James McLennan has been celebrated for his “emotional intensity” (Opera News), “considerable charm,” and “strong yet pure tenor,” (Toronto Star) in a wide range of roles on opera and concert stages across Canada.
Last season’s credits included Goro in Madama Butterfly at Manitoba Opera and Luther Billis in South Pacific for Calgary Opera. He also appeared with Edmonton Opera as Jean Bilodeau in the critically acclaimed production of Les Feluettes, a role he originated for the world premiere at Montreal Opera in 2016. An avid performer of new music, James’ concert appearances included a tour of the Canadian prairies with A Prairie Boy’s Life, a new chamber work by composer John Greer. In 2018, James was awarded a grant from the Canada Council for the Arts, which funded six weeks of study in France under internationally renowned clown and acting teacher, Philippe Gaulier. The current season sees him returning to Edmonton Opera and Pacific Opera Victoria as Gastone in a new production of La Traviata, and he will sing the tenor solo in Handel’s Messiah with the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra. This spring, James debuts with the Regina Symphony in Riel, Heart of the North, a new work by Neil Weisensel and Suzanne M. Steele. He will end the season on a lighter note, with a concert of classic show tunes for the Kelowna Community Concert Association in BC.
Past opera credits include Brighella in Ariadne auf Naxos (Pacific Opera Victoria), Bardolfo in Falstaff (Manitoba Opera), Caïus in Falstaff (Hamilton Opera, Montreal Opera), Almaviva in The Barber of Seville (Edmonton Opera), Goro in Madama Butterfly (Montreal Opera, Pacific Opera Victoria), Pang in Turandot (Edmonton Opera), Triquet in Eugene Onegin (Vancouver Opera, Edmonton Opera), Gastone in La traviata (Calgary Opera, Vancouver Opera), Spoletta in Tosca and Remendado in Carmen (Opera Lyra Ottawa), Beppe in Pagliacci (Hamilton Opera), and the title role in Candide (Toronto Operetta Theatre, Windsor Symphony).
On the concert stage, James has appeared with the Vancouver Bach Choir (Bach Mass in B Minor), the Amadeus Choir (Bach – St. John Passion), the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra (Haydn’s Creation, Tavener Requiem), Toronto Mendelssohn Choir (Handel’s Israel in Egypt), the Grand Philharmonic Choir (Bach Magnificat), Toronto Classical Singers (Mozart Requiem), the Prince George Symphony (Carmina Burana), Pax Christi Choral (Mendelssohn’s Saint Paul Oratorio) and Ottawa’s Thirteen Strings (Britten’s The Company of Heaven, Haydn’s Saint Nicholas Mass).
Last fall James joined the University of Manitoba’s Desautels Faculty of Music as a voice instructor. An alumnus of the Second City Training Centre in Toronto, he is also a certified French translator.