Renowned Canadian baritone John Fanning made his Pacific Opera Victoria debut in 1988, as Figaro in The Barber of Seville. He returned in 1990 for the title role in Eugene Onegin and the Pirate King in The Pirates of Penzance. Other POV roles included Mercutio in Romeo and Juliet (1991), Germont in La traviata (1994), Marcello in La BohèmeI(1995), Escamillo in Carmen (1996), Zurga in The Pearlfishers (1996), and the title role in Rigoletto (1998). In 2011 he returns to the POV stage for the title role in Wagner's The Flying Dutchman.
Recently invested as a Member of the Order of Canada, John Fanning's schedule of engagements is evidence of his pre-eminent position among today's baritones. A veteran of nine seasons at the Metropolitan Opera, roles there include John Plake in Sly, co-starring with Placido Domingo, Mandryka in Arabella, the Father in Hänsel und Gretel and Count Almaviva in Le Nozze di Figaro. Further Met highlights include Mr. Astly in The Gambler conducted by Gergiev, Faninal in Der Rosenkavalier and the Four Villains in Les contes d'Hoffmann conducted by James Levine. At the San Francisco Opera he was conducted by Patrick Summers in Louise, he toured the United States as soloist in Mozart's Requiem with Bernard Labadie and Les Violons du Roy and sang Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 with Zukerman in Ottawa with the National Arts Centre Orchestra.
Mr. Fanning's 2010-2011 season began with a role debut, Count di Luna in Il Trovatore, for L'Opéra de Québec. This was followed by Sharpless in Madama Butterfly for Kentucky Opera and he sang Der Musiklehrer in Ariadne auf Naxosfor the Houston Grand Opera in the spring of 2011.
Mr. Fanning's 2009-2010 season was marked by a return to the Met where his assignments included Faninal in Der Rosenkavalier and Musiklehrer in Ariadne auf Naxos. He sang the title role in Casanova's Homecoming for Minnesota Opera and was heard as Kolenaty in The Makropoulos Case in Nantes and Angers, France. He made his role debut as Macbeth for l'Opéra de Montréal and also appeared in concert for Orchestra London, the Westben Festival and the National Arts Centre Orchestra. His 2008-2009 Met duties included the roles of Tomsky in Pique Dame, Gunther in Götterdämmerung, der Wanderer in Siegfried and Wotan in Rheingold in his position as cover artist.
During the 2007-2008 season he added three significant roles to his repertoire: Tonio in Pagliacci for Vancouver Opera, Horace Tabor in The Ballad Of Baby Doe for the Calgary Opera and the title role in Falstaff for Opera Ontario and the Edmonton Opera. He returned to Opéra de Québec for Iago in Otello, a role he has also sung for Opera Ontario and Manitoba Opera in Winnipeg. Also on his schedule were Walton's Belshazzar's Feast with Roberto Minczuk and the Calgary Philharmonic and Stravinsky's Oedipus Rex in Sao Paolo again with Minczuk conducting.
Mr. Fanning's 2006-2007 season began with Wotan in the Canadian Opera Company's production of Wagner's Das Rheingold conducted by Richard Bradshaw. The opening night marked the official inauguration of the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts and the beginning of the COC's much-anticipated Ring tetralogy. He was also heard as Gunther in Die Götterdämmerung and was much praised for the power and commitment of both portrayals. Of special note was the premiere of Estacio's Frobisher with Fanning in the title role for Calgary Opera, later repeated at the Banff Centre and his recent Spoleto USA debut as Moneybags Bill in Weill's Aufstieg und Fall der Stadt Mahagonny.
Highlights for 2005-2006 included the Marquis de la Force in Dialogues des Carmélites for Vancouver Opera, Gunther in Götterdämmerung for the Canadian Opera Company, and Germont in La traviata for Opera Ontario. A frequent guest at L'Opéra de Montréal, he has appeared as Balstrode in Peter Grimes, Lescaut in Manon Lescaut and Der Musiklehrer in Ariadne auf Naxos. He was Count Tomsky in the COC's production of Pique Dame, Jokanaan in Salome for the Arizona Opera and Kentucky Opera and von Faninal in Der Rosenkavalier for the Met and Vancouver Opera. Also in Vancouver, Mr. Fanning was heard as Jack Rance in La Fanciulla Del West and he starred as Sweeney Todd for Calgary Opera. He sang his first Iago in Otello for Opera Ontario and starred in the World Premiere of The Hobbit for the Canadian Children's Opera Chorus. Patrons of L'Opéra de Québec have heard him previously as the Four Villains in Les contes d'Hoffmann.
Mr. Fanning first sang Jack Rance for the Canadian Opera Company and was heard with the San Francisco Opera as William Jennings Bryan in The Ballad Of Baby Doe. He was featured at the New York City Opera as Mozart's Count and the Four Villains in Les contes d'Hoffmann, roles he had earlier sung for Minnesota Opera. His wide-ranging repertoire also includes Harasta in Janacek's The Cunning Little Vixen (Canadian Opera Company), the title role in Eugene Onegin (Pacific Opera Victoria) and Escamillo in Carmen (New York City Opera). Mr. Fanning debuted at Carnegie Hall in Strauss' Daphne conducted by Sir Andrew Davis.
Elijah, Messiah, the Five Mystical Songs of Vaughan Williams and Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 are indicative of his concert repertoire with Canada's major symphonies including those of Vancouver, Montréal, Edmonton, Québec, Calgary, Nova Scotia and Toronto. Mr. Fanning was featured as Firmin in The Phantom Of The Opera both on the national tour and at the Pantages Theatre in Toronto. The operatic voice of many commercials, he starred in an episode of CBC's Wind At My Back and was prominently featured in Norman Jewison's film, Moonstruck. Mr. Fanning is the recipient of numerous awards and scholarships, including the George London Grant to Singers.