© Mike Clare

Emma Pearson


Management: Australasia

Semele, New Zealand Opera

Soprano Emma Pearson’s performance in the title role of Semele was breath-taking; her beautiful voice shone with apparent ease in even the most extended coloratura moments. She brought an astonishingly wide range of emotion to the role...it is impossible to forget the compelling performance by Emma Pearson. Let’s rejoice that this brilliant Australian soprano lives in New Zealand this year of all years.

Elizabeth Kerr, www.fivelines.nz, November 2020

Four Last Songs, New Zealand Symphony Orchestra

“The Australian soprano Emma Pearson…understands the world of Strauss intimately. And she has a glorious voice that soared into the Fowler Centre spaces effortlessly…this was unforgettable.”

Sharon Pardoe, Stuff.co.nz, October 2020 

Athalia, Pinchgut Opera
“…Among the solo singers, soprano Emma Pearson stood out as the villainous Queen Athalia. Maintaining focused clarity across her tessitura and excellent diction, Pearson cleverly varied her timbre between strongly coloured power and piercing, unadorned purity. Her powerful stage presence captured Athalia’s intriguing mix of determination, deviousness and vulnerability”
Murray Black, The Australian, June 2018

Piazzolla Oblivion, UKARIA 24    
“Soprano Emma Pearson was its brightest star, shaping the melancholic melody with thrilling intensity and control even in the softest, most intimate moments.”
Elisabeth Parkinson, Limelight Magazine, August 2017

Micaela, Carmen, NZ Opera
“…and the Micaela of Emma Pearson might just be the star of the show”.
John Button, Stuff.co.nz, June 2017

Lucia di Lammermoor, Wiesbaden Germany
“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

Lulu, Wiesbaden Germany
“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.”
D. Honsack, Frankfurter Neue Presse, 4 May 2009

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 roles in Alban Berg’s Lulu and  Rodion Schchedrin’s  Lolita (both for the Internationale Maifestspiele, the former earning her a nomination as “Singer of the Year” by OpernWelt Magazine), Lucia di Lammermoor and La Calisto, Zerbinetta (Ariadne auf Naxos), Woglinde, Gerhilde and Waldvogel in Wagner’s Ring Cycle, Sophie (Der Rosenkavalier), Adele (Die Fledermaus), Norina (Don Pasquale), Jenny (The Rise and Fall of the City Mahagonny), Nannetta (Falstaff), Queen of the Night (Die Zauberflöte), and Hilda Mack (Elegy for Young Lovers). 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.


Further performances included Gilda for Saarländisches Staatstheater, Saarbrücken, and Theater St Gallen, Switzerland; Clorinda (La Cenerentola) for Semperoper Dresden; 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.


Following her performances as Pamina for Festival Opera, Emma will this year return to the title role of Lucia di Lammermoor for Wellington Opera, and appear as Fiordiligi (Cosi fan tutti) for New Zealand Opera and as Armida (Rinaldo) for Pinchgut Opera. Emma will also feature in Wynton Marsalis’ All Rise: Jazz at the Lincoln Centre with both the Melbourne and Sydney Symphony Orchestras.


Emma’s most recent engagements include her debut with Wellington Opera as Violetta (La Traviata), Orchestra Wellington in Schumann’s Scenes from Goethe’s Faust, Mozart’s Requiem with Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra and Auckland Choral Society, Hayllar Music Tours Chamber Music week in Queenstown,  Messiah with both the New Zealand and the Queensland Symphony Orchestras, Strauss’ Four Last Songs with the New Zealand Symphony, Les Illuminations (Britten), Haydn The Seasons with Auckland Choral Society, Bach B Minor Mass with the Orpheus Choir Wellington. She also returned to both New Zealand Opera in her role debuts as Semele (Handel) and Countess (The Marriage of Figaro).


In Australia and New Zealand, Emma has performed Contessa di Folleville in Il Viaggio a Reims, the Queen of the Night (The Magic Flute), and Sophie in the Limelight Award winning production of Der Rosenkavalier for Opera Australia, Micaela in Carmen for State Opera of South Australia, Violetta (La Traviata) for Opera Queensland, the title role in The Cunning Little Vixen, Micaela and Donna Elvira (Don Giovanni), Susanna (The Marriage of Figaro) for West Australian Opera as well as Beethoven Symphony No. 9 with the West Australian Symphony Orchestra. In 2018, she sang the title role in Athalia for her Pinchgut Opera debut. 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 returned to the company for Opera on the Quay and to sing the title role in Lucia di Lammermoor. Other recent engagements include the role of Micaela in Carmen both for New Zealand Opera and in concert for the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra, Missa Solemnis in Bratislava with Bertrand De Billy, Brahms Requiem and Lieder with Sydney Philharmonia Choirs and as featured soloist at UKARIA 24 and at the Four Winds Festival.


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.

Emma Pearson is managed by Graham Pushee: graham@artsmanagement.com.au
February 2023
   This biography is for general information purposes only and not for publication.
Please contact Graham for an up-to-date biography to suit your needs.