Renee Fajardo | Manila, Philippines
Born and raised in Manila, Filipino Mezzo-soprano Renee Fajardo has performed on both the opera stage and as a solo recitalist in the Philippines, the UK, Europe and Canada.
Her operatic roles include Popova in The Bear (U of T Opera), Donna Anna in Don Jo (Grimeborn Opera Festival), The Assistant in The Tsar wants his Photo Taken (UCL Performance Lab) and Fanny Price in the Canadian premiere of Jonathan Dove’s Mansfield Park (U of T Opera).
Equally passionate about performance and off-stage creative practice, Renee sings with the Nathaniel Dett Chorale, and is a mentor and provincial coordinator for Opera education collective, Opera InReach. She also volunteers as an Institutional Giving intern with Boulanger Initiative, working on funding opportunities to support and advocate for works composed by women and marginalized gender composers.
Winner of the Metcalf Performing Arts Grant, Renee is the Producing Intern at Against the Grain Theatre.
Liham (working title) will be a digital memoir/loveletter to the Filipino creative spirit, celebrating and meditating on the heritage that has shaped migrant Filipinos and Filipino-Canadians; affirming that we are more than the stereotypes ascribed to us; more than the stories of oppression that have been used, even by us, to define us.
It will be a song cycle of 4 solo songs, based on and imbued with narrations of 4 other Filipino-Canadian multidisciplinary artists about how their Filipino Heritage has been part of their artistic journey. It will be a completely digital art work; an interactive webpage of its own with space for the works and communities that the artists, who are part of the song cycle, would like to share.
The project presented for the Opera in the 21st Century Program is the pilot of Liham: a presentation of 1 of the 4 songs that will serve as promotional material for the full song cycle that will be released in March/April 2022.
The inspiration behind this work’s conceptual digital format is Michel van der Aa’s The Book of Sand.
The music and libretto for this song cycle will be created by Juro Kim Feliz (composer) and Riley Palanca (poet).
This program is helping me redefine who I am and how I work as an artist, which has been tremendous in this (plague) year that has opened up strong conversations on what needs to change. I've also met new friends and a new community of like-minded and open artists that are strong reasons to hope for a better future for this industry.