Music ... will dissolve your perplexities and purify your character. And in tough times, it will give you a fountain of joy.

-—Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Ben Heppner: Moving Through Music
Randall Lloyd Okita | Writer & Director
David Oppenheim | Producer

Randall Lloyd Okita was born and raised in Calgary, Alberta. His acclaimed work, which incorporates sculpture, technology, drama, and rich cinematography, has screened at festivals in Canada and around the world. Mr. Okita's innovative live-action/animated short, The Weatherman and the Shadowboxer, was produced by the NFB and has won awards in Montreal, Toronto, Los Angeles and Berlin.

Ben Heppner

2016 Lifetime Artistic Achievement Award (Classical Music)

Dramatic tenor and radio host

Ben Heppner is one of the finest operatic tenors of our time, acclaimed for the beauty and power of his voice, his keen musicianship, his intuitive dramatic sense, and his generosity with audiences. His illustrious career has taken him to major cultural venues around the world, and his performances on the opera stage, in concert with the world’s leading orchestras and conductors, in prestigious recital venues, and in recordings have set new standards in his demanding repertoire.
Ben Heppner was born in Murrayville, B.C., in 1956, and grew up in Dawson Creek. He studied music at the University of British Columbia and the University of Toronto. In 1979 he won the CBC Talent Festival, and in 1988 he received first prize and the Birgit Nilsson Prize at the Metropolitan Opera Auditions, bringing him to international attention and positioning him to become one of the world’s most celebrated tenors. A decade later, the Globe and Mail wrote, “There are two categories of tenors today: Ben Heppner, and everybody else.”
During his career, Mr. Heppner sang a remarkably wide repertoire encompassing the works of Wagner and Strauss, Mozart, Beethoven and Weber, Verdi and Leoncavallo, Berlioz and Massenet, and Britten and Bolcom. His signature roles include Walther von Stolzing (Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg), Florestan (Fidelio), Lohengrin, Peter Grimes, and Tristan (Tristan und Isolde).
He announced his retirement from singing in April 2014 (though he still performs occasionally), and now shares his musical passion and wisdom in his role as host of CBC Radio’s “Saturday Afternoon at the Opera” and “Backstage with Ben Heppner,” and as a voice teacher and adjudicator.
Mr. Heppner is a Companion of the Order of Canada. His other awards and honours include the National Arts Centre Award (GGPAA), the Queen Elizabeth II Golden and Diamond Jubilee medals, three Junos and three Grammys, and honorary doctorates from nine Canadian universities. In 1997, Dawson Creek’s main street was renamed Ben Heppner Way in his honour.