Richardson Auditorium will transform into the Metropolitan Opera stage for an evening as the superstar tenor Lawrence Brownlee visits for a wonderfully imaginative program of songs. Brownlee has been called “one of the world’s leading bel canto tenors” (Associated Press) and his voice “an instrument of great beauty and expression” (NPR), and over the last five years he has taken the opera world by storm, performing at nearly every major opera house and alongside dozens of world-class orchestras. Recently, he has turned his attention to the urgent and painfully relevant topic of race relations in America, releasing a CD of spirituals and other songs that engage with his African-American roots, in tribute to Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, and the Black Lives Matter movement. His program here at Princeton will be half spirituals and half art song, delivered in his one-of-a-kind, glistening belt.
About the Artist:
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 brought him to the top of opera world, ushering in “a new golden age in high male voices” (The New York Times). His most recent 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?”
One of the most in-demand singers around the world, Brownlee was recently nominated for “Male Singer of the Year” by the International Opera Awards. He has performed with nearly every leading international opera house and festival, as well as major orchestras including 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.
“AN INSTRUMENT OF GREAT BEAUTY AND EXPRESSION…PERFECTLY SUITED TO THE EARLY NINETEENTH CENTURY OPERAS OF ROSSINI AND DONIZETTI” - NPR MUSIC
In addition, Brownlee has appeared on the stages of the top opera companies around the globe, including the Metropolitan Opera, Teatro alla Scala, the Bavarian State Opera, Royal Opera Covent Garden, The Vienna State Opera, Opera National de Paris, Opernhaus Zürich, the Berlin State Opera, Teatro Real Madrid, Théâtre Royale de la Monnaie, 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.
Highlights this upcoming season include an extended run of American performances, beginning with Seattle Opera’s new production of Le Comte Ory (Aug 6-20), followed by Lawrence’s San Francisco Opera debut singing Ernesto in Don Pasquale (Sept 18-Oct 15), and Washington National Opera’s Fille du Régiment (Nov 11-20). He’ll cap the year with a December 6 performance at Carnegie Hall, joining acclaimed producer Ray Chew for an evening of gospel and spirituals. Lawrence returns to the US in 2017 to bring his acclaimed interpretation of Charlie Parker in Yardbird to the Lyric Opera of Chicago (Mar 24-26) and a joint recital with Eric Owens on April 9. He’ll finish his U.S. presence up with a trip to Houston Grand Opera for Mozart’s Abduction From The Seraglio (April 28-May 12).
Brownlee will also return to Europe, following last year’s acclaimed performances with Opera National de Paris and Opernhaus Zürich. He will sing Semiramide at the Bayerische Staastoper (Feb 12-Mar 3), Le Comte Ory at Klangvokal Dortmund (May 28), and another run of Yardbird at English National Opera (June 9-17).
Following up his previous Grammy-nominated release on Delos Records, Virtuoso Rossini Arias, Brownlee will be releasing Bel Canto Arias on Delos this September. The album contains a new collection of opera arias by Bellini and Donizetti with collaboration from Constantine Orbelian leading his Kaunas City Symphony Orchestra and the Kaunas State Choir.
Lastly, Lawrence will also sing the National Anthem for the New York Jets on October 23rd, when they play the Baltimore Ravens (this follows last year’s National Anthem performance for his beloved Pittsburgh Steelers).
“IS THERE A FINER ROSSINI TENOR THAN LAWRENCE BROWNLEE?” -THE NEW YORKER'S ALEX ROSS
His critically acclaimed discography and videography, which includes GRAMMY-nominated Virtuoso Rossini Arias, 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.”
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. Alongside his singing career, Brownlee is an avid salsa dancer and an accomplished photographer, specializing in artist portraits of his on-stage colleagues. A die-hard Pittsburgh Steelers and Ohio State football fan, Brownlee has sung the National Anthem at numerous NFL games. 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.