Baritone Brian Mulligan is equally renowned as an interpreter of classic works by Verdi, Wagner and Strauss as well as of the most challenging twentieth and twenty-first century operas. His striking stage portrayals have taken him to leading opera houses throughout Europe and North America. He makes regular appearances with the leading US orchestras and in recital.
In the 2019/20 season, Brian returns to Lyric Opera of Chicago for its presentation of Wagner’s Ring Cycle, singing Gunther and Donner in Das Rheingold and Götterdämmerung, respectively. He also sings the role of Pizarro in a concert version of Beethoven’s Fidelio with Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra.
His operatic season in 2018/19 included a role debut as Mandryka in Arabella in a return to San Francisco Opera conducted by Marc Albrecht. He recorded Guglielmo in Puccini’s Le Villi for Opera Rara and performed the work in concert in London under the baton of Sir Mark Elder. He returned to Zurich Opera as Zurga in Les Pecheurs de Perles. He also made a double debut with Dutch National Opera, Amsterdam, first as Sharpless in Madama Butterfly and then as Golaud in a new production of Pelleas et Melisande. Further highlights include the release on Bridge Records of his second solo CD Old Fashioned which features beloved songs of the early twentieth century made popular by great American baritones of the past.
In the 2017-2018 season, Brian Mulligan made role debuts as Gunther and Donner in the Francesca Zambello production of the Ring Cycle at the San Francisco Opera, conducted by Donald Runnicles. He returned to Oper Frankfurt to sing Count di Luna in David Bösch’s new production Il trovatore, and Nélusko in Meyerbeer’s L’Africaine in Tobias Kratzer’s new production. He also sang Sharpless in Madama Butterfly at Opernhaus Zürich in a new production by Ted Huffman.
In recent seasons, Brian Mulligan returned to Oper Frankfurt for his role debut as Golaud in Pelléas et Mélisande. He has also returned to the Metropolitan Opera as Paolo in Simon Boccanegra with Plácido Domingo in the title role and James Levine conducting. He returned to Opernhaus Zürich for his signature role of Valentin in Faust, and Yeletsky in Robert Carsen’s production of Pique Dame. At the Minnesota Opera, Mr. Mulligan created the role of Jack Torrance in the world premiere of The Shining, written by Paul Moravec and Mark Campbell.Read more
Mr. Mulligan has made numerous appearances at the San Francisco Opera, where he has sung the title role in Sondheim’s Sweeney Todd; the title role in Nixon in China; Enrico in a new production of Lucia di Lammermoor; as Count Anckarström in Verdi’s Un Ballo in Maschera, and as Chorèbe in Sir David McVicar’s production of Berlioz’s Les Troyens. Other roles there include Albert in Werther, Sharpless, Valentin, Marcello and the King’s Herald in Lohengrin.
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 Opernhaus Zürich (Yeletsky), Wiener Staatsoper (Captain Balstrode), 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). Other important roles have included the title role in Hamlet with Minnesota Opera, Valentin at the Metropolitan Opera, and Enrico in the David Alden production of Lucia di Lammermoor at Canadian Opera Company, English National Opera, and Washington National Opera. He sang Prometheus in Walter Braunfels’ Die Vögel and Marcello at Los Angeles Opera; with 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 Count Almaviva in Le Nozze di Figaro; Opera Theatre of St. Louis as the title role in Adams’s The Death of Klinghoffer; Central City Opera as Tarquinius in Britten’s The Rape of Lucretia; and Wexford Festival Opera in a double bill of Massenet’s operas La Navarraise and Thérèse.
On the symphonic front, Brian Mulligan has appeared with the San Francisco Symphony for Mahler’s Das klagende Lied led by Michael Tilson Thomas; the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra for Vaughan William’s A Sea Symphony conducted by Robert Spano, and the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra for John Adams’ The Wound Dresser. He performed Brahms’s Ein deutsches Requiem with the Pacific Chorale, and in Orff’s Carmina Burana with the Los Angeles Philharmonic conducted by Gustavo Dudamel. At the Aspen Music Festival he made a role debut as Amonasro in a semi-staged performance of Aida under the baton of Robert Spano. Other orchestral highlights include 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. 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.
A graduate of The Juilliard School, Mr. Mulligan has been awarded a Richard Tucker Career Grant, a Sara Tucker Study Grant, the George London Award, and First Prize at the International Hans Gabor Belvedere Vocal Competition.
Mr. Mulligan holds dual citizenship in the United States and Ireland.
“Mulligan is a big man with a big voice. His baritone is almost embarrassingly rich in its low and middle registers, with a high range and head voice of bell-like purity. His diction is flawless. Most importantly, he imbues every syllable with unmistakable meaning and purpose.”
“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