Erin Wall

Erin Wall


• Born 1975


Soprano Erin Wall was a fixture of the world opera and concert scene in the 2010s. Among her operatic specialties was the role of Donna Anna in Mozart's Don Giovanni, in which she made her debut at the Metropolitan Opera in New York.

Wall was born in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, on November 4, 1975. Her parents, Michael and Suzanne Wall, were professional musicians of American origin. Wall took piano and flute lessons but had no immediate ambitions to pursue a musical career. She was raised in Vancouver, British Columbia, and in her last year of high school, she began voice lessons, focusing on jazz at first. Soon, she became interested in studying voice seriously, but her first attempts to apply to music schools met with rejection. Wall did not give up, taking voice lessons at the Vancouver Academy of Music, reapplying the following year. This time she was admitted to Western Washington University. Wall went on to Rice University in Texas and also studied at the Music Academy of the West in California. She began to find engagements, and in 2002, she made her British debut in a performance of Britten's War Requiem at St. Paul's Cathedral. The following year, a finalist showing at the Cardiff Singer of the World Competition spread her name and voice among general classical audiences. Wall enrolled at the Lyric Opera Center for American Artists in Chicago, and while she was there, she appeared on the Lyric Opera's opening night presentation for the 2004 season, as Donna Anna in Mozart's Don Giovanni, replacing the ailing Karita Mattila. The role became a specialty for Wall, who made her Metropolitan Opera debut in 2009. After that, Wall enjoyed a distinguished career as both an operatic soprano and a concert singer. She appeared in major opera houses, including Milan's La Scala, the Vienna Staatsoper, and the Opéra National de Paris, and she often returned to the Lyric Opera of Chicago. Her concert repertory included the soprano part in Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 in D minor, Op. 125, which she performed with the Cleveland Orchestra and the Montreal Symphony, among other groups.

Married and with two children, Wall found time to complete three marathons, two in Chicago and one in New York in 2019, by which time she was already ill with metastatic breast cancer. She continued to perform, saying that doing so felt like a vacation from cancer world. Wall performed in Mahler's Symphony No. 8 with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra in January 2020. She died in Mississauga, Ontario, on October 8 of that year.

Wall appeared on several recordings, issuing an album of works by Richard Strauss with the Melbourne Symphony under Sir Andrew Davis on the ABC label in 2014. Near the end of her life, she completed a pair of recordings, one of Massenet's opera Thaïs and the other of Britten's Peter Grimes; both appeared in 2020 on the Chandos label.