2023 CLASSICAL ALBUM OF THE YEAR (SOLO ARTIST) | Isabel Bayrakdarian | | The JUNO Awards

A winner of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions—the same year she graduated from the University of Toronto cum laude with a Biomedical Engineering Degree—Dr. Bayrakdarian thereafter found her career taking rapid wing. She scored a notable success in the Lyric Opera of Chicago’s world premiere production of William Bolcom’s​ A View from the Bridge;​ the following year, she walked away from Plácido Domingo’s prestigious Operalia competition with first prize.

More debuts followed, including her San Francisco Opera debut, as Valencienne in ​The Merry Widow,​ and her Metropolitan Opera debut, in the New York premiere of Bolcom’s opera; a season later, she won plaudits as Teresa in the Met premiere of Berlioz’s B​envenuto Cellini​. Mozart became a specialty: Zerlina in Don Giovanni (New York, Houston, Salzburg), Susanna in ​Le nozze di Figaro ​(Los Angeles, London), and Pamina in ​The Magic Flute ​(New York, Toronto). Her roles at Toronto’s Canadian Opera Company range from Gluck’s Euridice to Debussy’s Mélisande to Poulenc’s Blanche in D​ialogues des Carmélites;​ and away from Canada, she has shone as Monteverdi’s Poppea in Barcelona, Handel’s Romilda (S​erse)​ in Dresden, and Janáček’s Vixen in New York, Florence, and the Saito Kinen Festival in Matsumoto, Japan.