Peter McGillivray


Peter McGillivray


Canadian Citizenship 

The award-winning Saskatchewan-born baritone Peter McGillivray has been gaining accolades on both the concert and operatic stage. In 2018, he was nominated for the Dora Mavor Moore Award for his creation of the role of Petrovich in The Overcoat, a new co-production by Tapestry Opera, Vancouver Opera, and Canadian Stage. A formidable presence on the opera stage, McGillivray begins his 2019-2020 season with Schaunard in La bohéme for Calgary Opera followed by one of his signature roles, Doctor Bartolo in Le nozze di Figaro, for Edmonton Opera.  He rounds out his season with Tapestry’s Rocking Horse Winner.  

Recent projects on the opera stage include Don Pizarro in Fidelio and Starek in Jenufa for Pacific Opera Victoria, Don Magnifico in La Cenerentola with the Vancouver Opera, and Bartolo in Il barbiere di Siviglia with l’Opéra de Québec and the Calgary Opera.

Previous engagements include Moby Dick with the Dallas Opera and the Calgary Opera (Stubb), La Cenerentola with the Edmonton Opera (Don Magnifico), Le nozze di Figaro for Manitoba Opera (Bartolo), and Silent Night with the Calgary Opera. With the Vancouver Opera, he appeared in a production of Albert Herring as the Vicar and in Saskatoon, he was Sharpless in Madama Butterfly, a role he reprised with l’Opéra de Québec. Additional credits incliude Dr. Falke in Edmonton Opera’s Die Fledermaus, Puccini’s Gianni Schichci, as  Betto (Calgary Opera), Marco (Canadian Opera Company) and Silvio in Pagliacci (Calgary Opera). Other highlights were his appearances as Dolokhov and General Belliard in War and Peace for the Canadian Opera Company and de Bretigny in Calgary Opera’s Manon. His iteration of Schaunard in La bohème has taken him to Winnipeg and Ottawa and as a cover artist, to the Metropolitan Opera in New York. Another cover role with the Met was Olivier in Capriccio. Dedicated to original opera productions, he has been with the Tapestry Opera for Omar Daniel’s The Shadow, Juliet Palmer’s Shelter, as well as Gareth Williams’ Dora Award-winning production Rocking Horse Winner.

In the concert world, he has appeared with the Elmer Iseler Singers of Toronto and the McGill Chamber Orchestra, sang Carmina Burana for the Amadeus Choir of Toronto and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 in Regina, and joined the Toronto Summer Music for Mahler’s Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen. He has sung the Duruflé Requiem for the Vancouver Chamber Choir, Messiah with the National Arts Centre Orchestra and the Winnipeg Symphony, Bach’s Mass in B Minor and Haydn’s Die Schöpfung with the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir and Estacio’s The Houses Stand Not Far Apart with the Richard Eaton Singers in Edmonton.

In Saskatoon, he has performed Ralph Vaughan Williams’ Sea Symphony, and Bach’s Johannes Passion in Montreal. His Haydn repertoire includes Die Schöpfung, which he sang with the Georgian Bay Concert Choir. Bach’s Mass in B Minor took him to Kitchener’s Grand Philharmonic Choir, the Peterborough Singers and the Talisker Players of Toronto. At summer festivals, he was invited to Acis and Galatea for Festival of the Sound and the Elora Festival and Carmina Burana with the Elora Festival and the Brott Festival. In addition, he has been with the FestiVoix in Trois-Rivières and the Luminato Festival.

A former member of the Ensemble Studio of the Canadian Opera Company, he made his professional debut as Aeneas in Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas and sang Schlendrian in a staged production of Bach’s Coffee Cantata. Further Canadian Opera Company credits have included Sid and the Vicar in Britten’s Albert Herring, and Wagner in Faust. He was seen as Demetrius in Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream at Tanglewood and highlights of past seasons have included a Debut Atlantic tour of the Maritime provinces; recitals in Toronto, Montreal, Calgary, Saskatoon and Ottawa; and engagements with the Calgary Philharmonic, and l’Orchestre symphonique de Québec.

As a young artist, he won the Deuxième Grand Prix and prize for Best Canadian Performance at the Montreal International Musical Competition, a success followed by another top prize at the Queen Sonja Competition in Oslo, Norway. He previously received national recognition at the CBC Radio-Canada Young Performers Competition in Calgary when he took home the First Prize as well as the Audience Award.  Mr. McGillivray is a graduate of the University of Toronto’s Opera Division and he also holds an honours degree in Canadian History and Literature from the U of T’s University College. Having previously performed at the Ravinia, Aldeburgh and Aspen Music Festivals, he has been awarded grants from both the Jacqueline Desmarais Foundation and the Canada Council for the Arts. He has been a finalist and prize-winner at the Eckhart-Gramatté Competition, at the Lotte Lenya Singing Competition and at the Robert Schumann International Competition for Piano and Lied, held in the composer’s birthplace of Zwickau, Germany.

September 2019


Beethoven Don Pizarro FIDELIO
Britten Vicar/Sid
Demetrius / Bottom
Captain Balstrode
Bizet Escamillo/Dancaïro CARMEN
O. Daniel Raoul/Hernando THE SHADOW
Donizetti Don Pasquale
Gilbert & Sullivan Major-General Stanley
Sir Joseph Porter
Händel Polyphemus ACIS AND GALATEA
Heggie Stubb MOBY DICK
Humperdinck Father HANSEL AND GRETEL
Janáček Stárek JENŮFA
Léhar Baron Zeta THE MERRY WIDOW
Leoncavallo Tonio/Silvio I PAGLIACCI
Mozart Don Alfonso
Offenbach Hermann/Schlémil LES CONTES D’HOFFMANN
Prokofiev Dolokhov/Belliard WAR AND PEACE
Puccini Sharpless
Purcell Aeneas DIDO AND AENEAS
Puts Father Palmer SILENT NIGHT
J. Rolfe Petrovich/Head of Dept. THE OVERCOAT
Rossini Dottor Bartolo
Don Magnifico
Strauss, J. Dr. Falke DIE FLEDERMAUS
Strauss, R. Olivier CAPRICCIO
Verdi Ford
Baron Douphol
Wagner Wolfram TANNHÄUSER
Walton Smirnov THE BEAR
Weill Frank Maurrant STREET SCENE




Bach Weihnachtsoratorium
Kaffee Kantate
Mass in B minor
Matthäus Passion
Johannes Passion
Barber Dover Beach
Beethoven Mass in C major
Missa Solemnis
Symphony No. 9
Brahms Ein Deutsches Requiem
Liebeslieder – Book 1
Duruflé Requiem
Estasio The Houses Stand Not Far Apart
Fauré Requiem
Finzi In Terra Pax
Let Us Garlands Bring
Händel Messiah
Haydn Die Schöpfung
Jenkins The Armed Man: A Mass for Peace
Ruth W. Henderson From Darkness to Light
Mahler Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen
Des Knaben Wunderhorn
Mendelssohn Elijah St. Paul
St. Paul
Mozart Mass in C minor Requiem
Requiem in D minor
Orff Carmina Burana
Ravel Don Quichotte à Dulcinée
Rossini Petite Messe Solennelle
Stabat Mater
Schubert Die schöne Müllerin
Schumann Dichterliebe
Spanisches Liederspiel
Staniland Dark Star Requiem
Vaughan Williams Dona Nobis Pacem
Five Mystical Songs
A Sea Symphony

“Peter McGillivray, so memorable as Petrovich in The Overcoat—A Musical Tailoring last spring, is a bewigged buffo here, making the most out of every moment. Just watch him crawl on all fours across the dining table to suck up to the prince, or throw a tantrum when he doesn’t get what he wants.” [La Cenerentola, Vancouver Opera] The Straight (Vancouver Free Press), Janet Smith

“Top honours belonged to a U of T Opera Alumnus, baritone Peter McGillivray, who was totally convincing as the curmudgeonly and violence-prone Frank Maurrant. With a decade’s long professional career, McGillivray has the maturity of a seasoned performer, a requisite for this role and nearly impossible to find in the typical younger age group of student singers. Drafting him in this role was an inspired casting choice.” [Street Scene, U of T Opera] Ludwig Van Toronto, Joseph So

“Baritone Peter McGillivray shows incredible versatility, vocal range, and buffoonish slapstick humour multitasking as the drunk tailor Petrovich, the head of Akakiy’s department, and the blowhard Personage at the police.” [The Overcoat: A Musical Tailoring, Canadian Stage ­– Tapestry Opera – Vancouver Opera co-production] The Straight (Vancouver Free Press), Janet Smith

“Worthy of a big nod is Peter McGillivray in his dual roles as the tailor Petrovich and Head of the Department. He mastered [Wendy] Gorling’s aesthetic, physicalizing everything from pomposity to functional addiction with eerie precision… He was an utter riot, and made easy work of introducing new music to the public’s ear.” [The Overcoat: A Musical Gailoring, Canadian Stage ­– Tapestry Opera – Vancouver Opera co-production] The Globe and Mail, Jenna Simeonov

“Head of the Department and the tailor Petrovich (who fashions the eponymous garment) were both played exquisitely (and hilariously) by Tapestry regular Peter McGillivray. Abandoning a portion of the “prima la voce” attitude and delivering in some seriously high-quality character voicework, yet ably letting his full beautiful tone free when artistically necessary… McGillivray was incredible at the marriage of such heightened movement.” [The Overcoat: A Musical Gailoring, Canadian Stage ­– Tapestry Opera – Vancouver Opera co-production], Greg Finney

“As Dr. Bartolo, baritone, Peter McGillivray didn’t miss a trick in the handling of comedy, drawing from the role every ounce of fun and parody. Vocally, his slightly rough hewn voice was perfect for the part. His solo at the top of Act II was exceptionally amusing. I have never seen an actor get so much out of a wig.” [Il barbiere di Siviglia, Calgary Opera] Opera Canada Magazine, Kenneth DeLong

“Baritone Peter McGillivray is also to be celebrated in his role as the buffoonish Doctor Bartolo. McGillivray’s resonant singing filled the auditorium with a vibrant sonority that helped translate the comedic vision for his character to the audience. McGillivray’s Bartolo was an audience favourite for good reason: he embodies the essence of his character, and backs it up with rich, round singing” [Il barbiere di Siviglia, Calgary Opera], Oliver Munar

“One of the best elements of this production is Peter McGillivary as Dr. Bartoto, one of the most famous of the buffo basso roles in Italian comic opera, but also one that needs fine singing and dramatic flair. McGillivray doesn’t miss a trick, drawing from the role every ounce of comedy, and handling the vocal side with aplomb. The solo opening of the second act was exceptionally good, and I have never seen an actor get so much out of a wig.” [Il barbiere di Siviglia, Calgary Opera] Calgary Herald, Kenneth DeLong

“There’s some strong singing, particularly from baritone Peter McGillivray as Dr. Bartolo… McGillivray received the most vocal applause at curtain. He’s a fine singer, particularly impressive during A un dottor della mia sorte, when a jealous Bartolo interrogates and lectures Rosina. McGillivray is also a gifted comic actor, one of those performers able to project humour and whimsy with a gesture or a look. His turns were among the most enjoyable of the evening.” [Il barbiere di Siviglia, Pacific Opera Victoria] Victoria Times Colonist, Adrian Chamberlain

“…with really singing from Peter McGillivray as Bartolo…” [Il barbiere di Siviglia, Opera Lyra] Opera Canada, Jean-Jacques Van Vlasselaer

“High praise is owed to baritone Peter McGillivray for his virtuoso performance as Bartolo. McGillivray channeled Daffy Duck’s spluttering rages, but for all of his physical comedy and over-the-top bluster the role never got away from him vocally.” [Il barbiere di Siviglia, Opera Lyra] Ottawa Citizen, Natasha Gauthier

“Among a very fine ensemble of singers, pride of place must go to baritone Peter McGillivray as Raoul/Hernando. His central role bears the biggest burden, and he negotiated the difficult and taxing score with great musical skill and all the dramatic chops to create a strong, pivotal character.” [The Shadow, Tapestry Opera] Opera Canada, Wayne Gooding

“The various Gypsy roles were nicely cast too…The two gypsy men, Peter McGillivray as Dancairo and James McLennan as Remendado, provided comic relief and together with the ladies sang an excellent version of the famous quintet in the second act.” Calgary Herald, Kenneth DeLong

“Baritone Peter McGillivray sang with force and conviction.” [Brahms’ Requiem] Ottawa Citizen, Richard Todd

“Une très jolie voix…McGillivray a heureusement eu l’occasion do montrer sa réelle qualité d’acteur dès l’air suivant, celui où Leporello décline la list des maîtresses de Don Juan.  Très a l’aise, l’interprète a bien fait rire quand il a sorti de sa poche un agenda électronique…L’extrait du Thaïs de Massenet, servie vers la fin de la première partie, est sans doute celui où le baryton a le mieux montré la qualité de son étoffe, à la fois ronde, brillante et riche…Un autre bon moment que celui où McGillivray a chanté l’air d’Onéguine, tendrement, en russe et, comme l’ensemble de son programme, de mémoire.” Le Soleil, Richard Boisvert

“Tenor Michael Colvin and baritone Peter McGillivray were quite thrilling in the Pearl Fishers duet.” The Globe and Mail, Ken Winters

“Deuxième prix au Concours international de Montréal l’an dernier, le baryton Peter McGillivray fut magnifique dans les deux oeuvres: timbre riche, conduite vocale impeccable, intelligence du texte, présence imposante.  Il montra ces mêmes qualités-dignes du premier prix-cans un lied tiré d’un recueil de Korngold qui annonçait le Quintette pour piano et cordes du célèbre compositeur de musique de film.” La Presse (Montreal), Claude Gingras

“A uniformly strong cast was led by baritone Peter McGillivray in the title role.  Making a welcome return to Canada from His current program of studies in Germany, McGillivray is clearly still on track for the important career that his success in competitions over the past couple of years has promised.  The voice is full and strong, and he uses it with a great feel for cadence and line.  He’s frankly a bit young to carry this role [Mazeppa] off convincingly, but that’s picky in the face of such musicality and commitment.  His performance was extraordinarily rewarding to the audience.” Opera Canada, Wayne Gooding

“Things perked up enormously with the arrival of the excellent trio of singers cast as Sid (Peter McGillivray), Nancy (Cerys Jones) and Albert (Allan Clayton): when all three were together, the stage crackled with sexual energy, fuelled both by the expressions of evidently love of butcher boy and baker’s girl, and unwillingly virginal Albert’s mounting frustration.” [Albert Herring, Britten Festival with the Britten-Pears Young Artist] Opera Magazine, Graeme Kay

 “La prestation de Vendredi placerait nettement McGillivray à place de la Coréenne qui, entrant après lui, a paru complètement écrasée. La voix large et sonore du baryton, grand et bien droit, s’est superbement déployée dans une Romance à l’étoile (de Tannhäuser)… Mais le difficile air de Ford, de Falstaff, allait ensuite révéler un mécanisme vocal d’une rare clarté.” [Concours Musical International de Montréal] La Presse (Montreal), Claude Gingras

“The second half was devoted to three groups of songs sung by baritone Peter McGillivray. Also a CBC competition winner… McGillivray is a first –class recitalist. Blessed with a voice of considerable amplitude with a ringing top and a strong lower register, McGillivray showed his interpretive flexibility in exquisite performances of sons by the Canadian composer Derek Holman, Francis Poulenc, and Jean Sibelius.  While all three sets were excellent sung, the Poulenc and Sibelius groups were especially fine, the character of the modern French songs beautifully interpreted, and the intense romanticism of the early Sibelius songs warmly presented.” [In Recital, Rosza Centre, Calgary] The Calgary Herald, Kenneth DeLong

“Two other Ensemble members, baritone Peter McGillivray as Schaunard, the musician, and bass-baritone Robert Gleadow as Colline, the philosopher, did themselves more than proud.  Both san outstandingly well, both took their lion’s share of the comedy with panache and (in the absence of girlfriends for them in the libretto) with a legitimate touch of camp.” [La bohème, Canadian Opera Company] The Globe and Mail, Ken Winters

“The finest singing of the evening came from baritone Peter McGillivray, as Albert’s friend Sid.  He caught the colour and nuance of every word in his lines and delivered them with a round, cultivated tone that perfectly reflected his character’s self-satisfied suavity.” [Albert Herring, Canadian Opera Company] Opera News, Christopher Hoile


Peter sings as Bartolo in Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro with the Edmonton Opera from February 1 through 7, 2020.

In Calgary’s season-opening La bohème, Peter is Schaunard from November 9 through 15, 2019.


Catalogue Aria from Don Giovanni by Mozart. Recorded at Festivoix 2010.