Elaine Pearce made her first solo appearance at the age of five, when asked to sing in front of her whole school. This was a defining moment, and when ten years later she performed leading roles in children’s operas, notably by Britten in London’s Vaudeville Theatre, the die was cast.
Four years of study at the Royal College of Music, initially with the renowned Russian soprano Oda Slobodskaya, and later with Jessica Cash, prepared Elaine for the rigours of life as a concert and session singer in London and abroad.
Early experience, however, saw her treading the boards in summer shows and pantomime, both in the provinces and London, where among other challenges, she understudied and performed as Principal Boy in ‘Give a Dog a Bone’ at the Westminster Theatre in London.
She then sang regularly as a session singer with the John Aldiss Choir, London Voices, London Sinfonietta Voices, under the batons of Georg Solti, Simon Rattle, Colin Davis et al, and under Bernard Haitink as an extra chorus member at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden. She also sang with Roger Norrington’s Schutz Choir of London, and with Cantores in Ecclesia under the direction of Michael Howard.
As a recitalist she performed regularly in repertoire ranging from Purcell through to the Second Viennese School and beyond. She sang in the City, on Swedish Radio, in St. John’s Smith Square, and at the Royal Festival Hall in a performance of Michael Howard’s ‘Two Dramatic Scenae’.
She took part in John Tavener’s opera ‘Therese’ at Covent Garden, and sang leading roles in Telemann’s ‘Pimpinone’, Mozart’s ‘Impresario’ and Pergolesi’s ‘La Serva Padrone’ at the Bath Festival. Concert performances found her in Mozart’s ‘Cosi Fan Tutte’ - taking the role of ‘Fiordiligi’, and the title role of Holst’s ‘Savitri’.
Highlights of her concert career have been: as the soloist in Tavener’s ‘Canticle of the Mother of God’ at the Bath Festival; first soprano in Sinopoli’s work for ‘Three Coloratura Soloists and Orchestra’ at St. John’s Smith Square; in Busotti’s ‘Rara Requiem’ for seven soloists and orchestra at the Queen Elizabeth Hall, and in a solo voice performance in the Purcell Room of Poulenc’s ‘Figures Humaines’. She sang the Strauss ‘Four Last Songs’ with the Barbican Chamber Orchestra, and was the soprano soloist in Tippett’s ‘Visions of St. Augustine’ at the Barbican.
Throughout her career she has taken church appointments, where she learned and performed a huge repertoire from Binchois, to the Viennese Masses, to Stravinsky and beyond.
She gave classes in the interpretation of Elizabethan and Restoration music at the Schutz Festivals in both Finland and Sweden. For some years now, Elaine has enjoyed teaching young singers at Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge, and at Royal Holloway, University of London.
She has twice been a member of the jury for the vocal section of the Manhattan International Music Competition.