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.” He 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.

After an exciting summer at the Bregenzer Festspiele, Mr. Polegato begins 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 travels to Dublin for an exciting debut: the title role in Rossini’s Guillaume Tell for Irish National Opera. The November performances will be recorded and filmed for later broadcast on RTÉ Lyric FM and streaming on OperaVision. He revisits one of his old favourites, Handel’s Messiah, in December which he performs with Toronto’s Tafelmusik Baroque Choir and Orchestra. In January, he returns 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 leaves for Europe for three back-to-back productions. In June, he returns to the U.K.’s Grange Park Festival to make his long-awaited debut as Scarpia in Puccini’s Tosca. The performances are 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 is 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.

Mr. Polegato began his 2021/2022 season early when he travelled to Austria in July to make his debut at the Bregenzer Festspiele as Fanuèl in Boito’s rarely performed opera, Nerone. This production, directed by Olivier Tambosi, was recently released on Blu-ray Disc. He made a rare appearance in his hometown in November for Brahms’ Ein Deutsches Requiem with the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir, and in December, the popular baritone travelled to British Columbia for performances of Messiah with the Victoria Symphony. The New Year found Mr. Polegato in Toronto once more where he sang Sharpless in a new production of Puccini’s Madama Butterfly for the Canadian Opera Company. Undoubtedly, the highlight of his season was the World Premiere of Kevin Puts’ new opera, The Hours in March. 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. Ottawa audiences heard Brett in Brahms’ Ein Deutsches Requiem when he performed the work with the Ottawa Choral Society in May, after which he returned to Calgary for an appearance with the Land’s End Ensemble in a concert of chamber works, including a new work by Randolph Peters to the words of Donald Rumsfeld written specifically for Mr. Polegato. Brett finished an already busy season with a return to the Bregenzer Festspiele for performances of Sharpless in Puccini’s Madama Butterfly.

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. 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 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, Vlaamse Opera, Canadian Opera Company, Vancouver Opera and Calgary Opera in over 50 roles, including Rodgrigo (Don Carlo), Ford (Falstaff), Balstrode (Peter Grimes), Zurga (Les Pêcheurs de Perles), Starbuck (Moby Dick), Lieutenant Audebert (Silent Night), Oreste (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, 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.