Shannon Mercer, Soprano
Recently awarded a grant from the Canada Council for the Arts and winner of the Bernard Diamant Prize, soprano Shannon Mercer spent most of 2005 in Vienna where she was furthering her studies with Margaret Singer and coaches David Aronson and Janko Kastelic, both of the Vienna State Opera. During the 2005 Jeunesses Musicales International Voice Competition Shannon was heard as a finalist on CBC Radio.
Born in Ottawa, Shannon Mercer is an alumna of the Studio Ensemble of the Canadian Opera Company. In June 2002 Shannon joined the prestigious Merola programme at the San Francisco Opera and then returned to San Francisco Opera to perform in the Schwabacher Debut Recital Series. Shannon has been seen on the stage of the Canadian Opera Company as Oscar in Un Ballo in Maschera and as Elvira in L'Italiana in Algeri. At the Canadian Opera Company she made her mainstage début as a Madrigalist in Henze's Venus and Adonis, a role she repeated with the Rotterdam Philharmonic at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam. She then went on to appear as Xenia in Boris Godounov. Recently she made her début for l’Opéra de Québec as First Lady in Mozart’s Magic Flute. Continuing her opera performances, she made her Opera Atelier début as Nérine in Charpentier's Médée. Next season Shannon makes her European opera début in the title role of the Opéra National de Montpellier production of Marais’ Sémélé. She will also return to the COC’s production of Così fan tutte as Despina in the season opener in the new opera house.
Last season marked Shannon’s Lincoln Center début in a New York concert with Barbara Bonney. Last season Shannon made her Opera Lyra Ottawa début in Menotti’s chamber opera The Telephone and returns to Opera Lyra Ottawa in 2006 to sing Nanetta in Falstaff and Rosina in Il Barbiere di Siviglia. . She recently received rave reviews in the world-premiere of The Midnight Court as Grace Goodbody, a role she will reprise at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden in June 2006. .In the summer of 2003 Shannon appeared as Susanna in the Music Academy of the West production of Le Nozze di Figaro followed in the fall by her Opera Ontario début as Rosina in Il Barbiere di Siviglia. At Christmas 2003 she made her Toronto Operetta début as Nadina in The Chocolate Soldier followed by the role of Micaela for the Kingston Symphony Orchestra's concert production of Carmen.
A respected performer in the early music field, Shannon sang in Handel's Alcina in the spring of 2004 for Les Violons du Roy and returned to them for a summer engagement as soloist at Domaine Forget in June 2005. Recently for the Studio de Musique ancienne de Montréal, Shannon performed the title role in Purcell's Dido and Aeneas to wide acclaim. She has been a featured soloist with l’Ensemble Arion of Montreal in a concert of Bach cantatas under Hervé Niquet of France, and participated in a tour of Québec and France with Les Violons du Roy under Bernard Labadie. Other previous summer season engagements included a return engagement with l’Ensemble Arion as featured artist in their Music Royale tour of the Maritimes. In November 2005 she returned to both Ensemble Arion and Studio de Musique ancienne de Montréal to perform in the new Montreal Bach Festival. She returns to Ensemble Arion to perform in the 2006 Montreal Bach Festival.
An accomplished recitalist, she made her Aldeburgh Connection début in 2003 in the annual Schubertiade and sang a recital in the National Arts Centre/CBC Radio Two début series; both concert were broadcast on national radio. Last season she performed in Handel's Saul at the National Arts Centre for the Ottawa Choral Society and was the featured soloist in a Handel programme for Ensemble Arion of Montréal. The Ottawa Chamber Music Society featured Shannon in a programme of Canadian music and she returned to the Ottawa International Chamber Music Festival in the summer of 2004 for a number of concerts. In December 2005, she made her Oregon Symphony début singing in Messiah under conductor Bernard Labadie.
Shannon has a Bachelor of Music with Honours in vocal performance and Honours in Early Music from McGill University in Montreal. Shannon then went on to complete her training at the Opera School at the University of Toronto prior to joining the Studio Ensemble of the Canadian Opera Company.
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