Sharon Azrieli

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Sharon Azrieli

Sharon Rachelle Azrieli Perez, well known as Sharon Azrieli, is a Canadian Soprano and Cantor born in Montreal, Quebec. Having performed operatic and classical works alike internationally with many renowned conductors and orchestras, Sharon Azrieli has been hailed as a "mistress of merry inflections, piquant phrasing, and pointed words" by Andrew Porter of The New Yorker after performing as the heroine of Le docteur Miracle.[1] She is fluent in five languages - English, French, Hebrew, Italian and Spanish, and is represented by George Martynuk at GMM.[2] Azrieli is a director on the board of The Azrieli Group, and the Azrieli Foundation. Azrieli created the Foundation's $100,000 composition and commission competition, called the Azrieli Music Prize. Additionally, Azrieli sits on the board of directors of the Azrieli Amutah, which is the Azrieli Foundation's equivalent in Israel, and the America Israel Cultural Foundation (AICF). Azrieli sits on the Boards of the following Philanthropic foundations: The McCord Museum, The McGill Chamber Orchestra, The Azrieli Foundation, and created the Opera Cares Foundation.

Early life and education[edit]

Born and raised in Montreal, Canada, Sharon Azrieli moved to New York City as a young adult to pursue her passion for music. First graduating from Vassar College in Art History, she then received an Associate Degree from the Parsons School of Design in Illustration, and then studied with Ellen Faull at the Juilliard School, where she graduated with a Diploma in Vocal Performance.

During that time, Sharon's mentors included Joan Dornemann, Principal Prompter at the Metropolitan Opera, and the late Herbert Breslin. Joan invited Sharon for three summers to attend her Vocal Arts Institute in Israel, where she was given the opportunity to learn many leading roles.[3]

Early career[edit]

Shortly after graduating from Juilliard, Sharon was engaged by the Canadian Opera Company's artistic director, the late Richard Bradshaw, "as a cover for a mainstage production of Gounod's Roméo et Juliette and as Mimi in a small-stage production of Puccini's La Bohème." [4] She had the opportunity to perform Juliette on the main stage, and as a result, she was invited to join the roster of Matthew Laifer Artists Management, as well as perform with Marcello Giordani. From there, her career as a young soprano began to blossom, globe-trotting to perform with the likes of the Tokyo Symphony Orchestra, the Israel Chamber Orchestra, the Haifa Symphony Orchestra (Rossini's Stabat Mater and Beethoven's Mass in C Minor [5]), the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra (concert of Puccini arias and Leonard Bernstein's Songfest), the McGill Chamber Orchestra (Mozart concert arias under the baton of Alexander Brott [6]), and as the cover for Mirella Freni as Adrienne Lecouvreur with l’Opéra de Paris.[7] Sharon also received rave reviews after her portrayal of Susanna in Le nozze di Figaro under the baton of Marco Armiliato.[8]

Cantorial Work[edit]

After the birth of her two sons, Sharon put aside her developing opera career to raise a family. She studied at the Academy for Jewish Religion in New York, and her first job as a Cantor was for Temple Adas Israel in Sag Harbor with the late Rabbi Paul Steinberg. Sharon and her sons moved back to Montreal in 2000, and in 2001, she became the full-time Cantor at Temple Emanu-El-Beth Sholom, where she worked until 2003.[9][10]

Return to the Stage and Higher Education[edit]

As her children grew older, Sharon Azrieli began to rekindle her opera career. The acclaimed Bill Schuman, vocal teacher of such notable singers as Celine Dion and Aprile Millo, and teacher at Academy of Vocal Arts in Philadelphia, helped bring Sharon to a new level of vocal mastery, priming her for Verdian soprano roles.[4] Sharon performed Leonora in Il trovatore and Aida (Aida) with the New Jersey Association of Verismo Opera.[11] With One World Symphony, under the direction of Sun Jing Hong, Sharon sang the roles of The Prioress in Dialogues des carmélites, as well as Leonora in La forza del destino. She has also been featured in prestigious music festivals, namely Orford Music Festival throughout Quebec, Brott Music Festival in Hamilton, Ontario,[12] where she sang the soprano soloist in Mahler's Symphony No. 8, and Festival Sefarad in Montreal.[13]

Meanwhile, she completed a Master of Music degree and a Doctor of Music in Vocal Performance at Université de Montréal. Sharon's thesis stemmed from her extensive experience with Verdian and cantorial works, and was published as "the first of its kind to show that the great Giuseppe Verdi used fragments of Jewish prayer modes in many of the melodies in his magnificent operas."[14]

Sharon performed the soprano solo in the Verdi Requiem with the New Jersey State Opera under the baton of Jason Tramm, and has previously performed the same role with great reviews with the New West Symphony under the baton of Boris Brott.[15]

Always maintaining a close relationship to her Jewish roots, Sharon performed frequently with the Israel Chamber Orchestra in Tel Aviv. She was also noted for having performed the world premiere of several Jewish works[16] at her recital at the Rialto Theatre in Montreal in late 2012.[17]

Azrieli is performing as Nedda in "I Pagliacci" in Sicily on August 12, 2017. The performance will be in a centuries old style, in a venue in August.[18]

Operatic Repertoire[edit]

Year (debut) Role Opera Composer Conductor Company
1990 Norina Don Pasquale Gaetano Donizetti Ann Ewers Israel Vocal Arts Institute
1991 Leonora Il trovatore Giuseppe Verdi Paul Nadler Israel Vocal Arts Institute
1991 Nedda Pagliacci Ruggero Leoncavallo unknown New York in the Parks Festival
1991 Laurette Le docteur Miracle Georges Bizet Yves Abel L'Opéra français de New York
1992 Juliette Roméo et Juliette Charles Gounod Jacques Delacôte Canadian Opera Company
1992 Mimì La bohème Giacomo Puccini unknown Canadian Opera Company
1993 Manon Lescaut Manon Lescaut Giacomo Puccini Paul Nadler Israel Vocal Arts Institute
1994 Rachel La Juive Fromental Halévy Ted Puffer Israel Vocal Arts Institute
1994 Susanna Le nozze di Figaro Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart Marco Armiliato Sarasota Opera
1994 Adriana (cover) Adriana Lecouvreur Francesco Cilea Maurizio Benini L'Opéra de Paris
2003 Elvira Don Giovanni Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart Pianist Louise Andree Baril Vermont Opera Festival
2008 Liù Turandot Giacomo Puccini Rony Calderon New Israel Opera
2011 Madame Lidoine Dialogues des carmélites Francis Poulenc Sun Jing Hong One World Symphony
2011 Leonora La forza del destino Giuseppe Verdi Sun Jing Hong One World Symphony
2011 Aida Aida Giuseppe Verdi Anthony Morse New Jersey Association of Verismo Opera
2012 Leonora Il trovatore Giuseppe Verdi Anthony Morse New Jersey Association of Verismo Opera
Unk Rückert Lieder Gustav Mahler Montreal Symphony Orchestra

Concert Repertoire[edit]

Year Work Composer Conductor Orchestra
1991 Mozart concert arias Mozart Alexander Brott McGill Chamber Orchestra
1993 Puccini Arias Giacomo Puccini Boris Brott Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra
1993 Tchaikovsky songs (arr. Alexander Brott) Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky Boris Brott McGill Chamber Orchestra
1994 Mass in C Minor Ludwig van Beethoven Stanley Sperber Haifa Symphony Orchestra
1994 Stabat Mater Gioachino Rossini Stanley Sperber Haifa Symphony Orchestra
1995 Songfest Leonard Bernstein David Shallon Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra
2002 Verdi Requiem Giuseppe Verdi Boris Brott New West Symphony
2007 Stabat Mater Antonín Dvořák Jean-François Rivest Université de Montréal Orchestra and Chorus
2007 Rachmaninoff songs Sergei Rachmaninoff Boris Brott McGill Chamber Orchestra
2009 Symphony No. 8 Gustav Mahler Boris Brott National Academy Orchestra of Canada
2010 Ch'io mi scordi di te? (K.505) Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart Eran Herskovitz Israel Chamber Orchestra
2010 Knoxville: Summer of 1915 Samuel Barber Shalom Bard Israel Chamber Orchestra
2010 Symphony No. 4 Gustav Mahler Christian Gort L’orchestre symphonique de l’isle
2010 New works by Israeli composers Tzvi Avni and Ofer Ben-Amots Daniel Cohen Israel Chamber Orchestra
2010 Cantorial works orchestrated by Harry Stafylakis various Daniel Cohen Israel Chamber Orchestra
2012 Verdi Requiem Giuseppe Verdi Jason Tramm New Jersey State Opera
2013 Résonances de l’âme hébraïque various Silvia Tabor Montreal Intercultural Orchestra
2014 The Esther Diaries Harry Stafylakis Boris Brott Montreal Chamber Orchestra
Unk Rückert Lieder Gustav Mahler Montreal Symphony Orchestra
UNK Deux mélodies Hébraïques Maurice Ravel McGill Chamber Orchestra
UNK Kaddish Bernstein Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra
UNK 9th Symphony Beethoven Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra, Mcgill Chamber Orchestra
UNK Songfest Bernstein Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra
UNK Modern Works Ofer Ben Amots and Tzvi Avni Israel Chamber Orchestra
UNK Modern Works Ofer Ben Amots and Tzvi Avni Israel Chamber Orchestra
UNK Duets and Arias, Houston Grand Opera Tokyo Symphony Orchestra

Accolades[edit]

  • Winner: Jarmila Novotná Competition, New York, 2000
  • Winner: Canadian Women's Club Competition, 1990
  • Winner: Boca Raton Music Guild Competition, Florida, 1990
  • First place: Jarmila Novotná Competition, RTIVC, 1995
  • District winner: Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, New York, 1993
  • Concert Finalist: Luciano Pavarotti Competition, 1991 – 1992
  • Finalist: American Opera Auditions, 1990
  • Grant: Metropolitan Opera National Council, New York, 1991 & 1993
  • Grant: Francisco Viñas Competition, Spain 1990

References[edit]

  1. ^ Porter, Andrew (March 11, 1991). "Musical Events". The New Yorker: 78. (Subscription required (help)). 
  2. ^ Martynuk, George. "Represents Sharon Azrieli". 
  3. ^ Ben Ze’ev, Naom (August 1994). "Exciting workshop of meager means". Ha’aretz (in Hebrew). 
  4. ^ a b Kaptainis, Arthur (November 30, 2012). "Azrieli has the voice; where's the opportunity?". The Montreal Gazette. 
  5. ^ Sadler, Dr. Daniel (October 21, 1994). "A small step for humanity". Kolbo (in Hebrew). 
  6. ^ Zadrozny, Ilse (February 16, 1993). "Azrieli's vibrant voice a match for Tchaikovsky sentiments". The Montreal Gazette. 
  7. ^ "Sharon Azrieli". jccet.org. 
  8. ^ Fisher, Florence (February 22, 1994). "Triumphant ‘Figaro’ weds music and acting". Sarasota Herald Tribune. 
  9. ^ Lowi, Emanuel (September 2001). "Song of the high holidays". The Montreal Gazette. 
  10. ^ "The Times of Israel." Retrieved February 16, 2013.
  11. ^ Reich, Ronni (April 17, 2011). "The opera in the apartment next door". The Star-Ledger. 
  12. ^ "The Whole Note, Vol. 15, iss. 10, July 2010, p.3" Retrieved February 16, 2013.
  13. ^ "Festival Sefarad." Retrieved February 16, 2013.
  14. ^ "Sharon Azrieli Biography." Retrieved January 31, 2013.
  15. ^ D’Amore, Nicole (April 25, 2002). "Groups will join forces, present Verdi's ‘Requiem’". The Star (Conejo Valley). 
  16. ^ Solomon, Heather (November 29, 2012). "Soprano Sharon Azrieli solos in Jewish premiere". The Canadian Jewish News. 
  17. ^ "Montreal Night life." Retrieved February 16, 2013.
  18. ^ "Sicilian Performance." The Italian Tribune [Montclair, NJ] 27 July 2017: 21. Print.

External links[edit]