Valdine Anderson | The Canadian Encyclopedia


Valdine Anderson

Anderson's opera career blossomed in 1995 with her European debut as the Maid in the premiere of Thomas Adès' Powder Her Face at the Cheltenham Festival.
Anderson, Valdine
Soprano Valdine Anderson's exceptional voice has been praised in Baroque and contemporary music circles (courtesy Paul J. Hoeffler).

Anderson, Valdine

 Valdine Anderson. Soprano, teacher, b Winnipeg 4 Jul 1960; B MUS (Manitoba) 1987, Opera Diploma (Toronto) 1990. Valdine Anderson studied with Dorothy Lawson in Winnipeg, Mary Morrison in Toronto, Jane Manning in London, and Phyllis Bryn-Julson in Baltimore.

Anderson's opera career blossomed in 1995 with her European debut as the Maid in the premiere of Thomas Adès' Powder Her Face at the Cheltenham Festival. The role, which she reprised at the Almeida Theatre in London (1995), in Nantes (2000-1), and in a concert version with the London Symphony Orchestra (2006), cemented her reputation as one of the foremost performers of contemporary opera. Her collaboration with Adès continued fruitfully, and includes the 1997 recording Life Story. The recording made from the Almeida Theatre show earned her a Grammy nomination in 1999. She premiered Gavin Bryars' Dr. Ox's Experiment with the English National Opera (1998); performed the concert version of Elliott Carter's What Next? in Holland (2000), England (2000), and Belgium (2002); and performed with the Calgary Opera in the title role of Carlisle Floyd's Susannah (2001). In Canada, she has appeared with the Edmonton Opera, the Manitoba Opera, the Canadian Opera Company, and the Vancouver Opera.

Anderson has often been a soloist with ensembles, such as the Ensemble InterContemporain under Pierre Boulez in 1998 and again in a 2000 tour on the occasion of Boulez's 75th birthday; the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra in Boulez's Pli selon pli (1999); the BBC Symphony Orchestra in Nielsen's Symphony No. 3 (1999); the Boston Symphony in Kaijo Saariaho's Le Chateau de l'âme (2000); the London Sinfonietta in Oliver Knussen's Higglety Pigglety Pop! (2002); the London Symphony in 2002-3; and was a part of the Berlin Philharmonic's US tour in 2003 under Sir Simon Rattle.

She has performed many Canadian works including Christos Hatzis' From the Book of Job (2006) and Sepulcher of Life (2007), both with the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, and has premiered works including Serge Arcuri's La nymphe du ladon (1993) and Harry Freedman's Spirit Song (1993, rec 2000). Anderson has appeared with the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra, the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, l'Orchestre National de France, l'Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and the Hilliard Ensemble. She toured Europe with the Gavin Bryars Ensemble and l'Orchestre des Champs-Elysées, and has worked with composers such as George Benjamin, Sir Harrison Birtwistle, Peter Maxwell-Davies, Michael Torke, Gérard Grisey, and conductors such as Daniel Barenboim, Edo de Waart, and David Zinman.

Valdine Anderson's sound, which has been especially praised in Baroque and contemporary music circles, has most often been described as forthright and clear. These qualities have often led to comparisons with celebrated US soprano Dawn Upshaw; Anderson has on several occasions replaced her in concerts. Far from simply being a similar-sounding voice, Anderson knows how to take ownership of the material she sings and give the sense of almost living it. Referring to Brett Dean's Wolf-Lieder, Hilary Lynch from The Times (London) wrote: "[she] internalized its challenging vocal writing so entirely that, even in its first performance, she made it deeply expressive . . . " (17 Jan 2007).

Anderson began teaching voice at the University of Manitoba in 2004.


Lutoslawski: Symphony No. 3 / Chantefleurs et Chantefables. Valdine Anderson soprano, Tadaaki Otaka conductor, BBC National Orchestra of Wales. 1996. BIS BIS-CD-743

Powder Her Face. Valdine Anderson soprano, Jill Gomez soprano, Niall Morris tenor, Roger Bryson bass, Thomas Adès conductor, Almeida Ensemble. 1999. EMI CDS5566492

Meditation. Valdine Anderson soprano, Russell Braun baritone, James Campbell clarinet, Simon Streatfeild conductor, Manitoba Chamber Orchestra. 2000. CBC SMCD 5204

Book of Proverbs. Valdine Anderson soprano, Kurt Ollmann, Catherine Bott, Argo Band, Michael Torke conductor, Edo de Waart conductor, Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra. 2000. Universal Music Group

Spirit Song Vocal Music Of Harry Freedman. Valdine Anderson soprano et al. 2000. Centrediscs CMCCD 6700

Michael Torke: Two. Valdine Anderson soprano, Edo de Waart conductor, Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra et al. 2003. Ecstatic Records

Job. Valdine Anderson soprano, Linda Maguire mezzo-soprano, Kevin McMillan baritone, Sir Peter Maxwell Davies conductor, CBC Vancouver Orchestra. 15162 Collins Classics

What Next? Valdine Anderson soprano, Sarah Leonard soprano, Hilary Summers contralto, Emanuel Hoogeveen boy alto, William Joyner tenor, Dean Elzinga baritone, Peter Eötvös conductor, Netherlands Radio Chamber Orchestra. 2001. EMI 1817

The Cadman Requiem. Valdine Anderson soprano, The Hilliard Ensemble, Fretwork. 1998. Phillips

Harry Somers: Songs from the Heart of Somers. Valdine Anderson soprano, Jean Stilwell mezzo-soprano, Ben Heppner tenor, John Hess piano. 2001. Centrediscs CMCCD 7001