American baritone Chris Kenney, whose voice has been called “lush” by Broadway World, recently completed his tenure as a member of the Ryan Opera Center ensemble at the Lyric Opera of Chicago. During the 2020-2021 season, Mr. Kenney sings The Brother in a recording of David Hertzberg’s The Rose Elf with Opera Omaha and makes his house debut at Cincinnati Opera as the title role in Il barbiere di Siviglia. In concert, he performs in a festival celebrating female composers hosted by the Collaborative Arts Institute of Chicago and joins the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra for a July 4th concert. Previously scheduled engagements include house debuts at Atlanta Opera as Schaunard in La bohème, Boston Lyric Opera as Young Emile in Terence Blanchard’s Champion, and the Sacramento Philharmonic and Opera as the title role in Il barbiere di Siviglia, as well as a return to Lyric Opera of Chicago for their Lyric Unlimited production of Jeanine Tesori’s Blue.
In the 2019-2020 season, Mr. Kenney continued at Lyric Opera of Chicago, singing Fiorello and covering Figaro in Il barbiere di Siviglia, singing the Motorcycle Cop in Jake Heggie’s Dead Man Walking, singing the Registrar and covering Prince Yamadori in Madama Butterfly, and covering Yeletsky in The Queen of Spades. 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. He had also been scheduled to make his house and role debut at Michigan Opera Theatre as Silvio in Pagliacci.Read more
During the 2018-2019 season in Chicago, Mr. 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 Menotti’s 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.
Mr. Kenney was member of Washington National Opera’s Domingo-Cafritz Young Artist Program during the 2017-2018 season, where he performed the title role in Il barbiere di Siviglia, the Businessman in Rachel Portman’s The Little Prince, and Pa Zegner in the world-premiere of Missy Mazzoli’s Proving Up. In the summer of 2017, he was an apprentice artist at Santa Fe Opera, where he covered Dr. Falke in Die Fledermaus, while the summer before, he covered the role of Dandy in Douglas Moore’s The Ballad of Baby Doe as a studio artist at 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 degree 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.”