Chinese-American mezzo-soprano Sun-Ly Pierce is quickly distinguishing herself as an exciting communicator and artist in the opera world.
During the 2021-22 season, she will debut four new roles at Houston Grand Opera: Stéphano (Roméo et Juliette) directed by Tomer Zvulun; cover Blanche de la Force and sing Sister Mathilde (Dialogues des Carmélites) directed by Francesca Zambello and conducted by music director Patrick Summers; Second Lady (Die Zauberflöte) in the Barrie Kosky and Suzanne Andrade production under the baton of Jane Glover; and Mercédès (Carmen) led by Lidiya Yankovskaya. She will also debut at Des Moines Metro Opera as Second Lady in their production of Die Zauberflöte conducted by Christopher Allen.
In the 2020-21 season at Houston Grand Opera, she sang the title role in a digital presentation of Hansel and Gretel by director Lileana Blain-Cruz with original animated settings by award-winning visual artist Hannah Wasileski. Ms. Pierce also appeared as Liesl in the company’s live sing-a-long event, My Favorite Things: Songs from The Sound of Music, which took place at the TDECU Stadium at the University of Houston. Scheduled appearances included K ätchen (Werther) as well as covering Angelina and singing Tisbe (La Cenerentola) before being cancelled due to the pandemic. Recent scene productions with the Houston Grand Opera Studio include excerpts of Ravel’s L’heure espagnole, Monteverdi’s L’incoronazione di Poppea, and Bizet’s Carmen.
Previous season highlights include a debut at National Sawdust in two New York premieres of works by composers Annika Socolofsky and Emily Cooley; performing in Stravinsky’s Pulcinella conducted by Thomas Adès; taking on the role of Olivia in the west coast premiere of Jennifer Higdon’s Cold Mountain directed by James Darrah; singing Berlioz’s Les nuits d’été with the Broad Street Orchestra; debuting as Soprano II in Bach’s Magnificat as a part of Counterpoint Concerts in Tennessee; performing as mezzo-soprano soloist in Handel’s Messiah with the Mohawk Valley Choral Society and Orchestra and Bach’s Cantata BWV 70 “Wachet! betet! betet! wachet!”; singing the opera roles of Cherubino (Le nozze di Figaro), Dorinda (Acis and Galatea), Nada (Sokolović’s Svadba), Suor Pazienza (Giordano’s Mese Mariano), and La Suor Infermiera (Suor Angelica).
As winners of the 2019 Marilyn Horne Song Competition, Ms. Pierce and pianist Chien-Lin Lu will present a recital including the premiere of a new song cycle, Wise Moon, written by three-time Grammy Award-winning composer Jennifer Higdon this November. In 2020, Ms. Pierce was first place winner of the Eleanor McCollum Competition for Young Singers and was selected as a Keston MAX Fellows which were to perform with the London Symphony Orchestra and Sir Simon Rattle before the pandemic forced its cancellation. The previous year she was a semi-finalist in the Kurt Weill Foundation’s Lotte Lenya Competition and a Vocal Fellow at Academy of the West. Ms. Pierce was selected as an Encouragement Winner of the New England Region of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions in 2021.
A native of Clinton, New York, Ms. Pierce holds a Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance degree from the Eastman School of Music and is an alumni of the Graduate Vocal Arts Program at Bard College Conservatory of Music where she studied under the tutelage of Dawn Upshaw, Kayo Iwama, and Erika Switzer. She is currently a member of the Houston Grand Opera Studio.