Opera News Feature
His work onstage is the perfect marriage of splendid voice and unfaltering genuineness.
Matthew Polenzani’s performances are characterized by beauty of tone, grace and authenticity. His star-blazing moments occur in thoughtful soliloquies, peaks of revelation and bursts of emotional depth, when his near-seamless voix mixte propels his lines through pristine exultation or confession: he lets the sweetly spun, lyrical silkiness of his tenor shape the emotion of the sound, and his audiences perch on the edges of their seats as they are pulled into the core of his characters’ feelings. A Polenzani performance is always one of raw honesty.
Opera News readers first encountered the Chicago native through a Sound Bites profile in 2001, after he appeared in comprimario roles in Met productions of Der Fliegende Holländer and Fidelio; he had made his debut with the Met in 1997, as Khrushchov in Boris Godunov. New York has since heard Polenzani in more than 300 performances of an impressive thirty-five roles in thirty-three operas, beginning with smaller parts in operas by Tchaikovsky, Saint-Saëns, Janácek and Schoenberg and graduating to the exciting tenor showcases of Rossini, Verdi, Offenbach, Mozart and, in particular over the past few seasons, Donizetti.