Mr. Brownlee’s professional stage debut took place in 2002 as Almaviva in Barbiere with Virginia Opera, a role he subsequently performed in: Vienna, Milan, Madrid, Munich, Tokyo, San Diego and Boston. Among his other memorable engagements have been: Cenerentola in Milan, Dresden, Trieste, Houston and Philadelphia; L’italiana in Milan, Dresden, Boston and Seattle; Tancredi with the Detroit Symphony and on tour with the Orchestre des Champs-Élysées; Il viaggio a Reims in Genoa (Cavaliere Belfiore) and in Brussels (Conte di Libenskof); Le Comte Ory in Bologna and Reggio Emilia; La donna del lago in Washington; Don Pasquale in Detroit; La fille du régiment in Cincinnati; Salieri’s Axur, re d’Ormus in Zurich; the da Ponte pasticcio L’ape musicale in Vienna; Daniel Catán’s Florencia en el Amazonas in Seattle; and the world premiere of Lorin Maazel’s 1984 at Covent Garden.
Mr. Brownlee, most recently named the Seattle Opera’s 2008 Artist of the Year, and Opera Company of Philadelphia’s 2007 Alter Award for Artistic Excellence, was the winner of both the 2006 Marian Anderson and Richard Tucker Awards, a feat never before achieved by any artist in the same year. Previously, he was honored with a 2003 ARIA Award, a 2003 Richard Tucker Music Foundation Career Grant and was a 2001 winner of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions. He participated in young artist programs at both the Seattle and Wolf Trap Operas. The Ohio-born Mr. Brownlee received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Anderson University, a Master of Music degree from Indiana University and is a member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc.
In Europe, Mr. Brownlee sings another trio of Barbieres for his return to the Wiener Staatsoper, and reprise runs at the Unter den Linden and the Staatsoper Hamburg. A role debut follows, Giannetto in Rossini’s La gazza ladra, for his re-engagement at Bologna’s Teatro
He is heard at the Metropolitan Opera, site of his spectacular 2007 debut in Barbiere, this time appearing as Don Ramiro in La Cenerentola, reuniting him with his debut conductor, Maurizio Benini and Elīna Garanča, his Rosina on the Sony recording of Barbiere. The tenor rejoins the Teatro Verdi in Trieste for Lindoro in L’italiana in Algeri, led by Bruno Campanella. He repeats a run of Barbieres in Hamburg before concluding the season in the U.S., first with triple debuts: his first booking at the Caramoor Festival in New York, where he is heard in two new roles, Nemorino in L’elisir d’amore and Idreno in Semiramide, both helmed by bel canto specialist Will Crutchfield.
“Lawrence Brownlee as Almaviva impressed me from the first sound he sang. He is personable, acts confidently and has a voice that seems to fit his personality. It is a voice without sharp edges, with a slightly baritonal perfume in the lower positions, and reaching into the very highest register without that steely competence some acrobatic tenors produce. His bel canto is heartwarming and he masters easily and correctly the dangerous fioriture that virtually all his arias contain. He had to be on the stage almost permanently and he never lagged either in energy or sincere passion.
I was not surprised to hear that he recently sang Tonio in La fille du régiment for the second time in Hamburg, a role which has become almost the exclusive trademark of Flórez with its repeated shattering high Cs, and which few tenors dare to take on.”
Francis Shelton, www.MusicalCriticism.com, October 7, 2008