Born in Saskatchewan and now based in northern Ontario, baritone Peter McGillivray has been described in the national press as “a gifted comic actor,” with a “rich, flexible and strong voice.” In recent seasons he has been seen on opera and concert stages from coast to coast, specializing in comic roles such as Dr. Bartolo in Barber of Seville, Don Magnifico in La Cenerentola, Schaunard in La Bohème, Falke in Die Fledermaus, Stubb in Moby Dick and Orff’s Carmina Burana. He also excels in interpreting more dramatic fare such as Sharpless in Madama Butterfly, and concert performances of Handel’s Messiah, Mahler’s Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen, Haydn’s Creation and Mendelssohn’s Elijah.
He has performed lead roles with the Canadian Opera Company as well as opera companies in Dallas, Victoria, Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary, Saskatoon, Manitoba, Hamilton, Ottawa and Quebec City. Additionally he spent the 2010-11 season on the roster of the Metropolitan Opera in New York in productions of La Bohème and Strauss’ Capriccio. His current season involves productions of Moby Dick with the Dallas Opera, Messiah with the Elmer Iseler Singers in Toronto, Don Magnifico for Edmonton Opera’s Cinderella and Dr. Bartolo in Le barbier de Séville with Opéra de Québec.
McGillivray first leapt to international attention in 2005 by winning top prizes both at the Montreal International Musical Competition and at the Queen Sonja Competition in Oslo, Norway. He was previously the winner of the 2003 CBC/Radio-Canada Young Performers Competition and is an alumnus of the Canadian Opera Company’s Ensemble Studio program. Since then he has appeared with many prestigious ensembles in concert, among them, the National Arts Centre Orchestra, Orchestra symphonique de Québec, Royal Liverpool, Oslo and Calgary Philharmonics, and Symphony Orchestras in Victoria, Vancouver, Edmonton, Saskatoon, Regina, Winnipeg, Hamilton, Windsor and Montreal.
He is particularly proud of his longstanding association with Toronto’s innovative Tapestry Opera having helped create several roles for the company’s productions including Omar Daniel’s The Shadow, Juliet Palmer’s Shelter and Gareth Williams Rocking Horse Winner. Along with the Gryphon Trio and Elmer Iseler Singers, he is a featured soloist on the 2017 JUNO Award-nominated recording of Andrew Staniland’s Dark Star Requiem. His discography also includes Summer Schemes, an album with pianist Liz Upchurch that the Toronto Star called, “a rich art-song tapestry of summer-themed enchantments,” as well as a more recent 2016 Centrediscs release, Cloud Light: The Songs of Norbert Palej.