Australian-born Emma Pearson was principal artist at the Hessisches Staatstheater, Wiesbaden, in Germany from 2005 until 2014. During this time she performed over 30 roles for the company, including the title roles in Lucia di Lammermoor and La Calisto, Queen of the Night (Die Zauberflöte), Zerbinetta (Ariadne auf Naxos), Jenny (The Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny), Woglinde, Gerhilde and Waldvogel in Wagner’s Ring Cycle, Nannetta (Falstaff), Sophie (Der Rosenkavalier), Adele (Die Fledermaus) and Norina (Don Pasquale) with critical acclaim.
For Staatstheater Wiesbaden’s Internationale Maifestspiele in 2009, Emma performed the title role in Alban Berg’s Lulu, conducted by Marc Piollet. This debut for Emma earned her a nomination as “Singer of the Year” by OpernWelt Magazine. In the 2011 Maifestspiele she performed the title role in Rodion Schtchedrin’s opera, Lolita, its national debut for Germany.
In her final season as a member of the company in Wiesbaden, Emma sang the title role in La Calisto, Jenny in The Rise and Fall of the City Mahagonny, Nannetta in Falstaff, Königin der Nacht in Die Zauberflöte and Hilda Mack in Elegy for Young Lovers as well as reprising the role of Gilda for Theater St Gallen in Switzerland and Clorinda in La cenerentola for Semperoper Dresden. Further performances include Gilda (Rigoletto) for Saarländisches Staatstheater Saarbrücken, Nannetta (Falstaff) for Nationaltheater Mannheim, Sophie (Der Rosenkavalier) for Minnesota Orchestra’s Sommerfest conducted by Andrew Litton and Barber’s Knoxville: Summer of 1915 with Ruthless Jabiru for the City of London Festival.
On her departure from the company, the State of Hessen awarded Emma the honorary title of “Kammersängerin”. She is the youngest opera singer to have ever received this title.
Emma returns regularly to work with companies in Australasia. She has performed the Queen of the Night (The Magic Flute), and Sophie in the Limelight Award winning production of Der Rosenkavalier for Opera Australia, as well as Beethoven Symphony No. 9 with the West Australian Symphony Orchestra. For Southern Opera New Zealand she has sung Queen of the Night, and for NBR New Zealand Opera, Susanna, opposite her husband, Wade Kernot, as Figaro in Le Nozze di Figaro, Gilda in Rigoletto and Fiordiligi in Così fan tutte. Emma has also sung Violetta (La Traviata) for Opera Queensland.
Emma completed her formal opera training after attaining a Bachelor of Music (Vocal Performance) from the University of Western Australia (1998 – 2001) and then two years at the Australian Opera Studio, which began with a performance with the London Symphony Orchestra under Mo. Robin Stapleton, and concluded with Beethoven’s 9th Symphony with Dr Haruhisa Handa and the New Tokyo Philharmonic. Emma made her professional operatic debut with NBR New Zealand Opera, in the role of Fiordiligi in their Così fan tutte Winter Tour and then as Frasquita for their main stage production of Carmen, conducted by Emmanuel Plasson. During these seasons she won the Australian Singing Competition’s prestigious Marianne Mathy Scholarship and the Symphony Australia Young Artist Prize. In the same year she also won the More Than Opera German-Australian Opera Grant which lead to her contract at the Hessisches Staatstheater, Wiesbaden.
In the 2007 Neue Stimmen International Singing Competition, Emma received the 20th Anniversary Prize from the Bertelsmann Stiftung, and in 2009 was a grateful recipient of the Australian Singing Competition’s Opera Awards, including the Youth Music Foundation Award, Armstrong-Martin Scholarship, Haas Award, Editorial Resources Prize and Royal Overseas League Music Bursary. She was a finalist in the 2012 Montserrat Caballé International Singing Competition.
Emma shares her time between Germany and Switzerland, where her husband, Wade Kernot, is soloist at Theater St Gallen.