Erica Iris, mezzo soprano
Praised for her stage presence of warmth and character, Mezzo-soprano Erica Iris has captivated audiences with her sensitivity and vocal timbres, critically acclaimed in her performances of opera, concert oratorio, and contemporary repertoire.
Winner of the 2011 Eckhardt-Gramatté Music Competition, she was awarded a recital tour across Canada showcasing the Canadian works of Emily Doolittle, Harry Freedman, Alice Ho, Michael Oesterle, and Linda Caitlin Smith, that were all graciously funded by the Canada Council for the Arts.
In 2013, she was the featured mezzo in Naomi’s Road, a Canadian opera about the Japanese internment camps in Canada during World War 2, written by Ann Hodges and Ramona Luengen. It was presented to sixty-eight different schools and theatre venues all over British Columbia, over a five-month period with Vancouver Opera. She is proud to reprise the role three years later with Tapestry Opera and Michael Mori’s direction, bringing awareness to Canada’s unethical past to Toronto.
Being an advocate for contemporary new music and passionate about music in education, Erica was honoured to be invited to join the Canadian Opera Company Ensemble school tour, fulfilling the role of Molly in Dean Burry’s Isis and the Seven Scorpions in 2014, and being the first female superhero in Operation Superpower, written collectively by Armand Ranjbaran, Peter Dugan, and John Brancy in 2016.
In 2016, Erica had a busy season with Tapestry Opera, as an artist for workshops and later performances of Rocking Horse Winner, written by Anna Chatterton and Gareth Williams and The Overcoat, composed by James Rolfe and written/directed by Morris Panych. She was also thrilled to be their appointed mezzo for Tapestry’s 2016 Composer-Librettist Laboratory.
Erica is currently in her seventh consecutive season with the Canadian Opera Company Chorus, and was notably the only mezzo engaged for all seven productions in their 2013/2014 season. Operatic roles performed include La Reine (Hamlet) with Opera By Request, Mistress Quickly (Falstaff) with Highlands Opera Studio, Olga (Eugene Onegin) with Off Centre Music Salon, Concepción (L’heure espagnole), the title role in Carmen and Dorabella (Così fan tutte) with University of Toronto Opera Division, and Komponist (Ariadne auf Naxos) with Toronto Summer Music Festival.
A Toronto native and resident, Erica also maintains a private music studio in her Leslieville home, where she loves to teach voice lessons in the field of classical, contemporary, and jazz.