Lawrence Brownlee

Tenor

Biography

Lawrence Brownlee is a leading figure in opera, both as a singer on the world’s top stages, and as a voice for activism and diversity in the industry. Captivating audiences and critics around the globe, he has been hailed as “an international star in the bel canto operatic repertory” (The New York Times), “one of the world’s leading bel canto stars” (The Guardian), and “one of the most in-demand opera singers in the world today” (NPR).

Amidst the challenges of COVID-19, Brownlee has emerged as a pivotal voice in classical music’s shift toward digital programming and the resurgence of conversations around racial justice. In May 2020, he launched “The Sitdown with LB,” a weekly Facebook Live series which explores the experience of being an African-American opera singer. The ongoing series has featured Brownlee in conversation with renowned artists like George Shirley, Denyce Graves, Martina Arroyo, J’Nai Bridges, Angel Blue, and others. Since April 2020 he has also hosted the video series “Coffee and a Song,” in which he invites artist friends to perform interpretations of art-songs from the intimacy of their own homes, and in August he gave a Masterclass conversation-performance as part of National Sawdust’s Digital Discovery Festival. Brownlee also performed at the Metropolitan Opera’s At-Home Gala in April 2020.

Other highlights of Brownlee’s 20-21 season include a virtual concert with the Tallahassee Symphony, a broadcast of Lawrence Brownlee and Friends with Opera Philadelphia, a virtual recital with pianist Myra Huang for the Schubert Club International Artist Series, broadcasts and eventual live performances of his acclaimed solo recital program Cycles of My Being, a duo recital with Michael Spyres, and appearances with the Lincoln Center Song Series, Opéra Royal de Wallonie, Opernhaus Zurich, Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, New National Theatre Tokyo, and San Francisco Opera. His album Amici e Rivali with Michael Spyres and Maestro Corrado Rovaris, releasing November 13 on Warner Classics & Erato, will be the first ever to exclusively feature Rossini’s tenor duets.

Read more

Reviews

“With his sweet tone, fastidious pitch, and poetic phrasing, Brownlee made familiar fare sound intriguingly fresh, banishing, for a moment, the ghosts of Caruso and Pavarotti.”

Alex Ross

The New Yorker

“He sang with agility, elegance and Rossinian style, tossing off high notes and roulades…this was a winning performance for an increasingly important artist.”

Anthony Tommasini

The New York Times

More Reviews

“With his sweet tone, fastidious pitch, and poetic phrasing, Brownlee made familiar fare sound intriguingly fresh, banishing, for a moment, the ghosts of Caruso and Pavarotti. “

Alex Ross, The New Yorker

“He sang with agility, elegance and Rossinian style, tossing off high notes and roulades…this was a winning performance for an increasingly important artist.”

Anthony Tommasini, The New York Times

“Mr. Brownlee won a deserved ovation for his beautifully vocalized and expressive singing of a concert aria, “Misero! o sogno… Aura che intorni spiri,” and a melting account of “Un’ aura amorosa” from Così Fan Tutte.”

Anthony Tommasini, The New York Times

“And there’s no better Rossini tenor today than Brownlee. The musical filigree that Almaviva has to maneuver through is so difficult to bring off without sounding winded that HGO added his final aria to “happy marriage” that’s usually cut in performance because nobody else but Brownlee can sing it. He sailed through it with sweet, powerful joy.”

D.L. Groover, Houston Press

“And tenor Lawrence Brownlee, all too rarely showcased on record, will have done his reputation no end of good with this finely, sensitively modulated showing.”

James Inverne, Gramophone

“Lawrence Brownlee, stylish and sweet-toned, is similarly untroubled by the high D flat in his aria’s precipitate dying fall.”

Richard Osborne, Gramophon

“While the judges deliberated, the tenor Lawrence Brownlee, fresh from his successful run in the Met’s production of Rossini’s Armida and a Met National Council Auditions winner 10 years ago, sang splendid accounts of Nadir’s confession of love from Bizet’s Pearl Fishers and the showstopper ‘Ah! mes amis’ from Donizetti’s Fille du Régiment, complete with ringing, effortless high Cs.”

Anthony Tommasini, New York Times

X