An accomplished performer, educator, and ideator, Elizabeth McDonald has forged an artistic path that is uniquely her own. As a young artist with both the Santa Fe Opera and at the Canadian Opera Company (COC), Elizabeth found a home in the roles Elletra in Mozart’s Idomeneo, Donna Elvira in Mozart’s Don Giovanni, The Woman in Schoenberg’s Erwartung, Miss Jessel in Britten’s Turn of the Screw, and Jenufa in Janecek’s Jenufa. As a soloist, she has appeared with the National Ballet Orchestra, the Canadian Opera Company Orchestra, and the Kingston Symphony and has been featured in recital at the Off Centre Music Salon in Toronto, the Prince Edward County Chamber Music Festival, the Civic Morning Recital Series in Syracuse, NY, the American Cathedral in Paris, and the Maison des étudiants canadiens in Paris, Virginia Tech University, and the Eastman School of Music. In the studio, she has recorded Canadian composer Martha Hill Duncan’s Singing in the Northlandwith pianist Kathryn Tremills.
One of Elizabeth’s more recent iterations as a performer was the formation Women on the Verge. Co-founded with colleagues Emily Martin and Kathryn Tremills, Women on the Verge (WOV) is a powerful trio designed to explore women’s experience through music, and to uplift Canadian voices through the commissions and premieres of Canadian music by female composers. WOV has appeared at Universities across Canada and the US as well as the Iceland University of the Arts, and the Guildhall School of Music and Drama offering master classes, performances, and lecture-recitals. They have been featured on classical King FM in Seattle, at the Fox Island Concert Series in Maine, and the Borough New Music Series in London, UK. They have received multiple grants from the Canada Council for the Arts to both to commission, premiere and tour new works by Canadian female and female-presenting composers, and to produce the podcast “Getting the Song Out”. WOV produced a series of webinars during the 2020 pandemic called “Educating the Future Singer Post-COVID 19” and presented seminars on entrepreneurship in the arts to schools across North America, Europe, and Australia. Their upcoming commission by Cecilia Livingston and Anne Michaels was set to premiere at the RBA Recital Series at the Canadian Opera Company in 2021 and is currently on hold due to the pandemic.
Elizabeth’s determination extends beyond the stage, and as a teacher, she offers no-holds-barred blunt opinions and unconditional support to both her students at the University of Toronto and to the number of young artists that make up her private studio. Her current and past students have found success both on and off the opera stage as performers, teaching artists, academics and arts administrators singing and working with the Metropolitan Opera, the Canadian Opera Company, and Against the Grain Theatre to name a few.
Looking to the future, Elizabeth has created em2Connect an innovative and connective platform serving the artist community. From mentorship to community to consulting, em2CONNECT brings together educators, artists, and curious industry members to help take the musical world forward.
Elizabeth began her unique career with extensive musical education with degrees from the Eastman School of Music, and the University of Toronto and has trained at the Banff Centre for the Arts in the Dramatic Integration Program, the Britten-Pears School in Contemporary Song Literature, the Orford Arts Centre, and at the Vancouver Early Music Festival.
Elizabeth lives in Prince Edward County, Ontario, where she bakes beautiful bread and hits the gym with her husband and two teenage kids.