ASL 2013: Soprano, Phoebe MacRae

An “intelligent musician with an uncommonly lovely voice,” Canadian soprano Phoebe MacRae enjoys a busy and varied musical career. Ms MacRae marries her musical excellence with her love for the theatre, engaging the world of opera, recital and modern music with flair and humour. A versatile and dynamic artist, Ms. MacRae is equally adept at performing the standard classical repertoire as well as comedic and contemporary roles. Included in her repertoire is a solo recital of unaccompanied vocal works: truly a musical “high wire” event.

In 1999, Ms. MacRae formed LEAVE IT TO DIVA with fellow soprano and comedienne Karen Ydenberg. Joined by collaborative pianist Erika Switzer, LEAVE IT TO DIVA combines musical prowess with a gift for quirky humour, creating a rollicking theatrical experience.

Phoebe’s latest comic creation is the acclaimed Animal Passions: Romping the Romantic Realms with renowned collaborative pianist Rena Sharon, with whom Ms. MacRae has worked closely for many years. Animal Passions debuted at the Vancouver International Song Institute in 2007. It has been charming audiences across British Columbia and in the United States of America ever since. Animal Passions combines musical Masterclasses and Lecturesy with high entertainment value. Using carefully chosen songs (such as Ravel’s “The Peacock”, Cole Porter’s “The Tale of the Oyster”, and Richard Pearson Thomas’ “Spider Legs”) and clever dialogue, the program documents the joys and disappointments of a budding young romantic.

Ms. MacRae is regularly engaged for opera, chamber music, oratorio and recital performances. With a Masterclasses and Lecturesy of the 17th – 21st century repertoire, she has performed throughout North America and Europe, and is frequently heard on regional and national CBC Radio 2 broadcasts. In standard operatic repertoire, Ms. MacRae has appeared in works by R. Strauss, J. Strauss, Rossini, and Mozart. She created the role of Pélagie in the world premiere of 120 Songs for the Marquis de Sade, by Peter Hannon and Peter Hinton. Phoebe made her European debut singing Mozart’s most acclaimed virtuosic role of the “Die Königin der Nacht” in Opava, Czech Republic. She was an Artistic Associate of the Modern Baroque Opera Company, and performed leading roles in all of their productions.

In oratorio repertoire, Ms. MacRae also shows her versatility- from Monteverdi’s Vespers to Haydn’s Creation to Orff’s Carmina Burana. With the Pacific Baroque Orchestra, Ms. MacRae has twice appeared as the guest soloist on its tours of Western Canada. Together with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra she performed in the memorial concert for Canada’s beloved Otto Lowy, a broadcast legend on CBC Radio. In contemporary offerings, Phoebe has premiered works with orchestra by Canadians Michael Oesterle, Jocelyn Morlock and Bradshaw Pack.

As soloist, Ms. MacRae has performed under the batons of Julius Rudel, Jeanne Lamon, Owen Underhill, Georg Tintner, Timothy Vernon, Steven Stubbs, Simon Preston, Bruce Pullan, Charles Barber, Leslie Dala, Leslie Uyeda, James Fankhauser, Simon Carrington, Laurent Phillippe, Marc Destrubé, Giorgio Magnanensi and Bramwell Tovey. She has appeared with such companies and organisations as Vancouver Opera, Pacific Opera Victoria, Modern Baroque Opera, City Opera Vancouver, Pacific Baroque Orchestra, Vancouver New Music, Turning Point Ensemble, Vancouver Cantata Singers, Vancouver Bach Choir, Festival Vancouver and the Symphonies of Nova Scotia, Victoria and Vancouver. Ms. MacRae has shared the chamber music/recital stage with Rena Sharon, Margo Garrett, Colin Tilney, Erika Switzer, Laura Loewen, Tyler Duncan, Marc Destrubé, Alexander Dunn and renowned children’s performer Rick Scott. She has performed for the Regina Musical Society, Winnipeg’s Virtuosi Concerts, Vancouver International Song Institute, Victoria Summer Music Festival, Vancouver Early Music, and on recital tours throughout BC.

Ms. MacRae is a founding core faculty member of the Vancouver International Song Institute, a yearly summer festival and program designed for young singers and collaborative pianists; she teaches and performs there.

Phoebe MacRae holds a Masterclasses and Lectures of Music from the University of British Columbia and received further training at Queen of Puddings’ Artist Training Program in Toronto, at the Aspen Opera Theater Center, the Vancouver Early Music Programme, and the Banff Centre for the Performing Arts.

Ms. MacRae currently lives in Berkeley, California with her husband and two children.