Canadian soprano Erin Wall, a renowned vocal actor and regular visitor to Australia, has died at the age of 44.
“Erin Marie Wall passed away peacefully on Thursday, October 8 from complications due to metastatic breast cancer,” her management Harrison Parrott said in a statement. “She is survived by her husband, Roberto Mauro, children Michael and Julia Mauro, sister Shannon Wall, parents Michael and Suzanne Wall and many family and friends.”
Erin Wall. Photo © Kristin Hoebermann
Wall was born in Calgary, Alberta, in Canada, in 1975 and grew up in Vancouver. She took part in the Lyric Opera of Chicago’s Ryan Opera Center in 2001, launching a career that would take her to orchestras and opera houses around the world. She has maintained her relationship with Lyric Opera of Chicago ever since.
“All of us at Lyric Opera of Chicago are heartbroken at the news of Erin Wall’s death,” said the company’s General Director Anthony Freud in a statement. “All of us were inspired by her artistry, her spirit and her commitment to the art form and her colleagues. She will be very, very missed.”
Wall made her debut with the Metropolitan Opera of New York in 2009.
“We were devastated to learn of the tragic passing of soprano Erin Wall earlier this week,” the Met said in a statement. “The Canadian-American soprano made her Met debut in 2009 as Donna Anna in Mozart’s Don Giovanni and returned in subsequent seasons as Helena in Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream in 2013 and the title role of Strauss’s Arabella in 2014. Celebrated in a wide variety of roles, Wall sang to great acclaim throughout North America and Europe, appearing especially regularly at Lyric Opera of Chicago, where she was a member of the company’s prestigious Ryan Opera Center. She will be remembered as not only a wonderful artist but a warm and generous colleague, and we send our deepest condolences to her husband, Roberto, their two children, and all of her family and friends.”
Brett Weymark, Donald Runnicles, Erin Wall and Samuel Dundas with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra. Photo © Jay Patel
The lyric soprano was well known to Australian audiences, appearing as a soloist in the Sydney Symphony Orchestra’s performance of Verdi’s Requiem in 2013. She regularly collaborated with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, appearing as soloist on the MSO’s live recording of Strauss’s Vier Letzte Lieder, which she also sung with the SSO under Donald Runnicles in October last year.
“Wall’s bright, lyric soprano instrument has a sheen that’s just right for Strauss, and her clarity of diction and grasp of musical and dramatic detail made this a special performance,” Justine Nguyen wrote in her review of the SSO concert. “The wistful, rapturous nature of her singing was coupled with an admirable sense of proportion – Wall took care to avoid overwhelming the material with sheer sound, but never stinted on tonal beauty, a tricky balancing act.”
Wall has performed regularly since her cancer diagnosis in 2017, including in Mahler’s Eighth Symphony with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra in January this year. She had been booked to perform as a soloist in the MSO’s stadium performance of Mahler’s Eighth with Sir Andrew Davis, due to take place this month, before the event’s cancellation due to the COVID-19 pandemic. You can hear her on disc in Yannick Nézet-Séguin’s 2016 recording of the work with The Philadelphia Orchestra, as well as in earlier recordings with Michael Tilson Thomas and Pierre Boulez.
“The MSO is saddened to hear of Erin Wall’s passing,” the orchestra said in a statement on its Facebook page. “She was an incredible performer who will be deeply, deeply missed. Vale.”
A Grammy Award-winning artist, Wall’s recent appearances on disc include Thaïs with Davis and the Toronto Symphony Orchestra (she also performed this role with the MSO in 2017), and her performance as Ellen Orford alongside Stuart Skelton’s Peter Grimes for Chandos, released last month to great acclaim.
“Besides her amazing professional career, Erin loved her home and family, often wishing that she could be home more,” the statement from Harrison Parrot said. “In addition, she was an avid long-distance runner having completed a New York Marathon and two Chicago Marathons. Erin was a bright light with an amazing gift and a huge heart. Just as her soul and special gift allowed her to lift the spirits of those she touched, may her spirit shine over all who knew her and forever keep her close to our hearts. The family would like to extend their thanks and gratitude to the amazing medical teams at Princess Margaret and Credit Valley Hospitals.”
“Throughout her career, Erin was profoundly grateful for the mentorship opportunities she received as an artist and was committed to paying those experiences forward by nurturing the next generation of voices and musicians,” the statement said. “To carry on this legacy, her family is establishing the Erin Wall Tribute Fund at the Canadian Opera Company. In lieu of flowers, friends and family are asked to make a donation to the COC to provide vital support to the future of opera and in memory of Erin’s life through this fund.”