John Brancy‘s intense musicality and communicative power place him among the finest of baritones of his generation. Hailed by the New York Times as “a vibrant, resonant presence,” Brancy won First Prize in the Art Song Division of the 2018 Concours Musical International de Montreal. The win that recognized him as a premiere interpreter of Art Song repertoire in our time. The New Jersey native also won First Prize in the 2018 Lotte Lenya Competition in New York, Second Prize at the 2017 Wigmore Hall Competition in London and prior to that won the media prize in the 2017 Belvedere International Singing Competition in Moscow and first prize in the Jensen Foundation Vocal Competition in 2015. He is also a past winner of the Marilyn Horne Song Competition and the Sullivan Foundation Grand Prize.
Brancy began the 2019/2020 season with his San Francisco Opera debut, where he was featured as Donald in Britten’s Billy Budd. His season continues with a residency at The Banff Centre, as the soloist in Deutsches Requiem with Opera National de Bordeaux, a recital with the New York Festival of Song, and Handel’s Messiah for the US Naval Academy and The Florida Orchestra. In the new year, he will return to the role of Steward in Dove’s Flight in a production with Pacific Opera Victoria, Puccini’s Messa de Gloria with the Rundfunkchor of Berlin in Milan and a new work by Michael Gandolfi with the Boston Symphony.
Of particular note, last season Brancy collaborated with MacArthur Genius grant recipient, director Yuval Sharon. Brancy debuted the role of Erik Magnussen in a new production of Meredith Monk’s ATLAS, which marked his LA Philharmonic company debut. An artist of wide-ranging musical curiosity, Brancy’s recent activities include an eclectic mix of styles, platforms and periods. He made a return to Oper Frankfurt for a new production of Olga Neuwirth’s Lost Highway directed again by Yuval Sharon and conducted by Karsten Januschke. The national tour of his critically acclaimed programs A Silent Night: A WWI Memorial in Song and Armistice: The Journey Home with internationally renowned pianist and collaborator Peter Dugan was well-received and presented the artists in recital at Stanford University, West Point Academy, the Smithsonian Institute, the US Naval Academy, Arizona Opera and the Kennedy Center. David J. Baker of Opera News called Brancy and Dugan’s recently released album A Silent Night: A WWI Memorial in Song, “an even-handed artistic partnership…[in which] These artists address the listener with the urgency of a prophet.” Their work together has presented them with debuts at Alice Tully Hall, Weill Hall presented by Carnegie Hall, and the Kennedy Center presented by Vocal Arts DC.
Moreover, Brancy’s 2018 season tour of Handel’s Messiah included performances with the Victoria Symphony in Canada, the Johnstown Symphony and a return to Carnegie Hall’s Isaac Stern stage under the baton of Kent Tritle with Musica Sacra. Brancy also debuted the role of Mercutio in Lisbon, Portugal for a production of Romeo et Juliet, directed by Vincent Huguet, with the Gulbenkian Orchestra and Choir, conducted by rising star Lorenzo Viotti.
In the 2017/2018 season, on the opera stage, Brancy debuted as Albert in Stadttheater Klagenfurt’s production of Werther conducted by Viotti and followed with a reprise of Malatesta in Don Pasquale, this time for Landestheater Vorarlberg in Bregenz. For Saint Thomas Church in New York, he was heard in Brahms’s Requiem and was a featured soloist at the Carmel Bach Festival in such masterworks as Bach’s St Matthew Passion and Orff’s Carmina Burana.
Previous career highlights include important debuts at Florida Grand Opera, singing the title role in Eugene Onegin, Clarion Music Society as Papageno in Die Zauberflöte, for Opera Omaha as the Steward in Dove’s Flight, and Opera National de Lorraine as Harlekin in Ariadne auf Naxos. He has also debuted with the Glyndebourne Festival Opera Tour as Malatesta in Don Pasquale, Opera Theatre of Saint Louis as Harlekin in Ariadne auf Naxos, Demetrius in A Midsummer Night’s Dream for Pacific Opera Victoria and Dancaire/Morales in Carmen for Oper Frankfurt.
Brancy has also been engaged by Semperoper Dresden, Edmonton Opera, Paris’s Théâtre du Chatelet, Opera Saratoga, and Opera San Antonio in works ranging from Tobias Picker’s The Fantastic Mr. Fox to Dandini in La Cenerentola to John Adams’ I Was Looking at the Ceiling and Then I Saw the Sky. Recital credits include the Hugo Wolf Akademie, the New York Festival of Song with pianist Steven Blier, the Collaborative Arts Institute of Chicago, and Société d’art vocal de Montréal in collaboration with pianist Peter Dugan. He has also appeared with the San Francisco Symphony, Boston Symphony, Kansas City Symphony, and the Edmonton Symphony. Brancy holds a graduate degree from the Juilliard School in New York.
|Adams||Mike the Rookie Cop||I WAS LOOKING AT THE CEILING AND THEN I SAW THE SKY|
A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM
|Charpentier||Apollon||LA DESCENTE D’ORPHÉE AUX ENFERS|
|Janacek||Harasta||THE CUNNING LITTLE VIXEN|
LE NOZZE DI FIGARO
|Picker||Fantastic Mr. Fox||THE FANTASTIC MR. FOX|
|Puccini||Sonora||LA FANCIULLA DEL WEST|
|IL BARBIERE DI SIVIGLIA
|Strauss||Harlekin||ARIADNE AUF NAXOS|
“Baritone John Brancy makes his Festival debut this season, his rich operatic voice well-suited to these evocative songs.”
[2018 Carmel Bach Festival] Barbara Rose Shuler, Monterey Herald
“John Brancy, the star of a stratospheric competition… On a vocal level, schematically, Brancy is a Gerald Finley in his 30s.”
[2018 Concours musical international de Montréal] Christophe Huss, Le Devoir
“Among the top-prize winners was the 29-year-old John Brancy, who filled the Eastman School of Music’s Kilbourn Hall with a buttery baritone voice that seemed equally at ease in opera and in music from Broadway’s golden age.”
[2018 Lotte Lenya Competition, Kurt Weill Foundation] Joshua Barone, New York Times
“Not surprisingly the title character has the toughest role in this opera. Certainly not because of the vocal demands, unusually this time, quite the opposite. The snippets he gets must make us maintain focus on him until he releases an enormous suppressed sound (using Tatyana’s music) as he tries to find a purpose. John Brancy has the essential combination of talents to keep an audience gripped.”
[Eugene Onegin, Florida Grand Opera] Jeff Haller, ConcertoNet.com
“With this all-new staging of Fantastic Mr. Fox, Opera San Antonio has signalled its intention to brook no compromises. There were none to speak of in the youthful cast, led by the bright, stirring baritone and dashingly athletic presence of John Brancy in the title role.”
Mike Greenberg, Opera News
“The standout of the performance of the night, however, was by John Brancy, a 24 year-old baritone who recently completed a graduate diploma at Juilliard and has already made his professional debut with Dresden Semperoper. Brancy’s impeccable timing, dynamic physicality, and robust voice made him an ideal Papageno.”
Edmond Johnson, Opera News
“…the baritone John Brancy, was a vibrant, resonant presence…”
The New York Times
“As Harasta, John Brancy brought to bear a strong baritone and a bad-boy swagger, projecting his sound effortlessly even in a quiet, reflective section.”
“But the greatest moments came when Brancy joined the musicians. He is a baritone of refined taste, and his readings of favorites such as Franz Schubert’s Erlkönig D. 328 would fare well even when compared to those by legendary 20th century lieder interpreters. He had everything: clear diction, dramatic flair and a beautifully burnished tone… One surely hopes that The Chamber Music Society of Palm Beach will bring artists of Brancy’s stature for more Liederabend.”
Marcio Bezerra, Palm Beach Daily News
“The American baritone John Brancy has an impressive CV, with many prestigious competition prizes and his confidence and winning stage presence were ideal for Malatesta, as was his forthright, easily produced baritone…. Brancy received deservedly enthusiastic applause for their patter duet.”
[Don Pasquale, Glyndebourne Tour, Lewes] Melanie Eskenazi, MusicOMH
“John Brancy’s Dandini was suave, funny and cool, his high-lying baritone also able to negotiate Rossini’s fiorature.”
[Cenerentola, Opera Saratoga] Robert Levine, Bachtrack
“Vocally, the evening belonged to the three baritone leads: … Brancy has a creamy, attractively coloured voice and a relaxed, loose-limbed attitude.”
[Le nozze di Figaro, Opera Lyra] Natasha Gauthier, Ottawa Citizen
“John Brancy’s Figaro is a delight with his velvety baritone, and magnetic charm though he also stands out for his impressive ease on stage.”
[Le nozze di Figaro, Opera Lyra] Chrissy Steinbock, Apt613
“None of this would have worked, of course, had Brancy and Dugan not been able to perform it so consummately well. Brancy has a warm, vivid baritone with a lot of color…But the goal of a recital is not originality as much as making a statement as an artist. And at this, Brancy and Dugan succeeded superbly.”
[Vocal Arts DC recital] Anne Midgette, Washington Post
“Baritone John Brancy and pianist Peter Dugan performed a glorious tribute to World War One’s centennial, that was as stirring as it was illuminating in their recital debut at Kennedy Center last night…The audience was anything but silent after this perfect ending to a near-perfect evening by the sonorous, rich baritone and the splendid pianist — two very engaging 2013 Juilliard graduates.”
[Vocal Arts DC recital] Marsha Dubrow, Examiner
“John Brancy… he was steady and exultant in ‘The trumpet shall sound.'”
Zachary Woolfe, The New York Times
“This cast was strong from foxhole to farmyard, the roster sensibly stacked with singers who had performed this season in the San Antonio production. Among them was John Brancy, in nimble and vivid voice as Mr. Fox…”
Jeremy Eichler, The Boston Globe
“Baritone John Brancy demonstrated a natural affinity for lieder style, fine German diction and a suave, understated manner that could also heat up on occasion. Two Korngold selections proved his interpretive range. His witty implications, delivered with refined timbre, enlivened Zemlinsky’s ‘Das bucklicht Männlein’ Brancy’s lyrical warmth and subtle line were particularly effective in the same composer’s ‘Und hat der Tag all’ seine Qual.'”
David J. Baker, Opera News
“Brancy has an easy virility to his singing that gave even the most sentimental lines an unselfconscious naturalism, while Brugger’s velvety voice possesses a mezzo color that carries the intimacy these songs needed, speaking directly to the listener. … Brancy sang the composer’s (Wolf) impressionist Nachtzauber, and was mesmerizing.”
David J. Baker, Opera News
ROMÉO ET JULIETTE WITH THE GULBENKIAN ORCHESTRA AND CHOIR
On February 5 and 7, 2019, John joins Portugal’s Gulbenkian Music to sing the role of Mercutio in a concert production of Roméo et Juliette. gulbenkian.pt
LOST HIGHWAY WITH OPER FRANKFURT
John joined Oper Frankfurt to sing the leading role of Peter in Olga Neuwirth’s opera Lost Highway based on David Lynch’s 1997 film. Performances ran from September 12 through 23, 2018. oper-frankfurt.de
FIRST PRIZE – 2018 CONCOURS MUSICAL INTERNATIONAL DE MONTRÉAL
John Brancy won First Prize in the Art Song Division of the 2018 Concours musical international de Montréal. concoursmontreal.ca
WINNER, 2018 LOTTE LENYA COMPETITION
JOHN BRANCY wins the biggest prize at the Kurt Weill Foundation’s Lotte Lenya Competition, 2018. His repertoire included “Uzhel ta samaja Tatiana” from Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin, “This is New” from Weill/Gershwin’s Lady in the Dark, “Awaiting You” from Guettel’s Myths and Hymns and “Soliloquy” from Rodger/Hammerstein’s Carousel. See the press release and his performance video in links below.
2018 Coucours musical international de Montréal — Aria semi-finals
From 42:36, “It is enough! O Lord, now take away my life” from Elijah by Mendelssohn
50:41, “Look through the port, Billy Budd” from Billy Budd by Benjamin Britten
2018 Lotte Lenya Competition
2017 International Belvedere Competition Finals