Allyson McHardy


Allyson McHardy


Canadian Citizenship


A unique vocal colour and commanding stage presence are the hallmarks of performances by mezzo-soprano Allyson McHardy. Hailed by Joshua Kosman of the San Francisco Chronicle as “a singer of enormous imagination and versatility”, she has appeared with the Paris Opera, Festival d’Aix-en-Provence, Chicago Symphony, Toronto Symphony, Glyndebourne Festival, San Francisco Opera, Boston Symphony, Canadian Opera Company, Dresden Philharmonic and Théâtre capitole du Toulouse. Adam Fischer, Seiji Ozawa, Jeremy Rohrer, Kent Nagano, Emmanuelle Haim, Bernard Labadie, Ludovic Morlot, Carlos Calmar and Jesus Lopez Cobos are among the conductors with whom she has collaborated for performances of works such as L’enfant et les sortileges, La clemenza di Tito, Das Rheingold, Dream of Gerontius and Messiah.

Ms. McHardy bookends her coming season with performances at Maison Symphonique for Orchestra symphonique de Montréal in Mahler’s Symphony No. 8 and later, Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9, both with Nagano on the podium. She will be heard with the Toronto Symphony in Ryan’s Requiem, in Kansas City for Messiah with Matthew Halls conducting and will be featured this season by the Canadian Opera Company as Smeton in Anna Bolena.

A native of the province of Ontario, Ms. McHardy’s career is a carefully curated balance of opera and concert repertoire that moves easily from Donizetti to Handel, from Heggie to Mahler. During the 2016 – 2017 season she made her Chinese debut in Robert Carsen’s production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, first created for Festival d’Aix-en-Provence, and completed the season with Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 for the Grant Park Festival in Chicago. The Mozart Requiem took her to Ottawa’s National Arts Centre, while in Seattle she was featured in Ligeti’s Requiem. Of particular note were her performances as Julie Riel in Harry Somers’ Louis Riel, a Canadian Opera Company production that was also seen in Ottawa and Québec City as part of the nation’s Sesquicentennial Celebrations.

Recent opera highlights include appearances in Donizetti’s Lucrezia Borgia in St. Gallen, Switzerland, Roberto Devereux for the Canadian Opera Company, Amadis de Gaule at the Opéra Comique, Handel’s Alcina with Opera Atelier, Madama Butterfly with both Opéra de Montréal and Vancouver Opera, as Sister Helen Montréal’s Dead Man Walking and Handel’s Hercules with Toronto’s Tafelmusik.

She has appeared with major orchestras across the globe for performances of Ligeti’s Requiem with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde with the Vancouver Symphony, Messiah in St. Louis, Madrid and Chicago and a staged production of Mozart’s Mass in D Minor for the Toronto Symphony.

Allyson’s discography includes the JUNO nominated Orlando by George Frideric Handel with the Pacific Baroque Orchestra and Alexander Weimann (ATMA). Other CDs include the JUNO and ADISQ nominated recording of Caldara’s La conversione di Coldoveo, Re di Francia (ATMA), Bellini’s Norma with the Warsaw Philharmonic (Philharmonia Narodowa), two works by Harry Somers – Serinette and A Midwinter Night’s Dream (Centrediscs), and Ukrainian music by composer Mykola Lysenko in a six-disc collection on the Musica Leopolis label.

Allyson currently lives in Toronto with her husband and daughter.

November 2017






Bengston Solange THE MAIDS
Berg Margaret WOZZECK
Bizet Carmen CARMEN
Delibes Malika LAKMÉ
Cavalli Giunone/Natura LA CALISTO
De Falla Carmela LA VIDA BREVE
Delibes Mallika LAKMÉ
Handel Polinesso
Heggie Sister Helen DEAD MAN WALKING
Humperdinck Hänsel HÄNSEL UND GRETEL
Mozart Dorabella
Rossini Isabella
Marquise Melibea
Saint-Saëns Dalila SAMSON AND DALILA
Strauss, J. Orlovsky DIE FLEDERMAUS
Stravinsky Jocasta OEDIPUS REX
Tchaikovsky Olga EUGENE ONEGIN
Verdi Fenena
Meg Page
Wagner Rossweisse


Bach Magnificat
Johannes Passion
Matthäus Passion
Mass in B minor
Beethoven Symphony No. 9
Missa Solemnis
Berlioz Les Nuit d’Été
Brahms Viola Songs (Op. 91)
Dream of Gerontius
Handel Messiah
Israel in Egypt
Haydn Nelsonmesse
Honegger Jeanne d’Arc au Bûcher
Mahler Symphony No. 2
Das Lied von der Erde
Lieder eines fahren Gesellen
Mendelssohn Elijah
Pergolesi Stabat Mater
Alexander Nevsky

“The four soloists in this all-Canadian effort rose to the occasion, as well. Soprano Measha Brueggergosman, mezzo Allyson McHardy, tenor Colin Ainsworth and baritone Brett Polegato each had specific roles to sing, and they did so splendidly, allowing their ample voices to soar over the orchestra and chorus when necessary.”
[Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Afghanistan: Requiem for a Generation] Toronto Star, John Terauds

“All four soloists; Measha Brueggergosman, Allyson McHardy, Colin Ainsworth and Brett Polegato were quite excellent.  Allyson maybe had the most lyrical music of the soloists and made the most of it.  The guys shone in an oddly effective sequence in Pashto (Colin) and English (Brett) about buying, killing and eating a goat.  The Toronto Mendelssohn Choir and the Toronto Children’s Chorus sounded quite lovely.  The orchestra managed the tricky feat of almost having to switch “modes” on the fly.  Tania Miller conducted and made a coherent flow and whole out of the disparate elements.“
[Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Afghanistan: Requiem for a Generation] Opera Ramblings, Jag Gundu

“Each of the soloists were exceptional, singing music that was not as lyrical or melodic as one often hears in a requiem but that was, at turns, percussive, violent, plaintive and emotionally raw, even at its quietest moments. The singers were Measha Brueggergosman, soprano, Allyson McHardy, mezzo-soprano, Colin Ainsworth, tenor, and Brett Polegato, baritone. “
[Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Afghanistan: Requiem for a Generation] Toronto Concert Reviews, Jeff Mitchell

“Mezzo-soprano Allyson McHardy sang with eloquence and vocal color.”
[OSM – Mahler: Symphony No. 8 in E-flat major, “Symphony of a Thousand” ] Concerto.Net – Earl Arthur Love

“Stepping forward for the Sequentia were soprano Audrey Luna and mezzo Allyson McHardy to heroically accomplish the vocal cliff-diving of Ligeti’s absurdly spaced intervals. Luna’s ozone-cool, dizzying high notes added a fascinating new colour to his canvas, while McHardy brought a fullness and warmth that hinted at a vanished world of comfort.”
Bachtrack, Thomas May

“The chorale’s deepest basses growled with a strength that would make many a Russian bass envious, while the sopranos and mezzo-sopranos eerily completed the lines of the two soloists – soprano Audrey Luna and mezzo-soprano Allyson McHardy – as though their voices were one. The contrast between the unearthly, youthful timbres of the highest voices and the underground rumblings of the lowest was matched by the differences between the astounding Luna’s weirdly colored, stratospheric screams of horror and McHardy’s more plush albeit equally wide-ranging sound. It is hard to imagine two finer soloists in this music.”
Classical Voice North America – Jason Victor Serinus

“Certainly the final visit by Riel’s mother in his jail cell stands as a remarkable example of how moving and beautiful a free harmonic language can be. Hats off to McHardy here for producing the warmest sounds of the afternoon.” [Canadian Opera Company, Louis Riel] Musical Toronto, Arthur Kaptainis

“As was Allyson McHardy as Riel’s mother, adding the lustre of her beautiful mezzo-soprano to the powerful maternalism of her character.” [Canadian Opera Company, Louis Riel] The Globe and Mail, Robert Harris

“It is not Braun’s fault that, counter to traditional operatic expectation, Somers’ Louis Riel is devoid of romance. Riel’s relationship with his devoted mother (Allyson McHardy) and the undeveloped, almost incidental one with his wife (Simone Osborne) — both wonderfully sung — hardly count.” [Canadian Opera Company, Louis Riel] The Star, Michael Crabb

Allyson McHardy certainly deserves a mention for her very beautiful portrayal of Riel’s mother, particularly poignant in Act 3.”
[Canadian Opera Company, Louis Riel] Opera Ramblings, John Gilkes

McHardy benefited from some of the conductor’s musical choices; she sang “But who may abide the day of his coming,” usually allotted to the bass, and displayed effortless coloratura technique and a rich mezzo timbre throughout.” [St. Louis Symphony, Messiah] St. Louis Dispatch, Sara Bryan Miller

“Scott Conner and Allyson McHardy, in the bespangled throwaway roles of Theseus and Hippolyta, make their mark late on by injecting earthly dignity into the midnight mayhem.” 
[Excerpts from Midsummer Night’s Dream in Aix-en-Provence] Backtrack

“Scott Conner (Theseus) et Allison McHardy (Hippolyta) ajoutent leur altière – et néanmoins piquante – présence à ce microcosme jubilatoire.  Scott Conner (Theseus) and Allyson McHardy (Hippolyta) add their stately, but nonetheless spicy, presence to this exhilarating microcosm.” [Excerpts from A Midsummer Night’s Dream in Aix-en-Provence] L’Avant-Scène Opera

“D’Allyson McHardy (Hippolyta), au formidable Trinity Boys Choir de David Swinson, en passant par Scott Conner (Theseus), Rupert Charlesworth (Lysander), John Chest (Demetrius), Elizabeth DeShong (Hermia), Layla Claire (Helena) et une troupe d’artisans totalement désopilante, l’ensemble est un régal! “ // Translated: From Allyson McHardy (Hippolyta) to the Trinity Boys Choir of David Swinson, and including ….. and a troop of artisans that is totally hilarious, the ensemble is a treat! 
[Excerpts from A Midsummer Night’s Dream in Aix-en-Provence] Le Temps

“…even if they only appear in the final tableau, Scott Conner and Allyson McHardy do not satisfy any less as Thésée and Hippolyta with their very beautiful voices.” [Excerpts from A Midsummer Night’s Dream in Aix-en-Provence] ForumOpera

“…the beautiful mezzo of Allyson McHardy’s Hippolyta brings a noble touch to the final tableau.”
[Excerpts from A Midsummer Night’s Dream in Aix-en-Provence] Resmusica

“…Allyson Michardy is a flirtatious, humorous Queen with a sonorous mezzo” [Excerpts from A Midsummer Night’s Dream in Aix-en-Provence] Opernmetz

“The mezzo-soprano voice and acting talent of Allyson McHardy leading this musical soundscape guaranteed an exciting evening. McHardy sang this rewarding role with great intensity.” [Theater St. Gallen, Lucrezia Borgia] Oper Aktuell

“Allyson McHardy gives an impressive performance: vocally flexible, changing moods effortlessly.”
[Theater St. Gallen, Lucrezia Borgia] Südkurier

“…Allyson McHardy with a bold, fresh bright mezzo-soprano”
[Theater St. Gallen, Lucrezia Borgia] Der Landbote

“…in the heartbreaking duet with Maffio [Allyson McHardy with warm, resolute mezzo] they perform beautifully.” [Theater St. Gallen, Lucrezia Borgia] Schwäbische Zeitung

Allyson McHardy was superb in the trouser role of Ruggiero. In acting she convincingly adopted the walk and gesture of a male. In singing, her warm amber-colored contralto only grew in power and richness until a fantastically vital, swaggering account of “Sta nell’ircana pietrosa tana” filled with thrilling runs sealed her triumph in the role and won the longest ovation of the evening.”
[Opera Atelier, Alcina] Opera News, Christopher Hoile

“The true sensation was in the singing of the women. Allyson McHardy (Ruggiero) received the biggest ovations of the evening for her fabulous coloratura and dramatic intensity in the bravura aria ‘Sta nell’ircana.” [Opera Atelier, Alcina] Opera News

“…she was superb when she ended the first half of the opera, just before intermission, with 10 minutes of the most sublime performance I’ve heard from anyone in many years.”
[Opera Atelier, Alcina] Globe and Mail, Robert Harris

“Her rendition of Sta nell’Ircana, complete with natural horns, got the biggest hand of the night.” [Opera Atelier, Alcina] National Post, Arthur Kaptainis

“In the Dies irae, soloists Jane Archibald and Allyson McHardy both shone in their roles with plenty of vocal acrobatics, McHardy being particularly impressive with her warm sound.” [Amsterdam Concertgebouw, Ligeti Requiem] Bachtrack, Renée Reitsma

“As Sara, Duchess of Nottingham, mezzo-soprano Allyson McHardy sang her aria “All’afflitto è dolce il pianto” so beautifully that the applause nearly brought the opera to a halt as soon as it began. McHardy never lost the golden creaminess of her tone: even the most rapid passages and the depth of her characterization lent variety to a figure who is in a perpetual state of anxiety throughout the action.”
Opera News, Christopher Hoile

Allyson McHardy’s Sara completed this ill-fated quartet by playing Nottingham’s wife with a purity of tone and clarity of intent that held us every moment she was on stage.”
Toronto Star, Richard Ouzounian

“Mezzo-soprano Allyson McHardy as Sister Helen Prejean had the stamina and vocal power to engage the listener throughout her demanding role. The length of her last drawn-out note in “We will walk together, you and I” could land her in the record books.”
Concerto Net, Earl Arthur Love

“L’interprétation la plus émouvante? Celle d’Allyson McHardy, totalement donnée dans D’amour, l’ardente flamme, un extrait de La damnation de Faust de Berlioz, et qui réussit, en toute simplicité, à dévoiler la profondeur viscérale de l’émoi qui habite Marguerite.”

“The most moving performance? Allyson McHardy’s total involvement in D’amour, l’ardente flamme, an excerpt from Berlioz’s The Damnation of Faust, that succeeded, in complete simplicity, to reveal the visceral depth of Marguerite’s emotion…The evening reached its peak of expression in the exerpt from Rosenkavalier offered by Lyne Fortin, Aline Kutan and Allyson McHardy.”
Le Soleil, Richard Boisvert

“Although everyone involved contributed to a memorable performance, particular kudos go to Toronto mezzo Allyson McHardy, who dazzled as Dejanira. McHardy’s voice is pure, fragrant, dark buckwheat honey — just the ticket for a particularly demanding role. Paired with dramatically riveting and technically impeccable renditions of Handel’s bravura arias for a character walking the tightrope between sanity and madness, this mezzo captivated from the moment she sang her first note.” [Tafelmusik, Hercules] Toronto Star, John Terauds

Allyson McHardy impressionne favorablement avec son mezzo robuste”// Translated: [Allyson McHardy makes a favorable impression with her robust mezzo] Anaclase, [Paris Opera, La Clemenza di Tito]

“Le mezzo sombre d’Allyson McHardy qui campe un Annio très prenant est une sacré découverte.”
[Paris Opera, La Clemenza di Tito] Concert Classique, Jean-Charles Hoffelé 

“Mezzo Allyson McHardy has a wider range of responsibilities, culminating in the great concluding benediction “The Farewell”. Her work had authority and depth; her tone is complex and slightly dark – perfect for Das Lied – and she negotiated her material with poise and subtlety.”
Vancouver Sun, David Gordon Duke    

“The Dream of Gerontius, a deeply felt meditation on death and the afterlife is a big, demanding work for orchestra, chorus and three vocal soloists. At the Saturday night performance principal conductor Carlos Kalmar found just the right balance between Godly majesty and human emotion. McHardy was the evening’s vocal standout. As the Angel accompanying Gerontius to God’s throne, her dusky mezzo-soprano sounded rich and mellow, and she unfurled Elgar’s slow, lyrical melodies in long, satiny lines that seemed to float far above the Jay Pritzker Pavillion and Millennium Park.”
Chicago Sun-Times, Wynne Delacoma

Allyson McHardy’s fiery Phaedra – trim mezzo muscle, steady line and mastery of French declamation – is a revelation that rivals Jessye Norman and Lorraine Hunt Lieberson in the same role.”
Financial Times

“La Phèdre incandescente de la mezzo amèricane [Canadian] Allyson McHardy (une révélation). ” 
Le Monde, Marie-Aude Roux

“Saississante (de timbre corsé et capiteaux, de temperament et de projection) est la Phèdre de la mezzo américaine (Canadian) Allyson McHardy.”
Liberation, Éric Dahan

“La Phèdre d’Allison McHardy partage avec ses partenaires francophones a clarté d’élocution endispensable mais sa virulence, son ironie et ses douleurs sont bien celles du personnage.// Translated: Allyson McHardy’s Phedre shares the indispensable clarity of pronunciation with her French colleagues and her ferocity, irony and sorrows are in exact correspondence with the character of the role.)”, Maurice Salles

“Distribution de première force. Allyson McHardy rend justice d’abord à la Phèdre de Racine, donnant une noblesse supplémentaire à ses ires et se douleurs, au risque parfois de ne pas nous étreindre au cœur. Mais quelle incarnation !”, Éric Dahan

“The subtle vibrato and the huge amount of empathy of Allyson McHardy-who is at home on the concert and opera stages of the world-made the six songs an exquisite pleasure. Astonishing were the mezzo-voce moments in ‘Absence’, dark and eerie the sombre sentiment of a cemetery in Au Cimetière. McHardy’s voice soared effortlessly over the massive, romantic sound of the orchestra.”
Westfalen Blatt, Wilhelm Friedemann

Allyson McHardy …a singer of enormous imagination and versatility, sang a lustrous and energetic Rossini; the inventive twists and turns in her highly ornamented account of the opening Una voce poco fa” were superb.”
San Francisco Chronicle, Joshua Kosman

“Canadian mezzo-soprano Allyson McHardy, gave a vivacious and delightful performance in the title role of Isabella…Her singing was warm and forthright, her command of coloratura fearless and her stage demeaner never less than charismatic. She is a singer to watch.”
San Francisco Chronicle, Joshua Kosman

Allyson McHardy in der Titelpartie des Chlodwig gelang einebildhafte Darstellung ausschließlich durch die Färbung ihrer Stimme: Ob sie als Frankenköig den Feinden den Tod wünschte oder – in derselben Arie! – der Liebe zur Gemahlin Ausdruck verliehes wurde gleichermaßen zum akustischen Erlebnis mit einer Deutlichkeit, die die hervorragenden deutschen Übertitel fast entbehrich werden ließ.”
German Radio

“…hier ist vor allem Allyson Mchardy zu rühmen, deren tragfähige und mühelos koloraturgängige Altsimme in allen Registern ihr charakyervolles Timbre entfaltet. Außerdem phrasiert die Sängerin glasklar und verfügt uber eine weite Ausdrucksspanne.”
Berliner Zeitung, Peter Uehling

“She’s a real stage creature, dark and slender, physically expressive and loaded with smoldering personality.”
Pacific Sun (San Francisco), Stephanie von Buchau

McHardy, in fact held much within the embrace of her vocal instrument, including both comedy and –in an Act II aria where Rossini seems to predate by several decades the somber grandeur of his countryman Verdi—some darker qualities which hint at the young singer’s probable success with tragedy. She’s also blessed with sparky, sexy allure, evoking a young Mary Tyler Moore and making it entirely credible that she’d be ardently pursued by three suitors.”
Commuter Times (San Francisco), Jeff Kallis

McHardy gave a brilliant performance, improvising passionate Italianate-sounding gibberish in a strange operatic counterpoint to the instrumentalists’ cabaret music.”
[Kagel’s TANGO ALLEMAN produced by Queen of Puddings]”
Globe and Mail, Tamara Bernstein


“HANSEL & GRETEL” with Sudbury Symphony
Soprano ALLYSON McHARDY joins the Sudbury Symphony in the family holiday favourite, E. Humperdink’ Hansel and Gretel. Performance is 2:30pm on Saturday November 25 at Glad Tidings Church, Regent Street, Sudbury. 

Allyson McHardy performs as Soloist in the new Canadian work Afghanistan: Requiem for a Generation with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra. Performances sun Thursday Nov. 09 & Saturday, Nov. 11, 2017 at the Roy Thompson Hall, Toronto

Allyson McHardy performs Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis with the LA Master Chorale on January 21 and 22.

Allyson sings the role of Julie Riel in the Canadian Opera Company’s new production of Somer’s Louis Riel.

The story of Louis Riel, the Métis leader and founder of Manitoba, is told in this landmark work. Composed by Harry Somers for our nation’s centennial in 1967, this uniquely Canadian contribution to the opera world is returns on the work’s 50th anniversary, and will help mark the 150th anniversary of Canada’s confederation. The COC has joined with Canada’s National Arts Centre to proudly present this new production of Louis Riel.


“Urlicht” from Symphony No. 2 by Mahler