Mr. Polenzani has a ringing, clarion lyric tenor that
he can push to heroic heights ... New York Sun
Photo © Dario Acosta
One of the most gifted and distinguished lyric tenors of his generation, Matthew Polenzani has been praised for the artistic versatility and fresh lyricism that he brings to concert and operatic appearances on leading international stages. This season Mr. Polenzani returns to the Metropolitan Opera in Willy Decker’s critically acclaimed production of La traviata opposite Natalie Dessay and Dmitri Hvorostovsky, conducted by Fabio Luisi. He will also appear at the Metropolitan Opera in Don Giovanni, conducted by Sir Andrew Davis; he performs this same work in Francesca Zamebello’s production at the Royal Opera, Covent Garden. Matthew Polenzani will also return to La Scala in Laurent Pelly’s new production of Manon opposite Natalie Dessay and to the Lyric Opera of Chicago to debut the title role in Nicolas Joël’s new production of Les contes d’Hoffmann, conducted by Emmanuel Villaume. Concert appearances include Verdi’s Requiem at the Teatro San Carlo, conducted by Riccardo Muti.
Among the many highlights from recent Metropolitan Opera seasons are the premieres of Willy Decker’s production of La traviata, Julie Taymor’s legendary Die Zauberflöte, Francesca Zambello’s production of Les Troyens, Jürgen Flimm’s production of Salome with Valery Gergiev, and revivals of Don Pasquale, L’elisir d’amore, Don Giovanni, Roméo et Juliette, Il barbiere di Siviglia, Così fan tutte, Falstaff, Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg and L’Italiana in Algeri. To date, he has sung over 250 performances at the Met, many conducted by his musical mentor James Levine. In other American theaters, appearances include La traviata, Roméo et Juliette and Die Entführung aus dem Serail with the Lyric Opera of Chicago, Die Entführung also for San Francisco Opera, and Die Zauberflöte with James Conlon at Los Angeles Opera.
Following Matthew Polenzani’s debut as Gérald in Delibes Lakmé with Opera Bordeaux in France in 1998, appearances in other major European theatres include productions of La traviata at the Teatro Comunale in Florence, the Aix en Provence Festival (commercially available on DVD on Bel Air Classiques) and on a tour of Japan with Turin’s Teatro Reggio; I Capuleti e I Montecchi at the Paris Opera; L’elisir d’amore at the Vienna State Opera, Bavarian State Opera, Naples’ Teatro San Carlo and Rome Opera; Così fan tutte at Covent Garden with Sir Colin Davis and in Paris with Philippe Jordan; Lucia di Lammermoor at Frankfurt Opera and Vienna State Opera; La Damnation de Faust in Frankfurt; Manon on a tour of Japan with the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden under Antonio Pappano; Idomeneo in Turin with Gianandrea Noseda, and debuts at La Scala in La traviata and at the Salzburg Festival in Don Giovanni in a new production by Klaus Guth, conducted by Bertrand de Billy.
Mr. Polenzani is in great demand for symphonic work for the world’s most influential conductors including Pierre Boulez, James Conlon, Sir Colin Davis, Riccardo Frizza, Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos, Louis Langrée, James Levine, Jesús López-Cobos, Lorin Maazel, Riccardo Muti, Wolfgang Sawallisch, Leonard Slatkin, Sir Jeffrey Tate, Michael Tilson Thomas, Franz Welser-Möst and David Zinman, and with many major orchestras both in the United States and Europe, including the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Cleveland Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, New York Philharmonic, San Francisco Symphony, Cincinnati Symphony, Minnesota Orchestra, Mostly Mozart Festival Orchestra, St. Louis Symphony, Orchestra della Santa Cecilia, Orchestre National de France, Orchestra Giovanile “L. Cherubini” at the Salzburg Whitsun Festival and the Ensemble Orchestral de Paris at the Saint Denis Festival.
In recital Matthew Polenzani has appeared with Julius Drake at Wigmore Hall, Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center, Celebrity Series Boston at Jordan Hall and the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society; with noted pianist Richard Goode in a presentation of Janáček’s The Diary of One Who Vanished at Carnegie’s Zankel Hall, and in recital at the Verbier Festival with pianist Roger Vignoles (commercially available on CD on VAI). In a recent season, Mr. Polenzani was honored to have appeared on all three stages of Carnegie Hall: in concert with the MET Chamber Ensemble at Zankel Hall; in solo recital with James Levine at the piano in Weill Hall; and in a Schubert Liederabend on the stage of Isaac Stern Auditorium with colleagues Dorothea Röschmann, Waltraud Meier and René Pape, again with James Levine as pianist.
Matthew Polenzani was the recipient of the 2004 Richard Tucker Award and Metropolitan Opera’s 2008 Beverly Sills Artist Award. An avid golfer, he makes his home in suburban New York with his wife, mezzo-soprano Rosa Maria Pascarella and their three sons.