About Us – DRAFT

About Us

Opera by Request was founded in 2007 by William Shookhoff. We perform all manner of operatic repertoire in concert format, not such an unusual concept. The twist is that the repertoire is decided by the participants, not the company directorate.

For singers, we’re an opportunity to learn and perform a role for the first time in a comfortable and supportive environment. For audiences, we present affordable concert performances by singers in the roles that most inspire them.


How it Works

Two or more singers approach the director with a project suggestion. If the director is agreeable, and a mutually satisfactory date can be found, the singers and director form a cooperative whereby the remainder of the cast and a rehearsal schedule is created.

An hourly fee is assessed for coachings and rehearsals, excluding the dress rehearsal and performance, which are offered at no charge. The cast shares in the net box office proceeds, after all costs (hall rental, printing, other costs mutually agreed upon) are recovered.

If you’d like to perform with Opera By Request, or if you’re an audience member who’d like to be on our mailing list, please fill out the form on our contact page.

Artistic Team

William Shookhoff, Director

William Shookhoff, Director, Opera by RequestWilliam Shookhoff is a noted conductor, pianist and vocal coach throughout Canada and abroad. He has conducted Canadian orchestras from coast to coast, as well as in the Netherlands and China. He has served on the music faculties of the Universities of Toronto, Alberta, Wilfrid Laurier, as well as the Banff Centre for the Arts and the Johannesen Summer Institute of Music. He has been on the Music Staff of the Canadian, Netherlands, Edmonton, and Portland (Oregon) Opera Companies.

Equally at home in Music Theatre, Mr Shookhoff was the Associate Conductor of the inaugural Canadian production of Les Miserables, and of the Canadian Tour and Toronto productions of Phantom of the Opera. He has been a guest Music Director with Neptune Theatre (Halifax), Persephone Theatre (Saskatoon), and Citadel Theatre (Edmonton).

Frequently in demand as coach and conductor, Mr. Shookhoff makes frequent appearances in those capacities throughout Western Europe and China, as well as maintaining an active coaching studio in Toronto. He is a regular guest conductor with the Bluebridge Festival and with Opera Kitchener. He has also devoted his efforts to the development and presentation of the Massed Piano or Monster Concert, and has conducted such events at Carnegie Hall, New York; Massey Hall and Nathan Philips Square, Toronto; the White House, Washington, DC; and the Castel Sant’Angelo, Rome. Mr. Shookhoff is Artistic Director Emeritus at Tryptych Productions.

Claire Harris, Associate Director

Claire Harris, Associate Director, Opera by Request

Claire Harris is a Toronto-based collaborative pianist, specialising in opera and contemporary repertoire.

Claire is Associate Director with Opera by Request, Toronto, and acts as Music Director for productions during their season. She is also pianist with Crossing Borders, a company performing works by living composers in Canada and internationally. Claire is the co-producer and pianist for Opera Revue, a Toronto-based company bringing opera to casual venues. She also works regularly as a répétiteur and coach with companies such as No Strings Theatre, Windsor Symphony, Mississauga Symphony as well as continuing vocal coaching work at the University of Toronto.

Prior to moving to Toronto in 2018, Claire was a staff accompanist at the Royal College of Music, London, as well as working with companies including English Touring Opera, the Rossini Young Artists’ Festival, Opera Alumnus, and the Academie de La Roche D’Hys annual opera workshop in France.

Originally from New Zealand, Claire holds a Bachelor of Music from the New Zealand School of Music and a Masters from the Royal College of Music, London, England.

For the past year, she has been the pianist for Amarras, a Toronto-based contemporary Argentinian Tango ensemble.

Administrative Team

Administrative Assistant

Wendy Cladman

Administrative Assistant
Communications Director

Kim Sartor

Communications Director
Social Media Coordinator

Meagan Reimer

Social Media Coordinator
Website Manager

Sharon Tikiryan

Website Manager

Chiara Urban