Nicholas Phan’s 2015-16 Highlights Include Two Tours, a Mozart Role Debut, and Debuts at Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center and Library of Congress

From 21C Media Group, August 2015

Recently described by Opera News as “a singer who communicates with the immediacy of a contemporary singer-songwriter,” tenor Nicholas Phan launches his 2015-16 season curating and singing at the Collaborative Arts Institute of Chicago, of which he has been Artistic Director since its founding in 2010. The 2015 Collaborative Works Festival, American Spirit, explores American composers’ and poets’ meditations on spirituality, featuring performances of songs by Ives, Copland, Barber, Bernstein, Hoiby, Rorem and Harbison. Soon after, he sings and records the role of Inverno in Scarlatti’s La gloria di Primavera with the Philharmonia Baroque conducted by Nicholas McGegan in several California cities, including at Stanford’s Bing Concert Hall; he reprises the role in May in Costa Mesa and in New York at Carnegie’s Zankel Hall. In March, he embarks on another tour with an acclaimed early music ensemble, this time joining Apollo's Fire for a North American tour of Bach’s St. John Passion, performing both the challenging role of the Evangelist and the tenor arias. Spring brings an important career milestone when he makes his role debut as Tamino in Mozart’s Magic Flute with Boston Baroque, performing and recording the work live in Jordan Hall. In the fall he gives a recital for the first time at the Library of Congress, and makes his debut in May at New York’s Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center.

Nicholas Phan comments:

“I’m always looking to make music that’s thought of as old sound new. This season, I look forward to continuing to look at older works with a fresh set of eyes and in innovative formats. Along with the many opportunities to revisit signature repertoire – like Bach’s Evangelists and Schubert Lieder – with new artistic partners, I’m most excited to be finally tackling Tamino in Mozart’s Magic Flute this season. I’ve wanted to sing the role for many years now, and it only feels right that my first foray in Tamino’s shoes will be with Boston Baroque, which has been so innovative in its approach to presenting opera throughout its 40-year history."

In the 2014-15 season, Phan appeared with the San Francisco Symphony four times, performing in Handel’s Messiah with Jane Glover; in selections from Britten’s Les Illuminations at the Soundbox, the orchestra’s acclaimed new experimental performance space; and with Michael Tilson Thomas as part of the symphony’s June Beethoven Festival in concert performances of Fidelio and a re-creation of the composer’s marathon Akademie Concert of 1808.  Gramophone named his new recording, A Painted Tale—a pastiche cycle of early English songs, which the tenor himself assembled—an “Editor’s Choice,” calling it “a fine follow-up to his two Britten recitals … The year has barely begun and already here’s a disc to remember come all of those end-of-year-roundups.” Phan performed the program in his second solo recital at Carnegie’s Weill Hall. 

Also last season, he made debuts with the Dallas, Barcelona and Vancouver Symphonies, sang in Sondheim’s Sweeney Todd in his return to the Houston Grand Opera, and returned to the Cleveland Orchestra, National Symphony Orchestra, Baltimore Symphony, Pittsburgh Symphony, and Tanglewood Festival. Summing up Phan’s diverse, committed artistry, the Baltimore Sun called him, “One of the most eloquently communicative tenors on the scene today.”