“The singing was magnificent tonight. Sister Prejean (McHardy) had an immense amount of singing throughout the night, and her expressive and demonstrative voice never showed signs of wear. She acted marvellously as well - not an easy task when portraying an Elvis-loving nun with a sharp, dry wit." (Bachtrack)
“The other great performance was Allyson McHardy, as Phèdre, the mother who wants to sleep with her stepson: McHardy has sumptuous mezzo tone, perfect French and noble bearing.” (Opera News)
“McHardy, as the deeply unpleasant Arcabonne, was refulgent of line, possessing a mezzo color reminiscent of Janet Baker” (Opera News)
Mezzo-soprano Allyson McHardy’s voice has been described as radiant, dusky, incandescent, and sumptuous; her presence on stages in Canada, the United States and France have drawn comments such as noble, spellbinding, charming and seductive. Allyson’s varied repertoire encompasses roles from Rossini’s l’Italiana in Algeri, Cenerentola and Il Barbiere di Siviglia, to Handel’s Alcina, Ariodante and Semele, Caldara’s La Converzione di Clodoveo Rè di Francia, to Verdi’s Nabucco and Falstaff, Mozart’s La Clemenza di Tito, to Bizet’s Carmen. Her orchestral repertoire includes Das Lied von der Erde, Mozart’s Requiem, Bach’s Magnificat, Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis, and Elgar’s Dream of Gerontius, among many other works.
Two prominent features of Allyson’s 2013-2014 season are her performances as Isabella in Rossini’s L’Italiana in Algeri with the Calgary Opera and as Sara in Donizetti’s Roberto Devereux with the Canadian Opera Company in Toronto. As well she will be seen in Toronto in a concert called The Seven Virtues with pianist Rachel Andrist, presented by Recitals At Rosedale and in Bach’s Magnificat with the Orchestre de Québec, conducted by Fabien Gabel.
Allyson’s 2012-2013 season offered a challenging balance of opera, concerts and a collaboration with ballet. She made two role debuts: as Cornelia in Handel’s Giulio Cesare with the Michigan Opera Theatre in Detroit and as Sister Helen Prejean in Heggie’s acclaimed opera Dead Man Walking presented by the Opéra de Montréal. Concert performances featured a recital with pianist Stephen Ralls at the Glenn Gould Studio, Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 with the Toronto Symphony conducted by Jiri Belohlavek, Handel’s Messiah with Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra, Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 with Symphony Nova Scotia, her debut in the role of St. Catherine in a concert performances of Honegger’s Jeanne d’Arc au Bûcher with the Montreal Symphony Orchestra, and a concert devoted to music in the life and work of Robertson Davies presented by the Aldeburgh Connection. Allyson also took on an innovative collaboration with the Alberta Ballet, performing Requiem, choreographed by Jean Grand-Maître and set to the music of Mozart’s masterpiece.
Recent highlights include a national tribute to Maureen Forrester at Stratford Summer Music, debuts as Annio in the Opéra national de Paris production of Mozart’s La Clemenza di Tito and as Arcabonne in J.C. Bach’s Amadis de Gaule at the Opéra Comique in Paris and at the Château de Versailles. She also made her debut in the title role of Carmen with Pacific Opera Victoria, appeared as Dijanira in Handel’s Hercules with Tafelmusik, in Mozart’s Requiem with l’Orchestre symphonique de Québec, as Juno in Handel’s Semele with the Canadian Opera Company, in New Brunswick’s Lamèque Festival in Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater and Vancouver’s Early Music Festival in Handel’s Orlando.
Allyson has performed in the lead role in Rossini’s La Cenerentola at Glyndebourne, Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde with Bramwell Tovey and the Vancouver Symphony, Isabella in L’Italiana in Algeri in Limoges and Aix en Provence, Flosshilde in a concert version of Das Rheingold with the Montreal Symphony led by Kent Nagano, Mozart’s Requiem with the Seattle Symphony and Houston’s Mercury Baroque Orchestra, La Damnation de Faust with the Vancouver Bach Choir and Messiah with Kitchener- Waterloo’s Grand Philharmonic Choir.
Other highlights include appearances at the New York City Opera as Marchesa Melibea in Rossini’s Il Viaggio a Reims conducted by George Manahan, Adalgisa in Norma in Warsaw, Suzuki in Madama Butterfly with the Canadian Opera Company, Jo in Little Women in Calgary, and as Phèdre in a rare staging of Rameau’s Hippolyte et Aricie conducted by Emmanuelle Haïm in Toulouse.
Much in demand as a concert artist, Allyson has performed Mahler’s Symphony No. 2 and Dream of Gerontius at Chicago’s Grant Park Music Festival, Messiah for the Toronto Symphony and the National Arts Centre Orchestra in Ottawa, Elijah in Montreal, Les Nuits d’Été in Bielefeld, Germany and Beethoven’s Choral Fantasia with Bernard Labadie and Les Violons du Roy.