As a soprano in the concert field, Wiens sang with such conductors as Daniel Barenboim, Colin Davis, Charles Dutoit, Christoph Eschenbach, Bernard Haitinck, Gunther Herbig, Sir Neville Marriner, Václav Neumann, Krzysztof Penderecki, Helmuth Rilling, and Sir Georg Solti, and appeared at many major music festivals. She sang with all major London and North American orchestras, as well as the Israeli Philharmonic, the Amsterdam Concertgebouw Orchestra, the Munich Philharmonic, the Dresden State Orchestra, the Orchestre de la Suisse romande, the Rotterdam Philharmonic, the Bavarian Radio Orchestra, the Gewandhaus Orchestra of Leipzig. In Canada Wiens has sung with the MSO, the NACO, the TS, and the Calgary Philharmonic, the CBC Vancouver Orchestra, and the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra. In 1991 as part of the Mozart festivities she performed the Mozart Requiem with the MSO under Dutoit.
In recital, Wiens favoured works by Brahms, Schubert, Schumann, and Strauss, but her repertoire extended to Gershwin, Stephen Foster, and North American folksongs. As a recitalist, she performed twice at the Pushkin Museum in Moscow, 1989 and 1990 by the personal invitation of Svatislav Richter and gave recitals in New York, Paris, Berlin, Leipzig, Amsterdam, Munich, Vienna, and Florence.
In 1985 she sang in two Bach tricentennial concerts, the first with the Leipzig Gewandhaus conducted by Masur (relayed to North America via satellite) and the second with the Berlin Philharmonic (broadcast on German television).
Wiens made her opera debut in 1986 as Donna Anna in Mozart's Don Giovanni for the Glyndebourne Festival Opera Company and was also the Countess in Mozart's The Marriage of Figaro. Later she added such roles as Ilia in Idomeneo, the First Lady in The Magic Flute, and Marzelline in Fidelio. She performed opera at the Amsterdam Opera, La Scala, Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires, in Canada at the NAC, and in Japan.
Although Wiens was based in Europe, she returned to North America on numerous occasions. She sang in 1989 in Mendelssohn's Elijah with the Mennonite Festival Choir under Rilling in Winnipeg, in a recital of lieder and hymns with pianist Irmgard Baerg in Winnipeg; in Toronto in 1994 (her recital debut there); in Vancouver with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra in 1995 and with the CBC Vancouver Orchestra the following year. In 2000 she sang Mendelssohn's St. Paul with the New York Philharmonic, and Beethoven's Mass in C with the American Symphony Orchestra. She appeared on German and Canadian TV and CBC radio, including a Toronto concert with Raffi Armenian in 2000.
Wiens' 1990 recording of Schumann's Das Paradies und die Peri with L'Orchestre de la Suisse Romande earned a 1990 Grammy Award and the Maurice Fleuret Prize. Among her other recordings is Ae Fond Kiss (CBC MVCD 1102), a collection of folk tunes and parlour songs, including arrangements by Ernest MacMillan and Healey Willan. The soprano was the Smith Visitor at University of Toronto in 1994, gave master classes in Vienna and at the Banff CA, and taught at the Hochschule für Musik in Germany. Among her students there was the soprano Measha Brueggergosman. Wiens adjudicated at the Cologne International Vocal Competition in 2002. She was inducted into the Order of Canada in 2000.
Wiens married the cellist Kai Moser.
See also Mennonites
Author Durrell Bowman, Betty Nygaard King
Ae Fond Kiss. Loman harp, Jansen piano. 1998. CBC MVCD 1102
J.C. Bach Gloria in G Major. RIAS Sinfonietta and Choir, Gronostay conductor. 1981. Schwann Musica Sacra AMS-3541
J.S. Bach Bleib bei uns, denn es will Abend werden BWV6. Bach-Ens Helmuth Rilling, Gachinger Kantorei Stuttgart, Bach-Collegium Stuttgart. 1980-1. Laudate 98-721/4-Hänssler 9970/Laudate 98-862 (CD)
- Christ lag in Todesbanden BWV4. Bach-Ens Helmuth Rilling, Gachinger Kantorei Stuttgart. 1980. 4-Hänssler 9970/Laudate 98-864 (CD)
- Ihr, die ihr euch von Christo nennet BWV164. Bach-Ens Helmuth Rilling, Gachinger Kantorei Stuttgart, Bach-Collegium Stuttgart. 1981-2. Laudate 98-728
- Wer weiss, wie nahe mir mein Ende BWV27. Bach-Ens Helmuth Rilling, Gachinger Kantorei Stuttgart, Bach-Collegium Stuttgart. 1982. Laudate 98-735/4-Hänssler 96-973
Beethoven Symphony No. 9. Hamburg State Opera Chor, North German Radio SO, Wand conductor. 1986. EMI/Deutsche Harmonia Mundi CDC-7-47741-2 (CD)/RCA 60095-2-RC (CD)
- Symphony No. 9. Dresden Staatskapelle and State Opera Choir, Blomstedt conductor. 1985. Capriccio 10-060 (CD)
Carols for the Infant King. West Coast Mennonite Chamber Choir, Suderman piano, Funk cond. 1992. Infant King IKR001CD
Franck Mass, Opus 12. Schwäbisch Gmünd O and Choir, Beck conductor. 1979. Audite FSM-63-410
- Sept paroles du Christ en croix. Schwabisch Gmund O and Choir, Beck conductor. 1979. Audite FSM-63-411
Grieg Peer Gynt (excerpts). Leipzig Radio Chor, Leipzig Gewandhaus O and Children's Choir, Mazur conductor. 1988. Philips 422-343-2 (CD)
Haydn The Creation. Südfunk Choir, Stuttgart Radio SO, Marriner conductor. (1990). 2-EMI CDS-7-54038-2 (CD)
- Mass No. 12. Birnauer Kantorei Choir and O, Reiners conductor. 1978. MPS 0048-011
Mahler Symphony No. 4. Suisse Romande O, Jordan conductor. (1991). Erato 45628 (CD)
- Symphony No. 8. Tiffin School Boys' Choir, London Phil Choir and O, Tennstedt conductor. 1986. 2-Angel DSB-47625/2-EMI CDS-7-47625-8 (CD)
Mendelssohn Elijah. Gulbenkian Foundation of Lisbon Chor and O, Corboz conductor. 1983. 3-Erato NUM-751473/3-Mus H Soc 912084Y/3-Erato ECD-75147 (CD)
- A Midsummer Night's Dream - incidental music. Walker mezzo, London Phil Choir and O, Litton conductor. 1987. EMI CDM-7-62039-2 (CD)
- Symphony No. 2 'Lobgesang'. Bonney soprano, Schreier tenor, Leipzig Radio Chor, Leipzig Gewandhaus O, Masur conductor. Teldec 244-178-2 (CD)
Mozart Choral Works. Concentus Vocalis, Vienna Akadamie, Hasselböck conductor. Novalis 150-068-2 (CD)
- Litaniae de Venerabils K243. Suisse-Italienne Radio-Television O and Chor, Loeher conductor. 1977. Accord 201012 (CD)
- Mass No. 18 in C minor K427. Atlanta SO and Chor, Shaw conductor. 1987. Telarc 80150 (CD)
- Mass No. 18 in C Minor K427. London Phil Choir and O, Welser-Most conductor. 1987. EMI CDM-7-62033-2 (CD)
- Oca del Cairo. Berlin SO, Schreier conductor. 1991. Philips 422-539-2 (CD)
- Requiem. RIAS Berlin, Gronostay conductor. Capriccio 10808 (CD)
- Unknown Arias. Academy-of-St.-Martin-in-the-Fields, Marriner conductor. 1991. Philips 422-545-2(CD)
Music for Glass Harmonica. Hoffman glass harp, Stuttgart Pro Musica O, Angerer conductor. 1981. Audite FSM-53-233/Panthenon D-1037 (CD)
Saint-Saëns Oratorio de Noël. Mainz Bach Choir and O, Hellmann conductor. (1978). Calig CAL-30-512
Schubert Lieder. Jansen piano, Valdepenas clarinet. 1992. Musica Viva MVCD 1053
Schumann Das Paradies und die Peri, Opus 50. Lausanne Pro Arte Choir, Suisse Romande Chamb Choir and O, Jordan conductor. 2-Erato 45456-2
- Lieder. Jansen, piano. 1993. Cascavelle VEL 1029
Strauss, Richard Lieder. Jansen piano. 1996. CBC MVCD 1090
Vaughan Williams Dona Nobis Pacem. Rayner Cook bar, London Phil Choir and O, Thomson conductor. 1988. Chandos ARBD-1297/Chandos CHAN-8590 (CD)
Wagner Parsifal. Berlin Phil, Bareboim conductor, Wiens (First Flower Maiden). 1990. Erato CD-74448
Thomson, Leslie. 'From Prairie Mennonite to ascending soprano,' Music vol 9, Mar/Apr 1986
Angrignon Sirois, Maryse. 'Edith Wiens,' Aria, vol 11, summer 1988
Newman, Richard. 'All the zoos of Europe: a profile of Canadian soprano Edith Wiens,' SITE Sound, vol 3, May./Jun 1991
Bernstein, Tamara. 'A musical gift handled with care,' Toronto Globe and Mail, 26 Oct 1994
Dykk, Lloyd. 'First Edith Wiens took Europe,' Vancouver Sun, 16 Feb 1996
Links to Other Sites
Listen to an online recording of Canadian soprano Edith Wiens at her official website.
Shawnadithit grew anxious waiting for her uncle, Longnon, to return to camp at the junction of Badger Brook and the Exploits River, deep in the wilds of Newfoundland...