Sharon Azrieli

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Sharon Azrieli is a Canadian soprano and cantor from Montreal, Quebec.[1] Azrieli performs classical and operatic works, playing parts such as Juliet in Charles Gounod's Roméo et Juliette, Mimi in La Bohème and Susanna in Le Nozze di Figaro. She attended Juilliard and has performed with the Tokyo Symphony Orchestra, the Israel Chamber Orchestra and the Canadian Opera Company.[2][3] Reviews of her performances have generally been positive, with Andrew Porter of the New Yorker stating, “Amid lively casts the Canadian soprano Sharon Azrieli, as the heroine of Le Docteur Miracle, was a mistress of merry inflections, piquant phrasing, and pointed words."[4]

Early life and education[edit]

Azrieli was born in Montreal, Quebec to Israeli architect, philanthropist and Holocaust survivor, David Azrieli. Azrieli moved to New York City after attending Vassar College, where she graduated with a degree in Art History, and an Associate Degree in Illustration from the Parsons School of Design. While studying illustration she undertook a Diploma in Vocal Performance under Ellen Faull at the Juilliard School, where her mentors included Joan Dornemann, Principal Prompter at the Metropolitan Opera and the late Herbert Breslin. Joan Dornemann invited her to attend her Vocal Arts Institute in Israel over three successive summers where she learned how to play several leading roles,[5] including Norina in Don Pasquale and Musetta in La Boheme.

Early career[edit]

The Canadian Opera Company's artistic director, the late Richard Bradshaw, scouted Azrieli, starting her career as a professional opera singer. Barshaw hired her as an understudy for the part of Juliet in a production of Gounod's Roméo et Juliette and later as Mimi in a small-stage production of Puccini's La Bohème. [6] Artist manager Matthew Laifer spotted Azrieli's performance and introduced her to Marcello Giordani. Under Lafier's management, she performed with the Tokyo Symphony Orchestra, the Israel Chamber Orchestra, the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra and the Haifa Symphony Orchestra in their production of Rossini's Stabat Mater and Beethoven's Mass in C Minor.[7] Other works included a concert of Puccini arias and Leonard Bernstein's Songfest. She has also worked with Alexander Brott of McGill Chamber Orchestra,[8] and understudied for Mirella Freni as Adrienne Lecouvreur with l’Opéra de Paris.[9] A significant event in Azrieli's career came when she played the part of Susanna in Le nozze di Figaro.[10][11]

Cantorial work[edit]

Azrieli put her opera career on hold after the birth of her two sons. To support her family, she enrolled at the Academy for Jewish Religion in New York[3] and began her first job as a Cantor for Temple Adas Israel in Sag Harbor. Azrieli and her sons moved back to Montreal in 2000, where she became a full-time cantor at Temple Emanu-El-Beth Sholom from 2001 until 2003.[12][13]

Return to the stage[edit]

After her sons had grown up, Azrieli returned to opera. She enlisted the help of Bill Schuman, a vocal coach who had previously worked with Celine Dion, Aprile Millo, and taught at the Academy of Vocal Arts in Philadelphia. With Schuman's help, Azrieli primed her voice for Verdian soprano roles.[14] Azrieli performed Leonora in Il trovatore and Aida.[15] She performed the roles of the prioress in Dialogues des carmélites and Leonora in La forza del destino with One World Symphony Orchestra. She sang the role of Mimi in "La Boheme” with the Canadian opera company and La Gioconda in La Gioconda. She has performed at several major festivals including Brott Music Festival in Hamilton, Ontario,[16] and Festival Sefarad in Montreal.[17]

Whilst touring and performing, Azrieli completed a Master of Music degree and a Doctor of Music in Vocal Performance at the Université de Montréal. She wrote her thesis on the use of cantorial modes in the works of Giuseppe Verdi.[18][14] Azrieli went on to perform the soprano solo in the Verdi Requiem with the New Jersey State Opera, having previously performed the solo with the New West Symphony and Boris Brott.[19]

Azrieli regularly performs with the Mcgill Orchestra and has performed several premieres of Jewish works.[20][21]

In 2018 Azrieli debuted at the Motroplitan Opera as Sister Dolcina in Giacomo Puccini's Il trittico.[22]


Azrieli sits on the board of directors for the Azrieli Foundation. She created the Foundation's $150,000 composition and commission competition, and the Azrieli Music Prize, which promotes new Jewish and Canadian music.[23][24]

Azrieli also created a new $50,000 award for Canadian composers.[25]

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
2014 La bohème Giacomo Puccini unknown BergenPAC
2017 Nedda Pagliacci Ruggero Leoncavallo Marcello Giordani Leoncavallo, Sicily.
2018 Sister Dolcina Il Trittico Giacomo Puccini Bertrand de Billy Metropolitan Opera, New York

Concert repertoire[edit]

Year Work Composer Conductor Orchestra
1991 Mozart concert arias Mozart Alexander Brott McGill Chamber Orchestra
1992 Duets and Arias, Houston Grand Opera Tokyo Symphony 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
2011 Kaddish Bernstein Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra
2012 Symphony No. 9 (Beethoven) Beethoven Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra, Mcgill 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 McGill Chamber Orchestra
2014 Various Cantorial Works Max Janowski Helfmann Katia Makdissi-Warren Oktoecho Orchestra
2015 Symphony #9 Choral Ludwig van Beethoven Boris Brott McGill Chamber Orchestra
2015 Cantate pour une joie Pierre Mercure Boris Brott McGill Chamber Orchestra
2015 Modern Works Ofer Ben Amots and Tzvi Avni Israel Chamber Orchestra
2016 Rückert Lieder Gustav Mahler Kent Nagano Montreal Symphony Orchestra
2016 Deux mélodies Hébraïques Maurice Ravel Boris Brott McGill Chamber Orchestra
2016 Kaddish Bernstein Steven Mercurio Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra
2017 Canciones Amatorias Boris Brott Domaine Forget International Festival
2017 Set me as a Seal from Song of Songs L. Foss Steven Mercurio Czech National Symphony Orchestra
2017 Shalom Rav Ben Steinberg Steven Mercurio Czech National Symphony Orchestra
2017 Canciones Amatorias (excerpts) Granados Boris Brott McGill Chamber Orchestra
2017 Cantata for the Unsung J. M. Stephenson McGill Chamber Orchestra
2017 Jubilante Deo Dan Forrest Tracy Resseguie New England Symphonic Ensemble
2017 Hashkiveynu Max Helfmann Teodora Tepes
2017 Medley Naomi Shemer arr Dror Baitel Teodora Tepes
2017 Seven ladino songs Yehezkel Braun Teodora Tepes


  1. ^ "My Montreal: Soprano Sharon Azrieli Perez". Montreal Gazette. 2014-06-09. Retrieved 2018-10-12.
  2. ^ "MIC Artists » Sharon Azrieli, soprano". Retrieved 2018-10-12.
  3. ^ a b "Scion of Azrieli family goes from opera to cantor, and back, AZ Jewish Post". Arizona Jewish Post. Retrieved 2018-10-12.
  4. ^ "Romeo et Juliette" (PDF). Sharon Azrieli. February 1994.
  5. ^ Ben Ze’ev, Naom (August 1994). "Exciting workshop of meager means". Ha’aretz (in Hebrew).
  6. ^ Kaptainis, Arthur (November 30, 2012). "Azrieli has the voice; where's the opportunity?". The Montreal Gazette.
  7. ^ Sadler, Dr. Daniel (October 21, 1994). "A small step for humanity". Kolbo (in Hebrew).
  8. ^ Zadrozny, Ilse (February 16, 1993). "Azrieli's vibrant voice a match for Tchaikovsky sentiments". The Montreal Gazette.
  9. ^ "Sharon Azrieli".
  10. ^ Fisher, Florence (February 22, 1994). "Triumphant 'Figaro' weds music and acting". Sarasota Herald Tribune.
  11. ^ Kaptainis, Arthur (3 October 2018). "Karl Goldmark's Die Königin Von Saba: An Opera Worth Reviving, with or without a Jewish Soul". La Scena musicale. Retrieved 2018-12-08.
  12. ^ Lowi, Emanuel (September 2001). "Song of the high holidays". The Montreal Gazette.
  13. ^ "The Times of Israel." Retrieved February 16, 2013.
  14. ^ a b " - Connecting People Through News". Retrieved 2018-10-12.
  15. ^ Reich, Ronni (April 17, 2011). "The opera in the apartment next door". The Star-Ledger.
  16. ^ "The Whole Note, Vol. 15, iss. 10, July 2010, p.3" Retrieved February 16, 2013.
  17. ^ "Festival Sefarad." Archived 2013-04-07 at Retrieved February 16, 2013.
  18. ^ "Sharon Azrieli Biography." Archived 2013-11-27 at the Wayback Machine Retrieved January 31, 2013.
  19. ^ D’Amore, Nicole (April 25, 2002). "Groups will join forces, present Verdi's 'Requiem'". The Star (Conejo Valley).
  20. ^ Solomon, Heather (November 29, 2012). "Soprano Sharon Azrieli solos in Jewish premiere". The Canadian Jewish News.
  21. ^ "Montreal Night life." Archived 2013-04-07 at Retrieved February 16, 2013.
  22. ^ "Metropolitan Opera | Sharon Azrieli". Retrieved 2018-11-30.
  23. ^ "The Azrieli Music Prizes – The Azrieli Foundation". Retrieved 2018-05-04.
  24. ^ "azrieli group ltd". Retrieved 2018-11-30.
  25. ^ "THE SCOOP | The Azrieli Foundation Launches New $50,000 Prize For Canadian Composers". Ludwig van Toronto. 2018-10-16. Retrieved 2018-11-18.

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