Mary Lou Fallis
for the Musicians' Portrait Project
Mary Lou Fallis ( http://maryloufallis.com/ ) was born in Toronto. Her early musical training in voice and piano came from her grandmother, choral conductor Jennie Bouck. Mary Lou made her operatic debut at 16 in a CBC-TV production of The Magic Flute. Subsequently, she studied voice privately with Bernard Diamant and with Irene Jessner and Maureen Forrester at the University of Toronto.
After obtaining a Master of Music in Performance and Literature from the University of Toronto, she performed extensively in major oratorios and choral works as well as opera -- in lyric-coloratura roles such as Despina in Cosi fan Tutte, Gabrielle in La Vie parisienne, Flora in The Turn of the Screw, Papagena in The Magic Flute, the title role in Lakmé and Zerbinetta in Richard Strauss's Ariadne auf Naxos. She has also performed in recital, as a founding member of the Arioso Trio, as a member of Camerata and with the Aldeburgh Connection.
In addition to her North American engagements, Ms. Fallis has toured the United Kingdom, appearing in London's West End, at the Covent Garden International Festival, the Wexford Opera Festival, and the Edinburgh International Festival. More recent seasons have included appearances in Japan and Iceland.
Ms. Fallis is best known as the creator and interpreter of her one-woman shows: the ACTRA award-winning, Dora-nominated Primadonna -- based on her own life as a singer -- and its two sequels Primadonna's First Farewell Tour and Primadonna Does More With Less; Emma, Queen of Song -- about the real-life Canadian diva, Emma Albani; The Mrs. Bach Show -- hosted by Anna Magdalena, wife of J.S. Bach; and Ms. Mozart -- the story of Wolfgang's sister Nannerl. The latest incarnations are Primadonna on a Moose -- which became a popular CD; and the Primadonna Goes Camping which was premiered outdoors on a wilderness Lake in Haliburton, Ontario.
While frequently appearing in revivals of her comedic shows, Ms. Fallis continues to perform in concert and recital, including performances of Bach's Magnificat with Tafelmusik, and as Polly Peachum in The Beggar's Opera.
Ms. Fallis teaches privately and has taught at York University, at the Royal Hamilton Conservatory of Music, at Queen's University, and at the University of Western Ontario. For her voluntary service to the arts, she received the Toronto Arts and Letters Club Award in 1996.
She is married to double-bassist and artist Peter Madgett. They live in Toronto and have one son, one daughter, one grandaughter and a woolly dog named Percy.