back to top

Biography 1073 words

Download biography as pdf Download biography as word doc

Ben Heppner is renowned worldwide for his portrayals in the dramatic tenor repertoire. His illustrious career has taken him to opera stages and concert halls around the world. He is acclaimed for the beauty of his voice, incisive musicianship, and his generosity with his audience. His performances on the opera stage, in concert with the world’s leading orchestras, in the most prestigious recital venues, and in recordings have set new standards in his demanding repertoire. Mr. Heppner’s repertoire includes the most challenging roles, from Wagner’s Tristan and Lohengrin to Verdi’s Otello and Berlioz’s Aeneas. Many of his greatest portrayals have been revealed in new productions at The Metropolitan Opera, including the title roles in Robert Wilson’s production of Lohengrin and Dieter Dorn’s Tristan und Isolde, and as Florestan in Fidelio, Aeneas in Les Troyens, and Ghermann in The Queen of Spades. Further roles at The Met include the title role in Idomeneo for his debut, the title roles in Parsifal, Otello and Andrea Chenier, Laca in Jenufa, Walther von Stolzing in Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, and the Prince in Rusalka. He has sung these

read more...

Ben Heppner is renowned worldwide for his portrayals in the dramatic tenor repertoire. His illustrious career has taken him to opera stages and concert halls around the world. He is acclaimed for the beauty of his voice, incisive musicianship, and his generosity with his audience. His performances on the opera stage, in concert with the world’s leading orchestras, in the most prestigious recital venues, and in recordings have set new standards in his demanding repertoire.

Mr. Heppner’s repertoire includes the most challenging roles, from Wagner’s Tristan and Lohengrin to Verdi’s Otello and Berlioz’s Aeneas. Many of his greatest portrayals have been revealed in new productions at The Metropolitan Opera, including the title roles in Robert Wilson’s production of Lohengrin and Dieter Dorn’s Tristan und Isolde, and as Florestan in Fidelio, Aeneas in Les Troyens, and Ghermann in The Queen of Spades. Further roles at The Met include the title role in Idomeneo for his debut, the title roles in Parsifal, Otello and Andrea Chenier, Laca in Jenufa, Walther von Stolzing in Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, and the Prince in Rusalka. He has sung these and other roles at Covent Garden, Vienna State Opera, La Scala, Bavarian State Opera, San Francisco Opera, and Lyric Opera of Chicago.

In the 2012/13 season, Mr. Heppner continues his portrayal of Captain Ahab in Jake Heggie’s Moby Dick a role he created for the world premiere with Dallas Opera, and has performed with Calgary Opera and San Diego Opera. He continues his commitment to recital and art song with a concert tour throughout his native Canada. He will be heard in performances of Tristan und Isolde with the Canadian Opera Company, and in his company debut with Houston Grand Opera.

In the 2011/12 season, Mr. Heppner sang Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde with the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, and performed in concert with the Elora Festival Singers in Elora, Ontario and with Music and Beyond in Ottawa. He made his debut with Welsh National Opera

in May 2012 singing Tristan, including a performance at the internationally renowned Edinburgh Festival. He will also be heard as Tristan at the Helsinki Festival and the Swedish Radio Symphony. The 2009-2010 season saw Mr. Heppner’s return to the Royal Opera house, Covent Garden to sing the title role in a new production of Tristan und Isolde. He was heard in concert with the Calgary Philharmonic and revisited the Wagnerian repertoire as Lohengrin at Deutsche Oper Berlin. He returned to the United States to create the role of Captain Ahab in the world premiere of Jake Heggie’s Moby Dick for Dallas Opera. He finished his season in Europe, appearing in concert performances of Act II of Tristan und Isolde with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment at the BBC Proms in London and the Festspielhaus in Baden-Baden.

Mr. Heppner began the 2008–2009 season with a recital tour of Northern Canada, culminating in a concert at The Chan Centre for the Performing Arts with the CBC Radio Orchestra celebrating the 100th Anniversary of The University of British Columbia. Mr. Heppner returned to the Metropolitan Opera for performances of Ghermann in Tchaikovsky’s The Queen of Spades. He also appeared in the Metropolitan Opera’s 125th Anniversary Gala. He performed recitals throughout Europe at prestigious venues, including the Teatro Real in Madrid, the Palais Garnier in Paris, the Philharmonie in Berlin, Teatro alla Scala in Milan, and the Barbican Centre in London. He closed the season with his first performances of Siegfried in Götterdämmerung at the Aix-en-Provence Festival.

In August 1998, Mr. Heppner sang his first performances of Tristan und Isolde in a new production for Seattle Opera. The international press was ablaze with accolades for "a Tristan for the new millennium." He subsequently sang this heroic role at the Metropolitan Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Berlin State Opera, Salzburg Easter Festival, Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, and in a new Peter Sellars production for Paris Opera. He has been associated with the Wagner repertoire since 1988, when he won the first Birgit Nilsson prize, and the following year, when he sang Lohengrin with the Royal Swedish Opera and at the Bolshoi Theatre.

Mr. Heppner joined the Boston Symphony Orchestra as soloist in Mahler’s Symphony No. 8 for James Levine’s first concerts as the orchestra’s Music Director. His large orchestral repertoire also includes Das Lied von der Erde, Schoenberg’s Gurrelieder, Kodaly’s Psalmus

Hungaricus, Britten’s War Requiem, and Elgar’s The Dream of Gerontius. He has performed these and other works with the Berlin Philharmonic, Vienna Philharmonic, the MET Orchestra, Chicago Symphony, Philharmonia Orchestra, London Symphony Orchestra, Toronto Symphony, the Philadelphia Orchestra, and Orchestre de la Suisse Romande. He has worked with conductors including Sir Georg Solti, Claudio Abbado, Christian Thielemann, Sir Andrew Davis, Daniel Barenboim, Lorin Maazel, Sir Charles Mackerras, Wolfgang Sawallisch, Seiji Ozawa, Valery Gergiev, Esa-Pekka Salonen, and Mstislav Rostropovich.

Ben Heppner can be heard on RCA Red Seal on several solo discs, including My Secret Heart, Dedication, Ben Heppner sings German Romantic Opera, and Great Tenor Arias. His complete opera recordings include Lohengrin, Turandot, and Fidelio for RCA Red Seal, Die Meistersinger for both Decca and EMI, Rusalka for Decca, Hérodiade and Oberon for EMI, Der fliegende Holländer for Sony, Die Frau ohne Schatten for Teldec, and Ariadne auf Naxos for Deutsche Grammophon. Also for Deutsche Grammophon he has released Airs Français, Ideale, a collection of Tosti songs, and a disc of arias from Wagner’s Die Walküre and Siegfried. The label inaugurated its new series of live-recorded Metropolitan Opera performances on DVD with Mr. Heppner as Tristan and as Florestan in Fidelio.

Mr. Heppner studied music at the University of British Columbia. He first gained national attention in 1979 as the winner of the Canadian Broadcasting Company Talent Festival. In December 1998, CBC television’s Something Special featured Ben Heppner in an hour-long portrait of the artist. He is a 1988 winner of the Metropolitan Opera auditions and received Grammy® Awards in 1998 for his recording of Die Meistersinger on London/Decca records and in 2001 for his recording of Les Troyens with the London Symphony Orchestra on LSOLive. Ben Heppner is a Companion of the Order of Canada.

back to top

Photos

back to top

Reviews

"Der Kanadier Ben Heppner, der Wagner-Caruso, singt mit schöner Sorgfalt die Titelpartie. Er gestattet sich keinen Drücker. Er biedert sich stimmlich nicht an. Sein Gral ist offenkundig auf den Namen Wagner getauft. Ihm dient er mit all seinen zuchtvollen Kräften."

Berliner Morgenpost (Lohengrin, Deutsche Oper Berlin)

"Ben Heppner was magnificent Tuesday night on the stage of the Canadian Opera Company. Stunning, open-hearted, in robust and thrilling voice, creating a dramatic homecoming that banished all worrisome thoughts anyone might have had about this remarkable performer…. His Tristan is less a hero and more a tortured, troubled soul, filled with longing, pride, and confusion. This whirlpool of emotions allowed Heppner to play Tristan with an immensely varied palette. For a man with as big a voice as Heppner has, it’s remarkable how many colours and accents he is able to project with it. "

The Globe and Mail - Robert Harris ( Tristan, Canadian Opera Company)

"One expected this Wagnerian production would have a great deal of heft to it…. And indeed it did, with Ben Heppner’s Tristan raging against the pain of love lost, found, then lost again forever, with a power that seared the soul…. Heppner is unquestionably superb as he dives deep into childhood loss, adult pain and eternal regret. As he looks towards his own death, you can see him play out the legendary five stages of grief: denial; anger; bargaining; depression; and, acceptance. It’s a performance of vocal daring and dramatic honesty. "

The Star - Richard Ouzounian (Tristan, Canadian Opera Company)

back to top

Discography