Monica Whicher

Monica Whicher

Soprano

 

Style and musical elegance combined with an intuitive theatrical sense are the hallmarks of soprano Monica Whicher‘s performances on the concert and opera stage. Extravagantly praised for repertoire ranging from the title role in THAIS to the most intimate masterpieces of German Lieder, the Ontario native continues to captivate listeners from Lameque to Vancouver.  Recent destinations include the Festival International de Musique Baroque de Lamèque, Edmonton’s Richard Eaton Singers, Vancouver’s Music in the Morning series, Orchestra London, ON and Toronto’s Amadeus Choir.  Her latest recording with harpist Judy Loman was released to great acclaim and she is also prominently featured in the release of the continuing Ukrainian Artsong Project. Her 2014-2015 season included Brahms’ REQUIEM with Symphony Nova Scotia, MESSIAH with Vancouver Chamber Choir, WEIHNACHTSORATORIUM for Toronto Bach Consort, Anna in STREET SCENE for VOICEBOX: Opera in Concert and Wolf’s ITALIANISCHES LIEDERBUCH for the University of Toronto`s Faculty of Music Artist Series. For Early Music Vancouver, she appeared in the title role in Purcell’s DIDO AND AENEAS and AENEAS AND DIDO by Rolfe in Ottawa and Vancouver and for the Ottawa Choral Society in ELIJAH.

In the previous seasons she was heard with the Thunder Bay Symphony, Symphony Nova Scotia and Ottawa’s Thirteen Strings in repertoire ranging from opera to Villa Lobos to Fauré and Bach.  Ms. Whicher debuted with Houston’s Mercury Baroque as Asprano in Vivaldi’s MONTEZUMA, the work’s premiere in North America.  In addition to her residency at the Colours of Music Festival, her many recitals include the works Lysenko at Toronto’s Koerner Hall, engagements with the Talisker Players, the Ottawa Chamber Music Festival, the Leith Festival and the Indian River Festival. The varied aspects of her artistry are reflected in performances of Strauss’ VIER LETZTE LIEDER with Peter Oundjian and the Toronto Symphony, ELIJAH with the Calgary Philharmonic, Bach’s JOHANNES PASSION for the Amadeus Choir, Bach’s WEIHNACHTSORATORIUM with the National Arts Centre Orchestra, Mozart’s MASS IN C MINOR with the Kingston Symphony, and Grieg’s PEER GYNT with the Victoria Symphony.

Additional credits include the Strauss songs for Orchestra London, the Hamilton Philharmonic and the Ottawa Symphony; MESSIAH with the Elmer Iseler Singers, the title role in Purcell’s DIDO & AENEAS for Opera Atelier’s tour of Korea, repeating the role for Toronto Masque Theatre; ARMIDE and ORFEO for Opera Atelier and a return to Pacific Opera Victoria for Female Chorus in THE RAPE OF LUCRETIA, (having previously appeared there as Cleopatra in Handel’s GIULIO CESARE), ELIJAH with the Vancouver Symphony, DIE SCHÖPFUNG for Orchestra London,  Bach’s MASS in B MINOR for the Vancouver Bach Choir and Mozart’s REQUIEM with the Victoria Symphony.

She has been featured in MESSIAH with the Toronto Symphony, the Calgary Philharmonic and the Edmonton Symphony, as Drusilla in Monteverdi’s CORONATION OF POPPEA for the Cleveland Opera, as the Countess in Mozart’s LE NOZZE DI FIGARO for Opera Atelier and she was lavishly praised for her Naxos recording of CASTOR ET POLLUX with Opera in Concert of Toronto. She appeared at the Nürnberg Chamber Music Festival as the Governess in TURN OF THE SCREW and Female Chorus in THE RAPE OF LUCRETIA, the latter recorded for broadcast by Bayerischer Rundfunk. Other festivals have included Lanaudière, Westben, Festival of the Sound, Winnipeg New Music, Toronto Summer Music and the Michoacàn Festival of Music and Culture in Mexico.

Further performance credits include Mozart’s MASS IN C MINOR and EXULTATE, JUBILATE with Helmuth Rilling in Bilbao, Spain and appearances with the symphonies of Barcelona, Utah, Hartford and Minnesota. She has sung Pamina in DIE ZAUBERFLÖTE for Opera Lyra in Ottawa, Elisa in IL RE PASTORE for the Canadian Opera Company, Zerlina in DON GIOVANNI for Vancouver Opera, Gorecki’s SYMPHONY OF SORROWFUL SONGS with the National Ballet of Canada, and, for CBC television, the inaugural Governor General’s Performing Arts Awards, where she sang in honour of Leopold Simoneau.

Winner of the George London Award, Ms. Whicher has been nominated for a Juno Award for “Singing Somers Theatre” (Centrediscs) as well as two Dora Mavor Moore awards (LE NOZZE DI FIGARO, DIDO AND AENEAS) and is featured on the Juno-award winning CD’s “Beethoven Lives Upstairs”, “Mozarts’ Magic Fantasy” and “Daydreams and Lullabies”.  Her recordings of Bach, Schubert and Hatzis are available on Marquis Classics and other labels and her critically acclaimed portrayal of Mérope can be seen in the EuroArts DVD of Lully’s PERSÉE.  Ms. Whicher is on the faculty of both the Glenn Gould School and the University of Toronto.      

 

September 2016

OPERA

Bizet CARMEN Micaëla
Britten MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM
RAPE OF LUCRETIA
Titania
Female Chorus
Debussy PÉLLEAS ET MÉLISANDE Mélisande
Gluck ARMIDE Phenice
Handel GIULIO CESARE Cleopatra
Humperdinck HÄNSEL UND GRETEL Gretel/Sandman
Lully PERSÉE
ARMIDE
Mérope
Phénice
Massenet THAÏS
MANON
Thaïs
Manon
Monteverdi L’INCORONAZIONE DI POPPEA
ORFEO ED EURIDICE
Poppea
La Musica
Mozart LE NOZZE DI FIGARO
DIE ZAUBERFLÖTE
IDOMENEO
IL RE PASTORE
DON GIOVANNI
Countess
Pamina/Erste Dame
Ilia
Elisa
Zerlina
Puccini LA BOHÈME Musetta
Purcell DIDO AND AENEAS Dido
Rameau CASTOR ET POLLUX Télaire
Somers MARIO AND THE MAGICIAN Sylvestra
Stravinsky THE RAKE’S PROGRESS Anne Trulove
Verdi FALSTAFF Nannetta

 

CONCERT/ORATORIO

Bach Magnificat
Mass in B Minor
Johannes Passion
Matthäus Passion
Weihnachts Oratorium
Cantata 147
Beethoven Mass in C
Bizet Te Deum
Brahms Ein Deutsches Requiem
Britten Les Illuminations
Bruckner Te Deum
Fauré Requiem
Gorecki Symphony of Sorrowful Songs
Grieg Peer Gynt
Gubaidulina Homage à T.S. Eliot
Handel Israel in Egypt
Messiah
Sleti Venti
Solomon
Samson
Dixit Dominus
Haydn Arianna a Naxos
Die Jahreszeiten
Die Schöpfung
Masses
Mahler Symphony Nos. 2, 4
Mendelssohn Elijah
Mozart Mass in C Minor
Requiem
Exultate Jubilate
Poulenc Gloria
Rossini Petite Messe Solennelle
Stabat Mater
Ryan, J. Ophélie
Schubert Masses
Salve Regina
Strauss, R. Vier Letzte Lieder
Vaughan Williams Dona Nobis Pacem
Benedicite
Vivaldi Montezuma
Vivier Lonely Child

“These arias were sung by Whicher with genuine passion…Whicher boldly signaled that this was not going to be an ordinary recital…Her singing was so carefully delineated, yet generously full and rapturous, this was a dazzling achievement….It (The Thunder Bay Symphony Orchestra) attuned our ears to be open and ready for the sensual splendours in Monica Whicher’s voice. She concluded the evening with music of such piercing exquisiteness, and sang it with equal parts tenderness and passion as she held us completely in her hands.”
Michael Sobota, The Chronical Journal

“The music of Erich Korngold was changeable and expressive, and it perfectly framed the outstanding talent of soprano Monica Whicher. Besides her supple phrasing and her oh-so-lovely held notes, Whicher proved to be a natural and intuitive actor and her moods matched the ever-changing mood of the songs…Once again, Monica Whicher’s musicality was moving and penetrating.”
The Live Music Report, David Fujino

“Whicher has a lustrous tone and she imbues her character with enough poignance and sincerity of emotion to make the somewhat bitter and conniving character of the love-torn Mérope, …Mérope’s recitatives give Whicher ample room to display her ability to handle the character’s conflicting range of emotions…Whicher is hypnotic in the opening scene of Act V, an emotionally charged hymn from the depths of her despair, rich in its sincerity of expression and with a wealth of color in the voice…Whicher’s mastery is evident.”
Opera Today, Daniel Pardo

“Monica Whicher took the stage to sing a pair of arias by Rossini. She opened with ‘Di piacer mi balza il cor’ from ‘La Gazza Ladra’ and sang it as if her heart was doing just that. This lady has a lovely voice, superb control and executes coloratura passages with great agility…She followed this with ‘Dove son io’ from ‘Armida’ and delivered a heart wrenching performance. She projected the pathos and the vindictive fury of a woman scorned with intensity enough to make it seem she was working in a staging of the opera… Monica Whicher’s enjoyment of singing this piece (Donizetti’s ‘Ah ciascun lo dice, ciascun lo sa’ from ‘La Figilia de Reggimento’) was written all over her and the joy she carried was contagious. Her last number ‘Del fiero duol che il cor mi frange’ from Cherubini’s ‘Medea’ was a show stopper. She captured the rage and horror the character feels at this stage of the piece magnificently… She carries a deep sense of the dramatic spectrum of each piece she works with.”
norules-nolights.com, Brian Hay

“There’s something magical about the combination of a particularly sweet and accomplished soprano voice and the scintillating sonorities of a well-played harp.…I hung, wonder-struck, on every note and nuance the whole way through—and I think you will, too.” [Lullabies and Carols for Christmas, with Judy Loman, harp, NAXOS]American Record Guide, Lindsay Koob

“To wrap up the program, Ms. Whicher returned with an encore, the great aria ‘O mio babbino caro,” from Puccini’s ‘Gianni Schicchi.’ The warmth of the voice, the singer’s special relationship with Orchestra London, the enthusiasm of the Orchestra on its opening night – all conspired to leave the audience yearning for a glorious season ahead.”
The Beat Magazine, Renée Silberman

“Monica Whicher offered an elegantly crafted performance as Thaïs the woman in search of her true soul, her French diction near flawless, and her acting skills honed to perfection. Her famous “Mirror Aria” was brilliantly understated, flowing seamlessly into the impressionist palette rather than being a stand-alone wonder, and her death scene was simply thrilling as, entering paradise, she beholds her new god.”
Review Vancouver, JH Stape

“Whicher shone in everything she did; an obvious audience favourite…performed with full, uninhibited splendour.”
Toronto Star

“Monica Whicher’s dignified Dido reached a magnificent climax in her confrontation scene with Aeneas: Here, Whicher completely entered the Purcell “zone”, catching every nuance of emotion as his harmonies and rhythms set Dido’s words aflame.”
The Globe and Mail

“Soprano Monica Whicher, a favourite of Edwards, surmounted the orchestra effortlessly and unleashed many a sterling high note.”
Montreal Gazette

“Monica Whicher emporte l’adhésion dans unbouleversant ‘Ah, je garderai bien mon coeur…Son timbre agréeable, l’importance qu’elle accorde au texte et ses talents de comédienne s’expriment particulièrement bien dans les scènes de désespoir…”
forumopéra.com

“The principals have fresh, personable voices and understand the French Baroque style, above all Monica Whicher, who gives a poignantly expressive account of Telaïre’s sublime lament ‘Tristes apprêts’.”
The Guardian

“The recital’s biggest treats were the two Canadian singers who dared to plumb these turbulent musical waters: soprano Monica Whicher and baritone Russell Braun. They were perfectly matched in having large, flexible voices, superb vocal control and a clear sense of where to draw the line between drama and bathos. It is a rare and wonderful treat to hear two singers at the peak of their powers singing in an intimate setting…”
Toronto Star

“Soprano Monica Whicher, who is making her debut in the role of the Countess, is the strongest of all, singing with a smooth, elegant line, but also conveying passion and hurt. Her big aria, ‘Dove Sono’ is the highlight of the night.”
Toronto Star

“Soprano Monica Whicher was superb as Mérope, whose hopeless love for Persée makes her the emotional center of the piece. She sang with lustrous tone and true poignancy that humanized the entire opera.”
Globe and Mail – Christopher Hoile

“Monica Whicher’s fresh, lustrous soprano illuminated four songs, including an unforgettable Litanei auf das Fest Allerseelen: the singer’s wonderful legato…made the repeated “All souls rest in peace” a musical epiphany.”
Globe and Mail – Urjo Kareda

“Soprano Monica Whicher’s song-suffering Télaïre is magnificent in the gorgeous ‘Tristes apprêts’.”
Whole Note – Pamela Margles

“Soprano Monica Whicher found the emotional truth in the recitative Thy rebuke hath broken his heart and sang as agile Rejoice Greatly, even at Rilling’s somewhat unyielding fast pace.”
Star Tribune, Minneapolis-St. Paul

“Monica Whicher, the soprano was magnificent. What a pure voice. In both pieces (Mozart’s REQUIEM, Handel’s DIXIT DOMINUM) she displayed a striking, controlled, wide-ranging passion.”
Desert News, Salt Lake City

“Among the lovers, Monica Whicher’s Mérope was outstanding; vocally assured, with an engaging stage presence, she carried the three arias Lully assigned to her with power and wit.”
UK Opera Magazine

“Whicher has a gorgeous, serene voice…She’s one of those rare singers who can make something as taxing as Bach sound effortless.”
Kitchener-Waterloo Record

“Monica Whicher est certainment la plus belle Telaïre qu’on puis entendre au disque…La voix a une beauté de timbre, une largeur de register, un aisance à orner qui forcent l’admiration. Le sublime “Tristes apprêts’ est un des grand moments de cet enregistration. Personne n’échappera a l’émotion intense d’égagé par la progression qui mène au poignant “non” de la reprise le l’air…avec un ineffable pianissimo dans l’aigu.”
L’Avant-Scène Opéra

“Soprano Monica Whicher possesses…a gleaming instrument that she uses with confidence and fire.”
The Calgary Herald – Eric Dawson