JOHN RELYEA is winner of the 2003 Richard Tucker Award.
He has always been passionate
about music. Even a different kind of music - at 18, he was well on
his way to becoming a rock band artist. But when he realized rock's
boombox sound was affecting his hearing, he gave it all up and went
back to singing the songs of his childhood - opera arias! Talk about
"designer" genes! Yes, this son of one of Canada's distinguished
opera singers, baritone Gary Relyea, and Anna Tamm-Relyea also a noted
professional singer, began humming opera tunes as a toddler and learning
the piano at age 4. And talk about nature and nurture! By the time he
went to the Curtis Institute, John knew his vocal ABCs, taught and nurtured
by his father. While at Curtis, he began singing professionally and
by the time he reached 21 already had two years of performing experience
Today, John Relyea is rapidly
establishing himself as one of the finest bass-baritones of his generation.
During the summer of 2002, Mr. Relyea made his debut at the Royal Opera
House, Covent Garden as Colline in La Bohème and at
the Opéra National de Paris as Escamillo in Carmen.
He also performed both Haydn’s The Creation with the
Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment and Mahler’s Symphony
No. 8 with Sir Simon Rattle and the National Youth Orchestra at
the BBC Proms. He ended the season with a return to the Edinburgh Festival,
where he was heard in title role in Enescu’s Oedipe,
as well as in recital.
This season, Mr. Relyea returns to the Metropolitan Opera for performances
of Alidoro in La Cenerentola, Raimondo in Lucia di Lammermoor,
and the Nightwatchman in Die Meistersinger. He also returns
to the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden as Alidoro and Cadmus/Somnus
in Semele, and makes his debut at Munich’s Bayerische
Staatsoper as Alidoro and also sings the title role in Le nozze
di Figaro there.
Mr. Relyea has steadily built a strong relationship with the Metropolitan
Opera. He made his sensational debut there in February 2000 as Alidoro
and has since returned as: Masetto in Don Giovanni, conducted
by James Levine and televised in December 2000; Colline; the Nightwatchman;
Don Basilio in Il barbiere di Siviglia; and the Voice of Neptune
Mr. Relyea also has strong ties with the San Francisco Opera, having
begun there as an Adler Fellow and having appeared as Raimondo, Figaro,
and most recently Cadmus/Somnus. Other recent operatic engagements have
included Figaro at the Santa Fe Opera, Don Basilio at the Seattle Opera,
and Collatinus in The Rape of Lucretia with Donald Runnicles and the
Scottish Chamber Orchestra at the Edinburgh Festival. He has also appeared
in Carnegie Hall with Eve Queler and the Opera Orchestra of New York
as Rodolpho in La Sonnambula and in the title role of Marino
On the concert platform this season, Mr. Relyea can be heard as Méphistophélès
in a concert version of La damnation de Faust with the Montreal
Symphony Orchestra in both Montreal and Carnegie Hall, as Abimélech
in a concert version of Samson et Dalila with Sir Colin Davis
and the London Symphony Orchestra, as King Mark in a concert version
of Tristan und Isolde with Donald Runnicles and the BBC Symphony
Orchestra, and in the Mozart Mass in C Minor with James Levine
and the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra in Carnegie Hall.
Mr. Relyea’s extensive engagements with major symphony orchestras
include debuts in the past few seasons with the New York Philharmonic,
the Chicago, San Francisco, Atlanta, Houston and Pittsburgh Symphonies,
as well as the Cleveland, Philadelphia and Minnesota Orchestras. In
addition, he has appeared at the Tanglewood Festival, and with the Scottish
Chamber Orchestra, the Orchestra of the Théâtre de la Monnaie,
the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra and the Israel Philharmonic. He
was also seen as the bass soloist in a nationally televised performance
in the spring of 2000 of Haydn’s The Creation at the
Basilica in Baltimore under the patronage of His Holiness the Pope with
Gilbert Levine conducting the Philharmonia Orchestra, London.
The many conductors with whom Mr. Relyea has worked include Sir Colin
Davis, Christoph von Dohnanyi, Christoph Eschenbach, Bernard Haitink,
Mariss Jansons, Yoel Levi, James Levine, Sir Charles Mackerras, Sir
Neville Marriner, Zubin Mehta, Sir Roger Norrington, Seiji Ozawa, Antonio
Pappano, Eve Queler, Donald Runnicles, and Wolfgang Sawallisch.
And what the audiences and critics hear,
they like -- a majestic, magnificent, resonant voice possessed of great
musicianship, a galvanizing stage presence.... and a well-founded speculation
that the son's star will rise faster and higher than the father's.
GO TO: performance calendar
and reference materials courtesy of ICM Artists, Ltd.