Lyric tenor Eric Fennell makes his Pacific Opera Victoria debut as Don José in the 2012 production of Carmen.
Mr. Fennell has firmly established himself as a young professional in the world of opera and classical music. Born into a musical family, his father, a conductor, and mother, a pianist instilled in him a strong sense of musicality at an early age. At 6' 3' (190.5 cm), he is known for his dominant stage presence and sympathetic acting which the Boston Globe has described as touchingly vulnerable, saying his sweet lyric tenor is not only capable of great nuance but ready and able to trumpet out thrilling high notes.
A Metropolitan Opera National Council regional finalist and prize winner in the Licia Albanese Competition, Mr. Fennell's versatile tenor voice has allowed him to perform leading roles with some of North America's top companies. He is most closely associated with New York City Opera where he has sung six seasons and 13 roles. Operatic highlights include Rodolfo in La Bohème with New York City Opera, Glimmerglass Opera, Lake George Opera Festival, Pensacola Opera, and Baz Luhrman's La Bohème on Broadway; Alfredo in La traviata with New York City Opera, Green Mountain Opera Festival, and Annapolis Opera; Tamino in Die Zauberflöte for Sarasota Opera, Des Moines Metro Opera, and Wichita Grand Opera; Roberto in Roberto Devereux for Dallas Opera; Roméo in Roméo et Juliette for Toledo Opera and Opera North (USA); The Duke of Mantua in Rigoletto for Granite State Opera, Chattanooga Opera, and the Spokane Symphony; Don José in Carmen for Arizona Opera and Bar Harbor Music Festival; Pinkerton in Madama Butterfly for Austin Lyric Opera and Lake George Opera; Edgardo in Lucia di Lammermoor for Des Moines Metro Opera and Granite State Opera; Rinuccio in Gianni Schicchi for the Macau International Music Festival (China); Nadir in The Pearl Fishers for Madison Opera; and Gerald in Lakmé for Sarasota Opera. Mr. Fennell has also appeared with San Francisco Opera, Boston Lyric Opera, Seattle Opera, Washington Concert Opera, Tulsa Opera, Chautauqua Opera, Central City Opera, and the Spoleto Festival USA.
A distinguished concert performer, Eric Fennell has performed the tenor solos in Beethoven's 9th Symphony for National Chorale at Avery Fisher Hall, Tokyo City Orchestra (Japan), Buffalo Philharmonic Symphony, Virginia Symphony, and Allentown Symphony; Verdi's Requiem for The Latvian National Symphony, The Paul Hill Chorale in Washington, D.C. and in concert and recording with the Smith College Orchestra; Handel's Messiah for National Chorale at Avery Fisher Hall, Virginia Symphony, Allentown Symphony, and Tucson Symphony; Mozart's Requiem for The New Haven Symphony, Dartmouth Glee Club, and National Chorale at Avery Fisher Hall; Puccini's Messa di Gloria with the Eugene Concert Choir; and William Maselli's JFK Requiem at Carnegie Hall. Other concert appearances include New York City Opera in the Park, San Diego Symphony Opera Gala, Madison Opera in the Park, Buffalo Philharmonic Symphony in the Park, Opera Roanoke Opera Gala, Toledo Opera Gala, Virginia Symphony New Year's Eve Gala, and Lake George Opera Gala.
In 2008–2009, Eric Fennell sang Sam in Street Scene for Chautauqua Opera before creating the role of Tony in the world premiere of Paul Salerni's Tony Caruso's Final Broadcast in recording for Naxos. He made his Dallas Opera debut as the title character in Roberto Devereux in January 2009 and his China debut as Rinuccio in Gianni Schicchi for the Macau International Music Festival in November 2008. Mr. Fennell returned to Opera Roanoke for Fenton in Falstaff (October 2008) and Chattanooga Opera for Rodolfo in La Bohème (February 2009), followed by Pinkerton in Madama Butterfly for Lake George Opera. Eric makes his debut with Deutsche Oper am Rhein (Düsseldorf) singing Camille in Die Lustige Witwe (December 2009–March 2010).
Originally from Allentown, Pennsylvania, Eric Fennell received a BA in music from Gettysburg College and a Masters in Voice and Artist Diploma from Boston University where he was a member of the Opera Institute. Eric now lives in Germany, but remains a proud student of Arthur Levy.
Eric Fennell [as] Don José.was able to make his desire for Carmen believable, and his voice carried the tenderness, longing and blind rage that (Carmen) inspired.
Arizona Daily Star
One of the most difficult challenges for tenors is to resist the temptation to sing French roles with heart-felt Italian passion, instead of the sublime sensuality more suited to the French vocal line. But last summer, I was lucky enough to hear Eric Fennell . . . His golden voice possessed the ideal tonal quality for the French repertory... His dynamic range, broad palette, intelligent interpretation, and musical acumen, combined with a secure high register, make him a tenor to be reckoned with.
Karyl Charma Lynn, Opera Now