Michael Wade Lee
Continuing to thrill audiences worldwide with his powerful voice and amazing performances, critics hail American tenor Michael Wade Lee as “that rarity among operatic tenors, a really good-looking, virile, well-built and gifted thespian with a wide-ranging voice to match.” A seasoned performer on the operatic stage, he has sung with some of the most respected companies in the world including the Greek National Opera, Staatstheater Mainz, Glyndebourne Festival Opera, St Petersburg Opera, New York City Opera, San Antonio Opera, Kentucky Opera, Opera Theatre of St. Louis, El Paso Opera, and the San Francisco Opera. Most recently, Mr. Lee captivated the UK audience as Nemorino L’ELISIR D’AMORE with glowing reviews at Glyndebourne Festival Opera. In the 2011-2012 season Mr. Lee returned to Ireland for his first Manrico IL TROVATORE, reprised Tamino THE MAGIC FLUTE in Poland, debuted his first Hoffmann LES CONTES D’HOFFMANN in the states and covered the Prince RUSALKA with the Royal Opera House in London. Mr. Lee recently performed the role of Radames AIDA with Lyric Opera Productions in Dublin as well as the roles of the Duke RIGOLETTO with Pittsburgh Opera and Cassio OTELLO with Opera North (UK), the title-role STIFFELIO for Krefeld/Moehnchengladbach, Alfredo LA TRAVIATA for Boston Lyric Opera, Calaf TURANDOT for Aalto-Theater Essen and Il Duca RIGOLETTO for Opera Birmingham (US). Future roles include Don Jose CARMEN and Gabriele Adorno SIMON BOCCANEGRA for Theater Osnabrueck, Radames AIDA for the Estonian National Opera and Riccardo UN BALLO IN MASCHERA for Aalto-Theater Essen.
During the 2007-2008 season he made his international debut with the Greek National Opera, performing the role of Don José CARMEN opposite Denyce Graves. In quick succession, Mr. Lee reprised the role of Don José CARMEN six more times with Glyndebourne Festival Opera, Lyric Opera Productions Dublin, Chautauqua Opera, Opera in the Heights, for the season opening at the Staatstheater Mainz in Germany and San Antonio Opera. That same season Mr. Lee triumphed twice as Pinkerton MADAMA BUTTERFLY, in Hong Kong with Musica Viva and in the US with the Midland Symphony. During the 2009-2010 season, he debuted as soloist with the Tucson Symphony Orchestra in Beethoven Ninth Symphony. During the 2010-2011 season, Mr. Lee reprised Turiddu CAVALLERIA RUSTICANA with Kentucky Opera, a role he performed to great acclaim at Chelsea Opera, Tamino DIE ZAUBERFLÖTE with Connecticut Lyric Opera, and Il Duca RIGOLETTO with San Antonio Opera. He also performed as the tenor soloist in Verdi REQUIEM with the US with the Kalamazoo Symphony and in Poland with Pilska Orkiestra Klasyczna.
Mr. Lee’s performed roles also include the Prince RUSALKA, Cavaradossi TOSCA, The Male Chorus THE RAPE OF LUCRETIA, Froh DAS RHEINGOLD, and Raymond Pocket MISS HAVISHAM’S FIRE. Mr. Lee performed Il Duca RIGOLETTO with Connecticut Lyric Opera and Opera in the Heights. In 2004, he reprised the Male Chorus THE RAPE OF LUCRETIA to great acclaim with San Francisco Opera’s Merola Opera Program. Of his performance the San Francisco Chronicle wrote, “The best singing came from…tenor Michael Wade Lee, who combined heroism and honeyed tenderness in equal measure“.
Gaining a reputation for his vivid characterizations, he was personally chosen by Stephen Schwartz to premiere the role of Charles Clayton in the American Opera Project’s first public reading of his new opera SÉANCE ON A WET AFTERNOON. Mr. Lee also created the role of The Actor in the world premiere of Kitty Brazelton’s opera FIREWORKS! with American Opera Projects and he has additionally been a member of Pacific Opera’s roster since 2002. In 2006, Mr. Lee sang the First Guest in Dargomyzhsky THE STONE GUEST with the American Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Leon Botstein at Avery Fisher Hall.
In January 2008, Mr. Lee performed the tenor solo in the North American Premier of Scherbachyov Symphony Blokovskaya with Leon Botstein and the American Symphony Orchestra at Avery Fisher Hall. The recording is now available for purchase. The New York Times said, “[Mr Lee] sang with attractive tone and stamina in the final movement, a lurid Dantean fantasy…”He also sang the tenor solo in the Mozart Requiem and Jenkins The Armed Man: A Mass for Peace at Carnegie Hall and has appeared in concert with the San Francisco Opera Orchestra and on the stages of Avery Fisher Hall, Alice Tully Hall and Merkin Hall in New York City.
Mr. Lee was consistently a yearly finalist in the Texoma region’s NATS competition throughout the early 90’s and won the Metropolitan Opera National Council encouragement award in Indiana in 2000. Additional awards include a prestigious Merola Career Grant and the Pacific Opera Career Grant.