One of today’s most sought-after lyric baritones on the international stage, Canadian-Italian Brett Polegato has earned the highest praise from audiences and critics for his artistic sensibility: “his is a serious and seductive voice” says the Globe and Mail, while the New York Times has praised him for his “burnished, well-focused voice”, which he uses with “considerable intelligence and nuance”. His career has encompassed over fifty operatic roles at the world’s most prestigious venues including La Scala, l’Opéra National de Paris, the Glyndebourne Festival, the Lyric Opera of Chicago, Houston Grand Opera, the Teatro Real, the Concertgebouw Amsterdam and Carnegie Hall.
In the 2021/22 season he sings Richard Brown in the world premiere concert of Kevin Puts’s The Hours with the Philadelphia Orchestra conducted by Yannick Nézét-Séguin, and returns to Bregenzer Festspiele. He also sings Brahms’s Ein deutsches Requiem with Toronto Mendelssohn Choir and Ottawa Choral Society, and a Christmas concert featuring excerpts from Handel’s Messiah and Bach’s Christmas Oratorio with Victoria Symphony.
Recent operatic highlights include his debuts at the Metropolitan Opera (Brétigny Manon) and Wexford Festival Opera (Dr Talbot in the European premiere of William Bolcom’s Dinner at Eight); Fanuèl in Boito’s Nero (Bregenzer Festspiele); Posa Don Carlo, title role Eugene Onegin and Marcello La bohème (Grange Park Opera); Kurwenal Tristan und Isolde (Opera di Roma, Théâtre des Champs-Elysées and Opéra National de Bordeaux); his role debut as Amfortas Parsifal (Festival de Lanaudière); Count Almaviva Le nozze di Figaro (Palm Beach Opera); Sharpless Madama Butterfly (Irish National Opera); Howie Albert Champion (Opéra de Montreal); Starbuck Moby Dick, Lieutenant Audebert Silent Night and Frank and Fritz Die Tote Stadt (Calgary Opera); Posa Don Carlos and title role Don Giovanni (Vancouver Opera); title role Wozzeck (Bolshoi Theatre of Moscow); Zurga Les Pêcheurs de Perles, Dandini La Cenerentola and Sharpless Madama Butterfly (Seattle Opera); and Papageno Die Zauberflöte (Cincinnati Opera).
Equally at ease on the concert platform, he has appeared with almost every major orchestra in the USA and Canada and several in Europe, performing repertoire including Zemlinsky’s Lyrische Symphonie (Orchestre Métropolitain); the world premiere of Jeffrey Ryan’s Afghanistan: Requiem for a Generation (Vancouver Symphony Orchestra); Mahler’s Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen (City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra); and Ravel’s L’heure espagnole (BBC Proms). He recently made his recital debut at London’s Wigmore Hall. Other concert repertoire includes Vaughan Williams’s Five Mystical Songs and A Sea Symphony, Walton’s Belshazzar’s Feast, Saariaho’s Cinq Reflets (US premiere) and Mahler’s Des Knaben Wunderhorn.
Brett’s discography shifts as seamlessly through genres as his live appearances. His recordings include Vaughan Williams’s A Sea Symphony (Grammy Award winner, Best Classical Recording), his acclaimed solo disc To A Poet (CBC Records), an Analekta-Fleur de Lys disc of Bach’s popular Coffee and Peasant Cantatas with the Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra, a live period-instrument performance of Handel’s Messiah under Andrew Parrott, Emmerich Kálmán’s Die Herzogin von Chicago with the Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra (Decca), and Gluck’s Armide with Les Musiciens du Louvre (Deutsche Grammophon Archiv Produktion).
Brett makes his debut with the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir in November 2021 in a performance of Brahms’ Ein deutsches Requiem.