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, St. Louis Orchestra, Glyndebourne Festival, San Francisco Opera, Boston Symphony, Canadian Opera Company, Les Violons du Roy, Warsaw Philharmonic and Théâtre capitole du Toulouse. Adam Fischer, Seiji Ozawa, Jeremy Rohrer, Kent Nagano, Emmanuelle Haim, Bernard Labadie, Trevor Pinnock, Ludovic Morlot, Carlos Kalmar, and Johannes Debus are among the conductors with whom she has collaborated for performances of works such as L’enfant et les sortilèges, La clemenza di Tito, Matthäus Passion, Das Rheingold, The Dream of Gerontius and Messiah. Ms McHardy is a Prix Opus Winner for Opéra de Québec’s Der Fliegende Holländer and she was nominated for a Juno Award for the Canadian Art Song Project’s disc, Summer Night, music of Healey Willan.
Ms. McHardy’s engagements for the 2022/2023 season include the lead role of Rose Valland in the world premiere of Le beauté du monde at Opéra de Montréal (OdeM), a program of Bach Cantatas with Rafael Payare and Orchestre symphonique de Montréal (OSM), Elijah with the Grand Philharmonic Choir, Handel’s The Resurrection with Opera Atelier, and Messiah with the Victoria Symphony.
2021/2022 season saw her starring in a double bill that included Riders to the Sea (OdeM) and the premiere of La Flambeau de la nuit, performing Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony with Orchestre Symphonique de Québec, and holding multiple engagements as a soloist in Handel’s Messiah, including with Music of the Baroque, Les Violons du Roy, and the National Arts Centre Orchestra. Despite interruptions by the COVID-19 pandemic, Allyson’s 2020/2021 season saw her return to Pacific Opera Victoria for a digital production of Britten’s Phaedra and performing as Cleophas in Opera Atelier’s celebrated film of Handel’s La Resurrezione. Her 2019-2020 season schedule included performances of Bach Cantatas for Music of the Baroque, Messiah with the Florida Orchestra and Newfoundland Symphony, and Dove’s Flight for Pacific Opera Victoria.
Masterpieces by Rameau and Britten figured prominently in McHardy’s 2018-2019 season with performances of Acteon and Pygmalion produced by Opera Atelier in Chicago, at Versailles and in Toronto, while Midsummer Night’s Dream took her to Opera Philadelphia. She was with the Vancouver Symphony for Dvořák’s Stabat Mater, the Toronto Symphony for Messiah, Calgary Philharmonic in Elijah, Ottawa’s National Arts Centre Orchestra and Kitchener’s Grand Philharmonic Choir in Matthäus Passion, Mozart’s Mass in C Minor for Symphony Nova Scotia and in recital with Société d’art vocal de Montréal.
Ms. McHardy’s other recent engagements include Mahler’s Symphony No. 8 and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 with the OSM, both under Kent Nagano; the Toronto Symphony Orchestra (TSO) for Ryan’s Requiem, Kansas City for Messiah with Matthew Halls conducting, the Canadian Opera Company as Smeaton in Anna Bolena and in Robert LePage’s production of Die Zauberflöte for Festival d’opéra de Québec.
A native of the province of Ontario, her career is a carefully curated balance of opera and concert repertoire that moves easily from Donizetti to Handel; from Heggie to Mahler. McHardy made her debut in China in Robert Carsen’s production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, first created for Festival d’Aix-en-Provence, and was heard in 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 also seen in Ottawa and Québec City as part of the nation’s Sesquicentennial celebrations.
Further 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 OdeM and Vancouver Opera, Sister Helen in OdeM’s Dead Man Walking, and Handel’s Hercules with Toronto’s Tafelmusik.
She has appeared with major orchestras across the globe in works such as 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 TSO.
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 Clodoveo, 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.