'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 a sumptuous mezzo tone, perfect French and noble bearing.” (Opera News)
“As Sara, Duchess of Nottingham, mezzo-soprano Allyson McHardy sang her aria "All'afflitto è dolce il pianto" so beautifully that the applause nearly brought the opera to a halt as soon as it began. McHardy never lost the golden creaminess of her tone: even the most rapid passages and the depth of her characterization lent variety to a figure who is in a perpetual state of anxiety throughout the action." (Opera News, 30 April 2014)
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 Donizetti’s Roberto Devereux to Rossini’s l’Italiana in Algeri, Cenerentola and Il Barbiere di Siviglia, 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.
Following summer performances at the Aix-en-Provence Festival’s production of Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Allyson’s 2015-2016 sees her reprise the role of Suzuki in Madama Butterfly with both the Opéra de Montréal and Vancouver Opera. In concert, she performs Mozart’s Requiem with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Mozart’s Mass in C minor with Les Violons du Roy in Montreal and Quebec City, Handel’s Messiah with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and the St. Louis Symphony, and Elgar’sSea Pictures with Symphony Nova Scotia.
Her 2014-2015 season featured performances of Ligeti’s Requiem with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, a highly acclaimed appearance asRuggiero in Handel’s Alcina with Toronto’s Opera Atelier, as Orsini in Donizetti’s Lucrezia Borgia in St. Gallen, Switzerland, and in the Messiahwith both the Toronto Symphony and Les Violons du Roy. In the 2013-2014 season Allyson made her debut as Sara in the Canadian Opera Company’s Roberto Devereux, appeared as Isabella in Rossini’s L’Italiana in Algeri with the Calgary Opera, as Phèdre in Rameau’s Hippolyte et Aricie with Opera in Concert, and in Bach’s Magnificat with the Orchestre de Québec.
Recent highlights include role debuts as ▪ Cornelia in Handel’s Giulio Cesare with the Michigan Opera Theatre in Detroit ▪ Sister Helen Prejean in Heggie’s acclaimed opera Dead Man Walking presented by the Opéra de Montréal ▪ Annio in the Opéra national de Paris production of Mozart’s La Clemenza di Tito ▪ Arcabonne in J.C. Bach’s Amadis de Gauleat the Opéra Comique in Paris and at the Château de Versailles. She has also appeared in the title role of Carmen with Pacific Opera Victoria, as Juno/Ino in Handel’s Semele with the Canadian Opera Company, as Dijanira in Handel’s Hercules with Tafelmusik, Marchesa Melibea in Rossini’s Il Viaggio a Reims at the New York City Opera , Adalgisa inNorma in Warsaw, Suzuki in Madama Butterfly with the Canadian Opera Company, Jo in Little Women in Calgary, as Phèdre in a rare staging of Rameau’s Hippolyte et Aricie conducted by Emmanuelle Haïm in Toulouse, and in the lead role of Rossini’s La Cenerentola at Glyndebourne.
A consummate concert and recital artist, Allyson has appeared in ▪Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 with the Toronto Symphony and Symphony Nova Scotia ▪ Handel’s Messiah with Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra, the Toronto Symphony and the Natonal Arts Centre orchestra in Ottawa ▪ as St. Catherine in a concert performance of Honegger’s Jeanne d’Arc au Bûcher with the Montreal Symphony Orchestra ▪ Elijah in Montreal, Les Nuits d’Été in Bielefeld, Germany, ▪Beethoven’s Choral Fantasia with Bernard Labadie and Les Violons du Roy ▪ Mahler’s Symphony No. 2 and Dream of Gerontius at Chicago’s Grant Park Music Festival and in 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 and appeared in a national tribute to Maureen Forrester at Stratford Summer Music. Recitals have taken her to many centres in Canada.