Performance Year: 2023
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).
Brownlee begins his 23-24 season with Opera Rara at London’s Wigmore Hall in September for a recording of Donizetti’s rarely-performed song repertoire alongside pianist Carlo Rizzi before joining the 2023 George Enescu International Festival to perform the Fioravanti Selections from La foresta d’Hermanstad. Following this, Brownlee will join tenor Levy Sekgapane for a duo recital at the Grand Théâtre Genève. At the end of September 2023, Brownlee returns to the Wiener Staatsoper to perform as Count Almaviva in Il Barbiere di Siviglia ahead of his role as Tonio in the Lyric Opera of Chicago production of La Fille Du Regiment in November. In December, Brownlee joins the Wiener Konzerthaus for their 2023 Christmas in Vienna Gala before reuniting with longtime friend, collaborator, and fellow Rossini expert Michael Spyres for KAPOS – World Opera Stars’ “Game of Tenors: Brownlee & Spyres Battle of the High Cs.” Brownlee kicks off 2024 with recital engagements at the Dallas Opera and the La Jolla Music Society in addition to bringing his acclaimed “Rising” program to San Francisco Performances in February 2024 and to the Concertgebouw in June 2024. In May of 2024, Brownlee will make his anticipated return to the Teatro alla Scala as Ernesto in Donizetti’s Don Pasquale. Brownlee’s season ends with the return of his Don Ramiro in Rossini’s La Cenerentola at the Bayerischen Staatsoper.
In spring 2021, Brownlee joined The Juilliard School as a Distinguished Visiting Faculty Member. He serves as artistic advisor for Opera Philadelphia, where his responsibilities include increasing and expanding audience diversity, advocating for new works, and liaising with the General Director from the perspective of a performing artist. “As an artist, I think it is important that we are actively advocating for this beautiful art form we love so much,” said Brownlee, “ensuring that it will be alive and well for many years to come.” Mr. Brownlee also serves as an Ambassador for Lyric Opera of Chicago’s Lyric Unlimited and is an Ambassador for Opera for Peace.
In recent years, Brownlee has emerged as a pivotal voice around equity and diversity in classical music. Mr. Brownlee works with companies and engages civic organizations in the cities he visits to create programs and experiences seeking to expand opera audiences. His critically-acclaimed solo recital program Cycles of My Being, a song cycle that centers on the black male experience in America today, has toured extensively, including performances at Opera Philadelphia, Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center, and virtual broadcasts throughout 2020. Following the successful Lawrence Brownlee and Friends concert at Lyric Opera of Chicago in 2019, Brownlee performed Giving Voice at Houston Grand Opera, a concert created to celebrate Houston’s diverse community, and reprised his concert at Lyric with the virtual performance of Lawrence Brownlee and Friends: The Next Chapter in July 2020.
With an ever-increasing presence in opera, recital, and concerts, Lawrence Brownlee has cemented his place as one of the top artists in classical music. He is a regular guest at the world’s most important opera houses including The Metropolitan Opera, Teatro alla Scala, Royal Opera House – Covent Garden, Bayerische Staatsoper, Staatsoper Unter den Linden, Deutsche Oper Berlin, Opéra national de Paris, Gran Teatre del Liceu, Teatro Real, Opernhaus Zürich, and Wiener Staatsoper. He is a fixture at the world’s top recital venues including Carnegie Hall, Wigmore Hall, and The Kennedy Center. His concert performances include collaborations with The Cleveland Orchestra, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, The Philadelphia Orchestra, The San Francisco Symphony, Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw, Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, and the festivals of Baden-Baden and Salzburg.
Brownlee is the fourth of six children and first discovered music when he learned to play bass, drums, and piano at his family’s church in Hubbard, Ohio. He was awarded a Masters of Music from Indiana University and went on to win a Grand Prize in the 2001 Metropolitan Opera National Council auditions. Brownlee is a winner of numerous awards and distinctions, including “Male Singer of the Year” (2017 International Opera Awards), the Kennedy Center’s Marian Anderson Award, and the Opera News Award (2021). In October 2019, he had the distinct honor of singing at Jessye Norman’s funeral in her hometown of Augusta, Georgia.