Hailed by the Associated Press as one of “the world’s leading bel canto tenors,” American-born Lawrence Brownlee captivates audiences and critics around the world. His voice, praised by NPR as “an instrument of great beauty and expression…perfectly suited to the early nineteenth century operas of Rossini and Donizetti,” has ushered in “a new golden age in high male voices” (The New York Times). In 2017, he received the Male Singer of the Year award from both the International Opera Awards and Bachtrack. His recording of Virtuoso Rossini Arias was nominated for a GRAMMY™ Award, and prompted New Yorker critic Alex Ross to ask “is there a finer Rossini tenor than Lawrence Brownlee?”
The 2017-18 season starts with operas of Rossini, beginning with his house debut at the Gran Teatre del Liceu Barcelona in Il Viaggio A Reims, followed by Semiramide at the Royal Opera House in London, and Le Comte Ory with Opernhaus Zürich. He will sing Bellini’s I Puritani in a return to Lyric Opera of Chicago, Strauss’ Der Rosenkavalier at the Bayerische Staatsoper (including a concert performance at Carnegie Hall), Donizetti’s Don Pasquale at Opéra National de Paris, and will join bass Eric Owens for a duo concert with the Celebrity Series of Boston.
Mr. Brownlee has appeared on the stages of the world’s most prestigious opera houses, including the Metropolitan Opera, Teatro alla Scala, Chicago Lyric Opera, the Bavarian State Opera, Royal Opera House Covent Garden, The Vienna State Opera, Opera National de Paris, Opernhaus Zürich, San Francisco Opera, the Berlin State Opera, Teatro Real Madrid, Théâtre Royale de la Monnaie, Houston Grand Opera and the festivals of Salzburg and Baden Baden. Broadcasts of his operas and concerts – including his 2014 Bastille Day performance in Paris, attended by the French President and Prime Minister – have been enjoyed by millions.
Orchestral performances include the Berlin Philharmonic, Philadelphia Orchestra, Chicago Symphony, New York Philharmonic, Academia di Santa Cecila, Boston Symphony, Cleveland Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony, and the Bayerische Rundfunk Orchestra, among others.
The season will also include the world premiere of Cycles of My Being, a song cycle centered around the African American male experience in America. Tyshawn Sorey will compose the music, with text by poet Terrance Hayes. The piece has been commissioned by Opera Philadelphia and Carnegie Hall, and will tour to major venues around the U.S., including the world premiere in Philadelphia, followed by performances at New York’s Carnegie Hall and other U.S. cities.
Mr. Brownlee’s critically acclaimed discography and videography is a testament to his broad impact across the classical music scene. His opera and concert recordings include Il barbiere di Siviglia with the Bayerische Rundfunk Orchestra, Armida at the Metropolitan Opera, Rossini’s Stabat Mater with Academia di Santa Cecilia, and Carmina Burana with the Berlin Philharmonic. He also released a disc of African-American spirituals entitled Spiritual Sketches with pianist Damien Sneed, which the pair performed at Lincoln Center’s American Songbook series, and which NPR praised as an album of “soulful singing” that “sounds like it’s coming straight from his heart to yours.” His newest album, Allegro Io Son, received a Critic’s Choice from Opera News, among numerous other accolades.
Brownlee is the fourth of six children and first discovered music when he learned to play bass, drums, and piano at his family’s church in Youngstown, Ohio. He was awarded a Masters of Music from Indiana University and went onto win a Grand Prize in the 2001 Metropolitan Opera National Council auditions. He is a champion for autism awareness through the organization Autism Speaks, and he is a lifetime member of Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity Inc., a historically black fraternity committed to social action and empowerment.