Emma Pearson was principal artist at the Hessisches Staatstheater, Wiesbaden, in Germany from 2005 until 2014. During this time she performed over 30 roles for the company, including the title role in Lucia di Lammermoor, Zerbinetta (Ariadne auf Naxos), Woglinde, Gerhilde and Waldvogel in Wagner’s Ring Cycle, Sophie (Der Rosenkavalier), Adele (Die Fledermaus) and Norina (Don Pasquale) to critical acclaim.
For Staatstheater Wiesbaden’s Internationale Maifestspiele in 2009, Emma performed the title role in Alban Berg’s Lulu, conducted by Marc Piollet. This debut for Emma earned her a nomination as “Singer of the Year” by OpernWelt Magazine. In the 2011 Maifestspiele she performed the title role in Rodion Schtchedrin’s opera, Lolita, its national debut for Germany.
In her final season as a member of the company in Wiesbaden, Emma sang the title role in La Calisto, Jenny (The Rise and Fall of the City Mahagonny), Nannetta (Falstaff), Queen of the Night (Die Zauberflöte), and Hilda Mack (Elegy for Young Lovers) as well as reprising the role of Gilda (Rigoletto) for Theater St Gallen in Switzerland and Clorinda (La Cenerentola) for Semperoper Dresden. Further performances in Europe included Gilda for Saarländisches Staatstheater Saarbrücken, Nannetta for Nationaltheater Mannheim, Sophie (Der Rosenkavalier) for Minnesota Orchestra’s Sommerfest conducted by Andrew Litton and Barber’s Knoxville: Summer of 1915 with Ruthless Jabiru for the City of London Festival.
On her departure from the company, the State of Hessen awarded Emma the honorary title of “Kammersängerin”. She is the youngest opera singer to have ever received this title.
In Australasia, Emma has performed the Queen of the Night (The Magic Flute), and Sophie in the Limelight Award winning production of Der Rosenkavalier for Opera Australia, Violetta (La Traviata) for Opera Queensland, Susanna (The Marriage of Figaro) for West Australian Opera as well as Beethoven Symphony No. 9 with the West Australian Symphony Orchestra. For Southern Opera New Zealand she has sung Queen of the Night, and for NBR New Zealand Opera, Susanna, (opposite her husband, Wade Kernot, as Figaro) in Le Nozze di Figaro, Gilda (Rigoletto) and Fiordiligi (Così fan tutte). In 2016 she performed Jennifer (The Riders), composed by Iain Grandage, based on the novel by Tim Winton for West Australian Opera and in 2017 returns to the company for Opera on the Quay and to sing the title role in Lucia di Lammermoor. Other engagements this year include Micaela in Carmen for New Zealand Opera, and in concert for The Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra, and Missa Solemnis in Bratislava with Bertrand De Billy. 2018 engagements will include the title role in Athalia (Handel) for Pinchgut Opera.
Emma completed her formal opera training after attaining a Bachelor of Music (Vocal Performance) from the University of Western Australia (1998 – 2001) and then two years at the Australian Opera Studio, which began with a performance with the London Symphony Orchestra under Mo. Robin Stapleton, and concluded with Beethoven’s 9th Symphony with Dr Haruhisa Handa and the New Tokyo Philharmonic. Emma made her professional operatic debut with NBR New Zealand Opera, in the role of Fiordiligi in their Così fan tutte Winter Tour and then as Frasquita for their main stage production of Carmen, conducted by Emmanuel Plasson. During these seasons she won the Australian Singing Competition’s prestigious Marianne Mathy Scholarship and the Symphony Australia Young Artist Prize. In the same year she also won the More Than Opera German-Australian Opera Grant which lead to her contract at the Hessisches Staatstheater, Wiesbaden.
In the 2007 Neue Stimmen International Singing Competition, Emma received the 20th Anniversary Prize from the Bertelsmann Stiftung, and in 2009 was a grateful recipient of the Australian Singing Competition’s Opera Awards, including the Youth Music Foundation Award, Armstrong-Martin Scholarship, Haas Award, Editorial Resources Prize and Royal Overseas League Music Bursary. She was a finalist in the 2012 Montserrat Caballé International Singing Competition.
Micaela, Carmen, N.Z. Opera
“…and the Micaela of Emma Pearson might just be the star of the show”.
John Button, Stuff.co.nz June 2017
Jennifer, The Riders, West Australian Opera
“…Emma Pearson’s golden, wonderfully flexible soprano brought vulnerability and complexity to Jennifer”.
Rosalind Appleby , Opera Magazine August 2016
The Marriage of Figaro, West Australian Opera
“…Emma Pearson, as Susanna, shone like a star, returning to Australia after a 10-year stint in Germany. Her infectious energy and compelling stage presence were matched by exquisite singing: finely crafted and enchanting yet with an unaffected simplicity.”
Mark Coughlan, The Australian, July 2015
Lucia di Lammermoor, Wiesbaden
“”Emma Pearson impressed in Wiesbaden not only through her singing, but also through intense child-like acting, embodying exactly the Lucia of the poet Walter Scott’s novel, “The Bride of Lammermoor”. With bell-like, delicate voice and warm lyricism she describes the tragic fate of her ancestors in the first scene at the fountain, and in the famous mad scene, the soprano shines with clear staccato top notes, convincing transition to “Sprechgesang” and in particular an enchanting piano in the duet with the sensitive playing from the solo flautist.
G. Schunk, Das Opernglas January 2013
Susanna, The Marriage of Figaro, NBR NZ Opera
“When she was on stage she seemed to galvanize the rest of the cast, singing with a captivating freshness and liveliness. She combined intense passion, frivolity and a guileless feminism with superb comic timing and a real sense of psychological insight. Her singing of “Il birbo e in sentinella” in the final garden scene was an exquisite and tender summation of romantic love.”
National Business Review: John Daly-Peoples, 1 June 2010
The Magic Flute, Opera Australia
“Soprano Emma Pearson makes her Opera Australia début as the Queen of the Night. Pearson’s fiery coloratura, stylish phrasing and glamorous stage presence exude star quality, marking her out as a débutante to watch.”
The Opera Critic, 22 January 2009
Queen of the Night, The Magic Flute, Southern Opera
“The greatest applause of the evening was for Emma Pearson from Australia who gave a truly dramatic coloratura rendition of “The wrath of hell” aria in Act Two, with clear top Fs. This was thrilling singing.”
The Opera Critic: H. Livingston, 29 September 2009
“A close to superhuman achievement accomplished the outstanding Emma Pearson in the title role this evening. Finally at the end of the opera her never-ceasing employment was met with huge applause. Vocally she is supremely good and focused. She is flexible as an authentic actress should be. She could hardly be any better.”
Frankfurter Neue Presse: D. Honsack, 4 May 2009