Opera NUOVA Board of Directors & Staff

Executive Directors

Michelle Van Der Molen - Chair
Lauren Chalaturnyk - Secretary
Court Laslop - Treasurer


Claire Briggs
Catherine Daniel
Andrea Graham

Administrative Staff

Kim Mattice Wanat - Artistic & Managing Director; Founder of Opera NUOVA
Mel Bahniuk - Artistic Administrator


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

Kim Mattice Wanat is a performer, teacher and director. She founded Opera NUOVA in 1998 and has acted as the Artistic and Managing Director since its inception. She has produced and directed several of Opera NUOVA’s productions including Bock & Harnick's Fiddler on the Roof, Smetana’s The Bartered Bride, Offenbach’s La Périchole, Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, the Canadian Première of Mark Adamo’s Little Women and all of NUOVA’s school touring productions, most notably, a Canada Council commissioned opera written by NUOVA alumnus Isaiah Bell entitled The Lives of Lesser Things; and Dean Burry’s Isis and the Seven Scorpions & and The Brothers Grimm. She is presently an instructor at the University of Alberta in the drama department and regularly works as a clinician for voice and choral teachers and as a musical director for musical theatre productions. Her commitment to sharing her expertise with young singers, actors, teachers and choral directors has earned her extensive recognition including Global Edmonton Television’s Woman of Vision Award, The City of Edmonton’s Salute to Excellence in the Arts Award and The YWCA’s Woman of Distinction in Arts and Culture Award


Mel Bahniuk - Artistic Administrator


Mel Bahniuk is a second-generation Ukrainian Canadian multi-disciplinary artist who currently resides on Treaty 6 territory (amiskwacîwâskahikan - Edmonton). She is an actor, producer, arts administrator, and educator. Mel has been fortunate to work with The Edmonton Fringe, The Citadel, Catalyst Theatre, Pyretic Productions, and NextFest to hone in on her skills as an administrator, and producer in the arts. Their primary education is in performing arts, but they have really loved diving into the behind the scenes ofcompanies around Alberta to further understand what it means to run an organization in the arts sector. Mel has a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of Alberta, and a Diploma in Theatre Arts from MacEwan University where they studied Musical Theatre. Recently she produced her first documentary titled OMA, which followed retired registered nurse Sandy Moser who has sewn 5000+ masks for the local theatre community that was shutdown during the covid-19 pandemic. She was also featured in the film They Who Surround Us- a film about grief and intergenerational trauma of a Ukrainian family which won the Audience Award for Best Dramatic Feature at the Edmonton International Film Festival. Her favourite select theatre credits include Lady Capulet in Romeo & Juliet, and Titania in A Midsummer Night's Dream (Theatre Calgary), Rose in The Flick, Bobbies James in Concord Floral, Mercutio in Romeo & Juliet, and Alex in On the Verge (University of Alberta), Ms. Fleming in Heathers: The Musical (Citadel Young Company), Catch Me If You Can, Big Fish, and Sondheim on Sondheim (MacEwan University). She is excited for this new adventure with Opera NUOVA! @melbahniuk


Board of Directors Biographies

Executive Board Members


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.



Lauren Chalaturnyk has been an active member of the Edmonton arts community for over 15 years. She trained in opera, musical theatre, and piano as a teenager and regularly competed in local music festivals. Lauren continued to pursue her love for music in an undergraduate degree in musicology and history at the University of Alberta. She then followed a different passion and graduated from law school in 2017. Lauren is currently an associate lawyer at a mid-size civil firm in downtown Edmonton, practicing primarily in the areas of employment and municipal law. When not performing in the courtroom, Lauren continues to sing with a local women's ensemble and remains an enthusiastic supporter of the arts in Edmonton.



Court Laslop is an active member of the Edmonton music community. Court began his career studying music performance at the University of Alberta and soon became interested in the business behind the Performing Arts. Returning to the University he received an MBA degree and began working with Not for Profit performing arts organizations as a consultant and analyst, helping devise business strategy. He has previously served with the board of the Edmonton Recital Society, New Music Edmonton and Festival of Trees, and as Business Analyst with the Edmonton Symphony and has also been involved with Citie Ballet and the Edmonton Opera. Court also maintains a career as a freelance performer and instructor and lectures on Performing Arts business practice. 


Board Members 


Claire Briggs is a corporate communications consultant with experience across a variety of disciplines, including employee and management communications, media relations, writing and editing. Claire spent ten years with IBM’s corporate communications team, and before that several years with US-based public relations agencies, working with clients in the IT, arts and retail industries.  She has been involved in music and theatre since childhood, and has the pleasure now of supporting her three children in their musical and performance pursuits.



Career highlights for Ms. Daniel include: singing Emelda Griffiths in Grammy award-winner Terence Blanchard’s opera ‘Champion’ with l’Opéra de Montréal, debuting Klytemnestra in Edmonton Opera’s production of Elektra, singing Elisabetta in Knoxville Opera’s production of Donizetti’s Maria Stuarda, and debuting at Carnegie Hall as a soloist in Haydyn’s Mass in Time of war.

Ms Daniel of Edmonton studied voice with Coluratura soprano Tracy Dahl at the University of Manitoba.   She was a member of the Atelier Lyrique de l’Opéra de Montréal, and later became a member of the Opera Studio Nederlands in Amsterdam. Catherine is an alumna of Opera Nuova (2007 Ludmilla in The Bartered Bride)

Catherine’s last season included returning to Montreal and Edmonton for recital engagements and making her Opera Tampa debut in Carmen singing the title role.

Ms. Daniel’s Sacred Christmas album is now available for purchase. Please visit www.catherinedaniel.com for more details.



Andrea Graham has over 20 years of experience in executive support for a range of industries, including energy, health care and post-secondary governance. She has worked as executive support for Alberta Health Services, for MacEwan University’s Board of Governors, for Chief Operating Officer at the Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry with the University of Alberta. She currently supports the Office of the Provost’s SET program at the University of Alberta.

Andrea is a classically-trained vocalist, and has performed for many years in opera and musical theatre.  She has performed on many stages throughout the Edmonton area, and currently fronts her own band -- The Andrea Graham Quartet -- performing jazz, blues, soul and R&B music.