Edward Evanko

Edward (Daniel) Evanko. Tenor, actor, b Winnipeg 19 Oct 1941. He won the first of many trophies in the Manitoba (Winnipeg) Music Competition Festival at 13. He studied with Herbert Belyea and Lucien Needham and sang professionally for the first time at Rainbow Stage.

Evanko, Edward

Edward (Daniel) Evanko. Tenor, actor, b Winnipeg 19 Oct 1941. He won the first of many trophies in the Manitoba (Winnipeg) Music Competition Festival at 13. He studied with Herbert Belyea and Lucien Needham and sang professionally for the first time at Rainbow Stage. He graduated from the University of Manitoba in English, then studied singing and acting at The Old Vic Theatre School in Bristol. In England he studied singing with Nell Moody and for three years was a member of the BBC Singers in London.

After performing in Gilbert & Sullivan productions (1960, 1961) at the Stratford Festival, and at Her Majesty's Theatre in London, he toured in the English Opera Company's production of Dido and Aeneas, sang in the British and European premieres of Benjamin Britten's Curlew River, and sang in Rossini's William Tell for the Welsh National Opera.

After six years abroad, he returned to Canada to appear regularly on television and in 1967 became the star of his own weekly CBC TV program, the Ed Evanko Show, andin 1968 starred in Norman Campbell's productions of Thirteen Clocks and Mavor Moore'sBest of all Possible Worlds.

Evanko received the Theatre World Award in 1969 for his New York debut in a leading role in Canterbury Tales, which launched a Broadway career that has spanned two decades and included leading roles in Sondheim's A Funny Thing Happened On the Way to the Forum, A Little Night Music, Follies, and Sweeney Todd; Knickerbocker Holiday; Rex; and Peter Brooks' La Tragédie de Carmen, among many others.

His roles in regional opera companies in North America have included Florestan, Don José, Tamino, and Cavaradossi. His performance in Leonard Bernstein's Candide was a highlight of his three seasons with the Stratford Festival. In the 1980s he sang in many oratorio performances, including Haydn's The Creation with the Bach-Elgar Choir of Hamilton, Ont.

Throughout his career Evanko has continued to represent his Ukrainian heritage in Canada and the USA. His recitals of Ukrainian music with bandurist Peter Kosyk have received acclaim. He has appeared as guest soloist with Edmonton's Cheremosh Dance Ensemble, the Rusalka Dancers, and the Koshetz Choir of Winnipeg, in the Manitoba Theatre Centre's production of Tsymbaly, and at most of the major Ukrainian festivals in North America.

Evanko's recordings include cast albums for Rex (1976, RCA ABL1-1683) and Canterbury Tales (1969, Capitol SW-229), two albums of Ukrainian songs and arias and two solo albums of popular music, Ed Evanko (ca 1971, Decca DL-75238) and My Native Land (1983, Destiny BEL-83-2).


Further Reading

  • Kraglund, John. 'Winnipeg's tenor, Edward Evanko, wins accolades in Britain,' Toronto Globe and Mail, 21 Dec 1961

    Nudell, Roslyn. 'Evanko in singing-acting quandary,' Winnipeg Free Press, 17 Jan 1980