Sharon Azrieli is a Canadian soprano and cantor from Montreal, Quebec. 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. 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."
Early life and education
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, including Norina in Don Pasquale and Musetta in La Boheme.
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.  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. Other works included a concert of Puccini arias and Leonard Bernstein's Songfest. She has also worked with Alexander Brott of McGill Chamber Orchestra, and understudied for Mirella Freni as Adrienne Lecouvreur with l’Opéra de Paris. A significant event in Azrieli's career came when she played the part of Susanna in Le nozze di Figaro.
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 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.
Return to the stage
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. Azrieli performed Leonora in Il trovatore and Aida. 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, and Festival Sefarad in Montreal.
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. 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.
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.
Azrieli also created a new $50,000 award for Canadian composers.
|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|
|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|
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