Norine Burgess

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“…a lambent-toned Burgess gave the performance of the evening with her whimsical, touching interpretation of Reger’s “Funf neue Kinderlieder, Op. 142” which was intimate in manner, but gloriously full-voiced.” (Globe & Mail)

Praised for her bright, elegant and lambent-toned voice, Canadian mezzo-soprano Norine Burgess has performed in opera houses and with leading orchestras throughout North America and around the world.


Norine’s refreshingly compelling, charismatic and touching interpretations bring vigour and dimension to her signature roles, including Maddalena in Verdi’s Rigoletto, Prince Orlofsky in Strauss’s Die Fledermaus, Siebel in Faust, Nicklausse in Offenbach’s Tales of Hoffmann. Her enormous success after an extended run as Miss Mary Lloyd in the Vienna Volksoper’s production of Kálmán’s Die Herzogin von Chicago has made it one of her most memorable characters: “she is so perfect in the role that it is almost impossible to imagine a production without her: she is charismatic, and brings depth and sensitivity to what could be an unsympathetic role. Her enthusiasm seems to light up the stage.” (MusicWebInternational).

Recent highlights include critical acclaim in Vancouver, Calgary and Edmonton for her “seductive and vocally elegant” (Calgary Herald) Maddalena in Rigoletto, appearances in Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 with the Vancouver Symphony and Bramwell Tovey as part of the 2010 Olympics arts festival, as Clairon in Richard Strauss’s final opera Capriccio with Pacific Opera Victoria, and in recital in her native Calgary.

Other roles include Annio in La Clemenza di Tito, Neris in Cherubini’s rarely-performed opera Médée which she performed at the Salzburg festival under the direction of Sir Charles MacKerras, Mother Marie in Dialogues des Carmélites (Arizona Opera), Meg Page in Falstaff, and 2nd Lady in Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte (Salzburg Festival).


Concerts and recitals always figure prominently on Norine’s calendar. Notable concert engagements have included Mozart’s Requiem under Manfred Honeck in Leipzig and Halle, the Monteverdi Vespers conducted by Helmuth Rilling with the Oregon Bach Festival, Peer Gynt with the Toronto Symphony, Mahler’s Symphony No. 8 with the Montreal Symphony Orchestra and Charles Dutoit, Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 with the Columbus Symphony, Beethoven’s Mass in C and Choral Fantasy with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, Elgar’s Dream of Gerontius with the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir, Handel’s Messiah with the National Arts Centre Orchestra and the Calgary Philharmonic in Mendelssohn’s Elijah, Bach’s Christmas Oratorio, Bach’s St. John Passion and Healey Willan’s Requiem with the Kitchener-Waterloo Philharmonic Choir, Mendelssohn’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream with the Hartford Symphony and Haydn’s Mass in B flat Major, “Harmoniemesse” at the Salzburg Festival.


A consummate recitalist, Norine has sung frequently with baritone Russell Braun, tenor Michael Schade, and sopranos Isabel Bayrakdarian and Donna Brown. Highlights include Brahms’s Liebeslieder Walzer in New York’s Weill Recital Hall (Carnegie Hall) with an all-star Canadian cast of Michael Schade, Russell Braun and Isabel Bayrakdarian, an all-Berlioz concert with soprano Donna Brown at the Glenn Gould Studio in Toronto. A favourite of the Aldeburgh Connection, she appears regularly in concert on their series in Toronto. Her interpretations of Berlioz have earned particular acclaim: “Burgess [gave] an elegant and touching account of the duet ‘La Morte d’Ophélie.’ Burgess’s splendid, all-in dramatic rendition of ‘Sur les lagunes’ could hardly have been improved” (Globe and Mail).

In addition to her time on stage, Norine gives freely of her talent for fundraising events to benefit Hepatitis, Leukemia, the Oakville Children’s Choir and the Toronto Maple Leafs children’s charity Go Kids Go!


Norine’s performances have been broadcast on CBC Radio, Radio-Canada and Austrian State Radio. She is featured on several recordings including a CD of Christmas Carols for the Canadian Musical Heritage Society with Michael Schade, Mendelssohn’s Symphony No. 2 “Lobesang”, conducted by Helmuth Rilling, with the Internationale Bachakademie, and Mozart’s C minor Mass for Naxos with the Budapest Philharmonic, conducted by Michael Halasz.

TV appearances include CBC Television’s Opening Night production “Vienna, the City of Dreams” as well as a televised Christmas Gala at the Schloss Grafenegg in Austria. Her starring role as Miss Mary Llyod in Die Herzogin von Chicago, released on DVD to enthusiastic review, was featured as DVD of the Month in Gramophone: “A strong cast headed by the attractive Canadian soprano Norine Burgess…tremendous fun!”


A graduate of the University of Calgary and the University of Toronto’s Opera School, Norine Burgess received additional training as a member of the Canadian Opera Company (COC) Ensemble. She has since performed numerous roles at the COC’s including Princess Marie in the 08-09 production of War and Peace with baritone Russell Braun as Prince Andrei, Cherubino in Le Nozze di Figaro, Dryad in Ariadne auf Naxos among others. She appears regularly with the Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, and Manitoba opera companies.

Norine makes her home in Oakville, Ontario, with her three children.

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