Baritone Brian Mulligan is equally renowned as an interpreter of classic works by Wagner, and Strauss as of the most challenging 20th and 21st 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 American orchestras and in recital.
Brian Mulligan begins the 23/24 season with a return to San Francisco Opera in his role debut as Telramund in a new David Alden production of Lohengrin with Eun Sun Kim conducting. He then makes his role and house debut as Barak in Die Frau ohne Schatten at the Théâtre du Capitole de Toulouse. In the spring, Mulligan sings Wotan in Die Walküre on tour with Yannick Nézet- Séguin and the Rotterdam Philharmonic with performances in the Netherlands, Germany and at the Théâtre des Champs Elysées in Paris. He closes the season with another house and role debut, at the Teatro Regio di Torino in the title role of Der fliegende Holländer in a production by Willy Decker and conducted by Nathalie Stutzmann.
The 22/23 season marked Mulligan’s role debut as Kurwenal in Tristan und Isolde, in two house debuts at Teatro di San Carlo Napoli and at the Teatro Real Madrid the latter, under the baton of Semyon Bychkov. The season also saw his return to the Metropolitan Opera, first as the Herald in a new Francois Girard production of Lohengrin with Yannick Nézet-Séguin, and then in a role debut as Faninal Der Rosenkavalier with Simone Young conducting. Mulligan also returned to the San Francisco Symphony for Britten’s War Requiem with Phillipe Jordan, and also to the San Francisco Opera for their Centennial Gala Concert, where he performed “Batter my Heart” from John Adams’ Doctor Atomic with Eun Sun Kim conducting.Read more
The 2021-2022 season began with his role debut as Wotan in Das Rheingold with the Wiener Symphoniker and Andres Orozco-Estrada at the Bregenzer Festspiele. He then sang Créon in Enescu’s Oedipe for his house debut with Opéra National de Paris, in a new production by Wajdi Mouwad with Ingo Metzmacher conducting, and made a house debut with Irish National Opera in Dublin as Don Pizzaro in Fidelio, with Fergus Sheil conducting. Mulligan sang in Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 with Antonello Manacorda and the Munich Philharmonic, then returned to Dutch National Opera for his role debut as Jochanaan in Salome, conducted by Lahav Shani. Mulligan also made his role debut as Wotan in Die Walküre in a new production at Opernhaus Stuttgart, with Cornelius Meister conducting. He finished his season with a return to Bregenz, as Sharpless in Andreas Homoki’s new production of Madama Butterfly with Enrique Mazzola conducting. In addition, early 2022 saw the release of Brian Mulligan’s third solo record, titled Alburnum. The disc consists of songs and cycles from the 21st century, with pianist Timothy Long and music by Mason Bates, Missy Mazzoli, and Greg Spears.
Mulligan recently sang Pizarro in a concert version of Fidelio with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Manfred Honeck. Previously scheduled engagements included a return to Lyric Opera of Chicago for its presentation of Wagner’s Ring Cycle, in which he was to sing Wotan in Das Rheingold and Gunther in Götterdämmerung, as well as the title role of Schumann’s Szenen aus Goethes Faust at both Opéra national de Montpellier and Opera Vlaanderen, Pizarro at Washington National Opera, and Sharpless at Opernhaus Zürich.
In recent seasons, Brian Mulligan has made numerous role debuts, including Donner and Gunther in Francesca Zambello’s production of the Ring Cycle at San Francisco Opera, and both Sharpless in Madama Butterfly and Golaud in Pelléas et Mélisande at Dutch National Opera. He also created the role of Jack Torrance in the world premiere of The Shining, written by Paul Moravec and Mark Campbell, at Minnesota Opera. In addition, he returned to the Metropolitan Opera as Paolo in Simon Boccanegra, to Oper Frankfurt as Count di Luna in David Bösch’s new production Il trovatore, and to Opernhaus Zürich for numerous roles, including Valentin in Faust, Yeletsky in Robert Carsen’s production of The Queen of Spades, and Zurga in Les pêcheurs de Perles. Further highlights included the release on Bridge Records of his second solo CD, Old Fashioned, which features beloved songs of the early 20th century made popular by great American baritones of the past.
Mulligan has made numerous appearances at San Francisco Opera, where he has sung the title role in Sondheim’s Sweeney Todd; the title role in John Adams’ Nixon in China; Enrico in a new production of Lucia di Lammermoor; Count Anckarström in Un Ballo in Maschera; and Chorèbe in Sir David McVicar’s production of Les Troyens. Other roles there have included 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 Thomas’ Hamlet with Minnesota Opera, Valentin at the Metropolitan Opera, and Enrico in David Alden’s 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; the Father in Hansel and Gretel with Lyric Opera of Chicago; Ford in Falstaff at Japan’s Saito Kinen Festival; Count Almaviva in Le nozze di Figaro at New York City Opera; the title role in John Adams’ The Death of Klinghoffer at Opera Theatre of St. Louis; and Tarquinius in Britten’s The Rape of Lucretia at Central City Opera.
Career concert highlights include appearances Mahler’s Das klagende Lied, conducted by Michael Tilson Thomas; Mahler’s Symphony No. 8 with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, conducted by Gustavo Dudamel, in a performance recorded by Deutsche Grammophon and released on DVD; in the world premiere of James Primosch’s Songs for Adam with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Sir Andrew Davis; Orff’s Carmina Burana and Vaughan Williams’ A Sea Symphony with the Cleveland Orchestra; and a role debut as Amonasro in a semi-staged performance of Aida at the Aspen Music Festival, under the baton of Robert Spano. In addition, he has performed John Adsam’s The Wound Dresser with the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra; of Ullman’s Der Kaiser von Atlantis with Houston Grand Opera, Los Angeles Philharmonic, and the Ravinia Festival under the baton of James Conlon; Mendelssohn’s Paulus and Handel’s Messiah with the Houston Symphony; Titus in Magnard’s rarely performed Bérénice at Carnegie Hall with the American Symphony Orchestra; Mendelssohn’s Elijah and Mahler’s Das Knaben Wunderhorn with the Phoenix Symphony under Michael Christie; and Silvio in Pagliacci with the Auckland Philharmonic Orchestra in New Zealand.
A graduate of The Juilliard School, Brian 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. He 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