Brett Polegato


Brett Polegato‘s artistic sensibility has earned him the highest praise from audiences and critics: “his is a serious and seductive voice” says The Globe and Mail, and The New York Times has praised him for his “burnished, well-focused voice” which he uses with “considerable intelligence and nuance.” The Italian-Canadian baritone appears regularly on the world’s most distinguished stages, including those of Lincoln Center, the Metropolitan Opera, La Scala, the Concertgebouw, the Opéra National de Paris, Glyndebourne Festival Opera, the Lyric Opera of Chicago, Houston Grand Opera, the Teatro Real, Roy Thomson Hall, the Kennedy Center, Carnegie Hall and Wigmore Hall, and has collaborated with conductors such as Yannick Nézet-Séguin, Daniele Gatti, Andris Nelsons, Bernard Haitink, Seiji Ozawa, Jeffrey Tate, Marc Minkowski, and Martyn Brabbins. He can be heard as soloist in the Grammy Awards’ Best Classical Recording of 2003 – Vaughan Williams’ A Sea Symphony (Telarc) with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Robert Spano.

Mr. Polegato begins his 2023/2024 season with a return to Lithuania in September to reprise the title role in a performance of Szymanowski’s Król Roger, this time with the Lithuanian State Symphony Orchestra. His season continues in November when he travels to Montréal to sing Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony with the Orchestre Philharmonique des Mélomanes, before heading on to Halifax where he will perform Mahler’s Kindertotenlieder for the first time with Symphony Nova Scotia. After time with friends and family for the holidays, Brett travels to Vienna in the New Year to make his debut as Capulet in Gounod’s Roméo et Juliette with the Theater an der Wein. March finds the Toronto-based baritone at home where he will collaborate with the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir on a new arrangement of Schubert’s Die Winterreise for baritone and chorus. In May, Mr. Polegato returns to Ireland for another role debut: that of Germont père in Verdi’s La traviata, with Irish National Opera. Brett closes his busy season at Grange Park Opera (UK), singing Prospero in the World Premiere of Anthony Bolton’s new opera, Island of Dreams, based on Shakespeare’s “The Tempest.”

After an exciting summer at the Bregenzer Festspiele, Mr. Polegato began his 2022/2023 in September in a concert of operatic favourites, including the “Te Deum” from Puccini’s Tosca, to mark the 50th anniversary of Calgary Opera. With barely time to unpack, he travelled to Dublin for an exciting debut: the title role in Rossini’s Guillaume Tell for Irish National Opera. The November performances were recorded and filmed and subsequently broadcast on RTÉ Lyric FM and streamed on OperaVision. He revisited one of his old favourites, Handel’s Messiah, in December which he performed with Toronto’s Tafelmusik Baroque Choir and Orchestra. In January, he returned to Calgary for his second debut of the season: the title role in the Canadian premiere of Mason Bates’ The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs. In the spring, he travelled to Europe for three back-to-back productions. In June, he returned to the U.K.’s Grange Park Festival to make his long-awaited debut as Scarpia in Puccini’s Tosca, for which he garnered much praise. The performances were followed closely by a reprise of his much-lauded performance as Sharpless in Puccini’s Madama Butterfly for the Bregenzer Festspiele. Capping off an exciting year was Mr. Polegato’s fourth debut of the season: the title role in concert performances of Szymanowski’s Król Roger for the Pažaislio Muzikos Festivalis in Lithuania.

One of today’s most sought-after lyric baritones on the operatic stage, Brett has made a name for himself in a number of dramatic roles, most notably the title roles in Don Giovanni and Eugene Onegin, which his has sung at the Canadian Opera Company, the New Israeli Opera, Grange Park Opera and Vancouver Opera. Undoubtedly his most recent highlight was the World Premiere of Kevin Puts’ new opera, The Hours in March of 2022. At the request of the maestro, Brett created the role of Richard Brown, opposite the Clarissa of Renée Fleming, in concert performances of the work with the Philadelphia Orchestra and conductor, Yannick Nézet-Séguin. In 2019, Brett made his long-awaited debut at the Metropolitan opera in Massenet’s Manon. The final performance was broadcast live in cinemas around the world and was later televised on PBS’s Great Performances. In July of 2017, he made his role debut as Amfortas in Wagner’s Parsifal under the baton of Yannick Nézet-Séguin, at the request of the maestro, for the Festival de Lanaudière. His critically acclaimed portrayal of Kurwenal in Tristan und Isolde has been seen most recently by the audiences of the Théatre des Champs-Élysées and the Opera di Roma with maestro Daniele Gatti, as well as the Opéra de Bordeaux, Wide Open Opera (Ireland) and the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra. In the fall of 2010, he journeyed to Moscow to sing the title role in Berg’s Wozzeck at the prestigious Bolshoi Theatre in a production directed by Dmitri Tcherniakov and conducted by Teodor Currentzis. He has appeared frequently in the title role of Pelléas et Mélisande, including new productions at the Strasbourg’s Opéra National du Rhin, at the Leipzig Opera conducted by Marc Minkowski, and in Munich with Marcello Viotti. Pelléas was also the role which marked his Paris Opera debut in September of 2004. Another of his signature roles is Il Conte Almaviva in Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro, which his has sung to great acclaim for companies that include New York City Opera, L’Opéra de Montréal and the Norwegian Opera in Oslo. He has appeared with the Chicago Lyric Opera, Houston Grand Opera, Seattle Opera, Opéra de Genève, Glyndebourne Festival Opera, Opéra National de Toulouse, Teatro Real in Madrid, Saito Kinen Festival, Florence’s Maggio Musicale, Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires, Vlaamse Opera, Canadian Opera Company, Vancouver Opera and Calgary Opera in over 50 roles, including Rodrigo (Don Carlo), Ford (Falstaff), Balstrode (Peter Grimes), Zurga (Les Pêcheurs de Perles), Starbuck (Moby Dick), (Iphigénie en Tauride) , Yeletsky (Pique Dame), Frank/Fritz (Die tote Stadt), Sharpless (Madama Butterfly), and Marcello (La bohème).

Equally at ease on the concert and recital stages, Mr. Polegato made his Wigmore Hall recital debut in July 2019 with pianist, Iain Burnside, and his Carnegie Hall recital debut at Weill Recital Hall in May 2003 with pianist, Warren Jones. He returned to Carnegie Hall the following year with the Atlanta Symphony to reprise their Grammy Award winning performance of A Sea Symphony, and again in 2012, as soloist in Walton’s Belshazzar’s Feast. As part of “Bernstein At 100,” he made his debut with the Orchestre National de Lille as the Celebrant in Bernstein’s Mass. In 2012, he garnered critical acclaim as soloist in Zemlinsky’s Lyrische Symphonie with conductor, Yannick Nézet-Séguin, and for his interpretation of the title role in Mendelssohn’s Elijah for the Elora Festival. In 2005, he made his highly-acclaimed debut with the Cleveland Orchestra, in a programme which included Vaughan Williams’ Five Mystical Songs and Fauré’s Requiem. He has appeared as soloist with Leonard Slatkin and the National Symphony Orchestra in Walton’s Belshazzar’s Feast at Wolf Trap, the Chicago Symphony in the U.S. premiere of Saariaho’s Cinq Reflets, the Boston Symphony Orchestra in Mahler orchestral lieder, the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra under the baton of Yannick Nézet-Séguin, the Toronto Symphony in Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, Mahler’s Des Knaben Wunderhorn and Jeffrey Ryan’s Afganistan: Requiem for a Generation, and the Calgary Philharmonic in John Adams’ The Wound Dresser. In 2002, he returned to the London BBC Proms for a concert performance of Ravel’s L’heure espagnole with Gianandrea Noseda conducting, and rejoined the National Symphony Orchestra at the Kennedy Center for Brahms’ Ein Deutsches Requiem. He has performed Handel’s Messiah with the Toronto Symphony and Sir Andrew Davis, and with the Handel & Haydn Society under Andrew Parrott. As a recitalist, Mr. Polegato appears frequently throughout North America and Europe, and is particularly noted for his programming choices and wide range of repertoire.

Polegato’s discography shifts as seamlessly through genres as his live appearances. In addition to the Vaughan Williams’ A Sea Symphony, his recordings include the Vaughan Williams’ Dona Nobis Pacem (ASO Media), Ben Moore’s Ode To A Nightingale (Delos), his critically praised solo disc, To A Poet, with pianist Iain Burnside (CBC Records) and a live period-instrument performance of Messiah with the Handel & Haydn Society (Arabesque Recordings). With the Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra he has recorded Bach’s Coffee and Peasant Cantatas (Analekta-Fleur de Lys) and, most recently, Handel’s Messiah. In March 2000, CBC Records released a disc entitled Opera Encores that joined him with the Canadian Opera Company Orchestra led by Richard Bradshaw. His opera recordings include Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde on Blu-ray (C Major) with conductor, Daniele Gatti, and the Orchestra del Teatro dell’Opera di Roma, Boito’s Nerone on Blu-ray (C Major) with the Bregenzer Festspiele, Emmerich Kálmán’s Die Herzogin von Chicago (Decca) with the Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra, and Gluck’s Armide with Les Musiciens du Louvre (Deutsche Grammophon’s Archiv label).

He finished first among the men at the 1995 Cardiff Singer of the World Competition. Mr. Polegato is represented exclusively by Simon Goldstone at Rayfield Allied.