Originally from Saskatchewan, baritone Peter McGillivray has recently relocated to Toronto after a decade of living in Northern Ontario. He 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, Bottom in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Sir Joseph in HMS Pinafore, Stubb in Moby Dick and Orff’s Carmina Burana. He also excels in interpreting more dramatic fare such as Sharpless in Madama Butterfly, Don Pizarro in Fidelio 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 and 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 performances with Manitoba Opera, Vancouver Opera, Tapestry and Pacific Opera Victoria.
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 Tapestry Opera, having created several roles for productions including Morris Panych and James Rolfe’s The Overcoat, 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-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.
Photo by Maria Chu