Shannon Mercer, soprano Shannon Mercer, soprano
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Berlioz and Palej Recording Nominated for a JUNO Award

At the 2014 JUNO Award press conference held today, February 4th, Shannon's recording with Toronto's group of twenty-seven (g27) chamber orchestra and conductor Eric Paetkau in a program for Centaur Records featuring Berlioz’s Les Nuits d’été and Norbert Palej’s The Poet and the War was nominated in the category of Classical Album Of The Year Vocal/Choral. The awards will be handed out at ceremonies on March 29 & 30 in Winnipeg. Check back for updates!

Find out more about the nominations and the awards show by visiting the JUNO website

 

Find out more about Shannon's latest CD release: Trobairitz: Poems of Women Troubadours with Montreal's La Nef and Seán Dagher on the Analekta label

The CD contains songs composed by Montreal composer, arranger, oud player Seán Dagher set to poems he discovered that were written by 12th- and 13th-century female troubadours in the south of France, the trobairitz. It is a return to the highly successful partnership between Shannon and Seán that resulted in the acclaimed CD Wales: Land of Song.

Robert Rowat talks to Shannon about the project on CBC Music's First Play

 

 

 

February 2013 - New CD featuring Berlioz's Les Nuits d'été and Palej's The Poet and the War

Shannon is the soprano soloist on a new recording with Toronto's group of twenty-seven (g27) chamber orchestra and conductor Eric Paetkau in a program for Centaur Records featuring Berlioz’s Les Nuits d’été and Norbert Palej’s two works, The Poet and the War, and Rorate Coeli. Hear what the critics are saying:

"This is a fantastic debut album by one of Toronto classical treasures, soprano Shannon Mercer, teaming up with one of the city's greatest secrets, the Group of 27 chamber orchestra. Made up of some of our best players, this group can only get together when everyone is free at the same time, which isn't often. Their conductor, Eric Paetkau, leads a warm and luminous reading of Hector Berlioz's six-song cycle Les Nuits d'été (Summer Nights), orchestrated in 1856. Mercer shapes long, arching melodies with the unforced ease of someone sipping their second Long Island iced tea. This is a pool of song one wants to swim around in for hours." (Toronto Star, 25 February 2013)

"I was immediately captivated by Mercer's singing and could not stop listening or write a single word of comment until the entire cycle was finished. Yes, she's that good... Mercer does so much in the way of shading and dynamics that you wait with bated breath to hear how she will sing the next phrase, and the next, and the one after that. Despite having a small lyric voice and a very pure tone, Mercer constantly shades and colors her timbre like a master painter. I have not heard singing on this high a level of subtlety in expression since the days of Rita Streich... Every phrase is caressed so lovingly, the music emerging from her throat with a pearl-like shimmer and the dynamics changes so tastefully and subtly applied, that she makes of each song a special event. Sometimes her sound is strong and ringing, but more often it is fragile or wistful, and in this consistent metamorphosis of vocal timbre and color lies an entire universe of sound. You keep waiting for the spell to break, but it never does. This is the work of a master artist." (Fanfare, February 2013)

 

Bach's Lutheran Masses with Les Violons du Roy in Québec City

"Bernard Labadie assembled a quartet of soloists, both well-balanced and extremely luminescent. Shannon Mercer's voice proved as floating as ever." (Le Soleil, 8 February 2013)

 

Just in time for Christmas!

Warm up your Christmas with a new CD featuring famed tenor John McDermott and sopranos Virginia Hatfield and Shannon Mercer as they sing holiday favourites to beautiful new arrangements!

The album is available already as an MP3 download on Amazon and will be released in CD format shortly!

 

 

 

 

Bach Cantatas with Early Music Vancouver

"The initial aria of the no-nonsense Cantata BWV 151 as sung by soprano Shannon Mercer was ravishing." (Vancouver Sun, 24 December 2012)

 

A Moving and Compelling Messiah with the Seattle Symphony and Stephen Stubbs

"Mercer's soprano solos were beautifully focused and expressive, and her performance of "Rejoice greatly" also demonstrated a breathtaking agility and speed." (Seattle Times, 15 December 2012)

"Shannon Mercer was magical both in her early pastoral episode and in her big last aria, 'I know that my Redeemer liveth'." (Seen and Heard, 19 December 2012)

 

Handel's Messiah with the Calgary Philharmonic

"Soprano Shannon Mercer...was particularly effective in her singing of I Know That My Redeemer Liveth and the preceding But Thou Didst Not Leave." (Calgary Herald, 8 December 2012)

 

Soundstreams' 30th Anniversary Concert at Koerner Hall

"Mercer's crystal voice was haunting in Shi's The Mountain Spirit (2012) as she sang beautifully about love and longing." (Musical Toronto, 12 October 2012)

 

Two ADISQ Award Nominations!

Two of Shannon's recent recordings are up for 2012 ADISQ Awards (aka Félix): Vivaldi: Return of the Angels with Ensemble Caprice (Analekta) and Bach St John Passion with Les Violons du Roy (ATMA) are nominated in the category of Album of the Year: Classical Vocal. The awards will be handed out at a gala ceremony in Montreal on October 22nd at the Théâtre St-Denis de Montréal. Check back for news!

 

Elgar's Glorious Kingdom with the Pax Christi Chorale at Toronto's Koerner Hall

"Toronto soprano Shannon Mercer brought a compelling luminosity to a prolonged solo in "The sun goeth down," at the close of the fourth of The Kingdom's five parts, or movements." (Musical Toronto, 6 May 2012)

 

Mozart's Requiem with the Utah Symphony Orchestra

"The young soloists were all first-rate, but soprano Shannon Mercer stood out with the lyric beauty and surprising power of her voice." (Salt Lake Tribune, 27 April 2012)

 

NEW RECORDING

ATMA ACD22611

Shannon joins Les Voix Baroques and Arion Baroque Orchestra to combine their outstanding talents for this new ATMA recording of the St. John Passion by Bach, under the direction of organist and conductor Alexander Weimann. This recording was produced at the Chapel of the Grand Séminaire in Montreal, following performances during the 2010 Bach Festival in Montreal. The St. John Passion follows the rules of an oratorio: The story, - essentially the last days of Christ's life - is drawn from the Gospel according to John, and features commentary throughout in the form of choruses sung by the choir. In this work, Bach reaches an incomparable profundity of expressiveness not by rote association of musical motif with image, but by the beauty of his melodies, the feeling associated with various keys, and the richness of his harmonies.

"...soprano Shannon Mercer...shines in the aria "Ich folge dir gleichfalls mit freudigen Schritten." " (Wholenote, 1 April, 2012)

"It moves rapidly, with a great deal of contrast, and one of the strengths of this imposing performance - along with the remarkable clarity and focused sound of the ensemble singing - is the way it maintains dramatic momentum, often balancing different levels of activity and meaning within the same aria or chorus. 1/2" (Globe and Mail, 17 February, 2012)

Get a copy of it on Amazon today!


Handel Cantatas with Tragicomedia in Boston

"Both Mercer and Williams provided a well-balanced performance, reveling in the rich timbres of both their voices, particularly in the lower registers, as in Strozzi's Donna no sà che dice, no dice che sà. ...Mercer showed remarkable control and flexibility in her glittering upper range, particularly in solo cantatas such as No se emenderá jamás, the only one of Handel's Spanish cantatas, or in duet with Wheeler in Agostino Steffani's Tengo per infallibile. As a duet, both Mercer and Williams fully portrayed the rich operatic drama of the works, be it in the tender moments of at the close of Tengo per infallibile, or the (again) arch Italian drama of Handel's prayer to Cupid, Tacete, ohimè, tacete." (The Boston Musical Intelligencer, 31 January 2012)

 

"Don't Fecking miss it" Shannon in Queen of Puddings' Beckett: Feck It!

Laura Condlln, Shannon Mercer and Sofia Tomic in Come and Go.
Photo by John Lauener.

"Mercer's a fine singing actor, creating a sensual character sketch in each of the songs and stepping seamlessly into Come And Go as one of its trio." (Now, Feb 23-March 1, 2012)

"...performing with panache and verve, ably abetted by trumpeter Michael Fedyshyn. Mercer also gets to act a little (and rather well)... The musical highlight proved to be the ornate, Gaelic folksong "Eleanor a Run," exquisitely sung by Mercer." (Toronto Star, 20 February 2012)

 

 

 

Catch Shannon on CBC Radio 2's This is My Music, February 25, 2012

Join Shannon on Saturday, February 25th 10:00 a.m. (11:00 AT, 11:30 NT) as she hosts CBC Radio 2's celebrated show This is My Music. Find out what kind of music Shannon likes to listen to along with stories and anecdotes about her life and career.

Listen Live on CBC's website

 

Spend Christmas day with Shannon!

First you can catch her at 10:30am on CBC Radio One in performance at the CBC/McGill Concert Series' annual Youth Choir Gala. The program will also air on CBC Radio Two at 2:30pm. You can see a video clip on YouTube and listen to the concert on CBC Montreal's website.

You can also catch Shannon's holiday concert with Thirteen String Chamber Orchestra on CBC Radio 2 on December 25th at 8pm. It will also be broadcast on In Concert with Bill Richardson on Sunday, December 11 between 11am and 3pm and excerpts of the concert can also be heard on Tempo with Julie Nesrallah throughout the month of December.

 

TWO NEW RECORDINGS!!!

St. John Passion CD available now!

Shannon performs one of JS Bach's most famous and loved masterpieces with the Portland Baroque Orchestra and soloists Charles Daniels, tenor, Evangelist; Matthew White, alto; Jacques-Olivier Chartier, tenor; Tyler Duncan, bass; Joshua Hopkins, bass; and the singers of Cappella Romana. The double-CD package includes full texts and translations.

The CD will be available worldwide on January 10, 2012. In the meantime, copies can be purchased through the PBO website.


 

 

The Return of the Angels with Caprice!!!

Shannon once again joins Ensemble Caprice and Matthias Maute for "Vivaldi - The Return of the Angels", the follow-up to their JUNO Award winning "Gloria! Vivaldi's Angels".

Order it on Amazon.ca today!

 

 

 

Salsa Baroque Nominated for a 2011 ADISQ Award!

Shannon's recording with her 2009 JUNO winning partners, Ensemble Caprice and Matthias Maute is up for another award, this time for a 2011 ADISQ Award in the category of CLASSICAL ALBUM OF THE YEAR: SOLOIST AND SMALL ENSEMBLE. The ADISQ Awards will be handed out at ceremonies in Montréal October 24. Check back for news!

 

Shannon on tour with the TSO!!!!

Shannon joined the Toronto Symphony Orchestra and conductor Alain Trudel on its Northern Residency tour to Sudbury and Sault Ste Marie. A blast was had by all with multiple standing ovations at each performance!

Catch Shannon talk about it here on YOUTUBE.


 

Shannon to Sit on the Jury panel of 1st Handel Singing Competition in Toronto

Shannon has been invited to adjudicate Toronto's first Handel Singing Competition, a new part of the Classical Music Consort's popular Springtime Handel Festival. On May 8th, six young Canadian singers under 30 will have the opportunity to perform alongside the CMC, competing for a $2,000 cash prize in front of a discerning panel and audience. Other jury members include: Dr. Darryl Edwards (Head of Vocal Studies, University of Toronto), Stephen Ralls (Artistic Director, Aldeburgh Connection), Wayne Strongman (Managing Artistic Director, Tapestry New Opera), Ivars Taurins (Director, Tafelmusik Chamber Choir).



Shannon in Mulroney: The Opera opening in movie theatres across Canada Saturday, April 16th!

From the creative team who brought us Burnt Toast comes the joyously irreverent Mulroney: The Opera. A political satire with an original operatic score by Alexina Louie, the opera is written by Dan Redican, and directed by Larry Weinstein. With on-screen stars such Rick Miller as Brian Mulroney, Colin Mochrie as Jean Chretien, the behind-scenes voices are provided by some of Canada's greatest opera singers, including Shannon Mercer as Minister Blais Grenier, Daniel Okulitch as Brian Mulroney, Lawrence Wiliford as Trudeau etc. For more info. www.mulroneytheopera.ca

Check out the official trailer for Mulroney: The Opera - Shannon is the voice of Minister Blais Grenier who twirls around Mr. Mulroney at the end!

 

Did you miss Shannon on Classical 96.3 FM?

Watch a video of the program!

Watch live streaming video from thenewclassical at livestream.com

 

Bach's St. John Passion in Portland with Les Voix Baroques and the Portland Baroque Orchestra

"Ich folge dir gelichfalls was another vocal/instrumental duet, this time between Huggett and soprano Shannon Mercer. It was joyous and spritely, requiring fantastically tricky entrances from both performers. Mercer's diction was glorious and pure and the great power of her voice was unforced, tinged with delicate grace, ringing through the hall and yet feeling somehow as though one were hearing it from inside one's own head." (Oregon Music News, 14 March 2011)

"Soprano Shannon Mercer and alto Matthew White (in an exquisite duet with Joanna Blendulf on gamba) made their final desolate arias heartbreaking high points." (The Oregonian, 13 March 2011)

 

Check out Shannon on the Cover of the March 2011 La Scena Musicale

In SHANNON MERCER: A TRADEMARK VOICE, a recent interview with La Scena Musicale editor Wah Keung Chan, Shannon speaks about her unique sound and her versatility as a singer equally comfortable in a range of music - early music, opera, contemporary and folk music.

You can read the full article by clicking on the cover image.


 


Salsa Baroque Nominated for a 2011 JUNO Award

Shannon's most recent collaboration with her 2009 JUNO winning partners, Ensemble Caprice and Matthias Maute on the Analekta label, is up for a 2011 JUNO Award in the category of CLASSICAL ALBUM OF THE YEAR: VOCAL OR CHORAL PERFORMANCE. The JUNO Awards will be handed out at ceremonies in Toronto March 26 & 27.

 

Multiple Nominations for the 2009-2010 Prix Opus

Shannon is nominated in two categories for the Prix Opus 2009-2010. Her recording O Viva Rosa of music Francesca Caccini is nominated in the category DISQUE DE L'ANNÉE - MUSIQUES MÉDIÉVALES, DE LA RENAISSANCE, BAROQUE. Two concerts in which Shannon performed are nominated in the category CONCERT DE L'ANNÉE - MUSIQUES MÉDIÉVALES, DE LA RENAISSANCE, BAROQUE: Messe en si mineur de J.-S. Bach, Ensemble Caprice, 3 décembre 2009 and Salsa baroque, Ensemble Caprice, 20 mars 2010. The awards will be handed out at a Gala in Montréal on January 31, 2011. Check back for news!

 

REVIEWS:

A "Musical Banquet" - in recital with Luc Beauséjour for Early Music Voices in Calgary

"She was able to enchant the audience at Christ Church....Mercer was at her melting best here, especially in the wonderful Schlummert ein, an aria to melt the heart every time it is sung." (Calgary Herald, 16 November 2010)

In Concert with Tafelmusik in Toronto

"Shannon Mercer [has] a gorgeous, warm, flexible and vibrato-free voice that she manipulates with a master's confidence and musical acumen. In Fra queste ombrose piante, (Under Those Shady Trees), a solo cantata by Conti, Mercer rendered every emotional nuance with conviction. She was also expressive and luminous in a suite from Handel's Il pastor fido (The Faithful Shepherd) that alternated instrumental dances with solo arias." (Toronto Star, 23 September 2010)

 

Catch Shannon Sing on Classical 96 - November 22 from 11:20 - 11:40am

Shannon will be in the Classical 96.3fm studio to chat with Bill Anderson about her recordings and her upcoming concerts with Tafelmusik. She will also perform a few pieces LIVE. LISTEN HERE

 

Shannon's O Viva Rosa featured on BBC Radio 3

BBC Radio 3's program The Early Music Show featured 4 tracks from Shannon's most recent CD, O Viva Rosa: Francesca Caccini, in a program about the Caccini family. The BBC 3 site retains the audio for a week so you can listen HERE (ends Sunday, August 22nd).

 

'Brilliant' with Les Voix Baroques at Music at Sharon

"Soprano Shannon Mercer - singing better than I'd yet heard her - was the bright, supportive angel… a brilliant Filia ranging with skill and passion from the exuberant vivacity of Filia's first glad daughterly greeting to the tragic lamentation of her inevitable doom." (Globe and Mail, 5 July 2010)

 

NOT THE MESSIAH now out on DVD!

Missed your chance to see Shannon in Not the Messiah on the big screen across Europe in March? You can now catch her acclaimed performance as Judith on DVD. Filmed at London's famed Royal Albert Hall on October 2009, NTM is Monty Python genius Eric Idol's latest adventure.

Order now on amazon!

 

"The soloists perform with much gusto, effectively mugging through some of the more outlandish pieces." (Just Press Play, 13 June 2010)

"The soloists - William Ferguson, Shannon Mercer, Rosalind Plowright, Christopher Purves - are also good comic actors who hold their own with Idle, who serves as our guide and narrator (and even sings in a voice described as "tenorish")." (Kansas City Star, June 2010)

"Imparting a lovely, faux-classical vibe to the proceedings are four trained vocalists who share the fore with Idle, and they're up to the challenge of reinterpreting Python... William Ferguson (Brian) and Shannon Mercer (Brian's oblivious girlfriend, Judith) truly made me howl, especially in their horny duet, "Amourdeus" -- which sits wonderfully well in the cockeyed Python canon." (Huffington Post, 10 June 2010)

"The musical numbers are what really make this show work. All are executed well, with vocal talent from strong soloists: soprano Shannon Mercer, mezzo Rosalind Plowright, tenor William Ferguson and bass Christopher Purves." (DVDtown, 3 June 2010

"The performance was well done. The opera singers were fantastic and while singing these hilarious songs, they acted the part showing great facial expressions and most of all, Eric Idle definitely did a wonderful job as the Baritonish and John Du Prez doing a wonderful job in conducting the orchestra." (J!, 16 May 2010)

 

Shannon Stars In One-Woman Opera Love Songs at the prestigious Holland Festival

One of Canada's hottest young sopranos, Shannon Mercer makes her Netherlands debut in Ana Sokolovic's Love Songs, a one-woman virtuosic tour-de-force at the world-renowned Holland Festival on June 15 and 17. The presentation of Love Songs by one of Canada's premier contemporary opera companies, Queen of Puddings Music Theatre, marks the first time a Canadian opera company has staged a work at the prestigious and trend-setting performing arts festival.

Love Songs takes the audience on a whirlwind tour of love from sublime tenderness to the final profound, wild and cathartic Balkan keening. Love is explored in all its states and in many different languages -- love for one's mother, love between children, love for a daughter, love shattered by grief and most harrowingly, love for a lost brother.

For more information check out www.hollandfestival.nl

 


NEW CD OUT NOW!

Shannon's 6th recording for Analekta - O Viva Rosa - features the music of baroque Italian composer Francesca Caccini. Joining Shannon on the disc are Luc Beausejour (harpsichord), Sylvain Bergeron (lute, theorbo) and Amanda Keesmaat (cello).

The first reviews are in!

"Mercer sings 17 of the airs, canzonettas, madrigals and hymns with impeccable craft, brilliant voice, affecting emotion and tasteful ornamentation." (Toronto Star, 16 March 2010)

"[Caccini's] haunting slow air becomes piercingly immediate in this gorgeous performance by Ottawa-born soprano Shannon Mercer." (Globe and Mail, 22 March 2010)

Catalogue number:
Analekta FL 2 9966

 

 

NOT THE MESSIAH Hits the Big Screen

On March 25th, audiences across the UK and Ireland have the chance to catch Monty Python funnyman Eric Idle's Not the Messiah (He's a Very Naughty Boy) in movie theatres. Inspired by Monty Python’s The Life of Brian and based on Handel’s infamous work, Not the Messiah was filmed in October 2009 at Royal Albert Hall. North American audiences hope it makes it across the pond!

CHECK OUT THE TRAILER FOR THE FILM OF NOT THE MESSIAH AT ROYAL ALBERT HALL IN LONDON

 

Shannon one of Toronto Star music critic John Terauds's Five Musicians of 2009

Click here to read John's list of musicians "who particularly warmed my heart with their talent, giving nature, humility and all-'round great contributions to Toronto's performing arts scene over the past year." (Toronto Star, 31 December 2009)

 

Listen to Baby Kintyre: A Serial Radio Opera on Saturday Afternoon at the Opera

Hear Shannon on CBC Radio 2's SATO in Baby Kintyre, a radio opera by composer Dean Burry to be broadcast in serial over five Saturdays starting November 7th. The opera takes its inspiration from a real 1920s Toronto household where a baby was wrapped in newsprint and buried between the floorboards of an attic on Kintyre Avenue, only to be discovered more than 80 years later. The cast also includes Krisztina Szabo, Giles Tomkins, and 11-year-old Eileen Nash from the Canadian Children's Opera Company, and an six-piece chamber ensemble under the direction of John Hess.

Once each episode has run, CBC will make it available on its website. Check back here for links!

 

DOUBLE ADISQ NOMINATION!

Wales ~The Land of Song and Gloria! Vivaldi and his Angels are up both for the ADISQ Award in the category of Album of the Year, Classical Vocal. The awards will be announced at a gala evening on October 26, 2009. Check back for news!

 

Recent Accolades

Mozart@254 concert with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra and Peter Oundjian

"Toronto singer Shannon Mercer has a rare combination of a pure, lyric soprano voice coupled with enough power to fill a large hall. On top of that, she deftly shaped the dramatic arc of this profession of undying love." (Toronto Star, 4 January 2010)

 

Rave reviews for Shannon's Messiah with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra

"The standout was soprano Shannon Mercer, who not only has a luminous lyric voice, but who sings every word as if she truly means it. She made us want to rejoice greatly, and we were convinced that her redeemer really is alive. The size and acoustics of Roy Thomson Hall are not kind to the smaller, more lithe voices that are best at singing 18th century music, but Mercer fully overcame these obstacles." (Toronto Star, 17 December 2009)

"Feathery-voiced soprano Shannon Mercer and honey, warm mezzo-soprano Krisztina Szabó were their usual excellent selves." (Classical96.3, 20 December 2009)

 

NOT THE MESSIAH IN LONDON

"The two Americans from the original cast, Shannon Mercer as Judith and William Ferguson as Brian bringing the house down in their Amourdeus duet and bringing lyrical beauty to their duet in The Final Song." (View London, 26 October 2009)

"An operatic sex scene makes the form fit the content, is brilliantly performed by Shannon Mercer and William Ferguson (as Brian), and gets the ovation it deserves." (Times, October 24 2009)

Check out this YOUTUBE clip from the performance

Shannon wows once Again as Pamina in Opera Lyra Ottawa's The Magic Flute

"Ottawa soprano Shannon Mercer sang Pamina, Tamino's beloved. Along with her beautiful singing, she brought an interpretation to the role that suggested that she would be an ideal spouse for Tamino. The two of them, along with flutist Joanna G'froerer, created a sense of high seriousness, almost sacredness, in the fire and water scene. In this production, the scene was the emotional climax of the opera." (Ottawa Citizen, 14 September 2009)

Shannon Mercer brings her Pamina to Victoria

"Soprano Shannon Mercer beautifully expressed the shifting emotions of Pamina, a damsel in some distress..." (Monday Magazine, 23-29 April)

"Shannon Mercer's Pamina is tender, guileless and, in her moments of anguish, deeply moving." (Victoria Times Colonist, 18 April 2009)

Shannon "a lovely Pamina, often touching" in the Magic Flute

"The lead singers and the music itself were the saving of the evening. Soprano Shannon Mercer and tenor Colin Ainsworth were handsome and vocally appealing as the Princess Pamina and the Prince Tamino, the lovers elevated to a nominal wisdom by their fidelity and courage." (Globe and Mail, 1 November 2008)

"Indeed, there was much to smile about in Opera Hamilton's production. First and foremost, the singing. How Toronto soprano Shannon Mercer has blossomed since she last sang here five years ago. Beautiful tone, pure and steady, she was a delight in Pamina's plangent aria, Ach, ich fuhl's." (Hamilton Spectator, 1 November 2008)

Read about Shannon in the Hamilton Spectator

 

 


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