Something of a rarity in the early twenty-first century, tenor Lawrence Brownlee is best known for his finesse in bel canto roles; he also managed to be one of the few praiseworthy elements in the critically reviled 2005 premiere of Lorin Maazel's opera 1984. Brownlee routinely draws accolades for his elegant phrasing and his agility in high tessituras.
The Ohio native (born Larry Everston Brownlee, Jr.) took his undergraduate degree fromRead more Anderson University, obtained his master's from Indiana University, and participated in the Seattle Young Artists program. At age 28, he was an audience favorite at the 2001 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, where he sang Donizetti and Rossini. That season he made his debut at La Scala as Count Almaviva in Rossini's Il barbière di Siviglia. This success was soon followed by performances in works of like composers at regional American opera houses, as well as various houses in Italy and Switzerland. Two critics declared that he "stole the show" in a 2004 Washington Concert Opera performance of Rossini's La donna del lago, and he earned similarly positive critical receptions in ensuing appearances in works as diverse as Rossini's L'Italiana in Algeri, Catán's Florencia in the Amazon, and 1984. (Brownlee first worked with composer-conductor Maazel in a New York Philharmonic concert featuring excerpts from Gershwin's Porgy and Bess.) Seattle Opera snapped him up for lead roles over the course of several seasons, while Brownlee continues to perform on the international stage as well as in concert with such orchestras as the Detroit Symphony and Berlin Philharmonic. Although his opera repertoire is primarily limited to Handel, Mozart, Bellini, Donizetti, and Rossini, Brownlee has a wider concert list, including particularly the works of Britten. Read less