SUMMERVILLE, N.S. – Brent Raddall is on the path to fulfilling his dream.
This South Shore Summerville Centre resident has been accepted into the Opera NUOVA program in Edmonton this summer. Opera NUOVA, Newly United Operatic Vocalists Association, is dedicated to the advanced training and promotion of operatic vocalists and collaborative pianists across Canada.
“I had heard nothing but good things about the level of work, the quality of training, and what this program can do for you as an artist and how you can improve in so many ways, so when it came the time to audition this year, I did!” says Raddall.
Raddall, who will be entering his third year in vocal performance at Acadia University, says his love for music was evident as a baby when his mother would play Andrea Bocelli records around the house, and he’d sing along.
Then, at the age of five, Raddall started singing in front of people at Kiwanis Music Festivals. Although at the time, Liverpool Regional High School didn’t have a music or theatre program, Raddall says he continued to grow musically and artistically through community theatre, summer camps, private voice lessons and the music festival.
Raddall had always planned on pursuing a career in medicine until someone recommended he compete in the musical theatre category at the Canadian National Music Festival in 2016, the summer after his high school graduation. He won.
“That was the catalyst that caused me to realize something that I had sort of known for a while, that I should be pursuing this as a career; and I consider it the best decision of my life,” says Raddall.
When asked what he loves more, the theatre or the vocal side of performance, he says his passion shifts and reshapes all the time.
“The more that I explore and find out about what's out there, and what it means to me, the more I realize how deep it goes. Between acting and singing, it's hard for me to imagine one without the other, especially in the world of musical theatre,” he says.
For him to give his best vocal performance, there are endless amounts of acting skills to employ, and vice versa. Overall, though, he says he just loves to perform.
“I feel the most comfortable and at-home when I'm on a stage, in front of people, doing my thing.”
Raddall will get to spend his summer doing just that. As part of Opera NUOVA, his primary role is playing Jack in the production of Sondheim's Into the Woods opening on June 24 at Festival Place Theater in Sherwood Park, Alta.
He will also be in the chorus of City Workers In Love, a contemporary, one act, comic opera by Weisensel and Cavanagh, playing at L'UniThéâtre in Edmonton, Alta. On June 25, Raddall will be singing in a noon-hour concert at Edmonton City Hall and will be part of other smaller pop-up performances too.
This program is everything he’s looking for.
“It's almost entirely performance-oriented, and at a very high level which is pushing me, while helping me grow into a better performer and artist. The faculty have led phenomenal careers, are some of the best in the business and are amazing mentors.”
Dr. Christianne Rushton, director of the School of Music and Head of voice at Acadia, and Raddall’s professor, agrees.
A summer program, like Nuova, affords young musicians the opportunity to experience a real, working theatre, she says. The level of preparation, artistry, musicianship and dramatic intent that is required allows young singers to delve deeply and in ways they have not previously encountered in an academic environment.
“Brent is a wonderful artist and singer and will benefit immensely from his time at this prestigious program,” she adds.
Raddall says he hopes to perform on stage professionally for the rest of his life, and to create a name for himself as a performer around the world.
“I feel that music, theatre, and performing arts bring joy to people's lives and can create change for the better, and that's something that I want to be a part of,” he says.