Michael Colvin



Michael Colvin



“It’s all there, technique, tone and stage presence”
OPERA Magazine (UK)

Hailed in Opera News as possessing “one of the most beautiful lyric tenor instruments around” Irish-Canadian tenor Michael Colvin has appeared to critical acclaim on opera and concert stages throughout Canada, the USA, the UK and Europe. Aribert Reimann’s Lear was the vehicle for Colvin’s recent Salzburg and Maggio Musicale (Florence) debuts, his performance as Cornwall noted for “vocal verve, perfect technique and exemplary diction” (Neue Musikzeitung). He looks forward to further performances of this role with Opéra de Paris and at Teatro Real in Madrid.   He returned to the Salzburg as Laios in Oedipe during July and August, while Bob Boles in Peter Grimes for the Enescu Festival and Die Hexe in Hänsel und Gretel for the Canadian Opera Company are in his plans for 2019-2020. Recent seasons have included Herodes in Salome for English National Opera, Messiah for  Symphony Nova Scotia, Dr. Caius in Vlaanderen Opera’s Falstaff, Bob Boles in Peter Grimes with Monte Carlo Opera, and Bardolfo in Falstaff for the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden.

Of particular note during Canada’s Sesquicentennial Year, he was featured in the Canadian Opera Company’s new production of Somers’ Louis Riel, presented in Toronto, Ottawa and Quebec City. Also on his schedule for 2016-2017 were the Painter in Lulu at the English National Opera, Monostatos in Die Zauberflöte for the Canadian Opera Company, and Elijah for Montreal’s Choeur St. Laurent. During the 2015-2016 season he sang l’Aumonier in Dialogues des Carmélites for The Netherlands Opera, Basilio in Le nozze di Figaro for the Canadian Opera Company and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 for the Brott Music Festival.

Highlighting Colvin’s 2014-2015 season was his debut at the Royal Opera Covent Garden as Rodolphe in Rossini’s Guillaume Tell conducted by Antonio Pappano. The year also included a return to the Canadian Opera Company for the roles of Goro in Madama Butterfly and Dr. Caius in Falstaff, Herod in Salome for Opera Ireland, Jaquino for Manitoba Opera’s Fidelio and Messiahs in Newfoundland and in Montreal. He joined Bramwell Tovey and the Vancouver Symphony for Rimsky-Korsakov’s Mozart and Salieri and also was seen in Brussels and Paris as Jaquino, with the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra in Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 and the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir in Pärt’s Passio. In 2013-2014, he was at the English National Opera where he first essayed the title role in Peter Grimes. He also appeared as Bob Boles in Peter Grimes with the London Philharmonic in Europe and was back in London for English National Opera’s revival of the Britten work. Vancouver Opera audiences heard him as the Mayor in Albert Herring, and further dates included Calgary for Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9, Halifax for Symphony Nova Scotia’s Messiah and Montreal for Bach’s Johannes Passion.

Held in high esteem for his sterling musicianship and commitment to text, he has collaborated with conductors including Franz Welser-Möst, Harry Bicket, Antonio Papano, Johannes Debus, Nicholas McGegan, Sir Charles Mackeerras, Andrey Boreyko, Bernard Labadie, Bramwell Tovey, Alexander Shelley, Jacques Lacombe, Trevor Pinnock, Helmut Rilling, Jane Glover and Carlos Kalmar. His repertoire is an eclectic mix, ranging from the opera and orchestral works of Britten and Mozart to Berg, Beethoven, Strauss and Wagner. Additional credits include Welsh National Opera, Minnesota Opera, Seattle Symphony, Louisville Orchestra, Phoenix Symphony, Toronto Symphony, Lyric Opera of Kansas City, Rochester Philharmonic, Ulster Orchestra in Belfast, Detroit Symphony, Garsington Opera, National Arts Centre Orchestra Ottawa, Toronto Mendelssohn Choir, l’Orchestre symphonique de Québec, Pacific Opera Victoria, Portland Opera, London Proms, Lanaudiere Festival, Edinburgh Festival, Grant Park Festival and the Elora Festival.

Born in Ballymena, Northern Ireland, and raised in Toronto, Canada, Michael began his musical studies at St. Michael’s Choir School in Toronto and returned to music after attaining his Bachelor of Science in Immunology from the University of Toronto. A graduate of the U. of T. Opera Division, Michael has also trained with the Canadian Opera Company’s Ensemble Studio, the Britten-Pears School in Aldeburgh, England and Canada’s Banff Centre for the Arts. He has been the recipient of numerous awards and scholarships, most notably the Canadian Opera Foundation Award, Chalmers Performing Arts Award and a Canada Council Artist Grant. Michael makes his home in Toronto, Canada. Recording projects include the works of the Ukrainian composer Lysenko, Don Ottavio in the film Don Giovanni Unmasked with Hvorostovsky and recordings on the NAXOS, CBC and Warner Music labels.

September 2019


Mozart Belmonte
Handel Acis
Heggie Father Grenville DEAD MAN WALKING
Rossini Lindoro
Britten Bob Boles
Male Chorus
Johnny Inkslinger
Chabrier Le Roi Ouf L’ÉTOILE
Donizetti Nemorino
Puccini Pong
Stravinsky Oedipus Rex OEDIPUS REX
Verdi Fenton


Bach, J.S. Magnificat
Mass in B-minor
Johannes Passion
Matthäus Passion
Brahms Liebeslieder Walzer
Neue Liebeslieder Walzer
Beethoven Adelaide
An die ferne Geliebte
Symphony No. 9
Mass in C
Britten War Requiem
Serenade for tenor, horn and strings
Canticle I: My Beloved is mine
Canticle II: Abraham and Isaac
Canticle III: Still falls the Rain
Canticle IV: Journey of the Magi
Sechs Hölderlin Fragmente
Charpentier Messe de Minuit pour Noël
Dvorak Stabat Mater
Elgar The Dream of Gerontius
Gounod St. Cecilia’s Mass
Handel Acis and Galatea
Judas Maccabaeus
Israel in Egypt
Messiah (arr. Mozart)
Ode for St. Cecilia’s Day
Hatzis Everlasting Light
Haydn Die Schöpfung
Die Jahreszeiten
Nelson Mass
Mahler/Schönberg Das Lied von der Erde
Mendelssohn Elijah Op. 70
Mozart Requiem
Coronation Mass
Mass in C-minor
Regina Caeli
Pärt Passio
Purcell The Fairy Queen
The Tempest
Quilter Seven Elizabethan Lyrics
Respighi Lauda per la natività del Signore
Rossini Stabat Mater
Petite Messe Solennelle
Schubert Die schöne Müllerin
Mass in A flat
Mass in B flat
Mass in E flat
Schumann Dichterliebe
Stravinsky Oedipus Rex
In Memoriam Dylan Thomas
Vaughan Williams On Wenlock Edge
Serenade to Music
Verdi Requiem

“Colvin, in turn, sang with force and impressive tone as he tore up the stage with his riveting portrayal. He was superb.”
[Salome, English National Opera] San Francisco Classical Voice; Letter from London

“Colvin and Bickley are superb. She wonderfully suggests Herodias’s fraying dignity. He sounds all the more sinister for singing so elegantly and refusing to shout, like so many Herods.”
[Salome, English National Opera] Tim Ashley, The Guardian

“Michael Colvin is a vivid Herod.”
[Salome, English National Opera] Richard Fairman, Financial Times

“Presiding over events is Michael Colvin’s Herod clad in an ermine-edged Father Christmas coat and not much else, but his incarnation of paranoid derangement is highly convincing… The negotiating argy-bargy between him (Herod) and his step-daughter (Salome), who exhibits an EU-style inflexibility in her demand for Jokanaan’s head, is beautifully sung.”
[Salome, English National Opera] Michael Church, The Independent

“Michael Colvin’s Herod, flopping around in puddles of blood, was a study in moral and mental decline, disturbingly lascivious and with a well-crafted repellance to him”
[Salome, English National Opera] Dominic Lowe, Bachtrack.com

“Michael Colvin’s Herod is suitably both disturbing and disturbed as he rolls around on the blood-soaked stage. His vocals are tortured and powerful…”
[Salome, English National Opera] Aliya Al-Hassan, BroadwayWorld.com

“It was however the power of the voices, the dramatic characterizations, the sheer brilliance of the music which carried this performance… Michael Colvin as Herod was completely convincing as the depraved and eventually disgusted king.”
[Salome, Northern Ireland Opera] Belfast Telegraph

“It’s real a white-knuckle ride that never lets up… It all sounds terrific… Michael Colvin’s Herod is more lyrical than many and thus nastier than most.”
[Salome, Northern Ireland Opera] Tim Ashley, The Guardian

“Herod and Herodias were sharply etched by Michael Colvin and Heather Shipp”
[Salome, Northern Ireland Opera] Rupert Christiansen, The Telegraph

“Not just sleazy but actively repellent, not just gory but positively noxious, his (Director, Oliver Mears) production plays out like a nightmare mash-up of Sam Peckinpah, David Lynch and Woody Allen… Musically this is another bold achievement by NI Opera… (Heather) Shipp’s Herodias and Michael Colvin’s Herod were poisonously effective.”
[Salome, Northern Ireland Opera] Neil Fisher, The Sunday Times

“I thought Michael Colvin was without doubt the best Bob Boles I have heard and seen; this ‘Methody’ struck a fine balance between a figure of fun and the conscience of the Borough, taking the moral high ground when regarding Grimes as a lost soul of a fisherman.”
[Peter Grimes – Birmingham, London Philharmonic Orchestra] Seen and Heard International

“The sound was wonderfully vivid, and every morsel of Jurowski’s interpretation – its cool, precise clarity interspersed with climaxes of frightening intensity – came across fiercely. So did all the individual performances, with an outstanding lineup, including Brindley Sherratt as Swallow, Michael Colvin as Bob Boles, Jean Rigby as Mrs Sedley and Mark Stone as Ned Keene, with Pamela Helen Stephen as a fag-smoking Auntie and Jonathan Veira’s Hobson.”
[Peter Grimes, London Philharmonic Orchestra] Andrew Clements, London Guardian

“From the rear stalls (where many of the press were relocated on account of demand) some voices made more of an impression than others. It’s a tricky hall, this (Royal Festival Hall, Southbank Centre), and a few feet can make all the difference to the experience you have. The big voices fared well with Brindley Sherratt’s Swallow, Mark Stone’s Ned Keene, and Michael Colvin’s Bob Boles coming across strongly.”
[Peter Grimes, London Philharmonic Orchestra] Edward Seckerson’s Blog

“Michael Colvin’s intemperate Bob Boles, the Methodist, Mark Stone’s swaggering Ned Keene, Jonathan Veira’s stalwart Hobson, Brian Galliford’s pious Reverend Horace Adams and Brindley Sherratt’s lecherous lawyer Swallow also brought a wealth of experience to the ensemble. Everyone sang strongly and with excellent diction that made the surtitles mostly redundant.”
[Peter Grimes – London, London Philharmonic Orchestra] Seen and Heard International

“Michael Colvin also made his mark as a wayward yet forceful Bob Boles.”
[Peter Grimes, London Philharmonic Orchestra] Alexander Campbell, Classical Source

“Further vocal performances from Jean Rigby (Mrs. Sedley), Michael Colvin (Bob Boles), Brindley Sherratt (Swallow) and Jonathan Veira (Hobson) all impressed.”
[Peter Grimes, London Philharmonic Orchestra] Backtracks

“The principal line-up was exceptionally strong, both vocally and dramatically… no-one in the cast, which included Pamela Helen Stephen, Michael Colvin and Mark Stone, came across as weak.”
[Peter Grimes, London Philharmonic Orchestra] Musical OMH

“Michael Colvin brought an authentically bug-eyed mania to Bob Boles’ ‘Methody Wastrel,’ especially when drunk.”
[Peter Grimes, London Philharmonic Orchestra] Opera Britannia

“Tenor Michael Colvin was also outstanding. His five numbers in the Passion sequence were deeply moving. Later, his ‘Thou Shalt Break Them’ was forceful and a worthy prelude to the ‘Hallelujah Chorus.’”
Richard Todd, The Ottawa Citizen

“Another notable performance came from Michael Colvin as Flute, who balanced a musical, ringing tenor with the hilarity this role requires.”
Lottie Greenhow, MusicOMH.com

“It (Britten’s Turn of the Screw) was already the most chilling show in town…but English National Opera’s revival of McVicar’s 2007 production turns the screw even tighter…Another (change) is the truly demonic Quint created by the one adult newcomer to the cast, Michael Colvin. He’s almost bestial with his claw-like hands, hunched back, lurching gait and spookily disembodied singing.”
[Turn of the Screw] The Times

“(Sir Charles Mackerras’) delivery of the Screw last night was stunning – as was everything about this show, which has largely the same cast as before but with a new Quint (Michael Colvin). An outstanding cast…”
The Telegraph

“Michael Colvin is excellent in The Prologue – every word carefully pointed – and his Peter Quint was menacing because of its understatement. The way he calls to Miles insinuated themselves into the accompanying orchestra textures were perfectly judged.”
Classical Source

“Michael Colvin joins them as the new Prologue/Quint, and in my opinion outdoes his predecessor in the role: the ardent sound he produces is a welcome change from the insipid sound that some English tenors have a tendency to produce, and he was genuinely scary.”
Musical Criticism

“Michael Colvin brought a sweet, agile lyric tenor to Don Ottavio’s two arias.”
John von Rhein, Chicago Tribune

“The promising Michael Colvin possess one of the most beautiful young lyric tenor instruments around…his voice is sizable with an intrinsic timbral sweetness—capable of a heroic ring above the staff, as well as cleanly articulated passagework… gratifyingly allowed ‘Ich baue ganz,’ dispatching this technical litmus test with velocity and grace.”
Mark Thomas Ketterson, Opera News

“Canadian tenor Michael Colvin, as the villainous usurper Grimoaldo, also sang up a storm, and his one a typical, wistful aria, about the shepherd finding peace with his sheep, was surprising and touching.”
[Rodelinda] The Globe and Mail

“Of all Canada’s superb tenors, these days the Irish-born but Canadian-raised-and-trained Colvin is the one I most look forward to hearing. His lovely, healthy tenor, allied to his sure sense of pitch, was the rock… Colvin’s big solo, the ‘Ingemisco,’ was gorgeous, and his opening phrases at the ‘Hostias’ in the Offertorium were very moving.”
[Verdi Requiem, Elora Festiva] The Globe and Mail

“Michael Colvin supplied a mellifluous Blemonte.”
Floyd St. Clair, Opera Canada

“Une mention pour le Canadien Michael Colvin, qui fait presque jeu egal avec la contralto polonaise (Ewa Podles). Qualite du timbre, aisance dans les vocalises, intuition stylistique: ce tenor a tout pour faire carriere dans Rossini” (trans: “A mention for the Canadian Michael Colvin, who is almost the equal of Polish contralto Ewa Podles. Quality of tone, ease of technique, stylistic intuition: this tenor has it all for a career in Rossini.”
[Tancredi] Opera International

“Tenor Michael Colvin spun pure, lyric honey as Belfiore, his Act II duet with Durkin providing the vocal highlight of the evening.”
[Il viaggio a Reims] Opera News

“Among the men, the big discovery was the fast-rising Rossini tenor Michael Colvin, singing sweetly, ardently and musically as Belfiore.”
[Il viaggio a Reims] Chicago Tribune

“As the lecherous Il Cavalier Belfiore, Michael Colvin blended an Irish tenor of high-flying innocence with wonderfully oily manners. His duet with Corinna was a highlight of the evening.”
[Il viaggio a Reims] Chicago Sun Times

“Michael Colvin, as the romantic lead Belmonte, was assured and luminous in his solo work, and an excellent partner for soprano Aline Kutan as Konstanze…”
[Die Entführung aus dem Serail] Vancouver Sun

“…The best surprise was tenor Michael Colvin, like contralto Marie-Nicole Lemieux, making his debut with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra. His vibrato-free, deep-felt recitatives, consistent warmth and the heroic cast he brings to his singing suggest a very successful future.”
[Messiah] The Toronto Star

“Michael Colvin’s clear, bright, lyrical tenor wonderfully suited his Beethoven and Schubert songs. In Beethoven’s ‘The Kiss’, he deftly brought out the musico-poetic transformation from serious romance to jocular situation. Colvin made his songs his own – they seemed to be part of his living, breathing being. He always found a way of singing a repeated word or phrase differently the second time around. His German diction was well nigh pristine. His simple gestures, body language and facial expressions added an extra sheen to his presentation.”
[Liederabend, Opera Ontario] The Hamilton Spectator

“Michael Colvin displayed stylistic assurance and sustained Lindoro’s high tessitura with fortitude.”
[L’italiana in Algeri] Opera News

“There’s only one outstanding voice in the cast – that of tenor Michael Colvin (Lindoro).”
[L’italiana in Algeri] The National Post

“Partnering her was Michael Colvin, rapidly becoming a noted Rossinian… Colvin proved an impressive Lindoro, singing with outstanding agility and clarion, elegant tone.”
[L’italiana in Algeri] Opera Magazine

“Tenor Michael Colvin as Lindoro, Isabella’s true love, effortlessly shares top singing honours”
[L’italiana in Algeri] The Globe and Mail

“…his vocal work was godlike in every respect, with clarion timbre and pinpoint accuracy.”
[Semele] Opera Magazine

“The stand-out among the performers was Michael Colvin, his tenor robust and forwardly placed, wonderful to hear in the opera’s most famous air, ‘Where’er you walk.’”
[Semele] Chicago Tribune

“Setting the tone was Canadian tenor Michael Colvin, whose Male Chorus was absolutely bright in color, clear in diction and musically secure, towering over the three other male soloists.”
[The Rape of Lucretia] Opera Canada

“…as one admired the honey-toned, impassioned Tamino of Michael Colvin.”
[The Magic Flute] Winnipeg Free Press

“…Tenor Michael Colvin (Arbace) in particular bowled me over with his masterfully stylish performance.”
[Idomeneo] The Opera Quarterly

“Michael Colvin sang the tenor arias and recitatives with precision, feeling and superb diction.”
[Messiah] The Ottawa Citizen

“The brightest light of the evening was tenor Michael Colvin in the role of Count Almaviva. Colvin’s voice seemed a perfect model of the ‘bel canto’ style of singing that Rossini’s music employed. Supple and pliant, it moved beautifully and with precision through the rapidly decorated vocal runs supplied by the composer.”
[The Barber of Seville] The Sun Newspaper

“Michael Colvin stood out in a uniformly strong cast as a brilliant Male Chorus, exemplary in diction and tonal colouration, highly intelligent in verbal stress without losing the musical line.”
[The Rape of Lucretia] Opera Magazine

“This is a superb score, which is served up with panache by the COC orchestra under conductor Harry Bicket and a powerful cast with particularly delicious performances from Danielle de Niese, Gerald Thompson and Michael Colvin, all of whom combine strong talents on both a vocal and dramatic level.”
[Rodelinda] Toronto Sun


With the Canadian Opera Company, Michael sings the role of the Witch in Humperdinck’s Hansel and Gretel from February 6 through 21, 2019. coc.ca