Sheila Piercey | The Canadian Encyclopedia


Sheila Piercey

Sheila (Kathleen) Piercey. Soprano, b Halifax, NS, 18 Nov 1933. Coached by her mother Lilian (MacKinnon) Piercey, she made her debut at five.

Piercey, Sheila

Sheila (Kathleen) Piercey. Soprano, b Halifax, NS, 18 Nov 1933. Coached by her mother Lilian (MacKinnon) Piercey, she made her debut at five. She was a pupil 1953-6 of Leonard Mayoh, made her operatic debut as the Mother in Amahl and the Night Visitors in 1954, and was an established singer on the stage, radio, TV, and concert platform in Halifax when she moved to Toronto in 1956. A scholarship winner at the RCMT and University of Toronto Opera School, she continued her voice studies 1956-9 with Ernesto Vinci, appeared with the Royal Cons Opera 1957-9 and the CBC Opera 1957-8 in such operas as Stravinsky's Le Rossignol (title role 1957), Janáček's Jenu°fa (Jano 1957), and Peter Grimes (Niece 1959). She made her COC debut 1957 as the Dew Fairy in Hansel and Gretel. Her 22 COC roles 1957-71 included Mimi in La Bohème, Zerlina in Don Giovanni, Rose and a 'Voice in the Pit' in the premiere of Pannell'sThe Luck of Ginger Coffey, and Rosina in The Barber of Seville,. She sang 1958-71 in 16 of the COC's tours, missing only one tour during those years, and in Prologue productions including Menotti's Old Maid and the Thief (Laetitia 1968) and Wolf-Ferrari's Secret of Susanna (Susanna 1969). The 'First Girl' in the stage premiere (1960) of John Beckwith'sNight Blooming Cereus, she has sung also in operas at the Banff Centre SFA the Stratford Festival, Rainbow Stage, and the Charlottetown Festival. After singing the role of Jeannie in the 1956 concert production of Trevor Jones' folk opera TheBroken Ring for the Nova Scotia Summer Festival of the Arts, Piercey performed in more than a dozen musicals and operettas including The Boyfriend, Most Happy Fella, and Carousel. A natural vivacity and her clear, flexible, rich voice made her outstanding in comedy and soubrette roles. After returning to Halifax in 1971 Piercey concentrated on oratorio and recital performances, and concert performances of Mascagni's Cavalleria Rusticana (1986) and Gluck's Orphée et Euridice (1988).

Piercey taught voice 1977-82 at Dalhousie University and assisted in the opera department there. In 1991 she continued to teach and perform in Halifax and appeared in print, television, and radio commercials.

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