The Scene


Elizabeth Polese

Elizabeth Polese
Richard Van

Canadian soprano Elizabeth Polese has been praised as “powerful and engaging” [The Globe and Mail], “sparkling” and “delightful”, with “power to spare” [Opera Canada]. Recently, she has been a young artist at l’Atelier Lyrique de l’Opéra de Montréal, Tanglewood Music Center, and Detroit Opera. She is the winner of the prestigious 2019-20 Sullivan Foundation Gail Robinson Award for Soprano, and 2021 Hnatyshyn Foundation Developing Artist Award for Classical Voice.

Engagements for the 2022-23 season include appearing in concert with l’Orchestre Classique de Montréal and as Nuria in Ainadamar with Opéra de Montréal. As a Detroit Opera Resident Artist, Elizabeth covers Marguerite in Faust and Margarita in Ainadamar, as well as recital series appearances for Christ Church Cranbrook and The War Memorial. She will also make her role debut as Fiordiligi in Così fan tutte with Great Lakes Chamber Music.

During the 2021-22 season, Elizabeth toured the province of Québec with harpist Antoine Malette-Chenier with their programme La Lettre du Jardinier. She also joined Tapestry Opera as Robot [Helena] in RUR: A Torrent of Light, and as Papagena in Barrie Kosky’s Die Zauberflöte with Opéra de Montréal. Elizabeth made her German concert debut at Gewandhaus during BachFest 2022 in a chamber concert including BWV 204 (Ich bin in mir vergnügt) and Webern’s Vier Lieder. Finally, she made her long-awaited return to Tanglewood Music Center, where she sang the role of Isabel in Lessons in Love and Violence (American premiere, conducted by Sir George Benjamin), to great critical acclaim by the New York Times and Boston Globe. In 2020-21, she was scheduled to sing The Governess in The Turn of the Screw with Opera 5, Mozart’s Mass in C with Choral Connection St. Thomas, and Musetta in La Bohème with LAMP, but sadly these engagements were impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Fortunately, she was still able to perform Messiah with l’Orchestre Classique de Montréal at historical Oratoire St-Joseph, which was broadcast worldwide.

Highlights of Elizabeth’s young artist residency at l’Atelier lyrique de l’Opéra de Montréal include Alice B. Toklas in the Canadian premiere of Twenty-Seven, Miss Jessel in The Turn of the Screw (l’Orchestre de l’Agora) Contessa di Ceprano in Rigoletto, and covers of Marzelline in Fidelio (Orchestre Métropolitain), and Agnès in Written on Skin. Other engagements of note include Carmina Burana with Kingston Symphony Orchestra, Exsultate, Jubilate with Ottawa Symphony Orchestra, Erste Dame in Die Zauberflöte with Brott Opera, Susanna in Le Nozze di Figaro with Opera York, and Time Cycle (Lukas Foss) and Whitman Settings (Oliver Knussen) with Tanglewood Music Center Orchestra.

In 2019, Elizabeth was the winner of the Sullivan Foundation Gail Robinson Award for Soprano, the Hnatyshyn Foundation Award for Classical Voice in 2021, and has won several competitions for her rendition of Mozart’s Exsultate, Jubilate (University of Toronto Concerto Competition, Toronto Mozart Competition, Ottawa Symphony Orchestra Mozart-Sénécal Prize). A proponent of new music as well, Elizabeth regularly performs works by Golijov, Messiaen, Knussen, Foss, Gordon, Freedman, Cage, Crumb, Benjamin, and Stravinsky, among others.

Ms Polese is an alumna of many esteemed training institutions internationally, including the Rebanks Family Fellowship of the Royal Conservatory of Music, Highlands Opera Studio, the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity, the Universität der Künste Berlin, Domaine Forget, Toronto Summer Music Festival, Brott Opera, Opera NUOVA, Centre for Opera Studies in Italy, Victoria Conservatory of Music, and Centre d’Arts Orford. Ms Polese holds Bachelors and Masters degrees from the University of Toronto, where she studied under the tutelage of celebrated Canadian soprano, Mary Morrison (OC).

Originally from Toronto, Elizabeth is based in Montréal, where she resides with her husband and dog by the beautiful St. Lawrence river.

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