Tonia Cianciulli

39 Years
Hair Colour
Eye Colour
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170 cm  
65 kg  


Musician Classical Singer Solo Artist Opera singer
Presenter Guest Speaker Life coach
Writer Author
Entrepreneur Female


When dreams meet passion, determination and positive energy, amazing things can happen. Canadian soprano TONIA EVANS CIANCIULLI is the personification of this adage as she has focuses her boundless energy, her unwavering desire to inspire, to teach, to impart her wisdom and experience as a performing artist to help others achieve their own creative dreams.

Besides continuing to perform her ever broadening repertoire of operatic classics and more contemporary repertoires, both in her home country and increasingly in the United States, Cianciulli builds bridges between the arts and the broader community, helps aspiring creators tear down the barriers within themselves that are preventing them from reaching for the stars, and trumpets the important – but sometimes forgotten – legacy of artists who have come before.

Through her efforts and effervescent and unflappable will, she is devoted to acquiring and sharing knowledge of the wonderfully deep and rich culture of her home province of Newfoundland.

Public speaker, performer, recording artist, cultural advocate, mentor and unabashed fan-girl of the creative spirit, Tonia Cianciulli is intellectually curious as she is approachable, as accomplished as she is warm and giving, and as dedicated to her dreams as she is to her family.

Preserving and promoting the cultural and artistic heritage of Newfoundland has been a pre-eminent preoccupation of late.

In the past two years alone, she has recorded an album highlighting the repertoire of legendary Twillingate-born late-Victorian era opera sensation Georgina Stirling (aka. Marie Toulinquet) entitled Heart’s Obsession, as well as a second album celebrating the music and legacy of beloved modern Newfoundland troubadour Ron Hynes called Beckon Me Home. She created a touring show to both entertain and enlighten Newfoundlanders, Canadians and beyond about Stirling’s significance within the opera world of her day, and that this legacy need not only be preserved and celebrated.

Most recently, she garnered a Canadian Book Award for The Heart’s Obsession, a book about Stirling co-authored with her father Calvin D. Evans.

“The book is part of my mission to continue to educate Newfoundlanders and Canadians about who she is. And I want her to be re-celebrated in Europe as well. And the thing about this project is that it feels kind of endless because my work is not done, there’s so much more I want to do to help keep Georgina’s name and career and achievements alive.”

Prior to this, she has run the Wish Arts program in Toronto, which helped train would-be stage performers about many of the off-stage elements going into a successful performance – which she continues to do but now on a more one-on-one basis. As well, in between all of this work and her performing career, she hosts an interview series called Artist’s Spotlight, where Cianciulli interviews notable Canadian artists and creators across a broad spectrum of media.

“I wanted to see, out of this wide variety of artists, whether it be an opera singer, or a painter, or a poet or a cellist, how do they deal with the low times, the struggles, issues of confidence. What are the similarities in their stories, what are the differences, and what are some new things they might have to offer those watching the interview? It’s one more way that I can keep feeding other artists with new ideas and inspirations,” she explained.

A resident of Toronto, who spends half a year in Miami, Cianciulli continues to utilize the excellence and emotiveness of her voice to enthrall, enchant and entertain music lovers throughout North America. But this is merely the proverbial tip of the iceberg when it comes to the role that she plays as what can only be described as an inspirational and tireless advocate for the significance of the arts to our society, but more importantly, for the enrichment of nations, communities and individuals.

For the past decade or more, she has become a devoted cultural curator and facilitator. Her sparkling and often sultry soprano voice has not only been the path to great success in the world of opera and as a concert performer, but it has become the gateway for broader conversations about art, music and.

A communicator of boundless enthusiasm and breadth of knowledge about the arts – on the stage, in the rehearsal room, the production office and beyond – Cianciulli has spent decades accumulating knowledge, ideas and experience, which she gladly passes on to all who ask. The various projects surrounding Georgina Stirling are evidence of this.

It was sparked by revisiting a biography about the opera star that she had been given many years earlier. The story of how a young woman from a small fishing out port on the fringes of North America came to be at the centre of the international opera world, criss-crossing the Atlantic to sing before adoring audiences was the stuff of fairy tales. But it was a tale Cianciulli felt obligated, even destined to tell.

“I became completely immersed in her story and came to understand what an incredible trailblazer she was, what an incredible artist and the amount of success she experienced. And also, that she was such a loving, down to earth, humble human being who was not only living her dreams and passions, but also of service to other people with those talents,” she said.

“And I do feel very protective of her legacy, because there were ups and downs in her life. Like any other artist or musician in the spotlight, there are a lot of expectations and pressures you’re living under and you struggle from time to time. She was human: we’re all human. I want to reserve her legacy, I want to set the record straight, I want the people to know how incredible an impact that she had on the world of opera and brought Newfoundland onto that international stage.”

Hynes became part of this process as he had written and recorded the song Marie, which appeared on his last album, released in 2016, about Stirling, adding another impeccable layer of cultural provenance to an already breathtaking potent Newfoundland story.

“We all knew who Ron Hynes was growing up, but it wasn’t until I discovered his song Marie that it really brought her into the 21st Century and made her even more relevant,” she said.

Passing along knowledge of the past is one thing, and an important part of Cianciulli’s life mission. But imparting practical knowledge and life-changing, inspiring wisdom is also near and dear to her heart.

For more than a decade, through her Wish Arts program, Cianciulli has been a teacher and mentor to hundreds of aspiring performers – a role she wholeheartedly continues to play through more one-on-one training and consultations.

“Because we put so much time and energy into training our instruments, or our art, before we can even get on stage, we can become crippled by our own self talk and self sabotage. So I put a six-month course called An Artist’s Journey, which focused on everything from anxiety to post-partum creative depression, which is the crash into depression that comes after you have thrown everything you have into a project and when it’s over you’re feel lost and unworthy because all of a sudden you don’t have anything going on in your life at that level,” she explained.

“At the time I would have between 15 to 20 women, and for some reason it was always women, and we go through all the aspects leading up to a performance and then do a performance itself, nurturing all the elements involved in being an artist, so we can get out there on stage, offer our best work, and get out of our own way.”

Cianciulli has also devoted her time, energy and talent to various charitable causes and social concerns. These include gala fundraisers for orchestras such as the Toronto Concert Orchestra, Etobicoke Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Symphony of the Americas. She has also performed for the Juvenile Diabetes Association, the Metro Toronto Police Chief’s Gala (raising funds for the Victims Services program), and for the Peel HIV AIDS Network Gala.

The latter is of particular personal interest for Cianciulli as it was AIDS that claimed the life of her beloved uncle Brian Evans, the many who inspired her love for singing and who encouraged her to get classical training and become an opera singer.

Each year for the past few festive seasons, she has host The Heart’s Obsession concerts, which raises money for a different cause each year, including Canada’s Smile Train for cleft lip, a family member who became a paraplegic, and this past year, to the family of Maestro Kerry Stratton who recently passed after a valiant battle with ALS. A version of this concert was also brought to Wasaga Beach United Church for fundraisers.

From 2002 to 2006, Cianciulli organized the annual Calling on Liberty event, featuring lots of local talent in Toronto’s Liberty Village in from of 500 or so people. Each year, funds were raised for various community causes including St. Michael’s Hospital, Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Canada, the AIDS Committee of Toronto and more.

Empowering women, especially moms, to follow their dreams, passions and career goals, has also been an important focus for Cianciulli.

“I feel that as a singer I can reach a deeper level of vulnerability and build an even deeper connection than just speaking, and that’s why I like performing at these events. And one thing I really make a point to talk about at these events, and even just in the way I live my life, is that my life and my career proves that there really is more than one path to fulfillment,” she explained.

“I have had to go about my career kind of backwards because I chose to get married and have a family first. Many of my colleagues went into their careers first, so I did go through periods where I was questioning whether it was too late for me to have a singing career, that I was too old. It sounds silly, but there are certain realities. But I learned to be more creative and go about it in another way and create the opportunities for myself that I want to see, the roles that I want to see, the books I want to write. So, I hope that maybe I am an inspiration to some other moms who chose to have kids first who say to themselves, ‘well I am just going to organize my own concerts and maybe write a book about something I am passionate about. I want people to know that you too can do this, and you don’t have to go about it the way ‘they’ say you do.”

It is important to understand where this seemingly boundless passion for teaching, for mentoring, for promoting, preserving, enriching and enhancing the connection between art, culture and people comes from. The driving force behind Cianciulli’s love for opera came from her late uncle Brian, who passed away in 1992, when Tonia was just 18.

“He was a huge opera fan. I knew I could trust his intuition based on his passionate involvement with the Canadian Opera Company. I think the first thing I ever sang for him was Bette Midler’s, ‘The Wind Beneath My Wings’/ And he said to me, ‘don’t waste your time on that music. You have a classical voice, develop it.’ At first, I resisted, but then I fell in love with opera, and I was on a mission to get other people to love it too. That has remained a real motivator for me, and I think it has carried over into inspiring people to follow their creative and artistic dreams whatever they are. Whether it’s opera or pop music, or painting, or film or wiring, we must do what speaks to us and feeds our soul,” said Cianciulli.

This is more than just a mantra for Tonia Evan Cianciulli, it is a passion, a vocation, and a way of life. It is a way of being perhaps summed up best by Plato:

“Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and life to everything.”

For all those she touches with her voice, her words, her writing and her wisdom, Cianciulli offers the power of inspiration.



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