In the 2018-19 season, Brownlee continues his presence in the major opera houses of the US and Europe, and adds two new roles to his repertoire. His season also includes a duet recital tour with bass-baritone Eric Owens, and a performance at Carnegie Hall with Jason Moran and Alicia Hall Moran.
"The experiences of black men in America today are making their way onto the classical concert stage, thanks to internationally acclaimed tenor Lawrence Brownlee. Brownlee enlisted the help of two other prominent African-American artists, composer Tyshawn Sorey and poet Terrance Hayes.
The three hope that the work, called Cycles of My Being, will open some eyes. Brownlee is touring the song cycle across the U.S. in the coming weeks, including a performance at New York's Carnegie Hall."
Larry will have a recital tour this spring that includes San Francisco, Boston, Princeton, and more, with numerous performances featuring his groundbreaking new song cycle Cycles of My Being, composed by Tyshawn Sorey with lyrics by Terrance Hayes.
"When Carnegie Hall came calling in 2016, asking the tenor Lawrence Brownlee to plan a recital, he knew he wanted to include a classic German song cycle. Schumann’s “Dichterliebe” was high on his list. But what to perform alongside it?
That year, Mr. Brownlee, an international star in the bel canto operatic repertory, sang an arrangement of the African-American spiritual “There’s a Man Going ‘Round Taking Names” with the jazz pianist Jason Moran. Conceived as an artistic statement in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement, the performance lingered in Mr. Brownlee’s mind, and helped him answer the question of what he should sing at Carnegie."
Lawrence Brownlee's new video series delves into the vocal techniques, musical exercises, and pieces of advice that have helped him over the years.
"Babbling brooks, young love, broken hearts: standard topics for classical song cycles from Schubert onward, and for most opera singers a key part of their concert hall careers. Not for the 45-year-old US tenor Lawrence Brownlee, one of the world’s leading bel canto stars. He has never yet sung any of these standard repertoire works. He wanted material he could relate to. US urban not European pastoral, a reek of the blues, a snarl of reality. Why not the story of a black man murdered in police custody?..."
“In these divided times, we hope to create something that brings people together with mutual respect, understanding, and communication across races and generations.” — Lawrence Brownlee
Lawrence Brownlee will premiere a new song cycle entitled "Cycles of My Being," composed by Tyshawn Sorey with lyrics by Terrance Hayes. The piece will look at what it means to be an African American man living in America today.
The world premiere will be at Opera Philadelphia's Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts on February 20, followed by a performance on February 22 at Lyric Opera of Chicago, and then at Carnegie Hall on April 24.
Including performance runs with Gran Teatre del Liceu Barcelona (house debut), Opera Zürich, Royal Opera House London, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Bayerische Staatsoper, and Opéra National de Paris, and the premiere of a newly-commissioned song cycle centered around the black male experience in America, entitled Cycles of My Being
Earlier this month, Charlie Parker's YARDBIRD landed in London, with Lawrence receiving rave reviews and appearing on all of the major TV, Radio and newspaper outlets! See below for a sampling of the press coverage, and join us in congratulating our intrepid tenor extraordinaire!
"Brownlee gives a performance of remarkable vocal and dramatic integrity in a taxing central role that rarely takes him from the stage during the opera’s unbroken 90-minute span, and his singing has wonderful colour and ease."
"Tenor Lawrence Brownlee, outstanding as Parker, captures the emotional extremes of a musical genius pushing at artistic and social boundaries."
"You would be hard-pressed to find a new opera sung with more verve or virtuosity. Lawrence Brownlee’s performance in the title role is particularly striking. He is on stage almost throughout; and the stratospherically challenging vocal line written for him often emulates Parker’s own mercurially jagged alto-sax playing."
"...Lawrence Brownlee – the Rossini tenor who was the work’s inspiration – doesn’t play his sax, his charismatic vocalism holds everything together with magnificent authority."
"Brownlee sustains long, ecstatic vocal lines, the shapes of which cannily link jazz to bel canto..."
Backtrack – Review ★★★★
" Lawrence Brownlee, Schnyder alludes, was part of the inspiration for the opera itself, and it’s not hard to see why: scatting and improvising with as much ease as he soared over the sonorous lyrical lines, Brownlee, normally known for his Rossini roles, was on outstanding form."
BBC London, Robert Elms show - Interview with Lawrence Brownlee
BBC Front Row - Interview with Lawrence Brownlee
BBC Radio 3 Music Matters – Interview with Daniel Schnyder, Bridgette A. Wimberly and Lawrence Brownlee
Evening Standard – Comment piece
The Sunday Times - Feature
Hackney Empire and English National Opera present the European Premiere of Charlie Parker's Yardbird. Lawrence will reprise his role as Charlie Parker in this presentation.