TRURO, N.S. – Music has always been a big part of Jane Archibald’s life, whether she’s listening to it or creating it.
Archibald is a world-renowned soprano who performs around the globe, but she grew up in Truro, singing with the First Baptist Girls’ Choir, music festivals and school productions.
“All of my early musical experience had a big impact,” she said. “Growing up in a town that was unusually musical for its size was quite extraordinary. It exposed me to many kinds music and I took part in pretty much everything going on. I had a well-rounded musical education, with chances to perform.”
She noted the opportunities she had while growing up, allowed her to work out a lot of things about performing at an early age.
“I come from a musical family,” said Archibald. “My father was a physician but he played piano, and ancestors before him were musical, but I’m the only one in my immediate family who pursued music professionally.”
She took piano and cello lessons, played trumpet in school bands, and began taking solo voice lessons at the age of 11. She sang in choirs, took parts in school musicals, and when she was 16 she was sure she wanted to be a singer.
“I remember being very happily busy, and I still enjoy being busy,” she said. “Truro was a very safe place to learn the early part of my craft. It was a place with a lot of support and opportunity.”
She values the knowledge passed along from instructors like Paul Barrett, who taught music at the Cobequid Educational Centre; and voice teacher Leslie Searle.
Archibald sang with the San Francisco Opera and the Vienna State Opera. Now, as the Canadian Opera Company’s first artist in residence, she is often singing in Toronto, and working with young artists in the apprentice program, but she still travels for recitals.
She finds it important to take a day to rest and switch gears, mentally and vocally, between singing an opera and taking part in a recital. Her schedule often doesn’t allow her to take part in recitals when requested, but things worked out for her to accept when she was asked to perform in Halifax this month.
She and pianist Liz Upchurch are taking part in a recital on Sunday, April 29, as part of the Cecelia Concerts. Much of the program will consist of pieces by Richard Strauss and Franz Schubert.
The engagement also allows her to spend more time at her home in Halifax, where she lives with her husband, tenor Kurt Streit, and their two children.
She has often taken her daughter, who is now four-and-a-half, on trips with her.
“It’s a lot of work travelling with a child, but life on the road can be exceptionally lonely,” she said. “I have a nanny to help, but my daughter will be starting school in September.
“When I’m with her we often sing together, and make up silly songs. Music may end up being her thing, but it’s not something I push in any way. I’ll follow her lead.”
Her step son is 20.
Archibald also has other family nearby when she’s in Halifax; her brother and sister both live there and her mother, who still lives in Truro, often visits.
Archibald will be performing on April 29 at 7 p.m., in the Lilian Piercey Concert Hall at the Maritime Conservatory of the Performing Arts, 6199 Chebucto Rd. General admission tickets are $65. The $100 patron tickets come with a tax-deductible charitable gift receipt for $35. Tickets can be purchased online at https://www.ceciliaconcerts.ca/ .
She has another Halifax appearance booked for May 2019, when she’ll perform with Symphony Nova Scotia.