Hailed by The New York Times for “a voice that is rich, secure, and really, really big” and by Opera News for having “a wonderful, rich voice and a fine stage presence,” baritone Brian Mulligan frequently appears with the world’s leading orchestras and opera companies.
The 2017-2018 season will see Mr. Mulligan make his role debuts as Gunther and Donner in San Francisco Opera’s production of the Ring, conducted by Donald Runnicles. He will also return to Oper Fankfurt to sing Count di Luna in Il Trovatore in a new production directed by David Bösch, Nélusko in Meyerbeer’s L’Africaine in Tobias Kratzer’s new production, and Tadeusz in Weinberg’s Die Passagierin. He will also sing the role of Sharpless in Madama Butterfly at Operhaus Zurich in a new production by Ted Huffman. On the concert stage, he will perform a recital under the auspices of Vocal Arts DC, featuring a world premiere by Gregory Spears.
In the 2016-2017 season, Brian Mulligan made his debut at the Wiener Staatsoper as Captain Balstrode in Peter Grimes. He returned to Opernhaus Zürich for his signature role of Valentin in Faust, as well as to Oper Frankfurt for his role debut of Golaud in Pelléas et Mélisande. On the symphonic front, Brian Mulligan returned to the San Francisco Symphony for Mahler’s Das klagende Lied led by Michael Tilson Thomas, the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra for Vaughan Williams’s A Sea Symphony conducted by Robert Spano, and the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra for John Adams’s The Wound Dresser. Last season also saw the release of his recording featuring Dominick Argento’s Andrée Expedition and From the Diary of Virginia Woolf on the Naxos label.
Highlights of Mr. Mulligans recent seasons include a return to San Francisco Opera in the title role in Sondheim’s Sweeney Todd with conductor Patrick Summers, and Enrico in a new production of Lucia di Lammermoor opposite Piotr Beczała, conducted by Nicola Luisotti. He has also returned to the Metropolitan Opera as Paolo in Simon Boccanegra, with Plácido Domingo in the title role and James Levine conducting, and to Opernhaus Zürich as Yeletsky in Robert Carsen’s production of Pique Dame. At Minnesota Opera, Mr. Mulligan created the role of Jack Torrance in the world premiere of The Shining, written by Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Paul Moravec and librettist Mark Campbell, and conducted by Michael Christie. Past performances at the San Francisco Opera include his role debut as Count Anckarström in Verdi’s Un Ballo in Maschera under the baton of Nicola Luisotti, Marcello in a new production of La Bohème directed by John Caird, and as Chorèbe in Sir David McVicar’s production of Berlioz’s Les Troyens conducted by Donald Runnicles.
Other career operatic highlights include his debut at the Metropolitan Opera while still a student at The Juilliard School in Die Frau ohne Schatten. Since then he has made many celebrated debuts at the world’s leading opera houses, including San Francisco Opera (Marcello), Opernhaus Zürich (Yeletsky), Lyric Opera of Chicago (Enrico in Lucia di Lammermoor), Oper Frankfurt (Prospero in Adès’ The Tempest), Canadian Opera Company (Enrico), Houston Grand Opera (Marcello), and English National Opera (Sharpless in Madama Butterfly). On the orchestral stage, Mr. Mulligan has appeared in Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis with Donald Runnicles for his debut with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, in Brahms’s Ein deutsches Requiem with the Pacific Chorale, and in Orff’s Carmina Burana with the Los Angeles Philharmonic conducted by Gustavo Dudamel. In addition, he has returned to the Aspen Music Festival for a role debut as Amonasro in a semi-staged performance of Aida under the baton of Robert Spano.
Mr. Mulligan has also garnered much critical acclaim for his performances of Richard Nixon in Nixon in China with San Francisco Opera, the title role in Hamlet with Minnesota Opera, Valentin at the Metropolitan Opera and San Francisco Opera, and Enrico in the David Alden production of Lucia di Lammermoor at Canadian Opera Company, English National Opera, and Washington National Opera.
Other career highlights at San Francisco Opera include Albert in Werther, Ragueneau in Cyrano de Bergerac, Sharpless, and the King’s Herald in Lohengrin; Los Angeles Opera as Prometheus in Walter Braunfels’ Die Vögel, Melot in Tristan und Isolde, and Marcello; the Metropolitan Opera as Fiorello in Il Barbiere di Siviglia and a Watchman in Die Frau ohne Schatten; Lyric Opera of Chicago as The Father in Hansel and Gretel; Japan’s Saito Kinen Festival as Ford in Falstaff; New York City Opera as Jake Wallace in La Fanciulla del West, Count Almaviva in Le Nozze di Figaro, and Masetto in Don Giovanni; Opera Theatre of St. Louis as the title role in Adams’s The Death of Klinghoffer; Palm Beach Opera as Malatesta in Don Pasquale and Sharpless; Opera Colorado as Zurga in Les Pêcheurs de Perles; San Diego Opera as Valentin; New Orleans Opera as Lescaut in Manon Lescaut; Central City Opera as Tarquinius in Britten’s The Rape of Lucretia; the Spoleto Festival USA as Prometheus in Die Vögel and Capulet in Roméo et Juliette; and Wexford Festival Opera in a double bill of Massenet’s operas La Navarraise and Thérèse.
Mr. Mulligan has appeared with many of the finest orchestras in America, including the Cleveland Orchestra in Orff’s Carmina Burana at the Blossom Music Festival and Vaughan Williams’ A Sea Symphony, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in the world premiere of James Primosch’s Songs for Adam conducted by Sir Andrew Davis, and the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra in Carmina Burana conducted by Marin Alsop. He joined the Los Angeles Philharmonic in Mahler’s Symphony No. 8 conducted by Gustavo Dudamel, which was recorded by Deutsche Grammophon and released on DVD in 2012. Other orchestral highlights include Handel’s Judas Maccabaeus with James Conlon and members of the Los Angeles Opera Orchestra; concert versions of Der Kaiser von Atlantis with Houston Grand Opera, Los Angeles Philharmonic, and the Ravinia Festival under the baton of James Conlon, where he also performed Mahler’s Das klagende Lied; Mendelssohn’s Paulus and Handel’s Messiah with the Houston Symphony; Mendelssohn’s Elijah and Mahler’s Das Knaben Wunderhorn with the Phoenix Symphony under Michael Christie; Silvio in Pagliacci with the Auckland Philharmonic Orchestra in New Zealand; Titus in Magnard’s rarely performed Bérénice at Carnegie Hall with the American Symphony Orchestra; Brahms’ Ein deutsches Requiem and the West Coast premiere of Lieberson’s The World in Flower with the Los Angeles Master Chorale; and Balstrode in Peter Grimes at the Aspen Music Festival conducted by Robert Spano.
A graduate of The Juilliard School, Mr. Mulligan has been awarded a Richard Tucker Career Grant, a Sara Tucker Study Grant, the George London Prize, for which he appeared in recital with Ken Noda and soprano Lisette Oropesa, and the International Hans Gabor Belvedere Vocal Competition.
Mr. Mulligan holds dual citizenship in the United States and Ireland.
“A third newcomer to the production was baritone Brian Mulligan as Marguerite’s unforgiving brother, Valentin. He brought burnished tone and deep feeling to his famous aria, “Avant de quitter ces lieux”; then came close to stealing the entire show with a death scene that was riveting in its raw intensity”
“Brian Mulligan offers a wonderful baritone as Enrico, Lucia’s controlling brother.”
“Baritone Brian Mulligan was a forceful Enrico; singing with dark-hued authority, he played Lucia’s manipulative brother as a kind of blunt, iron-fisted CEO. Mulligan has had repeated successes in San Francisco this year — he sang the role of Chorebe in the company’s “The Trojans” this summer, then returned last month to sing the title role in “Sweeney Todd.” With this role, he delivered once again.”
“Mulligan necessarily adopted a weightier approach to the title role, striding about the stage with terrifying vigor, and fulminating with power and precision. His characterization made room for some of the saturnine charisma that draws in Mrs. Lovett, but primarily this was a growling, gut-churning account.”
“As Jack Torrance, Brian Mulligan does the seemingly impossible—he actually makes you forget Jack Nicholson. Possessed of an imposing build and a rugged, perfectly articulated baritone, Mulligan lets us see that Jack is fighting forces beyond his control.”
“Baritone Brian Mulligan … commanded the stage with [an] exceptional account of the wronged barber. Mulligan delivered an arresting performance as Sweeney Todd, dispatching his arias such as ‘The Barber and His Wife’ and ‘My Friends’ as effortlessly as he did his barber chair victims. He was as chilling while going through the motions of slitting throats as he was warmly moving vocally.”
“Brian Mulligan’s Nixon was vocally, dramatically, and comically ideal.”
San Francisco Examiner
“But the real dramatic power on stage emanated, however, from Brian Mulligan’s Enrico, Lucia’s brother who hates Edgardo, and sets up her eventually disastrous marriage to Arturo who he thinks will solidify the Lammermoor fortunes. Mulligan was ferocious, angry, intense and captivating all night.”
The Globe and Mail
“Brian Mulligan is riveting…a fine, strong, open baritone.”
The Financial Times of London