Soprano
Biography

Recognized for the luminosity and effortless agility of her voice, as well as her commanding stage presence and profound acting ability, Canadian soprano Shannon Mercer enthusiastically embraces a range of repertoire from early to contemporary music, from Francesca Caccini and Monteverdi to John Beckwith and Ana Sokolovic. Shannon maintains a busy and challenging performance calendar of opera, concert, and recital engagements throughout North America and Europe while also sustaining an active recording presence, capturing some rarely performed works.

In 2017-18 Shannon Mercer is soloist with the Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra in Mozart’s Requiem and with the Phoenix Symphony in Messiah. Recent engagements include Pamina in Die Zauberflöte with Calgary Opera; Purcell’s The Fairy Queen and Mozart’s Exsultate, jubilate with Naples Philharmonic Orchestra; an early music program titled “American Dream” with the Seattle Baroque Orchestra; Bach’s Mass in B Minor with Bach Sinfonia; Berg’s Seven Early Songs and Mahler’s Symphony No. 4 with East Texas Symphony; Messiah with Newfoundland Symphony Orchestra, Edmonton and Oregon symphonies, and Portland Baroque Orchestra; Bach’s Christmas Oratorio and Cantatas with Montreal’s St. Lawrence Choir; Beethoven’s Mass in C with the Calgary Philharmonic; Fauré’s Requiem with the Kansas City Symphony under Bernard Labadie; Bach Cantatas with Early Music Vancouver; Bach’s St. John Passion and St. Matthew Passion in a return to the Seattle Symphony Orchestra; Handel’s Solomon with Les Violons du Roy and La Chapelle de Québec; and Mozart’s Requiem with the Vancouver Chamber Choir.

Notable Canadian presenters for whom she has performed include the Ottawa Choral Society, Calgary Philharmonic, Pacific Musicworks, the Vancouver Chamber Choir, in Montreal with both La Nef and Viva Voce, and the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir, among others. US engagements include Boston’s Early Music Festival’s new production of Monteverdi’s Orfeo; Messiah with the Seattle Symphony and conductor Stephen Stubbs; and a US West Coast tour with Les Voix Baroques. She performed in Mexico City in Bach's Mass in B Minor with the Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional de Mexico, under Carlos Miguel Prieto. Other international venues include New York’s Carnegie Hall, Los Angeles’ Hollywood Bowl, Toronto’s Roy Thomson Hall, and New York’s Alice Tully Hall in an all-Mozart recital with renowned American soprano Barbara Bonney.

She has appeared with The Queen of Puddings Music Theatre in a number of works by Canadian composer Ana Sokolovic: Svadba – The Wedding; Love Songs, a one-woman tour-de-force; and a London production of The Midnight Court. She has also sung world premieres of James Rolfe’s Inês, John Beckwith’s Crazy to Kill, and Andrew Hamilton’s Beckett: Feck It! Her other successes in the contemporary music world include The Music of Arvo Pärt presented by Toronto’s Soundstreams, and a reprisal of Ana Sokolovic’s Svadba – The Wedding with Opera Philadelphia. She also toured Svadba with Queen of Puddings in venues from Western Canada to Paris, Orléans, Belgrade and Dublin.

Shannon Mercer has performed Pamina in Die Zauberflöte with Opera Lyra Ottawa, Opera Hamilton, and Pacific Opera in both Victoria and London; and Despina in Così fan tutte with Canadian Opera Company. She made her much-lauded French debut in the title role of Marin Marais's Sémélé, recorded with the renowned Hérve Niquet/Le Concert Spirituel for the Glossa label.

Her wide-ranging discography includes her most popular recital program, "Wales - Land of Song" with Skye Consort, for the Analekta label; Berlioz’s Les Nuits d'été and Palej's The Poet and the War, under conductor Eric Paetkau on Centaur; A Traditional Christmas, with John McDermott and Virginia Hatfield; two versions of Bach’s St. John Passion, one with Les Voix Baroques and Arion Baroque Orchestra for ATMA, and one with Portland Baroque Orchestra on AVIE. On the Analekta label she sings in Vivaldi: The Return of the Angels, the JUNO Award-winning Gloria! Vivaldi's Angels, the JUNO-nominated Salsa Baroque (with Ensemble Caprice), the Prix Opus-nominated O Viva Rosa, the JUNO-nominated Bach and the Liturgical Year, also Mondonville, and English Fancy. Also on Analekta are her latest releases: Trobairitz, featuring songs based on texts by 12th and 13th century women troubadours, and Adagio (again with Ensemble Caprice).

On DVD she is featured in Canadian composer Alexina Louie’s comic operas: the Gemini-nominated Burnt Toast; and as Minister Blais Grenier in Mulroney: The Opera, which premiered in movie theatres across Canada. She also stars as Judith in the film version of Eric Idle’s Not the Messiah, a role she debuted in the world premiere at Toronto’s Luminato Festival and at the Caramoor Festival, and subsequently reprised in a US tour to Houston, Washington, and Los Angeles and at London’s Royal Albert Hall.

An alumnus of San Francisco Opera’s prestigious Merola Opera Summer Program, Shannon began her opera career as a member of the Canadian Opera Company Ensemble Studio Program. A Career Development Grant from the Canada Council for the Arts and the 2004 Bernard Diamant Prize allowed her to study in Vienna pursuing German repertoire with renowned coach Margaret Singer. She also received the Virginia Parker Prize from the Canada Council for the Arts, and the Women's Musical Club of Toronto Career Development Award.

A native of Ottawa, Shannon Mercer now resides in Toronto.

09/2017 – PLEASE DESTROY ANY PREVIOUSLY DATED MATERIALS.
MODIFIED VERSIONS MUST BE APPROVED BY DISPEKER ARTISTS.

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