In the span of just six years, the remarkable Lawrence Brownlee has proven
himself to be one of the most prominent bel canto tenors on the national
and international scenes. He is lauded repeatedly for the beauty of his
voice, as well as his seemingly effortless technical agility, and dynamic
and engaging dramatic skills.
His schedule regularly comprises a varied array of debuts and return engagements
at renowned music centers for appearances with the world’s most
prominent opera companies, orchestras and presenting organizations.
The 2007-08 season commences in the Nation’s Capital with the first
of three role debuts, Arturo in Bellini’s I puritani, with
the Washington Concert Opera under the baton of its Music Director, Antony
Walker. This is Mr. Brownlee’s third appearance with this organization,
having previously sung La donna del lago (2004) and Tancredi
(2006). For his debut at Valencia’s Palau de les Arts Reina
Sofía he reprises the role of Syme in Lorin Maazel’s 1984,
which he created at the work’s world premiere (Royal Opera, Covent
Garden/2005). Immediately thereafter, a company and role debut take Mr.
Brownlee to the Teatro dell’Opera di Roma where he appears as Osiride
in Rossini’s Mosé in Egitto. As 2007 ends and 2008
begins, he is found at the Staatsoper Hamburg revisiting a part which
served as his debut vehicle with the Company in 2006, Tonio in La
fille du régiment. He returns stateside for a recital on the
Tuesday Musical Club Artist Series in San Antonio, Texas and subsequently
makes his debut with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in Mozart’s
Mass in C minor with Esa-Pekka Salonen conducting.
Recitals and Master Classes are next, first for the Tuesday Musical Association
in Akron, Ohio and then on the Master Players Chamber Series at the University
of Delaware/Newark, both with frequent collaborator, pianist Martin Katz.
Two more recitals follow in Rockville, Maryland at the Jewish Community
Center of Greater Washington. The Madison Symphony beckons for his first
appearance with the orchestra in Rossini’s Stabat Mater,
which he has previously sung with the Orchestre de Chambre de Lausanne.
A trip to France takes him to Toulouse’s Théâtre du
Capitole for his Company debut in another new role, Narciso in Il
turco in Italia, marking the tenor’s twelfth Rossini hero.
The Seattle Opera, which he considers his artistic “home,”
presents his first staged Puritanis. Mr. Brownlee honed his craft
with this Company, starting off as a member of its Young Artists Program,
and was subsequently heard in main-stage productions of L’italiana
in Algeri, Florencia en el Amazonas and Don Pasquale.
His season comes to a close with his initial recording for Opera Rara,
an array of Rossini songs, to be committed to disc in London, marking
his first pairing with pianist Malcolm Martineau.
The 2006-07 season was a banner one for the indefatigable tenor, beginning
with a Kennedy Center Recital and his initial engagement with the Los
Angeles Philharmonic in Carmina burana. A trio of the Rossini
heroes for which he is most well-known followed: Lindoro/L’italiana
with Seattle Opera; Don Ramiro/Cenerentola for his first appearances
with Opera Company of Philadelphia and Conte Almaviva/Il barbiere
di Siviglia with the New National Theatre Tokyo. Messiahs
were next with the Houston and San Francisco Symphonies. He returned to
Texas for his premier bows with Houston Grand Opera in Cenerentola, succeeded
by a pair of recitals in Pennsylvania and in Nebraska, and a Gala Rossini
concert with the Sacramento Philharmonic. Mr. Brownlee made his long-awaited
Metropolitan Opera debut in the Company’s new production of Barbiere,
which directly preceded an eight-city tour with the Orchestre des Champs-Elysées
(Rome, Rotterdam, Valladolid, Barcelona, Valencia, Paris, Cologne and
Brussels), for which he sang Argirio in Tancredi under the baton of René
Jacobs. His season came to a close with his first appearances at Dresden’s
Semperoper in Cenerentola.
Additional career highlights include: Barbiere at the Wiener Staatsoper
and San Diego Operas (both Company debuts), Virginia Opera (his professional
debut), Boston Lyric Opera, Madrid’s Teatro Real, as well as in
multiple engagements at Milan’s Teatro alla Scala; Cenerentola
at Trieste’s Teatro Lirico Giuseppe Verdi and at La Scala; L’italiana
at La Scala and Boston Lyric Opera; Ernesto in Don Pasquale with
Michigan Opera Theatre; Tonio in La fille du régiment
with Cincinnati Opera; Tancredi with the Detroit Symphony; Il
viaggio a Reims at Genoa’s Teatro Carlo Felice (Cavaliere Belfiore)
and at the Théâtre de la Monnaie in Brussels (Conte di Libenskof);
the title role in Le Comte Ory with the Teatro Comunale di Bologna;
Atar in Salieri’s Axur, re d’Ormus for his Opernhaus
Zürich debut; Don Capriccio in a pasticcio created by Lorenzo da
Ponte, L’ape musicale, at the Festival KlangBogen Wien;
and his introduction to San Francisco Opera audiences in a concert at
Stern Grove with mezzo-soprano Stephanie Blythe. In the orchestral arena,
he has previously performed Messiah with the Baltimore and Detroit
Symphonies; Carmina burana with the Orchestre National du Capitole
de Toulouse; Handel’s Israel in Egypt with the Cleveland
Orchestra; the Charlotte Symphony in a special Martin Luther King Day
concert, the New York Philharmonic (Gershwin, under the direction of Lorin
Maazel, both at Lincoln Center [televised on PBS], as well as on tour
in Italy), Cincinnati Symphony (Bach Magnificat), Grant Park
Music Festival (Mozart Mass in C minor), Monadnock Music Festival,
and the Anderson Symphony Orchestra.
He offered an earlier solo recital at the Kennedy Center presented by
the Vocal Arts Society of Washington, as well as additional ones in Bermuda
and for Tokyo’s Musashino Cultural Foundation. Under the auspices
of the Marilyn Horne Foundation, he performed recitals in New York City
and Huntsville, AL, and also was featured on one of the Foundation’s
Gala Concerts at Lincoln Center.
Mr. Brownlee’s first CD was a live recording of his 2004 Carmina
burana with Sir Simon Rattle leading the Berliner Philharmoniker,
released by EMI Classics. His colleagues were soprano Sally Matthews and
baritone Christian Gerhaher. This was followed (late-2005 release in Europe/early-2006
in US) by a solo disc of Italian songs by Schubert, Verdi, Donizetti,
Bellini and Rossini, accompanied by pianist Martin Katz, also for EMI.
His most recent recording to date is a document of a live performance
of Il barbiere di Siviglia, co-starring mezzo Elina Garanèa
and baritone Nathan Gunn, with Miguel Gomez Martinez leading the musical
forces of the Münchner Rundfunkorchester. This Sony CD was released
in Europe in June 2006 and looks forward to an American release at a future
Mr. Brownlee was the winner of both the 2006 Marian Anderson and Richard
Tucker Awards, a feat never before achieved by any artist in the same
year. Additionally, he was honored with a 2003 ARIA Award, a 2003 Career
Grant from the Richard Tucker Music Foundation, and was a 2001 winner
of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions. The Ohio-born Mr.
Brownlee received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Anderson University,
a Master of Music degree from Indiana University and is a member of Kappa
Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. He was a participant in young artist programs
at both the Seattle and Wolf Trap Operas.
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