American baritone Chris Kenney, whose voice was called “lush” by Broadway World, recently completed his tenure as a member of the Ryan Opera Center ensemble at the Lyric Opera of Chicago. Engagements of the 2020-2021 season include debuts with Atlanta Opera as Schaunard in La Boheme, Boston Lyric Opera as Young Emile in Terence Blanchard’s Champion, Sacramento Philharmonic and Opera as Figaro in Il Barbiere di Siviglia, and a return to Lyric Opera of Chicago for their Lyric Unlimited production of Jeanine Tesori’s Blue.
In the 2019-2020 season, Mr. Kenney debuted with Michigan Opera Theatre as Silvio in I Pagliacci, and at Lyric, sang Fiorello and covered Figaro in Il Barbiere di Siviglia, sang the Motorcycle Cop in Dead Man Walking, sang the Registrar and cover Prince Yamadori in Madama Butterfly, and covered Yeletsky in Pique Dame. On the orchestral stage, he made his New York City concert debut singing Bach cantatas with the American Symphony Orchestra and Leonard Slatkin at Alice Tully Hall.Read more
In the 2018-2019 season in Chicago, Chris Kenney appeared as the Master of Ceremonies in Cendrillon and the Marquis d’Obigny in La traviata. He also covered Schaunard in La bohème and the King in Cendrillon. Orchestral debuts included the Guide in Bernstein’s Wonderful Town with Ludovic Morlot and the Seattle Symphony, and Bob or the Thief in The Old Maid and the Thief with the Grant Park Music Festival. He also presented a series of songs with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra to celebrate the 100th Anniversary of the Armistice that ended World War I.
In the 2017-2018 season, Chris Kenney was a member of the Washington National Opera’s Domingo-Cafritz Young Artist Program. While there, he performed Figaro in Il Barbiere di Siviglia, the Businessman in The Little Prince and Pa Zegner in the world-premiere of Missy Mazzoli’s Proving Up for WNO’s main-stage season at the Kennedy Center. Additionally, he was a featured soloist in Bernstein’s Songfest with the National Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Leonard Slatkin.
Mr. Kenney was an apprentice artist at The Santa Fe Opera during the summer of 2017 where he covered Dr. Falke in Fledermaus. The summer before, he covered the role of Dandy in The Ballad of Baby Doe as a studio artist with Central City Opera. Other roles in his repertoire include Papageno in The Magic Flute, the title role in Rubinstein’s The Demon, Marullo in Rigoletto, Guglielmo in Così fan tutte, and Leporello in Don Giovanni.
A native of Hawley, Minnesota, Chris Kenney is a three-time winner of the Metropolitan Opera National Council District Auditions and winner of the 2014 Alltech Vocal Scholarship Competition. He completed his undergraduate work at Concordia College, received his master’s at the University of Kentucky, and did post-graduate work at Philadelphia’s Academy of Vocal Arts.
“Baritone Christopher Kenney sang not only with warm expansiveness, but with nobility, in the best performance of the night. This dignity was crucial to making Bob believable as someone whom the ladies would instantly fall in love with as well as trust.”
“The high point of this work was the paired, seething anger of baritone Christopher Kenney and soprano Leah Hawkins in ‘I, Too, Sing America / Okay ‘Negroes’,’ sung to poetry by Langston Hughes and June Jordan, respectively.”