Canadian soprano Anne Harley is a specialist in baroque music and an avid proponent of contemporary and experimental works. After completing the opera performance program at Boston University’s prestigious Opera Institute, she has performed with groups across North America and in Europe. Her opera performances span both early and contemporary idioms. She was singled out for her dramatic intensity as Harper Pitt in the 2006 American première of Peter Eotvos's Angels in America with the Boston Modern Opera Project. In 2004, she garnered unanimous praise for her performance in the role of Madame Mao in Nixon in China with Opera Boston and Musical America praised her performance in Chen Shi Zheng's revelatory 2005 production of Dido and Aeneas with the Handel and Haydn Society.

She made her Netherlands debut in 1999 as Galatea in Handel’s Acis & Galatea in Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw with Opera Noord Holland Noord and she performed the leading roles of L’Imagination and Zélide in the modern-day première and DVD of Royer’s Le Pouvoir de l’Amour at Oberlin College in conjunction with the Centre de Musique Baroque de Versailles (2002). She has performed the operatic roles of Susanna in Mozart’s Marriage of Figaro, Olympia in Offenbach’s Tales of Hoffmann, the Countess Adele in Rossini’s Count Ory, the title role in Charles Fussell’s Cymbeline, Lisaveta in Hoiby’s Natalia Petrovna, The First Attendant in John Harbison’s Full Moon in March, and the title role in Noam Elkies’ Yossele Solovey.

Dr. Harley obtained the doctorate in Historical Performance at Boston University, where she continued her research into Russian baroque music. She is codirector of Russian early music ensemble, TALISMAN, which won the Noah Greenberg Award in 2001 and released its first CD on Dorian to acclaim in Gramophone and EMA: Roses d’Amour: Music of Russian Princesses from the Court of Catherine the Great. Their second album, Stesha: Russian Gypsy Diva of the 1820s (Naxos), reconstructs repertoire from the Russian Gypsy and bel canto tradition in 1820s Moscow.

She has performed as soloist in many standard works of the baroque, such as Handel’s Messiah, Israel in Egypt, and Saul, Bach’s Magnificat, Cantata No. 51 “Jauchzet Gott”, Lutheran Masses, Christmas Oratorio and Monteverdi’s Vesper. She performed the soprano solos in Haydn’s Theresienmasse with the Handel & Haydn Society, and Bach’s St. Matthew Passion, Mendelssohn's Psalm 42 with the Charlotte Symphony, and the Brahms Requiem at Harvard University.
Dr. Harley spent two seasons as an artist at the Banff Centre for the Arts in Alberta, Canada, where she performed in Stravinsky’s Les Noces, in European Cabaret (Piaf, Dietrich and Weill), and sang Webern’s Fünf Geistliche Lieder with members of the Montreal-based Nouvel Ensemble Moderne. She performed in a staged rendition of Kaija Saariaho’s From the Grammar of Dreams with the Toronto ensemble Queen of Puddings. She has premiered many compositions, including the opera Freshwater by Andy Vores, the song cycle for soprano and orchestra Three Songs for Antigone by Marjorie Merryman, and as ensemble member in Ziporyn's score for Oedipus at the American Repertory Theater, with Robert Woodruff directing.

She frequently performs as soloist with ensembles throughout the New England area and North Carolina including the Charlotte Symphony, the North Carolinas Symphony, the Handel & Haydn Society, The Boston Camerata, The Publick Musick, and The Neovoxer Ensemble.

She is currently assistant professor at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, where she directs the opera program.


Jordan Hall at New England Conservatory | March 20, 2009
Jordan Hall at New England Conservatory | November 4, 2005
Cutler Majestic Theatre | March 12, 2004, March 14, 2004
Cutler Majestic Theatre | March 12, 2004, March 14, 2004
Ozawa Hall at Tangelwood | July 25, 2002
Jordan Hall at New England Conservatory | March 29, 2002

News and Press

[CD Review] ClassicalCDReview Reviews John Harbison: Full Moon in March

Tour de force. I’ve been wading through a lot of contemporary dramatic music these days, mostly from a sense of duty—a very bad reason for learning—from Robert Grey’s “Navajo oratorio” Enemy Slayer to Daron Hagen’s Shining Brow, an opera on Frank Lloyd Wright’s marital irregularities and the awful horrifying destruction of the first Taliesin. I don’t consider either of these examples obviously terrible, but I would feel better for the current state of contemporary music if they were. Both show great craft and at least some talent.

ClassicalCDReview Full review
[Concert Review] Harbison's ambitious Winter's Tale arrives with spring

John Harbison’s music is so ubiquitous here that you might think there was nothing more to discover. Yet until Friday, Boston had never heard Winter’s Tale, the Shakespeare-based opera he composed in the 1970s. The ever-intrepid Boston Modern Orchestra Project’s concert performance took place, ironically, on the first day of spring.

The Boston Globe Full review
[Concert Review] Angels in America

By calling his drama Angels in America “a Gay Fantasia on National Themes,” Tony Kushner implies that his two-part, seven-hour saga about America’s response to Aids operates like a musical work; perhaps he even envisioned that it might one day be turned into an opera. That day came in 2004 when the Hungarian composer Peter Eötvös’s opera had its premiere at the Châtelet in Paris. That a long play had been transformed into a shortish opera (2? hours) provoked little dissent, but critics held that Eötvös’s music lacked a strong profile.

The Financial Times Full review
[Concert Review] Some Angels: Opera Unlimited does Tony Kushner

Whatever anyone thinks of the actual opera, congratulations are again in order to Opera Unlimited, the collaboration between music director Gil Rose’s Opera Boston and his Boston Modern Orchestra Project, this time for bringing to Boston the American premiere of Hungarian composer Peter Eötvös’s attempt to make an opera out of Tony Kushner’s Angels in America, his Pulitzer-winning play about the AIDS epidemic and the collapse of public and personal values under Reagan (one remaining performance, June 24 at the Majestic Theatre).

The Boston Phoenix Full review
[Concert Review] "Angels in America," already operatic, is now presented as an opera

Much of life is spent thinking about death. Primary in our thoughts are the rate of its approach and hour of its arrival. It is a little like driving a car whose accelerator and brakes are out of our control. This idea may explain the public’s hideous and enduring fascination with executions and suicides, for in both cases time races and the date is set. People are in control.

The New York Times Full review
[Concert Review] Soul-searching fills musical "Angels"

Tony Kushner’s Angels in America is an epic, historical, political, personal , and apocalyptic drama that is also an opera waiting to happen. It is full of larger-than-life characters who deliver long aria-speeches of interior questioning; characters meet each other in dream landscapes and there are interwoven, simultaneous episodes that resemble operatic ensembles. There is even a grand death scene.

The Boston Globe Full review
[News Coverage] Troupe to premiere "Angels"

To write a concerto for an indigenous instrument may be an obvious way to create a multicultural piece, but it is not the easiest. Most folk instruments don’t have the power to compete with an orchestra, although electronics can help; most also involve tunings that can’t mesh with the compromises of the well-tempered Western scale.

The Boston Globe Full review
[Press Release] Opera Unlimited presents the North American premiere of "Angels in America" in Boston, June 16-25, 2006

Opera Unlimited presents the North American premiere of Peter Eötvös's Angels in America, with a libretto by Mari Mezei, based on the play by Tony Kushner. Performances take place on June 16, 17, and 20 at 8:00 pm and June 24 at 3:00 pm in the Stanford Calderwood Pavilion at the Boston Center for the Arts.

Full review
[Press Release] BMOP opens its season with the North American premiere of Louis Andriessen's Trilogy of the Last Day

The Boston Modern Orchestra Project (BMOP), under artistic director and conductor Gil Rose, is one of the few professional orchestras in the United States dedicated exclusively to performing and recording music of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Since its founding in 1996, BMOP has programmed 46 concerts of contemporary orchestral music, released ten world premiere recordings, and won eight ASCAP Awards for Adventurous Programming.

Full review