Opera NUOVA Board of Directors & Staff

Board of Directors


BACK ROW: David Burzminski, Yvette Laviolette, Sandra Green, Michelle Van Der Molen,
Simon-Marc de Freitas
FRONT ROW: Kim Mattice Wanat, Angela Lawrence, Sandra Durante, John Pater, Karen Bokenfohr

Executive Directors

Angela Lawrence – Chair
Sandra Durante – Vice Chair
Sandra Green – Treasurer
John Pater – Secretary


Karen Bokenfohr
David Burzminski

Simon-Marc de Freitas
Yvette Laviolette
Michelle Van der Molen

Administrative Staff

Kim Mattice Wanat – Artistic & Managing Director; Founder of Opera NUOVA

Rebecca Woytiuk – Arts Administrator; Young Artist Programs, Financials & Donations

Aidan Ferguson – Marketing &  Box Office Manager; Sponsorships, Public Relations, Marketing & Box Office          

Board of Directors Biographies

Executive Board Members


Angela Lawrence (née Welch) was born in Edmonton, AB.  She obtained her Bachelor of Music from the Vancouver Academy of Music.  In addition to her time in Vancouver, she attended the founding year of Opera NUOVA, as Anne Page in The Merry Wives of Windsor and went on to participate for their second season as Zerlina in Mozart’s Don Giovanni. In her final year of study, she was accepted into the Atelier Lyrique de L’opera de Montreal and worked for Montreal Opera in addition to touring the Maritime Provinces bringing art and culture to communities with minimal exposure to vocal arts.  She then went on to make débuts with Vancouver Opera, Calgary Opera, Edmonton Opera, Montreal Technopera, Montreal Opera and the Edmonton, Calgary and Sherbrooke Symphony Orchestras as well as Les Violons du Roy, L’Orchestre Contemporaine de Montreal and the Montreal Symphony Orchestra.  Angela has studied with many of the great masters in Europe including Elly Ameling, Wolfgang Holzmaier, Rudolf Jansen, Edith Wiens, Martin Isepp and Helmut Deutsche as well as her regular studies in Montreal with Lyne Fortin and in New York with Marlena Malas.  She is a graduate of the Franz Schubert Institute, Oberlin at Cassalmaggiore, a laureate of Les Jeunes Ambassadeurs Lyriques, and Debut compeition winner on CBC Radio and was a finalist in the International Vocal Competition, Marmande France.  In 2010, Angela returned to Edmonton where she is currently raising her young family.


Sandra Durante currently works as a Program Manager for the City of Edmonton, where she is responsible for leading energy management and project management professionals to serve the needs Citizens. She holds a Masters Certificate in Project Management from York University; attended U of A’s School of Business; has certification from NAIT and the London Institute of Leadership & Management and holds a Bachelor’s degree in Arts from the University of Calgary. She was nominated for the City of Edmonton Manager’s Excellence Award and is a TELUS President’s Club Winner.


Sandra is currently employed as the Managing Director of Corporate and Customer Services with the Fort Edmonton Management Company. Prior to the Park, Sandra spent many years in the film and television industry in a variety of positions including managing an international documentary distribution company, setting up and administering development funds, and assisting companies in preparing business plans. Sandra has an MA in Communications and holds a CMA designation.


John Pater is on a lifetime quest to find meaning … in his professional and personal life and in his enjoyment of the literary and performing arts. John worked for a dozen years as a radio news reporter, news editor, reader and host, primarily for CBC in Edmonton and Iqaluit. He has spent another dozen years working as a public and media relations specialist, primarily with the City of Edmonton. And lately is shifting to working as a policy advisor on government relations with the City. John has a Master of Theological Studies degree where he focused on the meaning to be found in popular culture and the arts. The NUOVA artists have been a source of inspiration for over 10 years now, with highlights being watching his daughter Erin Vandermolen-Pater perform (NUOVA alumnus 2015 & 2016).

Board Members


Karen’s interest in Music began at age 5, learning piano.  She continued piano up until Grade IX Royal Conservatory.  As a youth, she took band and Choir throughout high school. Karen learned French horn, flute and piccolo.  Following High School, she chose to become a nurse, working 10 years in the operating room at the University of Alberta.  At age 40, Karen studied harp with Kerri Lynn Zwicker.  Her interest in music was shared by her children, and her two daughters soon became extremely busy outside of school with dance, voice lessons, and St Albert Children’s Theater, where Karen served as a board member.  Both girls had Kim Mattice Wanat as there vocal coach.  Karen’s youngest is now pursuing her bachelor of music degree in vocal performing at McGill.  Karen is excited to be on the board of Opera NUOVA and looking forward to the challenges ahead.


Born in Lamont, Dave grew up on a farm. He has two sisters, one older and one younger. He enjoyed music from a young age and enjoy most genres in general, but especially classical music. In school, he participated in the music and choral programs. After high school, Dave sung for several years in the Columbian Mixed Choir under Paul Bouret. His post-secondary education consisted of attending NAIT in the field of Medical Laboratory Technology. After several years practicing at the Misericordia Hospital, Dave attended the University of Alberta and then was employed at the University of Alberta Hospital, in the transplantation laboratory. He spent several years in research, but his main focus was on the clinical side. This involved the pre- and post-transplant monitoring of patients as well as assisting physicians in the selection of transplant recipients when a donor presented. Dave retired on August 1, 2012 and is currently enjoying not being on call.  Happily, he is as busy as ever. He has traveled a fair amount in the past and enjoys the challenge of finding flights and holidays that meet each trip’s needs. Dave is a valued resource to friends & colleagues when they plan trips to Europe, Australia and New Zealand.


Simon-Marc pursued post-secondary studies in the field of piano performance and collaborative piano at the University of British Columbia and the University of Toronto. Simon-Marc returned to Alberta in May of 2009 and since that time, he has been an active member of the musical arts and cultural scene in Edmonton. Simon-Marc maintains a performing schedule as a soloist as well as accompanist/collaborative artist for students and professionals on a regular basis throughout the City of Edmonton. Through his education, Simon-Marc has attended various summer music programs nationally and internationally. Simon-Marc has an appreciation for many different mediums of the Arts. Specifically, his fascination lies within the effect of intertwining different mediums of art and how they reinforce/demote the important message or purpose of the work. He frequently attends concerts and events that push the boundaries of conventional performance. Simon-Marc is not a stranger to Opera NUOVA. In January of 2010 he was contracted by Opera NUOVA as the pianist for their school tour, The Lives of Lesser Things. It was through this experience that Simon-Marc began employment with Opera NUOVA as Administrative Assistant to Kim Mattice Wanat. For one and a half years, Simon-Marc became affiliated with NUOVA’s mandate and with Kim’s vision. He is familiar with the various programs that NUOVA offers and is looking forward to contributing to its direction through his participation on the Board of Directors.


Yvette has over 35 years of experience in the insurance industry, with 24 years as an independent adjuster. Since 1999 she has owned her own business in St. Albert; ASI Alternative Solutions, an independent insurance company.

Yvette has been an instructor in Automobile Insurance (Personal and Commercial), Bodily Injury, Liability, and Advanced Loss Adjusting courses for the Insurance Institute of Canada since 1984 and has conducted seminars on a wide variety of topics. She has taught similar courses in the MacEwan University Insurance and Risk Management Program.   Yvette was recently awarded the Insurance Institute of Northern Alberta Instructor of the Year Award for 2013/14.

Yvette is a past-president of the Insurance Institute of Northern Alberta and is a past board member of the Alberta Insurance Council’s Appeal Board.  Yvette joins the board as one who has previously appreciated Opera NUOVA’s mandate as an audience member, and enjoys spending time with her 6 children and 1 grandchild.


Michelle graduated from the University of Alberta in 1988 with a Bachelor’s degree in pharmacy. She has practiced pharmacy in both community and hospital settings in Alberta, Nunavut and British Guyana (as a volunteer with Canadian Crossroads International) and currently owns her own Medicine Shoppe Pharmacy in northeast Edmonton.  She has been a volunteer much of her adult life, with stints on many church and community boards and committees, including seven years with Options Edmonton (previously Planned Parenthood Edmonton). She is the proud mother of two adult children, whose passion for arts and culture continues to inspire and challenge her.  Michelle’s current leisure activities include curling, reading, learning to tango and wine-tasting.