Michael Colvin

Michael Colvin, Tenor

Pacific Opera Victoria
Mayor Upfold in Albert Herring
Clem in The Little Sweep
February / March, 2013

Irish-Canadian tenor Michael Colvin made his Pacific Opera Victoria debut as the Italian Singer in the 2010 Canadian stage première of Richard Strauss's Capriccio. In fall 2011 he was the Steersman in POV's The Flying Dutchman. He returns in February 2013 to perform in two of Pacific Opera Victoria's Britten Festival productions in celebration of the 100th birthday of Benjamin Britten. He will be Clem, the Sweepmaster's assistant, in The Little Sweep, and in Albert Herring he will be Mayor Upfold.

In recent seasons, Michael has appeared to great critical acclaim in a number of productions with the English National Opera of works by Benjamin Britten – most recently as the outrageous Flute/Thisby in Christopher Alden's controversial new production of A Midsummer Night's Dream and as the sinister Peter Quint in David McVicar's award-winning production of The Turn of the Screw, conducted by the late Sir Charles Mackerras. Other recent appearances include Bob Boles in Peter Grimes for both the BBC Proms and Opera de Oviedo, Spain and a return to ENO as Red Whiskers/Captain Vere (cover) in David Alden's new production of Billy Budd in 2012.

Michael also appeared as the disgruntled Methodist preacher, Bob Boles in David Alden's 2009 ENO production of Peter Grimes, conducted by ENO Music Director, Ed Gardner – a role he covered at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden in 2011. Other important Britten roles include the Male Chorus in The Rape of Lucretia for both the Canadian Opera Company and Chicago Opera Theater, and Gustav von Aschenbach in Death in Venice, a role he covered recently for the Canadian Opera Company. He even appeared as Johnny Inkslinger in Britten's rarely performed first opera, Paul Bunyan, in a 1998 production at the University of Toronto. Michael has also performed Britten's Serenade for Tenor, Horn & Strings many times over the years, and he counts Britten's Canticles and several song cycles among his growing recital repertoire.

Hailed in Opera News as possessing one of the most beautiful young lyric tenor instruments around , Michael Colvin has appeared to critical acclaim on opera and concert stages throughout Canada, the USA, UK and Europe.

His 2012/13 engagements include Goro (Madama Butterfly) with Boston Lyric Opera, performances of Britten's Serenade with Louisville Symphony Orchestra and St. Nicolas Cantata with Kitchener's Grand Philharmonic Choir, and Messiah with the New Mexico Symphonic Chorus. After performing in POV's Britten Festival, he returns to the Canadian Opera Company as the Second Jew in Salome and the Chaplain in Dialogues of the Carmelites.

Mr. Colvin's 2011/2012 season was highlighted by featured roles in important German repertoire: Der Steuermann in Pacific Opera Victoria's Der Fliegende Holländer, Narraboth in Salome for Manitoba Opera, Beethoven's Missa Solemnis for the Richard Eaton Singers of Edmonton and Mahler's Das Lied von der Erde for the Louisville Orchestra. He appeared in roles in several productions for English National Opera, including Bob Boles in Britten's Peter Grimes; Goro in Madama Butterfly, and Red Whiskers and the cover of Captain Vere in Billy Budd. Mr. Colvin also sang Messiah under Trevor Pinnock with the National Arts Centre Orchestra in Ottawa and was heard at Toronto's Aldeburgh Connection.

In 2010/2011, Michael returned to English National Opera as Flute in A Midsummer Night's Dream and covered the role of Aschenbach in Death in Venice for the Canadian Opera Company. He performed with the Seattle Symphony and Kitchener Waterloo's Grand Philharmonic Choir in Messiah and continued his recording project of Ukrainian art songs by Lysenko. He also appeared with the New Mexico Symphony singing Haydn's Die Schöpfung.

His 2009/2010 Season at ENO included Peter Quint in Britten's The Turn of the Screw, conducted by Sir Charles Mackerras, and Flute in Britten's A Midsummer Night's Dream. In Canada, he appeared as Arbace in the Canadian Opera Company's production of Idomeneo and as the Italian Singer in Pacific Opera Victoria's Capriccio. On the concert stage he sang Verdi's Requiem for the Richard Eaton Singers of Calgary, Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 for Vancouver Symphony and Messiah for the New Mexico Symphony, Vancouver Cantata Singers and Toronto's Elmer Iseler Singers.

Michael's 2008/2009 season featured his Minnesota Opera debut as Belmonte in Die Entführung aus dem Serail and a season at ENO as Bob Boles in David Alden's production of Peter Grimes conducted by Edward Gardner and as Goro in the Minghella production of Madama Butterfly. Concert highlights included Haydn's Creation with the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 with the Calgary Philharmonic and Kingston Symphony, Messiah with the Winnipeg Symphony and Chorus Niagara, Vivaldi's Dixit Dominus for the National Ballet of Canada and a recital with Toronto's Aldeburgh Connection.

Recent operatic roles include Ferrando in Così fan tutte for the Canadian Opera Company, Ramiro in La Cenerentola for Portland Opera, Don Ottavio in Chicago Opera Theater's Don Giovanni, Normanno in Lucia di Lammermoor with ENO and his critically acclaimed UK opera debut as Rodrigo in La Donna del Lago for Garsington Opera. Other engagements include Almaviva in The Barber of Seville for Lyric Opera of Kansas City and Opera Lyra Ottawa, Belmonte in Die Entführung aus dem Serail, The Rape of Lucretia and Semele for Chicago Opera Theater, the COC's Rodelinda conducted by Harry Bicket, Argirio opposite Ewa Podles in the Canadian Opera Company's Tancredi, Shepherd in Oedipus Rex for the Edinburgh International Festival, Belfiore in Il Viaggio a Reims with Portland Opera, Tamino in Manitoba Opera's The Magic Flute and L'Italiana in Algeri for Opera Festival of New Jersey. For the COC he has sung in L'Italiana in Algeri, Il Viaggio a Reims (Belfiore), Don Giovanni, and The Barber of Seville. Other credits include a recording project of the works of Lysenko, a big-screen debut as Don Ottavio in the film Don Giovanni Unmasked alongside baritone Dmitri Hvorostovsky, and recordings on the NAXOS, CBC and Warner Music labels.

On the concert platform Michael has sung Mozart's Requiem for Chicago's Grant Park Festival and Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Handel's Messiah and Bach's Weihnachtsoratorium with Nicholas McGegan and Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra, Messiah with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra / Glover, National Arts Centre Orchestra / Pinnock and Rochester Philharmonic, Schubert's Mass in A Flat with Helmut Rilling and Festival Vancouver, Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Detroit Symphony Orchestra, l'Orchestre symphonique de Quèbec, Elora Festival and Festival de Lanuadière, Elgar's The Dream of Gerontius, Haydn's Die Schöpfung and Verdi's Requiem for the Elora Festival, Britten's Serenade for Tenor, Horn and Strings with Richard Bradshaw and the Canadian Opera Company Orchestra, Dvorák's Stabat Mater with Andrey Boreyko and the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, Mendelssohn's Elijah with the Ulster Orchestra in Belfast, and Mahler's Das Lied von der Erde for the National Ballet of Canada. Recital highlights include Vaughan Williams' On Wenlock Edge and Brahms' Liebeslieder Walzer for CBC Radio, Schubert's Die Schöne Müllerin at Toronto's Glenn Gould Studio and regular appearances with Toronto's Aldeburgh Connection and Off Centre Music Salon.

Born in Ballymena, Northern Ireland, and raised in Toronto, Michael began his musical studies at St. Michael's Choir School in Toronto and returned to music after attaining his Bachelor of Science in Immunology from the University of Toronto. A graduate of the University of Toronto Opera Division, Michael has also trained with the Canadian Opera Company's Ensemble Studio, the Britten-Pears School in Aldeburgh, England and Canada's Banff Centre for the Arts. He has been the recipient of numerous awards and scholarships, most notably the Canadian Opera Foundation Award and a Chalmers Performing Arts Award. Michael makes his home in Toronto, Canada.


Below: Michael Colvin performs Down by the Salley Gardens, an Irish Folk Song with words by William Butler Yeats, arranged by Benjamin Britten. The pianist is Bruce Ubukata, and the concert was part of a gala celebrating the 30th anniversary of Toronto's Aldeburgh Connection.

An Italian tenor (Michael Colvin) and his diva (Virginia Hatfield) love and die with perfectly gauged bel canto extravagance and comic timing ...
Elissa Poole, The Globe and Mail, review of Capriccio, February 2010

Britten's tersest, nastiest opera... receives what must be the production of its lifetime in David McVicar's staging. ENO's unmissable revival adds to its X-ray of Victorian repression a cast that couldn't be bettered. As the all-too-real ghosts, Michael Colvin is a defiant Peter Quint, his flowery melismas embodying decadence rather than spookiness ...
- The Independent

Michael Colvin, in the Peter Pears role of Flute, delivered flawless line,sonorous tone and impeccable acting.
Opera Canada

December 2012