Brenton Ryan

Tenor

Biography

Winner of the Birgit Nilsson prize at the 2016 Operalia competition, tenor Brenton Ryan is hailed by Opera News for his “remarkable tonal suavity and refined phrasing,” and is widely recognized as a singer of great vocal diversity and dramatic depth. The 2018 – 2019 season sees Mr. Ryan’s return to the Metropolitan Opera to sing both ‘Spoletta’ in Davd McVicar’s production of Tosca and ‘Monostatos’ in the Julie Taymor production of Die Zauberflöte. Mr. Ryan makes his European debut singing ‘Pedrillo’ in a new production of Die Entführung aus dem Serail with Opéra de Monte-Carlo. He also returns to Opera Theatre of St Louis singing ‘Nero’ in Tim Albery’s production of L’incoronazione di Poppea, as well as a return to Opera Philadelphia for his role debut as ‘Lysander’ in the U.S. premiere of Robert Carsen’s production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

The 2017-18 season saw Mr. Ryan’s return to the Metropolitan Opera as ‘Spoletta’ in a new production of Tosca directed by Sir David McVicar, conducted by Emmanuel Villaume, which was broadcast to theatres around the world as part of the Met’s Live in HD program. Mr. Ryan also made his house debut with Opera Philadelphia as ‘Monostatos’ in the Barrie Kosky production of Die Zauberflöte, and his house debut with Santa Fe Opera singing the role of ‘Dancing Master’ in Ariadne auf Naxos. Additional engagements included his house debut with Dallas Opera singing both ‘Gastone’ in La Traviata and ‘Florian’ in Der Ring des Polykrates, as well as a return to LA Opera singing ‘John Wormley’ in concert performances of Matthew Aucoin’s Crossing. Concert work included his debut with Virginia Symphony Orchestra for Orff’s Carmina Burana.

Last season Mr. Ryan made his house debut with San Francisco Opera as ‘Janek’ in Oliver Tambosi’s production of The Makropulos Case, as well as his house debut with San Diego Opera as ‘Gastone’ in La Traviata. Mr. Ryan also returned to LA Opera as a guest artist singing ‘Pedrillo’ in the James Robinson production of Die Entführung aus dem Serail, conducted by James Conlon. Additional engagements include his house debut with Opera Theatre of Saint Louis singing the roles of ‘Titorelli’, ‘Flogger’, and ‘Student’ in the US premiere of The Trial by Philip Glass, based on the Franz Kafka novel. Orchestral engagements included Mozart’s Requiem with the Omaha Symphony, and a return to his alma mater, DePaul University, for Christmas at DePaul.

Highlights of previous seasons include Mr. Ryan’s house and role debut at the Metropolitan Opera as ‘Pedrillo’ in Die Entführung aus dem Serail, conducted by James Levine in his final appearance as Music Director, and his Lyric Opera of Chicago debut as ‘Der Narr’ in Wozzeck conducted by Sir Andrew Davis. Mr. Ryan sang ‘Henrik’ in A Little Night Music with Houston Grand Opera, and ‘Male Chorus’ in Britten’s The Rape of Lucretia in a return to Wolf Trap Opera. Mr. Ryan made his company debut at LA Opera as ‘Gastone’ in La Traviata alongside Placido Domingo, conducted by Conlon, and also sang ‘Spirit’/‘Sailor’ Dido and Aeneas, ‘Léon’ in The Ghosts of Versailles, which won a 2017 Grammy Award for Best Opera Recording, ‘Kyros’ in Hercules vs. Vampires, ‘Monostatos’ in Die Zauberflöte, and Beppe in Pagliacci conducted by Domingo as a Domingo-Colburn-Stein Young Artist.

Additional operatic engagements include ‘Cavaliere Belfiore’ in Rossini’s Il viaggio a Reims, and ‘Bardolfo’ in Verdi’s Falstaff as a Filene Young Artist at Wolf Trap Opera Company, ‘Tony’ in West Side Story, and ‘Léon’ in The Ghosts of Versailles at the Aspen Music Festival and School, ‘Mosca’ in John Musto’s Volpone, ‘Nerone’ in  L’Incoronazione di Poppea, ‘Nanki-Poo’ in Sullivan’s Mikado, ‘Captain Macheath’ in The Beggar’s Opera, and the ‘Prince’ in Susa’s Transformations.

Mr. Ryan’s concert appearances include semi-staged performances of Wozzeck, which won a 2018 Grammy for Best Opera Recording, and Ravel’s L’heure Espagnole, both with the Houston Symphony under Hans Graf, his Los Angeles Philharmonic debut in Beethoven’s Choral Fantasy, conducted by Gustavo Dudamel, Beethoven’s Sympohony No. 9 with both the Lexington Philharmonic and Rice University, and Elijah at DePaul University. Recital work includes his debut at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. and concerts with the New York Festival of Song at both Caramoor and Merkin Hall in New York City. Mr. Ryan is a 2012 alum of the Music Academy of the West.

A graduate of Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music, Mr. Ryan also holds a Bachelor of Music degree from DePaul University. He is featured in the film In Our Nature, starring John Slattery, Zach Gilford, Gabrielle Union, and Jena Malone, singing a selection from Pagliacci.

Reviews

“The tenor Brenton Ryan made a convincing house and role debut as the wily servant Pedrillo, singing with a fresh, clarion tone and dramatic aplomb.”

Corinna de Fonseca-Wollheim

New York Times

“Brenton Ryan, making his first Met appearance, is impressive as Pedrillo, especially in his third act aria “Im Mohrenland”.”

Wilborn Hampton

Huffington Post

“Tenor Brenton Ryan makes a winning impression as the cabaret-style Fool who snakes his way through Andrew George’s insinuating choreography.”

Heidi Weiss

Chicago Sun Times

“I particularly admired Brenton Ryan in the Peter Pears role of Male Chorus (Pears was Britten’s lover and a distinguished tenor); Ryan’s diction was some of the best of the evening.”

Philip Kennicott

Washington Post

More Reviews

“In ‘Nel suo divin sembiante,’ the soprano was partnered with remarkable tonal suavity and refined phrasing by Brenton Ryan.”

Opera News 

“Rosina’s son and Almaviva’s daughter, Léon and Florestine, portrayed by Brenton Ryan and Stacey Tappan, sang with honeyed tones.”

Maria Nockin – Opera Today 

“Ryan displayed a bright and excitingly rich voice with great high notes and showed his ability to portray a charming and witty aristocract.”

Randolph Lacy – Wichita Eagle 

“Ryan and Colclough got most of the comic assignments and were as comfortable dramatically as they were vocally. Both have splendid diction and can sing effectively at both extremes of their dynamic ranges.”

Joan Reinthaler – The Washington Post 

“Ryan has made a stunning HGO debut as the dreamy idealist Henrik Egerman. It is perhaps the trickiest role to bring off, and that’s saying a lot when it comes to A Little Night Music, which is filled with tricky roles. Ryan is, however, the most dynamic actor in this cast, and that’s saying a lot as well. Let’s hope that HGO invites him back for an even weightier role next season.”

Theodore Bale – Culture Map Houston 

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