The Scene


Matthew Polenzani

Matthew Polenzani
Photo by Dario Acosta

Tenor Matthew Polenzani is one of the most gifted and distinguished lyric tenors of his generation. His elegant musicianship, innate sense of style and dramatic commitment find him at virtually every leading operatic, concert and recital venue in the world.

Mr. Polenzani’s 20152016 season opens with his return to the Opéra National de Paris as Ottavio in Michael Haneke’s acclaimed Don Giovanni. The tenor is Werther at the Bayerische Staatsoper in Munich and again in Vienna, at the Vienna Staatsoper. The Metropolitan Opera in New York has been, and continues to be his artistic home, and he returns there to star in two new productions. He will sing Nadir, in Les Pêcheurs de Perles, and sings the title role in Roberto Devereux, in a production by Sir David McVicar, with both operas being featured on the Met’s Live in HD series, broadcast to more than 2000 movie theaters worldwide. Mr Polenzani also makes his debut at the Gran Teatre del Liceu Barcelona singing Rodolfo in Puccini’s La Bohème. In concert, Mr Polenzani essays Die Schöne Müllerin at Northwestern University, as part of the opening season in the brand new Mary B. Galvin Recital Hall, with Alan Darling at the piano. He will reprise the work with Julius Drake, in a Liederabend in Frankfurt at Oper Frankfurt.

In the 1415 season, the tenor was Idomeneo in a new production of Mozart’s masterpiece at London’s Royal Opera. He sang Hoffmann in Les Contes d’Hoffmann, under the baton of James Levine at the Metropolitan Opera. Mr. Polenzani reprised his Nemorino in L’elisir d’amore, and added Tamino in Die Zauberflöte, to his repertory at the Bayerische Staatsoper. He also made his debut at the Opernhaus Zürich, as Alfredo in Verdi’s La Traviata. Concert appearances included Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Riccardo Muti, and Verdi’s Requiem, at Teatro alla Scala in Milan, with Riccardo Chailly conducting, and a New Year’s Eve Gala Concert in Venezia, with Maria Agresta, and Daniel Harding conducting. Mr. Polenzani also returned to the Festival Musique et Vin au Clos Vougeot, in a duo concert with Soprano Marlis Petersen, under Maurizio Benini’s baton. Pianist Julius Drake accompanied the tenor in a widely acclaimed 10 city recital tour, culminating at London’s famed Wigmore Hall.

Among the many highlights from recent Metropolitan Opera seasons are the premieres of Bartlett Sher’s production of L’elisir d’amore, which opened the 2012 season, and Sir David McVicar’s production of Maria Stuarda (issued on DVD by Erato), Willy Decker’s production of La traviata, Julie Taymor’s legendary Die Zauberflöte (DVD available from the Metropolitan Opera), and revivals of Rigoletto, Don Pasquale (issued on DVD by Deutsche Grammophon), Don Giovanni, Roméo et Juliette, Il barbiere di Siviglia, Così fan tutte, Falstaff, Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg (DVD available from Deutsche Grammophon) and L’Italiana in Algeri. To date, he has sung over 300 performances at the Met, many conducted by his musical mentor, James Levine. Across America, he has sung with Lyric Opera Chicago, San Francisco Opera, Seattle Opera and the Los Angeles Opera, among others, in repertory that includes Clemenza di Tito, Werther, Les Contes d’Hoffmann, La traviata, Roméo et Juliette, Die Entführung aus dem Serail, Don Giovanni, Don Pasquale, Il barbiere di Siviglia and Die Zauberflöte.

Following Matthew Polenzani’s debut as Gérald in Delibes’s Lakmé with Opéra National de Bordeaux in France in 1998, appearances in other major European theaters include productions of Don Pasquale and La Traviata at the Teatro Comunale in Florence, the Aix-en-Provence Festival (DVD available on Bel Air Classiques) and on a tour of Japan with Torino’s Teatro Regio; I Capuleti e I Montecchi at the Paris Opera and Bayerische Staatsoper; L’elisir d’amore at the Vienna Staatsoper, Bavarian Staatsoper, Teatro San Carlo and Teatro dell’Opera di Roma; Così fan tutte at Covent Garden with Sir Colin Davis and in Paris with Philippe Jordan; Lucia di Lammermoor in Paris, Vienna and Frankfurt; La Damnation de Faust at Frankfurt Opera and Berlin at the Deutsche Oper; Manon, in London, and on a tour of Japan with the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden; Idomeneo in Torino with Gianandrea Noseda, Manon with Fabio Luisi and La traviata at La Scala; Rigoletto at the Vienna State Opera conducted by Jesus Lopez-Cobos, and at the Salzburg Festival in Don Giovanni (DVD available on EuroArts).

Mr. Polenzani is in great demand for symphonic work for the world’s most influential conductors including Pierre Boulez, James Conlon, Sir Colin Davis, Riccardo Frizza, Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos, Louis Langrée, James Levine, Jesús López-Cobos, Lorin Maazel, Riccardo Muti, Sir Antonio Pappano, Simon Rattle, Wolfgang Sawallisch, Leonard Slatkin, Sir Jeffrey Tate, Michael Tilson Thomas, Franz Welser-Möst and David Zinman, and with many major orchestras both in the United States and Europe, including the Berlin Philharmonic, Boston Symphony Orchestra, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Cleveland Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, New York Philharmonic, San Francisco Symphony, Cincinnati Symphony, Minnesota Orchestra, Mostly Mozart Festival Orchestra, St. Louis Symphony, Orchestra del Santa Cecilia, Orchestre National de France, Orchestra Giovanile “L. Cherubini” at the Salzburg Whitsun Festival and the Ensemble Orchestra de Paris at the Saint Denis Festival.

In recital, Matthew Polenzani has appeared in numerous venues across America with Julius Drake, and at Wigmore Hall (available on CD from the Wigmore Hall label). He has also appeared with noted pianist Richard Goode in a presentation of Janáček’s The Diary of One Who Vanished at Carnegie’s Zankel Hall, and in recital at the Verbier Festival with pianist Roger Vignoles (commercially available on CD on VAI). Mr. Polenzani was honored to have sung on all three stages of Carnegie Hall in one season: in concert with the MET Chamber Ensemble at Zankel Hall; in solo recital with James Levine at the piano in Weill Hall; and in a Schubert Liederabend on the stage of Isaac Stern Auditorium with colleagues Renée Fleming, Anne Sofie Von Otter, and René Pape, again with James Levine as pianist.

Matthew Polenzani was the recipient of the 2004 Richard Tucker Award and Metropolitan Opera’s 2008 Beverly Sills Artist Award. An avid golfer, he makes his home in suburban New York with his wife, mezzo-soprano Rosa Maria Pascarella and their three sons.

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