Ellen McAteer, soprano

Ottawa-born soprano Ellen McAteer, hailed by CBC Radio as a “young, rising star”, is the two-time recipient of the Richard Bradshaw Graduate Fellowship in Opera, and has been awarded the Ruby Mercer Opera Award, a Schulich Scholarship, the Gaelyne Gabora Memorial Prize, the E. M. Wirth Scholarship and was named Jeune espoir Lyrique Canadien by Jeunes Ambassadeurs Lyriques.

Ellen has been praised for her “lovely, full sound” (Greater Hamilton Musician), “joy and ebullient charm” (Bach in Bethlehem), and “stupendous singing” (Calgary Herald), as well as for her voice’s “size, colour and agility” (Bach in Bethlehem). Her performances have been described as a “powerhouse of dramatic assuredness, the ultimate in vulnerable intensity” (Opera Canada). Her appearance as Lola in James Rolfe’s new opera Crush was critically acclaimed: “Ellen McAteer was stunning as Lola. Universally admired, McAteer braved Rolfe's challenging score with virtuoso daring, and her eloquently played characterization became the hinging point of success for the entire opera.” (Opera Canada) Of her appearance as First Witch/Second Woman in Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas with Opera Atelier, the Toronto Star wrote, “McAteer’s steely soprano handles Purcell’s fussy lines with sparkling agility.” 

Ellen’s performed operatic roles are diverse and include several premieres, such as the role of Rebecca in Joel Ivany’s transladaptation and amalgamation of Mozart’s Così fan tutte, Le nozze di Figaro and Don Giovanni, entitled No One’s Safe (The Banff Centre, dir. Joel Ivany), Mother in composer Joe Amato’s oratorio With Respect at the Diefenbunker Museum in Ottawa, Chorus II in James Rolfe and Morris Panych’s Overcoat (Tapestry Opera, dir. Jordan de Souza) and the concert work Girl by Donald Patriquin (Cantiamo Girls Choir of Ottawa, dir. Jackie Hawley).

Other performed roles include Pamina in Die Zauberflöte (Toronto City Opera, dir. Erik Thor), First Lady and Second Woman in Dido and Aeneas (Opera Atelier, dir. Pynkoski), Armida in Handel's Rinaldo (MAI, dir. Barbara Wojtczak), Lucia in Britten’s The Rape of Lucretia (The Banff Centre, dir. Paul Curran / Anna Theodosakis), Lola in James Rolfe’s opera Crush (The Banff Centre, dir. Amiel Gladstone), Despina in Joel Ivany’s transladaptation of Mozart’s Così fan tutte, entitled A Little Too Cozy (Against the Grain Theatre, dir. Joel Ivany), Tigrane in Handel’s Radamisto (Musica Angelica Baroque Orchestra, dir. Martin Haselböck) and Dido in Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas (Theatre of Early Music, dir. Bill Coleman).

In concert, Ellen has performed a variety of repertoire including Bach's St. Matthew Passion (Victoria Philharmonic Choir), Respighi's Lauda per la Natività del Signore (Bethlehem Bach Choir), Handel's Israel in Egypt (Caelis Ensemble), Mozart's Requiem (Grand Philharmonic Choir) Fauré's Requiem (Ottawa Choral Society), Bach's Mass in B Minor (Metropolitan United), Bach / Heighes St. Mark Passion (Abberger Players), Bach's Weihnachts-Oratorium (Bach Choir of Bethlehem), Bach’s Coffee Cantata (Theatre of Early Music), Bach’s Magnificat (Theatre of Early Music), Bach’s St. Matthew Passion (Church of Saint Andrew and Saint Paul), Handel’s Messiah (Newfoundland Symphony Orchestra / Peterborough Singers), Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater (Musica Angelica Baroque Orchestra), C. P. E. Bach’s Magnificat (Bach Choir of Bethlehem) and Haydn’s The Creation (Bach Choir of Bethlehem / Peterborough Singers) as well as modern works such as Golijov’s Tenebrae (Glenn Gould Ensemble), Pärt's L'Abbé Agathon (The Banff Centre), Britten’s Les illuminations de Rimbaud (University of Toronto with Helen Becqué) and Orff’s Carmina Burana (McGill University).

Ellen’s voice can be heard on several recordings, most recently the Juno-nominated Le refuge du cœur (Analekta 2015), The Vale of Tears (Analekta 2015) and Four Thousand Winter (Sony 2015), The Tree of Life (Sony 2016) and The Path to Paradise  (Sony 2017)  featuring the newly formed Trinity Choir, directed by Daniel Taylor. 

A versatile performer, Ellen has taken part in several unusual performance opportunities. Her voice has been heard in KT Brynski’s award-nominated audio drama, “Six Stories, Told at Night,” and on acoustic folk-band October Gold’s first CD release, "Into the Silence," she debuted and recorded the symphonic poem "A Dream within a Dream" by McGill composition student Kit Soden and was featured at Place des Arts in Montreal as part of a multi-disciplinary outdoor art exhibit entitled "The Artistic Disciplines". 

Ellen holds a Master of Music Degree in Voice Performance from the University of Toronto and a Bachelor of Music Degree in Voice Performance from McGill University where she graduated with Excellence in Voice. She has furthered her studies at the Victoria Conservatory of Music, the Orford Arts Centre, The Banff Centre, Opera on the Avalon, the Oberlin Conservatory of Music and as a Rebanks Fellow at the prestigious Glenn Gould School at the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto. Ellen has received career support from the Jacqueline Desmarais Foundation.

Photo credit: Emily Ding

Back to artists


Join our mailing list to get our latest news and exclusive offers.


Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

  • Facebook @torontobachfestival
  • Twitter @torontobachfest
  • Instagram @torontobachfestival





© 2020 Toronto Bach Festival. All rights reserved.
86 Dewhurst Blvd, Toronto, ON M4J 3J3 | 
416.466.8241 | Info@TorontoBachFestival.org