hire you and support your choices. I would clearly rather work for the latter.
CHARPO: Finally, as you and Joel are both part of the same world - though often on different paths - what differences do you see in how you and he are dealt with or have to deal with things?
With regard to having a baby, I still cannot answer this question. While we were pregnant, Joel’s contracts were thankfully not affected. I think (and hope) that we live in a world where we are treated equally for the most part. Having a child might mean that I will have to weigh my decisions more judiciously, but the same goes for Joel now. We are not just responsible for ourselves, but our little one has a say now, too.
Ms Khalil's website
Ms Khalil will be performing with Thunderbay Symphony tomorrow night
She will also be performing as Susanna at Pacific Opera, April 24-May 4
She will also appear as Mélisande in Against the Grain's production of Pélleas et Mélisande, June 19-25