Nancy Argenta

Biography

Born: January 17, 1957; Nelson, British Columbia, Canada  
Nancy Maureen Herbison Argenta is one of Canada's most famous and important singers. She has won international acclaim, and is considered by many as the leading Handel soprano of her time.

She was born in Nelson, a small city in eastern British Columbia, in the scenic Kootenay Mountain region. The closest large cities are Calgary, Alberta, and Spokane, WA (U.S.).

At the age of 11 she started formal voice lessons with Dr. Amy
Read more Ferguson of Nelson, and sang with one of the school choirs at L.V. Rogers High School in Nelson. By that time, she was frequently making the rather long trip to Vancouver, British Columbia, so she could hear musical events and have additional singing lessons. After graduation from high school in 1975, she attended the Vancouver Community College, then completed her degree at the University of Western Ontario in 1980. A grant from the Canada Council enabled her to go to Europe for private lessons in Düsseldorf (with Gérard Souzay) and in London with Vera Rozsa and Sir Peter Pears.

Her soprano voice is light, clear, and flexible, with a sound that is ideal for classical-era and earlier music. Her professional operatic debut was in two roles in Rameau's Hippolyte et Aricie at the 1983 Aix-en-Provence Festival. In 1990 she received the Virginia P. Moore Prize, an annual award from the Canada Council for development of the career of a young Canadian classical musician.

Even before then, she was in demand to perform with period instrument organizations. These have included the Academy of Ancient Music and The English Concert, and such prominent conductors in the movement as Trevor Pinnock, Christopher Hogwood, John Eliot Gardiner, and Roger Norrington. She is particularly noted for her performances of the vocal music of the two leading figures in English music during the Baroque era: George Frideric Handel and Henry Purcell. When she returned to the Aix-en-Provence Festival in 1990, it was to sing in the latter's The Fairy Queen. She has performed most of the major Handel operas and oratorios. She also sings all the large-scale Bach choral/vocal works (B Minor Mass, the Passions, the Christmas Oratorio, and several of the cantatas).

In the classical era she is noted for performances of Haydn masses (some of which she has recorded with Pinnock and Richard Hickox), Haydn's Creation, the role of Zerlina in Don Giovanni and Despina in Così fan tutte. However, she sings music of all eras. She has recorded Schubert for the Virgin Classics label, and has sung in performances of music by Mahler and Schoenberg.

She performs at the world's major music festivals (Mostly Mozart, Schleswig-Holstein, and the BBC Promenade Concerts, for instance), and has sung with leading orchestras of England, the U.S., Canada, and Australia. She is a leading recitalist, and gives chamber performances as well as appearing in full-scale symphony concerts.

She makes her home and bases her career in England. Read less
Browse 1-25 of 115 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    Haydn: Complete Recordings / Pinnock,  English Concert [12-CD Collector's Edition]
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 002156002 Release Date: 10/14/2014   Number of Discs: 12
    Composer:  Franz Joseph Haydn,  Johann Salomon
    Performer:  Simon Standage,  Paul Goodwin,  Mark Bennett,  Trevor Pinnock  ... 
    Conductor:  Trevor Pinnock
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  English Concert,  English Concert Choir
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  • 2.
    Mozart: Complete Edition
    Label: Brilliant Classics   Catalog: 1116167 Release Date: 09/02/2014   Number of Discs: 170
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Johann Christian Bach
    Performer:  Margaret Urquhart,  Pieter-Jan Belder,  Marten Boeken,  Remy Baudet  ... 
    Conductor:  Jaap ter Linden,  Paul Freeman,  János Ferencsik,  Kurt Masur  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Amsterdam Mozart Academy,  Musica Amphion,  Philharmonia Orchestra  ... 
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  • 3.
    Gluck: The Great Operas / Gardiner, Minkowski, McCreesh
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 002088102 Release Date: 07/15/2014   Number of Discs: 15
    Composer:  Christoph W. Gluck
    Performer:  Derek Lee Ragin,  Sylvia McNair,  Cyndia Sieden,  Richard Croft  ... 
    Conductor:  John Eliot Gardiner,  Marc Minkowski,  Paul McCreesh,  Bernhard Forck  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  English Baroque Soloists,  Monteverdi Choir,  Les Musiciens du Louvre  ... 
    CD: $72.49
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  • 4.
    Purcell: The Fairy Queen / Christie, Argenta, Dawson, Daniels
    Label: Harmonia Mundi   Catalog: 501308 Release Date: 07/08/2014   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Henry Purcell
    Performer:  Noémi Rime,  Charles Daniels,  Mark Le Brocq,  Christophe Le Paludier  ... 
    Conductor:  William Christie
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Les Arts Florissants
    CD: $18.99
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  • 5.
    Bach Masterworks - The Original Jackets Collection
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001929902 Release Date: 12/10/2013   Number of Discs: 50
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Hertha Töpper,  Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau,  Maria Stader,  Ernst Haefliger  ... 
    Conductor:  Karl Richter,  John Eliot Gardiner,  Rainer Kussmaul,  Reinhard Goebel  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Munich Bach Orchestra,  Munich Bach Choir,  English Baroque Soloists  ... 
    CD: $175.49
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  • 6.
    Bach: Christmas Oratorio - Arias & Choruses / Gardiner, English Baroque Soloists
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001933402 Release Date: 11/05/2013  
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Katie Pringle,  Nancy Argenta,  Anne Sofie von Otter,  Olaf Bär  ... 
    Conductor:  John Eliot Gardiner
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  English Baroque Soloists,  Monteverdi Choir
    CD: $13.99
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  • 7.
    Bach: Christmas Oratorio / Gardiner, English Baroque Soloists
    Label: Archiv Produktion (Dg)   Catalog: 001933302 Release Date: 11/05/2013   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Anthony Rolfe Johnson,  Anne Sofie von Otter,  Nancy Argenta,  Hans-Peter Blochwitz  ... 
    Conductor:  John Eliot Gardiner
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  English Baroque Soloists,  Monteverdi Choir
    CD: $24.99
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  • 8.
    The John Eliot Gardiner Collection
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001826002 Release Date: 04/30/2013   Number of Discs: 30
    Composer:  Claudio Monteverdi,  Henry Purcell,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  George Frideric Handel  ... 
    Performer:  Marinella Pennicchi,  Michael Chance,  Mark Tucker,  Bryn Terfel  ... 
    Conductor:  John Eliot Gardiner
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  English Baroque Soloists,  Monteverdi Choir,  His Majesties Sagbutts and Cornetts  ... 
    CD: $104.49
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  • 9.
    Great Bach Choruses / Gardiner, Monteverdi Choir
    Label: Archiv Produktion (Dg)   Catalog: 001825602 Release Date: 04/23/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Anthony Rolfe Johnson,  Stephen Varcoe,  Nancy Argenta
    Conductor:  John Eliot Gardiner
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  English Baroque Soloists,  Monteverdi Choir,  London Oratory Junior Choir  ... 
    CD: $12.99
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  • 10.
    Purcell Collection
    Label: Brilliant Classics   Catalog: 94665 Release Date: 03/26/2013   Number of Discs: 16
    Composer:  Henry Purcell
    Performer:  Linda Perillo,  Jamie MacDougall,  Mark Tucker,  Brian Bannatyne-Scott  ... 
    Conductor:  Trevor Pinnock,  Ottavio Dantone,  Jed Wentz,  Paul McCreesh  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  English Concert,  English Concert Choir,  Accademia Bizantina  ... 
    CD: $58.99
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  • 11.
    La Folie Francaise [4-CD Set]
    Label: Virgin Classics   Catalog: 356292 Release Date: 02/26/2013   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Georges Bizet,  Charles Valentin Alkan,  César Franck,  Camille Saint-Saëns  ... 
    Performer:  Barbara Hendricks,  David Fray,  Maggie Cole,  Philippe Dervaux  ... 
    Conductor:  Richard Hickox,  Michel Plasson,  Jean-Bernard Pommier
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Quatuor Ebène
    CD: $17.99
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  • 12.
    Mozart: Requiem; Ave Verum Corpus; Masonic Funeral Music
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 352962 Release Date: 02/12/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
    Performer:  Nancy Argenta,  Alastair Miles,  John Mark Ainsley
    Conductor:  Roger Norrington
    CD: $7.99
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  • 13.
    A Year With Jesus
    Label: Virgin Classics   Catalog: 2667 Release Date: 01/08/2013   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Antonio Vivaldi,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Francis Poulenc,  Gustav Holst  ... 
    Performer:  Michael Chance,  Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau,  Jacques Neilz,  Robert Veyron-Lacroix  ... 
    Conductor:  Andrew Parrott,  Philippe Herreweghe,  Harry Christophers,  David Hill  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Taverner Choir,  The Sixteen,  Seminario Musicale  ... 
    CD: $21.99
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  • 14.
    Mozart: Don Giovanni / Kuijken, La Petite Bande
    Label: Brilliant Classics   Catalog: 94389 Release Date: 10/30/2012   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
    Performer:  Nancy Argenta,  Werner Van Mechelen,  Elena Vink,  Harry Van der Kamp  ... 
    Conductor:  Sigiswald Kuijken
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  La Petite Bande
    CD: $17.99
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  • 15.
    All-Baroque Box (From Monteverdi To Bach) [50-CD Limited Edition]
    Label: Archiv Produktion (Dg)   Catalog: 001719702 Release Date: 09/25/2012   Number of Discs: 50
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  George Frideric Handel,  Domenico Scarlatti,  Giovanni Battista Pergolesi  ... 
    Performer:  Peter Harvey,  Stephen Varcoe,  Anthony Rolfe Johnson,  Michael Chance  ... 
    Conductor:  John Eliot Gardiner,  Paul McCreesh,  Marc Minkowski,  Trevor Pinnock  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  English Baroque Soloists,  Monteverdi Choir,  Gabrieli Consort  ... 
    CD: $179.99
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  • 16.
    Mozart Treasures
    Label: Erato   Catalog: 2586 Release Date: 09/25/2012   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Leopold Mozart,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
    Performer:  Emile Naoumoff,  Michel Portal,  Jean-Bernard Pommier,  Paul Meyer  ... 
    Conductor:  Yehudi Menuhin,  Christopher Warren-Green,  John Nelson,  Mikhail Pletnev  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ensemble Orchestral de Paris
    CD: $18.99
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  • 17.
    Sacred Treasures
    Label: Erato   Catalog: 2646 Release Date: 09/25/2012   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Marc-Antoine Charpentier,  Antonio Vivaldi,  Claudio Monteverdi,  George Frideric Handel  ... 
    Performer:  David Thomas,  Emma Kirkby,  Rogers Covey-Crump,  Gérard Lesne  ... 
    Conductor:  William Christie,  Andrew Parrott,  Philip Ledger,  Paul McCreesh  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Les Arts Florissants,  Taverner Players,  Taverner Consort  ... 
    CD: $18.99
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  • 18.
    Jan Dismas Zelenka: Missa Dei Filii; Litaniae Lauretanae
    Label: Dhm Deutsche Harmonia Mundi   Catalog: 5457232 Release Date: 09/11/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Jan D. Zelenka
    Performer:  Nancy Argenta,  Christoph Prégardien
    Conductor:  Frieder Bernius
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  • 19.
    Mozart Complete Edition [170 CDs + CD-ROM]
    Label: Brilliant Classics   Catalog: 94251 Release Date: 09/04/2012   Number of Discs: 170
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Johann Christian Bach
    Performer:  Angela Bucci,  Baltazar Zuniga,  Elena Biscuola,  Abramo Rosalen  ... 
    Conductor:  Riccardo Favero,  Ton Koopman,  Paul Freeman,  Jaap ter Linden  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Oficina Musicum,  Radio Chamber Orchestra,  Musica Amphion  ... 
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  • 20.
    Bach: Mass In B Minor; Mendelssohn, Beethoven / Blomstedt, Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra & Choir [blu-ray]
    Label: Euroarts   Catalog: 2059234 Release Date: 07/31/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Felix Mendelssohn,  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Ruth Ziesak,  Anna Larsson,  Christoph Genz,  Dietrich Henschel  ... 
    Conductor:  Herbert Blomstedt
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra,  Leipzig Gewandhaus Chamber Choir
    Blu-ray Video: $39.99
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  • 21.
    Mozart: The Da Ponte Operas / Kuijken, La Petite Bande
    Label: Accent   Catalog: 24269 Release Date: 07/24/2012   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
    Performer:  Monica Groop,  Yves Saelens,  Béatrice Cramoix,  Philip Defrancq  ... 
    Conductor:  Sigiswald Kuijken
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  La Petite Bande,  Namur Chamber Choir,  La Petite Bande Chorus
    On sale! $79.98
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  • 22.
    Schubert: Lieder On Record (1898-2012) [17-CD Set]
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 27575 Release Date: 07/03/2012   Number of Discs: 17
    Composer:  Franz Schubert
    Performer:  Peter Schreier,  Steven Zehr,  Thomas Hampson,  Wolfgang Sawallisch  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra
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  • 23.
    100 Best British Classics
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 27315 Release Date: 05/22/2012   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel,  Thomas Tallis,  John Goss,  Charles Villiers Stanford  ... 
    Performer:  Jacqueline Du Pré,  Hugh Bean,  Gerald Moore,  Dame Janet Baker  ... 
    Conductor:  Stephen Cleobury,  Sir Philip Ledger,  Sir David Willcocks,  Sir Adrian Boult  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of Ancient Music,  Cambridge King's College Choir,  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields  ... 
    CD: $19.99
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  • 24.
    Magnificat - 500 Years Of Choral Masterworks [50-CD Set]
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001664502 Release Date: 04/10/2012   Number of Discs: 50
    Composer:  Gregorio Allegri,  Antonio Lotti,  Orlando de Lassus,  Josquin Des Préz  ... 
    Performer:  Patrick Russill,  Marinella Pennicchi,  Michael Chance,  Mark Tucker  ... 
    Conductor:  Harry Christophers,  Paul McCreesh,  Stephen Cleobury,  Edward Wickham  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  The Sixteen,  Gabrieli Consort,  Gabrieli Players  ... 
    CD: $179.99
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  • 25.
    The Very Best Of English Song
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 80513 Release Date: 04/03/2012   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Ralph Vaughan Williams,  John Ireland,  Charles Hubert Parry,  Roger Quilter  ... 
    Performer:  Dame Janet Baker,  Gerald Moore,  Thomas Allen,  Geoffrey Parsons  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Neville Marriner,  Sir John Barbirolli,  Simon Rattle,  Steuart Bedford  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields,  Fretwork,  London Symphony Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $34.99
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