Acclaimed by critics for his “great virtuosity”, “vocal radiance” and “outstanding voice”, Michael Taylor has performed leading roles in operas around the world ranging from the baroque to the modern era.
The young Canadian countertenor Michael Taylor picked up his first instrument, the violin, at age three. Despite an (arguably Sherlock Holmesian) enthusiasm for Bach’s solo partitas and the Devil’s Trill, he soon discovered his true instrument of choice when he began his vocal training as a treble with St. Michael’s Choir School at age nine, where he was to sing more or less every day for the next ten years. After a brief intermission in which he completed a degree in Physics and Neuroscience at McGill University, Michael took up further vocal studies in Germany with a focus on opera performance and early music under the tutelage of Jeanne Piland and some of Europe’s most talented Early Music specialists, including Andreas Scholl, Sara Mingardo and Michael Hofstetter. He is a prize-winner of the Gürel International Singing Competition in Istanbul and the International Voice Competition Kammeroper Schloss Rheinsberg in Germany, as well as a grant-holder of the Jacqueline Desmarais Foundation for Young Canadian Opera Singers.
Highlights of his wide-ranging operatic repertoire include Oberon in Britten’s “A Midsummernight’s Dream” in Norfolk (2013), Goffredo in Handel’s “Rinaldo” at the State Theatre Mainz (2014), Corindo in Cesti’s “Orontea” at the Hamburg State Opera (2014), Liscione in Scarlatti’s “La Dirindina” with L’Arte del Mondo (2014/15), Adriano in Pergolesi’s “Adriano in Siria” (2015) and Alceste in Hasse’s “Demetrio” (2016) with Opera Settecento, Artemis in Henze’s “Phaedra” at the Halle Opera (2015), Ariel in Purcell’s “The Tempest” with Montreal Baroque, Argone in Handel’s “Sosarme” and Ormonte in Handel’s “Elpidia” at the Handel Festival Halle (2016), a revival of Porpora’s “L’Agrippina” with the Barber Opera (2017), two new chamber operas for the Biennale di Venezia (2017), Sciarrino’s “Luci mie traditrici” at the Ukraine National Opera (2018) and his hometown operatic debut with Opera Atelier in Monteverdi’s “Il ritorno d’Ulisse in patria” (2018).
Also highly sought-after in concert and oratorio, he performs regularly with exceptional ensembles worldwide, including Handel’s “Messiah” with the Grammy-nominated Trinity Choir at the Lincoln Center New York (2012) and with the Juno-award-winning ensemble L’Harmonie des Saisons (2017), Bach’s St. Matthew Passion with the Telemann Baroque Orchestra at Izumi Hall in Osaka (2015) and at the Maison Symphonique de Montreal (2018) and a series of Bach cantatas with Montreal Baroque now available on the Atma Classique label. Michael is a core member of Berlin’s Solistenensemble Phønix16, specialising in the performance of contemporary and experimental vocal works; he has appeared in several major festivals, including MaerzMusik and Ultraschall Berlin, performing works by Ferneyhough, Xenakis, Stockhausen, Grisey and Vivier as well as new works by Pryzbylsky, Bumsteinas and Fure.
This season’s highlights include a staged production of Handel’s “Saul” at the Münster Opera, a Dance-Theatre production with Berlin’s Nico and the Navigators, several appearances with Solistenensemble Phønix16, and a concert tour with the award-winning early music ensemble Pallade Musica. As founder and co-director of the baroque ensemble “The Dansant”, he recently released “To Die, To Sleep”, a solo album of opera arias by Handel, Vivaldi and Graun accompanied on period instruments; the album is now available worldwide.