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P.E.I. musician wins big at national music festival

Charlottetown native Olivia Barnes places first in the vocal category at the prestigious FCMF National Music Festival.
Charlottetown native Olivia Barnes places first in the vocal category at the prestigious FCMF National Music Festival. - Contributed

Olivia Barnes wins first place in the vocal category at the prestigious FCMF National Music Festival

SACKVILLE, N.B. - Olivia Barnes is a singer, violinist, actor, comedian and director from Charlottetown, PEI.

Recently, she won first place in the vocal category at the prestigious FCMF National Music Festival held this year at Mount Allison University.

Here she competed against classical singers from across the country.

As Barnes is presently studying in Montreal, she was representing the province of Quebec, having won their top award in both 2016 and 2018. In 2015, she was a finalist at this festival, representing P.E.I. and had received the outstanding vocal performance award from the P.E.I. Registered Music Teachers’ Association.

While growing up on P.E.I., she could be found playing classical violin with the Strathgartney Chamber orchestra, playing jazz on Victoria Row, directing the First Baptist Church Choir, performing with the Confederation players as well as leading the troupe’s musical vignettes and choral performances for three summers.

In other words, she studied and lived her music.

Barnes is a graduate of UPEI’s music faculty, studying under Sung Ha Shin Bouey.

She holds a masters degree in vocal performance from the University of Montreal. She is presently doing a graduate performance diploma at McGill University, studying with renowned soprano, Dominique Labelle, opera director Patrick Hansen, and vocal coach, Stephen Hargreaves.

Barnes has taken master classes with opera great Richard Margison, Suzie Le Blanc and Andrew Chapelle of the Broadway hit, “Hamilton”.

Some of her operatic credits to date include the Fairy Queen in “Iolanthe”, Paquette in “Candide”, Nettie Fowler in “Carousel”, the Sorceress in “Dido and Aeneas”, Beatrice in “Much Ado About Nothing” and Helena in “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”.

In 2017, Barnes directed the hit opera, “Thomas and Sally”, in Montreal.

She has just been selected to sing as the mezzo soloist for Rossini’s “Petite Messe Solennelle” which will be performed in October in Montreal.

This past weekend, she portrayed the role of Beatrice in workshop presentation of the new opera “Much Ado!”, which was part of the “Opera’s Changing World” summit held in Montreal. Later on this year, she will play the part of Florence Pike in Benjamin Britten’s “Robert Herring” and Dritte Dame In Mozart’s “Magic Flute.”

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