Lawrence Brownlee

About Lawrence

The most in-demand American tenor in the world in the bel canto repertoire, Lawrence Brownlee continues to astonish audiences with the power and agility of his instrument. From firmly American roots, Brownlee has become a star on the international scene, performing opposite the leading ladies of opera, and lauded continually for the seemingly effortless beauty of his voice.

Brownlee begins his 2013-14 season with the Seattle Opera, a company with which he has deep roots, where he will appear as Tonio in La fille du régiment. He then travels down the Pacific coast to make his Los Angeles Opera debut as Tamino in The Magic Flute. Brownlee is thrilled to appear this winter at the Wiener Staatsoper and the Bayerische Staatsoper in productions of Elisir d’amore, in which he portrays Nemorino, Il turco in italia, in the role of Narciso, and as Ramiro La Cenetentola. His season ends with I Puritani at the Metropolitan Opera. One of the non-operatic highlights of the season will be his appearance with his friend and collaborator Damien Sneed in Spiritual Sketches at Lincoln Center’s American Songbook series. The concert takes its name from the critically acclaimed recording of spirituals that Brownlee and Sneed released last season. PBS will tape the concert and telecast it later on Live from Lincoln Center. Brownlee is also pleased to be giving a recital this winter at the Grand Theatre de Geneve in Switzerland.

In 2013, Brownlee made his stage debut at the Santa Fe Opera with long-time collaborator Joyce DiDonato in a new production of La donna del lago. Last season, the tenor appeared at the Houston Grand Opera, the Theater an der Wien and the Hamburgische Staatsopher. 

Brownlee has been featured in nearly every major theater in the world and enjoys a relationship with many premiere conductors and symphony orchestras. Among his other memorable engagements are: La Cenerentola in Milan, Houston, Philadelphia, and the Metropolitan Opera; L’italiana in Algeri in Milan, Dresden, Boston and Seattle; I puritani in Washington and Seattle; Mosé in Egitto in Rome; Il turco in Italia in Toulouse and Berlin; Tancredi with the Detroit Symphony and on an eight-city European tour with the Orchestre des Champs-Élysées; La donna del lago in Washington; Semiramide and L’elisir d’amore, both at the Caramoor Festival; Armida at the Metropolitan Opera; La fille du régiment in Hamburg, Cincinnati and at the Metropolitan Opera; Salieri’s Axur, re d’Ormus in Zurich; L’ape musicale in Vienna, and the world premiere of Lorin Maazel’s 1984 at Covent Garden. 

In the orchestral arena, he has been heard in Bach’s Magnificat in Cincinnati; Messiah in Houston, San Francisco, Detroit, Baltimore, and Indianapolis; Israel in Egypt in Cleveland; the Mozart Mass in C minor in Chicago and Baltimore; Carmina Burana with the Boston Symphony Orchestra at Tanglewood, and highlights from Porgy and Bess with the New York Philharmonic (including a Live From Lincoln Center telecast). Brownlee has performed recitals at the Kennedy Center, Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher Hall, in Atlanta, Tokyo, on London’s Rosenblatt Series, and others around the United States under the auspices of the Marilyn Horne Foundation.

Brownlee’s discography/videography continues to grow impressively. The 2012 -13 season saw the release of the critically acclaimed Spiritual Sketches. The album features ten traditional spirituals arranged by Damien Sneed. Brownlee performed them around the country in a solo recital tour, including his Carnegie Hall recital debut. The disc is both a re-imagining of and a love letter to a musical tradition in which Brownlee was raised. In 2012, EMI released a recording of Rossini’s Stabat Mater, featuring Brownlee, Anna Netrebko, Joyce DiDonato and Ildebrando d’Arcangelo, with Antonio Pappano leading the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia. That same year, Brownlee was also featured on a pair of DVDs: the Met Opera’s 2010 HD relay of Armida on Decca and Carmina Burana with Sir Simon Rattle leading the Berliner Philharmoniker on EuroArts/Opus Arte (a CD version of this performance already exists on EMI Classics). Other releases include three CD sets: on Opera Rara, an exploration of Rossini songs, and on Naxos, L’italiana in Algeri conducted by Alberto Zedda. A live recording of Mayr’s Medea in Corinto from St. Gallen was released by Oehms Classics. Additionally, Deutsche Grammophon released a DVD of the Metropolitan Opera’s 2009 production of La Cenerentola with Elena Garanca as Angelina. Among his earlier CD releases is his first solo disc (EMI Classics) featuring Italian songs by Schubert, Verdi, Donizetti, Bellini and Rossini, accompanied by Martin Katz. Sony has released a live Il barbiere di Siviglia featuring Brownlee alongside Elena Garanca, Giovanna Donadini, and Nathan Gunn. Decca has released a DVD of a performance from the Covent Garden world premiere run of Lorin Maazel’s 1984, in which Brownlee took on the role of Syme.  

Brownlee was named the Seattle Opera’s 2008 Artist of the Year, received the Opera Company of Philadelphia’s 2007 Alter Award for Artistic Excellence, and was the winner of both the 2006 Marian Anderson and Richard Tucker Awards, a feat never before achieved by any artist in the same year. He participated in young artist programs at both the Seattle and Wolf Trap Operas. The Ohio-born Brownlee received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Anderson University and a Master of Music degree from Indiana University. He is a Life Member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Inc.