May 30th, 2024

Medicine Hat opera singer coming home for her solo debut

By ANNA SMITH on April 19, 2024.

Picture of Sydney Baedke.--Photo Courtesy Gaetz Photography

Native “Hatter” and full-time opera singer Sydney Baedke is thrilled to be coming back to her Alberta roots, after a series of debuts all over the world.

Born in Cypress County, just in between the city and Seven Persons, Baedke says she had always wanted to be an opera singer, “once I realized I was never going to be a fairy or mermaid.”

“While I am the first musician of my family, my mom in particular has a great affinity for classical music, and when I was very young she would play it around the house hoping it would make me better at math; or, at the very least, cry less,” said Baedke. What happened instead was she had begun to mimic the singers in the pieces, having her dolls sing to each other until it was clear that this was going to be her passion in life.

Baedke was enrolled at the Conservatory not long after.

Since then, Baedke has worked hard to reach her current position, moving from the Conservatory’s Girls’ Choir, to setting off in 2013 to complete her first degree at the University of Toronto, followed by her second degree at Rice University in Houston, Texas.

“In 2019 I made my formal debut as a professional artist, missing my masters degree convocation in the process, when I sang the dual roles of The Goddess of Fortune and the Valet in Opera Theatre of Saint Louis’ The Coronation of Poppea by Monteverdi as a member of their annual young artist program,” said Baedke.

In the ensuing years, she has performed at New York’s Carnegie Hall, London’s Royal Opera House, the Sante Fe Opera and Toronto’s Koerner Hall, as well as some more remote locations, such as Newfoundland’s Opera on the Avalon.

“I’ve also been fortunate to have artistic partnerships with organizations including Toronto’s Royal Conservatory of Music in their Rebanks Fellowship Program, the Banff Centre for the Performing Arts and the Britten Pears Foundation in England,” said Baedke.

Recently, Baedke won first prize at the Edmonton Opera’s Rumbold Vocal Prize Competition, which was publicly held at the Northern Jubilee auditorium.

“During an onstage Q&A, there were cheers from the crowd when I announced I was from Medicine Hat, and to have support from my home-province crowd when so much of my career has been spent elsewhere in Canada and abroad meant the world to me,” said Baedke.

Baedke is in Paris, at the time of writing, auditioning for roles networking as she can in between performances. She noted she can “often be found in random cities across Europe and North America pursuing those opportunities in between engagements.”

In the near future however, she has set her sights closer to home, where she will debut as a soloist with the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra in late May.

She couldn’t be happier to be making such an advancement for her career within her home province, is honoured to be able to have her friends and family in the audience as she takes this big step and is excited to bring this next piece to life.

“I was delighted when I got the call, and the repertoire is to die for,” said Baedke. “And there is an added level of support you feel making professional milestones in your home community.”

“Performing within Canada and better yet, in Alberta, is always a treat,” said Baedke. “Of course I have goals of singing in some of the world’s most prestigious opera houses and having a calendar full of international engagements, but getting to stand on stages in the communities that I have lived experience in is a very artistically fulfilling experience for me. I hope to make more debuts at opera companies and orchestras across Alberta in the very near future.”

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