The young American bass Kevin Burdette has already impressed audiences on both sides of the Atlantic with his mellifluous voice and strongly dramatic characterizations. The San Francisco Chronicle called his Leporello in Don Giovanni “a tour de force of vocal splendor and comic timing,” and the New York Times dubbed him “the Robin Williams of opera.” He was featured as Stefano in Adès’ The Tempest with the Metropolitan Opera, the DVD of which, on Deutsche Grammophon, was awarded the 2014 Grammy Award for “Best Opera Recording” and a French Diapason d’Or.
In the 2014-15 season Kevin Burdette sings Bartolo in Il barbiere di Siviglia with Opera Philadelphia; Beck Weathers in Talbot’s Everest with Dallas Opera (world premiere); reprises his role as the Ogre in Montsalvatge’s El gato con botas, with Gotham Chamber Opera; sings T.J. Rigg in Elmer Gantry with Florentine Opera; and returns to Boston Lyric Opera as Leporello in Don Giovanni. He returns to Santa Fe Opera in summer 2015 as Sulpice in La fille du régiment and Stobrod/Blind Man in the world premiere of Higdon’s Cold Mountain. Season 2015-16 includes creating the roles of Eric Gold and the Ghost of Vittorio Bazzetti in Heggie’s Great Scott and a principal role in the world premiere of Mark Adamo’s Becoming Santa Claus in returns to Dallas Opera; performing Dulcamara in L’elisir d’amore and reprising his roles in Cold Mountain in returns to Opera Philadelphia; making his Atlanta Opera debut as The Pirate King in The Pirates of Penzance; and returning to Portland Opera as Judge Turpin in Sweeney Todd.
Recent season engagements included his return to the Metropolitan Opera for a reprise of Stefano in The Tempest and multiple roles in Shostakovich’s The Nose; his returns to Santa Fe Opera as Général Boum in La grande-duchesse de Gérolstein, Justice Wills and Henry B. Isaacson in the world premiere of Morrison’s Oscar, Herr Puff in The Impresario, and Chamberlain in Le Rossignol; Dulcamara in L’elisir d’amore and Sulpice in La fille du régiment with San Diego Opera; a fully staged production of Gruber’s Gloria, a Pig Tale, under Alan Gilbert, as part of the New York Philharmonic’s Inaugural Biennial; Doktor in Wozzeck with the Philharmonia Orchestra, under Esa-Pekka Salonen; soloist in Messiah with Seattle Symphony, Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, and the Duke Chapel Choir and in Mozart’s Requiem with Grand Rapids Symphony; Viceroy (Don Andres de Ribeira) in Offenbach’s La Perichole with New York City Opera; Sergeant of Police in The Pirates of Penzance with Portland Opera; Ko-Ko in The Mikado with Opera Memphis; and Osmin in Die Entführung aus dem Serail with Opera Grand Rapids.
Other highlights include Leporello with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, under Gustavo Dudamel; Prophet/King in the world premiere of Nico Muhly’s Dark Sisters with Opera Company of Philadelphia and with Gotham Chamber Opera; Bartolo in Il barbiere di Siviglia with Lyric Opera of Kansas City; Ko-Ko in The Mikado with Virginia Opera; soloist in Messiah with Nashville Symphony Orchestra, with the United States Naval Academy and Annapolis Symphony Orchestra, also with Les Violons du Roy, under Bernard Labadie; Papageno in a return to Opera Grand Rapids; and Stefano in The Tempest with L’Opera de Quebec.
Additional successes include The Ogre in the United States stage premiere of Xavier Montsalvatge’s El gato con botas with Gotham Chamber Opera; the dual roles of Death and The Loudspeaker in Emperor of Atlantis with Boston Lyric Opera; Papageno with Phoenix Opera; Nick Shadow in The Rake’s Progress at the Princeton Festival; Mr. Scattergood in Menotti’s The Last Savage for his debut with Santa Fe Opera; his return to the roster of the Metropolitan Opera for productions of Wozzeck, Strauss’ Elektra and in Shostakovich’s The Nose; Rabbi Akiva in Dessau’s “Haggadah shel Pescah” with American Symphony Orchestra; Messiah with Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra; Osmin in Die Entführung aus dem Serail and Colline in La bohème with Teatro Colon in Buenos Aires; Commendatore in Don Giovanni with Boston Youth Symphony Orchestra; Bartolo in Il barbiere di Siviglia with Knoxville Opera; and soloist in Verdi’s Requiem with New Jersey Symphony Orchestra.
He has sung Le Notaire in L’Ile de Merlin at the Spoleto Festival USA, made his debut with Boston Baroque as Don Alfonso in Così fan tutte, was soloist in Bach’s Mass in B Minor with the American Symphony Orchestra, in Messiah with the Annapolis Symphony Orchestra for the United States Naval Academy, debuted with Seattle Opera as Mustafà in L’italiana in Algeri and as Masetto in Don Giovanni. He performed “Time” in Gerald Barry’s The Triumph of Beauty and Deceit for the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and returned to New York City Opera as The Sergeant in a production of The Pirates of Penzance that originated at Glimmerglass Opera. His numerous other roles at New York City Opera have included Leporello, Papageno, Archibald Grosvenor in Gilbert & Sullivan’s Patience, Siroco in L’Étoile, Pish-Tush in The Mikado, Masetto in Don Giovanni, Pallante in Agrippina, Angelotti in Tosca, and Mago in Rinaldo.
He made his debut with L’Opéra de Montréal, singing Claudius in the company premiere of Agrippina; debuted with the Chicago Opera Theater as Bottom in A Midsummer Night's Dream; sang Sergeant Sulpice in La Fille du régiment with Knoxville Opera; returned to Gotham Chamber Opera as Minos in the American premiere of Handel's Arianna in Creta; gave first performances of Osmin with Opéra de Québec; of Don Alfonso in Così fan tutte with Toledo Opera; sang Figaro in Le nozze di Figaro with Opera Grand Rapids; Marquis in La forza del destino with Collegiate Chorale, and returned to Glimmerglass Opera as Popolani in Offenbach’s Bluebeard. Other accomplishments include Siroco and Archibald Grosvenor with Glimmerglass Opera; Raimondo in Lucia di Lammermoor with Lyric Opera of San Antonio; Mustafà in L'italiana in Algeri, title role in Don Pasquale, Elviro in Xerxes, and Masetto in Don Giovanni, all with Wolf Trap Opera; the Priest in Die schwarze Spinne with Gotham Chamber Opera; and Fafner in a chamber version of Das Rheingold with the Eos Orchestra.
On the concert stage Kevin Burdette debuted with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra as soloist in Messiah; performed Wim in the American premiere of Philippe Manoury’s 60ème parallèle, with the Berkeley Symphony Orchestra and Kent Nagano; appeared at Alice Tully Hall as soloist in Brahms’ Liebeslieder Wälzer; with Collegiate Chorale at Carnegie Hall as Sam in Un ballo in maschera; returned to Avery Fisher Hall as soloist in Liszt’s Missa Solemnis with American Symphony Orchestra; was soloist in Beethoven’s Choral Fantasy and Verdi’s Macbeth with Collegiate Chorale at Carnegie Hall; in Messiah at the American Cathedral in Paris and at the Midland Center for the Arts; in Mozart’s Mass in C with the Eos Orchestra; gave concerts with the Vienna Festival; sang Jesus in St. Matthew Passion with Knoxville Civic Orchestra; and Stravinsky’s Renard with both Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center and the Utah Symphony.
An alumnus of the Juilliard Opera Theater and the University of Tennessee, Kevin Burdette is a former member of the Opéra National de Paris Young Artists’ Program and San Francisco’s Merola Opera Program. He is also the recipient of the prestigious Richard F. Gold Career Grant Award awarded by the Shoshana Foundation, and of the 2006 Dr. Marcia Robbins-Wilf Award, presented by New York City Opera to an artist who demonstrates outstanding dramatic ability.
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