Erin Morley is one of the most sought after coloratura sopranos. Her burgeoning career has afforded her the opportunities to perform on the stages of New York’s Carnegie Hall, Avery Fisher Hall, Metropolitan Opera, and Opéra National de Paris, among others. The New York Times praised her quantum leap performance as Marguerite de Valois in Les Huguenots at the Bard Festival as a “formidable performance”.
She has been featured soloist with the New York Philharmonic Orchestra, Cleveland Orchestra, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra of St. Luke’s, Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, Utah Symphony Orchestra, National Symphony Orchestra, and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. She has also appeared with the Mostly Mozart Festival Orchestra, the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, and with pianist Vlad Iftinca for Salt Lake City’s Virtuoso Series and Carnegie’s Weill Hall, recorded many roles commercially and has appeared in concert in Shanghai. As per the “About” section of her official website:
Ms. Morley has brought what the New York Times has called the “silken clarity of her voice and the needlepoint precision of her coloratura” to the Metropolitan Opera, the Vienna Staatsoper, Munich’s Bayerische Staatsoper, the Opéra National de Paris, the Palau de les Arts in Valencia, Spain, and the Santa Fe Opera.
Erin was born in Salt Lake City, Utah on 11 October 1980 to David and Elizabeth Palmer. Growing up, music was always an integral part of her life. Her mother is a violinist, concertmaster of the Salt Lake Symphony, and a founding member of the Orchestra at Temple Square. Her father, whom she credits for teaching her how to sing, studied music prior to studying medicine and sang with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir from 1998 to 2013.
Erin studied violin and piano with her mother starting at the age of 3. Around the age of 11, she gained a new-found love for the piano when she began lessons with legendary Utah pianist and teacher Solveig Lunde Madsen. About that time, she also began singing in the Salt Lake Children’s Choir under the direction of Ralph Woodward Jr. At the age of 12, she attended a Utah Symphony Salute to Youth concert and was awed by listening to the young Utahans performing with the orchestra. Recalling the experience, she commented, “I decided right then that I was going to be a performer. I wanted so badly to be able to do that for other people — provide that stirring emotional experience.”
She continued her piano studies, oftentimes collaborating with her mother performing difficult chamber works in a violin-piano duo, and often accompanying singers in lessons and recitals, but she eventually stopped playing the piano after developing tendinitis and cubital tunnel syndrome in both arms. During high school, she started studying voice.
She is a graduate of the Metropolitan Opera’s Lindemann Young Artist Development Program. She earned her Master of Music degree from the Juilliard School of Music in New York, and her Bachelor of Music degree from the Eastman School of Music. She also completed her Artist Diploma at the Juilliard Opera Center (studying voice with Edith Bers) in May 2007 and was the recipient of the Florence and Paul DeRosa Prize. In 2002, she won first prize at the Jessie Kneisel Lieder Competition. In 2006, she won first prize at the Licia Albanese-Puccini Competition. In 2009, she won third Place in London’s Wigmore Hall International Song Competition, and in 2013, she received the Richard Tucker Career Grant.
Erin trained at the Opera Theatre of St. Louis as a Gerdine Young Artist, the Ravinia Festival Steans Institute, and the Wolf Trap Opera Company as a Filene Young Artist. Her roles at the Metropolitan Opera have included the 2nd Niece in Peter Grimes, Masha in The Queen of Spades, and Frasquita in Carmen in the company’s 125th Anniversary Gala. In their 2009-2010 season, she sang Echo in Ariadne auf Naxos, the Dew Fairy in Hansel and Gretel, and the Daughter in The Nose.
At the Met she debuted in the role of Constance (Les Dialogues des Carmélites) in the 2013–2014 season and Olympia (Les Contes d’Hoffmann) in the 2014–2015 season. She stepped in two days before opening to sing the role of Sophie for the entire run of Der Rosenkavalier in the 2013–2014 season—this may have been her career-defining moment. She will sing the role again for the 2016–2017 season.
Erin Morley is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. She and her husband, John, first met each other while she was attending Midvale Junior High, but because they attended separate high schools, they lost track of each other for nearly a decade. John is a professor at Yale Law School. He and their daughter, Maria, often accompany her when she sings leading roles internationally.
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