Vivien Shotwell is a Canadian-American author and soprano. Her first novel, Vienna Nocturne, a Globe and Mail bestseller, was praised in The Washington Post, The New York Times, and Chatelaine, and is being translated into ten languages.
As a singer, Vivien is represented by Barrett Vantage Artists, and currently moving from mezzo-soprano to soprano repertoire. At Yale Opera, she performed the role of Romeo in Bellini’s I Capuleti e i Montecchi under the baton of Speranza Scappucci. Of her performance in The Rape of Lucretia with Yale Opera, Jeffrey Johnson of the Hartford Courant wrote, “Shotwell was filled with intensities and even sang her succession of low B-naturals in the second act like the ringing of a haunted bell.” Michael Miller of the Berkshire Review for the Arts called her voice “extremely attractive and extremely large,” and wrote of her concert performance of Dido and Aeneas: “Her vocal production, phrasing, and musicianship were impressive throughout, but she rose to a very high level in her final scenes, especially in Dido’s great ‘Lament,’ which could not have been more moving and musicianly.”
Other roles include Béatrice and Ursule in Béatrice et Bénédict, Dido in Dido and Aeneas, the Third Lady in Die Zauberflöte, Public Opinion in Orpheus in the Underworld, A Woman in Jacques Brel is Alive and Well and Living in Paris, and the title role of Giulio Cesare, which Vivien performed on four occasions, on stage and in concert. Her concert repertoire as a mezzo included Mahler’s Kindertotenlieder and Rückert-Lieder, Elgar’s Sea Pictures, Mozart’s Requiem, Handel’s Israel in Egypt, and Copland’s In the Beginning.
Vivien has performed as a soloist with Symphony Nova Scotia, the Newfoundland Symphony Orchestra, the Chamber Singers of Iowa City, and Orchestra New England. She has received grants from Early Music America, the Nova Scotia Talent Trust, and the Canada Council for the Arts, and was the recipient of the 2013 Phyllis Curtin Career Entry Prize and the 2012 David L. Kasdon Memorial Prize from the Yale School of Music. She was twice a Regional Finalist (Upper Midwest and New England) in the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, and was a 2009-2010 member of Calgary Opera’s Emerging Artist Programme. She is a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, where she was an Iowa Arts Fellow, and a phi beta kappa graduate of Williams College, where she received Honors in English, Highest Honors in music, and the Hubbard Hutchinson Fellowship for creative writing. (Photos by Brent Calis and Marvin Moore.)