James McLennan has been celebrated for his “emotional intensity” (Opera News), “considerable charm,” and “strong yet pure tenor,” (Toronto Star) in a career encompassing over 25 roles on opera stages across Canada. An alumnus of Toronto’s famed Second City improv and comedy training centre, his lovesick protagonists, quirky villains and comical sidekicks have been winning over audiences from coast to coast for more than a decade.
James McLennan’s “freely expressive and carefully nuanced singing” (Toronto Star) has also been featured in repeat performances with major Canadian orchestras and musical ensembles.
Recent opera roles include Almaviva in BARBER OF SEVILLE and Triquet in EUGENE ONEGIN with Edmonton Opera, Beppe in PAGLIACCI for Hamilton Opera, Caius in FALSTAFF for Opera Hamilton and Montreal Opera, Borsa in RIGOLETTO with Manitoba Opera, Remendado in CARMEN and Spoletta in TOSCA with Opera Lyra Ottawa, Tiberge in LE PORTRAIT DE MANON at the Muskoka Opera Festival, and Brighella in ARIADNE AUF NAXOS and Goro in MADAMA BUTTERFLY with Pacific Opera Victoria.
Next season’s highlights include Tamino in THE MAGIC FLUTE with the Sudbury Symphony, the BACH ST. MATTHEW PASSION (arias) at the Bach Music Festival of Canada, and a return to Montreal Opera as Goro in MADAMA BUTTERFLY and as Young Bilodeau in the world premiere of LES FELUETTES (Lilies) by Kevin March and Michel Marc Bouchard. He also will be heard in a recital of Canadian song at the Canadian Music Centre.
Past concert highlights include Bach’s ST. JOHN PASSION and MAGNIFICAT with the Grand Philharmonic Choir, Haydn’s DIE SCHÖPFUNG and John Taverner’s REQUIEM with the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, ISRAEL IN EGYPT with the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir, and CARMINA BURANA with the Prince George Symphony and Toronto’s VOCA Chorus. Other performances include the Bach MASS IN B MINOR with the Vancouver Bach Choir, Mendelssohn’s ST. PAUL for Toronto’s Pax Christi Chorale, Bach’s MAGNIFICAT with the Toronto Bach Consort and Britten’s COMPANY OF HEAVEN and Haydn’s ST. NICOLAS MASS with Thirteen Strings in Ottawa.
Previous operatic roles include the Innkeeper in DER ROSENKAVALIER, Gastone in LA TRAVIATA, Triquet in EUGENE ONEGIN and the Fourth Jew in SALOME for Vancouver Opera; Remendado in CARMEN and MINER/CHESTER in BALLAD OF BABY DOE for Calgary Opera; Adam in THE BIRD SELLER, Laczi in DER ZIGEUNERPRIMAS and the title role in CANDIDE for Toronto Operetta Theatre; and Almaviva in IL BARBIERE DI SIVIGLIA with Saskatoon Opera.
An alumnus of the Montreal Opera’s Atelier Lyrique, James McLennan is featured on a Naxos recording of Charpentier’s MESSE DE MINUIT and TE DEUM with Toronto’s Aradia Ensemble. James McLennan holds a degree in French Translation from York University’s Glendon College.
|Silvio||LE DOCTEUR MIRACLE|
|A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM
THE TURN OF THE SCREW
LA FILLE DU RÉGIMENT
LUCIA DI LAMMERMOOR
|Gounod||Tybalt||ROMÉO ET JULIETTE|
|COSÌ FAN TUTTE
DIE ENTFÜHRUNG AUS DEM SERAIL
AMELIA GOES TO THE BALL
|Offenbach||Paris||LA BELLE HÉLÈNE|
|Andrès/Cochenille/Frantz||LES CONTES D’HOFFMANN|
|IL BARBIERE DI SIVIGLIA
L’ITALIANA IN ALGERI
ARIADNE OF NAXOS
|Strauss, R.||Fourth Jew||SALOME|
THE PIRATES OF PENZANCE
|Weill||2nd tenor||THE SEVEN DEADLY SINS|
|Bach||Johannes Passion (Evangelist and Arias)
Mass in B minor
Matthäus Passion (Evangelist and arias)
|Britten||Serenade for Tenor, Horn and Strings
Ode for St. Cecilia’s Day
Missa Sancti Nicolai
Mass in C minor
Requiem in D minor
TavenerPetite Messe Solennelle
Complete list available upon request
“Tous les seconds rôles sont joués et chantés avec brio. Le ténor canadien James McLennan (Bardolfo)…les serviteurs bouffons de Falstaff, sont hilarants…ils chantent bien et sont de très bons acteurs.” [Falstaff, Manitoba Opera] La Liberté, Pierre Meunier
“Winnipeg native McLennan summoned up dramatic intensity when needed and with his terrific diction and lyrical delivery was another star of the night.” (Haydn’s Creation)
Winnipeg Free Press, Gwenda Nemerofsky
“Tenor James McLennan was a youthful Evangelist, a part suitable only for tenors of a special type. McLennan is clearly such a tenor…he managed the challenges of the role admirably and was also able to sing the tenor arias as well…he will undoubtedly be in considerable demand as a Bach singer.”
“Tenor James McLennan’s boyish good looks and fresh-faced innocence made him an ideal Candide. The richness of his voice and the emotional intensity he gave “It Must Be So” and “Nothing More Than This” lent the character and the opera the depth they require so crucially.”
“The standout in terms of diction, voice, pitch and character intensity was tenor McLennan, who becomes more impressive with each outing. He possesses a sweet lyric voice of great promise, and he finds the edge when the drama is needed.”
“At the top of the positive side of the ledger are two smashing performances from James McLennan as Candide and Jean Stilwell as The Old Lady…McLennan offers us an 18th-century Charlie Brown, with a sweetly smiling face no matter how grim the world gets. He also radiates considerable charm and sings with a strong yet pure tenor that does full justice to Bernstein’s arias.”
“Tenor James McLennan in the title role displays a pleasing voice and is definitely someone to keep an eye on as his career develops.”
“As the Evangelist, James McLennan showed more than potential. Dispassionate when required, expressive when the music called for it.”
Le Devoir de Montréal
“Sober dramatization and perfect style.” (St. John Passion)
La Presse de Montréal
“The two leads, Tracy Smith Bessette and James McLennan, performed amazing vocal feats.” (La Fille du Régiment)
La Tribune Sherbrooke
“The vocal timbre of James McLennan…proved to be very moving when he sang with admirable sensitivity what is probably the best known aria of this opera: ‘Un aura amorosa’.” (Cosí fan tutte)
“McLennan was solid as Almaviva…he was hilarious as the drunken soldier and as the “music teacher.” Almaviva is really an amalgam of many roles, and McLennan pulled off the changing personalities beautifully.” (Il Barbiere di Siviglia)
Saskatoon Star Phoenix