A wonderfully fresh and robust voice, with clarion top notes and a gift for sweet phrasing …
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.
Matthew Polenzani’s 2016/17 season opens with his return to the Bavarian Staatsoper for a new production of Donizetti’s La Favorite. On the same stage, the tenor is also Rodolfo and Tamino in the revivals of La Bohème and Die Zauberflöte. The Metropolitan Opera in New York has been, and continues to be his artistic home, and he returns there to star in the productions of Idomeneo, Der Rosenkavalier (staging by Robert Carsen) and Don Giovanni. Moreover, in his hometown Chicago he will be Tamino in Die Zauberföte at the Lyric Opera. In concert, Matthew Polenzani joins the New York Philharmonic for Händel’s Messiah and he sings Mahler’s Des Knaben Wunderhorn at the Carnegie Hall in New York.
In the 2015/2016 season, Mr. Polenzani was Don Ottavio at the Opéra National de Paris in Michael Haneke’s acclaimed Don Giovanni. He sang Werther at the Bayerische Staatsoper and at the Vienna Staatsoper and he debuted at the Gran Teatre del Liceu in Barcelona singing Rodolfo in Puccini’s La Bohème. At the Metropolitan Opera in New York he debuted the roles of Nadir in Les Pêcheurs de Perles and 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. Moreover, the tenor essayed 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. Concert appearances included the participation in the Mostly Mozart Gala event at New York’s Fischer Hall, a concert at the Ravinia Festival with pianist Kevin Murphy, and a Liederabend in Frankfurt at Oper Frankfurt with Julius Drake.
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 Les Contes d’Hoffmann, 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 La 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; La Traviata at the Opernhaus Zurich, I Capuleti e I Montecchi at the Paris Opera; L’elisir d’amore and Die Zauberflöte at Bayerische Staatsoper; L’elisir d’amore at the Vienna Staatsoper, Teatro San Carlo and Teatro dell’Opera di Roma; Così fan tutte and Idomeneo 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 Don Giovanni at the Salzburg Festival (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, Sir Simon Rattle, Wolfgang Sawallisch, Leonard Slatkin, Sir Jeffrey Tate, Michael Tilson Thomas, Franz Welser-Möst, David Zinman, Riccardo Chailly, Daniel Harding 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, Münchner Philharmoniker, 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.
Occasionally singing with beautifully soft, honeyed tone, but mostly with all out romantic lyricism, he remains strong and rapturous throughout the opera. All in all, Polenzani’s is a stupendous portrayal [of Hoffmann].