by Edith Cody-Rice 

Mireille Asselin                                                                                                                             Photo Credit Bo Huang

A well-regarded opera star, Mireille Asselin, has recently moved to Almonte with her husband. Ms. Asselin and her husband, Christopher Enns are a musical couple. Christopher Enns is a tenor. The couple are both engaged to sing with Opera Atelier in Toronto next year in their Dido and Aeneas.

Mireille, an Ottawa native, spent five years at the Metropolitan Opera in New York, winning rave reviews. She debuted as Poussette in Manon but the opportunity to perform Adele for the opening night of Die Fledermaus under the baton of James Levine established her credentials as a top-notch operatic singer. She is a regular performer with Opera Atelier and through her association with it has sung four times at the Opera House in Versailles Palace.

Before the 2019-2020 season was cancelled, Mireille sang at the Champs Elysées Theater in Paris (Zerlina in Don Giovanni), the Milwaukee Symphony (Handel’s Messiah), the Orchestre de Chambre de Paris (Mozart’s Requiem) at Carnegie Hall (Bach’s Christmas Oratorio),  and Opera Atelier (Zerlina in Don Giovanni), did a world premiere in New York and worked on a pioneering virtual reality opera in Vancouver (still in development).

Mireille was slated to perform a concert with Angela Hewitt at her festival in Trasimeno, Italy this summer, and had contracts to sing in the Caramoor Festival and Trinity Wall Street (Venus in  Rameau’s Dardanus), the Columbus Opera (title role in  Monteverdi’s Poppea), and was scheduled to sing in concerts across Canada from Newfoundland to Vancouver and  Ottawa’s Music and Beyond. With her performances cancelled due to Covid-19, Mireille jumped into volunteer as a grocery shopper in Almonte within a week of moving to town. She has now been volunteering for over a month.

In addition to her live performances Mireille has issued two CDs: “Ash Roses”, featuring the music of composer Derek Holman on the Centrediscs label, and “Inspired by Canada / Notre Pays” on the Marquis Classics label, a CD of all Canadian music released for Canada’s 150 featuring the Amici Chamber Ensemble.

Born in Ottawa, Mireille was raised in St. John New Brunswick and returned to Ottawa for high school when her Quebecois father accepted a job with the Central Mortgage and Housing Corporation. As her mother is  American, Mireille is a dual Canadian/American citizen.

Mireille was always a musical child, taking piano lessons and singing in choirs. When a  choirmaster recommended Mireille take private lessons, she began seriously pursuing her singing. She had the good fortune to attend De La Salle High School, the Ottawa francophone school recognized for its Excellence in Arts program. She still praises its wonderful vocal program. She decided there to try to forge a professional career as a singer. After receiving her undergraduate degree at the Glenn Gould School at the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto, she attended Yale for a master’s degree in music in the opera program.

From there Mireille went on to the Canadian Opera Company Studio Ensemble Young Artists’ program, one of only two students chosen in the year she was accepted. The program includes understudying main roles and some secondary roles and occasionally a student has a chance to perform main stage roles. Luckily, she had sung Die Fledermaus at the Canadian Opera Company during her training and in her first year out of the program, 2015, the Metropolitan Opera hired her as an understudy for the role of Adele. Thus came the opportunity to show her talents in New York when she jumped into the role on a moment’s notice. The reviews were glowing. Since then she has gained acclaim throughout North America and Europe.

Mireille and Christopher intend to settle permanently in Almonte. In addition to his singing profession, Christopher owns and operates a financial planning business called “Rags to Reasonable” working primarily with artists and people with non-traditional income streams.  Mireille was introduced to the town as a young girl when she came to hear some of her favourite singers in the Old Town Hall. The musical and artistic community was definitely a draw to settle here and the Old Town Hall with its superb acoustics is a bonus. She was asked to sing in Almonte in Concert’s Christmas concert this year but had to decline because of other engagements.  Hopefully, we shall hear her sing at the Old Town Hall in the future.

Mireille was interviewed by Alan Neal on CBC’s All in a Day in July of 2018 http://mireilleasselin.com/2018/07/17/radio-cbc-all-in-a-day/

Here is Mireille singing Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=1780693641950669

And her website is available at http://mireilleasselin.com/