Barbara Fris, ’77 – Canadian soprano

Barbara Fris, Canadian soprano, born in Halifax, has had the privilege of performing in Europe, across Canada and the United States. 

Barbara began her music studies training at the Nova Scotia Teacher’s College in Truro (Vivian Brand), Dalhousie University (Elvira Gonnella), the University of Toronto Opera Division (Bernard Diamant), and in Italy studying with Italian tenor Federico Davia, Donna Bruinsma of the Chicago Lyric Opera Maestro Walter Baracchi of La Scala, and in Sienna Italy, as well as private studies in New York City in Carnegie Hall with Julliard’s Rita Patané. 

Barbara was a finalist at the Luciano Pavarotti Voice Competition (1981) and was the first Canadian winner of the International Belcanto Foundation of Chicago Voice Competition (1989) and sang at their Buon Viaggio Gala in Chicago and in a recital in the Teatro Rozzi in Siena, Italy.

Barbara’s professional singing career began with her first opera role “Clorinda” in Rossini’s Cinderella with the Calgary Opera Association, David Speers conducting, which led to performing in “Kismet” with the Canadian Opera Company, a tour of “Angelina” in Trial by Jury with Calgary, Manitoba and Edmonton Opera Companies under the baton of Derek Bate,  “Mimi” in La Bohème with the Smile Theatre Company of Toronto with Tony Lloyd and “Mabel” in the Pirates of Penzance, “Norina” in Don Pasquale with the Opera Theatre of Alberta and numerous Oratorio and concert performances with various orchestras in Ontario Richmond Hill, Scarborough and Mississauga Orchestras. Settling in Toronto Barbara was able to mentor young singers and actors; 10 who went on to University in Music and one who was accepted in the prestigious National Theatre School of Canada in Montreal. While living in Sudbury, Ontario it was a thrill to sing O Canada and God Save the Queen in the presence of Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip at the opening of Science North in 1994.  Barbara remains an active member of the Toronto Heliconian Club, a club for professional women in the arts. 

After thirty-five years away performing and teaching Barbara returned to Halifax in 2015.  She has joined Halifax’s Women for Music.  Their bi-annual book sale raises funds for Symphony Nova Scotia and the Nova Scotia Youth Orchestra. She has joined her church choir at Calvin Presbyterian Church and is a member of the Ladies Fellowship Group. She also started teaching private singing lessons in Halifax.