Victoria Grice Biography:
If ever there was a backstage kid, born and bred, it was Victoria Louise Grice. Born January 19, 1978 in Coburg, West Germany, her birth announcement was couched in theater language: “Victoria Grice makes her world premier,” with a drawing of an elaborate proscenium stage. Later it was revealed that the last grand duchess of Germany was named Victoria Louise and neighbors, in the picturesque walled city of Coburg, thought Victoria was named after the aging duchess. But it was just a coincidence.
Victoria heard opera from day one. Her parents, Gail Carson, soprano and Garry Grice, tenor met each other singing La Bohème in a National Opera production. Later they moved to Europe to further their singing careers. Victoria, even at a year and half attended opera rehearsals of La Bohème and Ernani at the opera house in the small German city of Passau on the Danube, near the Austrian border. Victoria was also bi-lingual from the beginning.
Her nanny, Frau Salzinger, had strict instructions to leave the opera house immediately if Victoria fussed at all. At her first foray there, a final dress rehearsal of La Bohème, Victoria neither fell asleep nor made a whimper until the end of Act III. Her parents knew then that at the very least an opera fan was born.
What no one could know then for sure, was that Victoria herself would sing beautifully one day, the kind of sweet, pure voice that could “charm the birds out of the trees,” as her cousin Sallie Lou Coyle once said.
Throughout her childhood, Victoria had an ongoing “career” as child-extra on the stage, or as they say in opera, a super. She made her stage debut (c. 1981) at Maine Opera Summer Festival, as the little girl to whom Nedda in Il Pagliacci sings her big aria; in the same production Victoria also played a Sicilian child in black stockings and Easter finery in Cavalleria Rusticana, the only blonde Sicilian we know of.
Later, in her pre-teens and teens, she performed in the chorus and as an extra in numerous productions of Indiana Opera North, including Amahl and the Night Visitors, Don Giovanni, La Bohème, Il Trovatore and countless others. During this period she studied voice with Garry Grice and at Culver Academies with Cynthia Friley.
While at the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana, she was the only freshman to get into the prestigious a cappella choir, Basilica Schola, associated with the Notre Dame basilica, an honor usually reserved for graduate students, faculty and staff. Her pure voice and extraordinary talent for sight singing led to many opportunities in well-known choral societies, including the Vesper Chorale in South Bend.
Currently she sings with the Choral Society of Durham (NC), which regularly performs in the famous Duke Chapel and appears annually with the NC Symphony. They perform annually in Carnegie Hall in New York. In addition, Victoria is a sought after soloist, who sings sacred solos often at her home church in Durham.
The Honors Recital on this CD was performed during Victoria’s senior year at Culver Girls Academy, May 1996 as part of a requirement to graduate with honors in music. She graduated also with an academic cum laude from Culver and later graduated cum laude with a BBA in Management from the University of Notre Dame.
Biographical notes by G.S. Carson, Dec. 2005