Winner of the Birgit Nilsson prize at the 2016 Operalia competition, tenor Brenton Ryan is hailed by Opera News for his “remarkable tonal suavity and refined phrasing,” and is widely recognized as a singer of great vocal diversity and dramatic depth. The 2019 – 2020 season sees Mr, Ryan’s return to the Metropolitan Opera as Der Naar in the new William Kentridge production of Wozzeck, conducted by Yannick Nézet-Séguin, as well as a return to Houston Grand Opera as Monostatos in the Barrie Kosky production of Die Zauberflöte. Mr. Ryan also sings both Novice in Billy Budd and Don Curzio in Le nozze di Figaro with San Francisco Opera, and Don Basilio in a new production of Le nozze di Figaro with LA Opera, conducted by James Conlon.
Mr. Ryan returned to the Metropolitan Opera in the 2018 – 2019 season to sing both Spoletta in Sir David McVicar’s production of Tosca and Monostatos in the Julie Taymor production of The Magic Flute. Mr. Ryan also made his European debut singing Pedrillo in a new production of Die Entführung aus dem Serail with Opéra de Monte-Carlo, returned to Opera Theatre of Saint Louis singing Nero in Tim Albery’s production of The Coronation of Poppea, and returned to Opera Philadelphia for his role debut as Lysander in the U.S. premiere of Robert Carsen’s production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Orchestral engagements included Beethoven’s Choral Fantasy with the LA Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl, conducted by Bramwell Tovey.
Highlights of previous seasons include Mr. Ryan’s house and role debut at the Metropolitan Opera as Pedrillo in Die Entführung aus dem Serail, conducted by James Levine in his final appearance as Music Director, and has subsequently appeared twice as Spoletta in the new David McVicar production of Tosca. Additional highlights include his Lyric Opera of Chicago debut as Der Narr in Wozzeck conducted by Sir Andrew Davis, and his house debut with San Francisco Opera as Janek in Oliver Tambosi’s production of The Makropulos Case. At LA Opera, Mr. Ryan has sung Pedrillo in the James Robinson production of Die Entführung aus dem Serail, John Wormley in concert performances of Matthew Aucoin’s Crossing. Gastone in La traviata alongside Placido Domingo, Monostatos in Die Zauberflöte, Spirit/Sailor Dido and Aeneas, Léon in The Ghosts of Versailles, which received a 2017 Grammy Award for Best Opera Recording, and Beppe in Pagliacci conducted by Domingo. Mr. Ryan made his house debut with Opera Philadelphia as Monostatos in the Barrie Kosky production of Die Zauberflöte, his house debut with Santa Fe Opera singing the role of Dancing Master in Ariadne auf Naxos, and his house debut with Dallas Opera singing both Gastone in La traviata and Florian in Der Ring des Polykrates. He has also sung Henrik in A Little Night Music in his house debut with Houston Grand Opera.
Additional operatic engagements include his house debut with San Diego Opera as Gastone in La traviata, his house debut with Opera Theatre of Saint Louis singing the roles of Titorelli, Flogger, and Student in the US premiere of The Trial by Philip Glass, The Male Chorus in Britten’s The Rape of Lucretia, Belfiore in Rossini’s Il viaggio a Reims, and Bardolfo in Verdi’s Falstaff as a Filene Young Artist at Wolf Trap Opera Company, Tony in West Side Story, and Léon in The Ghosts of Versailles at the Aspen Music Festival and School, Mosca in John Musto’s Volpone, Nanki-Poo in Gilbert and Sullivan’s Mikado, Captain Macheath in The Beggar’s Opera, and the Prince in Susa’s Transformations.
Mr. Ryan’s concert appearances include semi-staged performances of Wozzeck, which received a 2018 Grammy for Best Opera Recording, and Ravel’s L’heure Espagnole, both with the Houston Symphony under Hans Graf, his Virginia Symphony Orchestra debut for Orff’s Carmina Burana, his Los Angeles Philharmonic debut in Beethoven's Choral Fantasy, conducted by Gustavo Dudamel, Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 with both the Lexington Philharmonic and Rice University, Mozart’s Requiem with the Omaha Symphony, and Elijah at DePaul University. Recital work includes his debut at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. and concerts with the New York Festival of Song at both Caramoor and Merkin Hall in New York City. Mr. Ryan is a 2012 alum of the Music Academy of the West.
A graduate of Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music, Mr. Ryan also holds a Bachelor of Music degree from DePaul University. He is featured in the film In Our Nature, starring John Slattery, Zach Gilford, Gabrielle Union, and Jena Malone, singing a selection from Pagliacci.
Operalia Final Round 2016
Wolf Trap Opera 2016
"Das ist die schöne Jägerei..."
"Läuft dort ein Has vorbei..."
"O Tochter, liebe Tochter..."
Recorded live 2017
“With palpable chemistry, gorgeous vocalism and full-on physical commitment to their passions, [Ryan and Fons] captured all the dramatic urgency of the score. Ryan’s silkily sung, hot-headed Nerone reserved the full spectacle for his cruelty for his sudden, shocking (and unscripted) murder of Octavia.” - Opera News
“Brenton Ryan plays the sneering, contempt-laden Nerone to perfection, somehow imbuing the character with sympathetic graces even as he gleefully doles out punishment and cruelty.” - Tina Farmer
“The ensemble features a litany of returning performers including Brenton Ryan as Nerone, a role in which he gives his every fiber to portraying as dastardly, sneaking, power mad oligarch whose unpleasant temperament is quelled when in the presence of his mistress. The beauty in Ryan’s performance here is that he gives audiences a character that is both morally bankrupt and vulnerable.” - Rob Levy
“Heading a virtually flawless cast are mezzo-soprano Emily Fons, vocally and physically alluring as the scheming minx Poppea; and the commanding tenor Brenton Ryan as Nerone, whose firm, clear vocalism shines like a beacon even while the emperor and his consort-to-be are pawing each other on that ever-present table. Seldom is self-interested corruption on the operatic stage such delicious fun to behold.” - John von Rhein
“Ryan and Miss Fons bring superb high voices to their roles. Their final duet, "Pur ti miro" is simply sublime. Miss Fons shows a lovely vocal warmth, and Ryan has astonishing mastery of dynamics.” - Steve Callahan
“Her Nerone, tenor Benton Ryan, sang elegantly and made the character’s evolution from spoiled hedonist to overt sociopath thoroughly convincing.” - Sarah Bryan Miller
“Ryan is simply terrific. With his youth and slicked-back hair, he may resemble Eric Trump more than his corpulent father, but his Nerone is no joke; the emperor is dangerous.” - Sarah Fenske