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David Portillo


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Praised by Opera News for “high notes with ease, singing with a luxuriant warm glow that seduced the ear as he bounded about the stage with abandon,” American tenor David Portillo has established himself as one of the leading artists of his generation.

In the 2016-2017 season, David Portillo will make his Australian debut singing Ferrando in Così fan tutte with Opera Australia, in a new production by Sir David McVicar, conducted by Jonathan Darlington. Other roles include a return to the Metropolitan Opera as Jacquino in Fidelio conducted by Sebastian Weigle, Tamino in Die Zauberflöte for his debut with Oper Frankfurt, Pedrillo in Die Entführung aus dem Serail for a debut with Dutch National Opera, Don Ramiro in La Cenerentola with San Diego Opera, and Dr. Richardson in the world-premiere performances of Breaking the Waves at Opera Philadelphia, composed by Missy Mazzoli, with libretto by Royce Vavrek, based on the film of Lars von Trier. Concert performances include an international tour of Handel’s Ariodante in the role of Lurcanio, conducted by Harry Bicket. Tour stops include Carnegie Hall, Theater an der Wien, Théâtre des Champs-Élysées, The Barbican, Elbphilharmonie in Hamburg, Kansas City, Missouri, Chapel Hill, North Carolina and Ann Arbor, Michigan. Mr. Portillo will also perform selected classical works with organ with the Madison Symphony.

In the 2015-2016 season, David Portillo made his Metropolitan Opera debut as Count Almaviva in Il barbiere di Siviglia, opposite Isabel Leonard. Of the performance, the New York Times said that he, “displayed a warm, nuanced tone.” Mr. Portillo also returned to Lyric Opera of Chicago as Andres in Wozzeck in a new production by Sir David McVicar, conducted by Sir Andrew Davis, and to Palm Beach Opera in a role debut as Ernesto in Don Pasquale. European engagements included his debut at the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées as Pedrillo, and the tenor soloist in Schumann’s Das Paradies und die Peri with the Netherlands Radio Orchestra. Mr. Portillo concluded the season with a return to the Glyndebourne Festival as David in Sir David McVicar’s production of Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg.

The 2014-2015 season saw Mr. Portillo return to Houston Grand Opera as Tamino, conducted by Robert Spano, a company debut as Don Ramiro at Washington National Opera, and returns to the Festival d’Aix-en-Provence as Pedrillo and Arizona Opera for his critically-acclaimed portrayal of Tonio in La fille du régiment. Orchestral engagements included Handel’s Messiah with St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, Kansas City Symphony, and Richmond Symphony, and Berlioz’s rarely performed Lélio with the Dayton Philharmonic. Mr. Portillo also appeared as Tebaldo in concert performances of I Capuleti e i Montecchi with Washington Concert Opera, and as Gastone in La Traviata with the Los Angeles Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl.

Past seasons on the operatic stage include appearances at Lyric Opera of Chicago (David in Die Meistersinger, Trin, La fanciulla del West), Metropolitan Opera/Juilliard Opera (Renaud, Armide), Opera Philadelphia (Don Ottavio, Don Giovanni), Opera Theatre of St. Louis (Don Ottavio; Ferrando), Pittsburgh Opera (Belmonte, Die Entführung aus dem Serail; Count Almaviva), Fort Worth Opera (Don Ottavio), Tulsa Opera (Count Almaviva), Virginia Opera (Ferrando), Wolf Trap Opera (Narciso, Il turco in Italia; Flute, A Midsummer Night’s Dream), Dayton Opera (Tonio), Arizona Opera (Ralph Rackstraw, HMS Pinafore), Palm Beach Opera (Count Almaviva), the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia in Rome, Italy (Ferdinand, The Tempest), and the Saito Kinen Festival in Japan (Gonzalve, L’heure espagnole). Mr. Portillo has also made important European debuts in recent seasons with Wiener Staatsoper (Count Almaviva), Festival d’Aix-en-Provence (Lurcanio), Salzburg Festival (Don Gaspar in Donizetti’s La favorite), and with Opera Angers-Nantes (Narciso).

With orchestra, Mr. Portillo has appeared as the tenor soloist in Verdi’s Requiem and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 with the Phoenix Symphony, Elmhurst Symphony, and Colorado Music Festival, and Haydn’s Creation with the Colorado Music Festival. He has also appeared in recital with Steven Blier and the Schwabacher Debut Recital under the auspices of the San Francisco Opera Center, where the San Francisco Chronicle lauded that his “tenor rang out clearly and brightly, his diction was exemplary, and he moved with easy assurance from the 17th century to the 20th.”

An alumnus of the Ryan Opera Center at Lyric Opera of Chicago, Merola Opera Program at San Francisco Opera, and Wolf Trap Opera in Vienna, Virginia, Mr. Portillo has added to his repertoire the Chevalier de la Force in Dialogues of the Carmelites, Nadir in Les pêcheurs de perles, Fenton in Falstaff, Alfredo in La traviata, the title role in Albert Herring, and Sam Kaplan in Street Scene.

A native of Texas, Mr. Portillo is the recipient of many prizes, including a 2009 Sullivan Foundation Encouragement Award, 2009 American Opera Society of Chicago Award, 2009 Shoshana Foundation Grant, the 2009 Winner of the Bel Canto Scholarship Foundation Competition, and the 2008 Winner of the Men’s Prize of the Union League of Chicago Young Adult’s Music Competition. 

Where words fail, music speaks.

- Hans Christian Andersen