|Frances C. Roberts - Music from the traditional to the unexpected|
The American tenor John Bellemer has gained a reputation for his strong portrayals in a very wide repertoire. Possessed of a voice the New York Times calls "clarion-toned", he continues to appear in leading roles at opera houses across North America and Europe.
In the 2012-13 season, John appears with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center in their “Love Songs” program singing songs by Schubert, Schumann, and Brahms. John can also be heard with the Berkshire Choral Festival in their Opera evening, and returns to the Wexford Festival as Sali in Stephen Medcalf’s production of Delius’ A Village Romeo and Juliet. John also returns to Birmingham Opera as Pinkerton in Madama Butterfly. His 2011-12 season included several return engagements: to the Buxton Festival in the summer of 2011 as Riccardo in Donizetti's Maria di Rohan; to Boston Lyric Opera as Sandy/Officer One in Davies' The Lighthouse; to Opera Birmingham as Don José in Carmen; and to the New York Choral Society as soloist in Puccini's Messa di Gloria. He also sang Dvorák's Stabat Mater and the world premier of Filas' "Song of Solomon" with Oratorio Society of New York. In 2010-11 he sang the title role in Faust with Hawaii Opera Theater, Don Ottavio in Don Giovanni with Opera Omaha, Edgardo in Lucia di Lammermoor with Opera Birmingham, and both Rodolfo in La bohème and Ira Hayes in the world premier of Johanna Doderer's Der leuchtende Fluss at Theater Erfurt. Recent engagements included Don Jose in Carmen in a return to Boston Lyric Opera, Rodolfo in La bohème with Arizona Opera, Rodolfo in Luisa Miller with Buxton Festival, and appearances as soloist in Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 with the Columbus Symphony Orchestra, Haydn's Harmoniemesse with New York Choral Society, and Messiah with the New Choral Society.
In a departure from his usual venue of live operatic and concert performances, John in the last year has performed in three films: a short, “Beyond Belief”, in the cameo role of “Handsome Man at Bar”, and an independent film, “Lies I Told My Little Sister”, where he makes a brief appearance as the singing chef, both directed by William Joseph Stribling. In the third, Steven Spielberg’s feature film “Lincoln”, due out winter 2012, John sings the title role of Faust in a scene from Gounod’s opera which is featured in the movie.
Recent highlights include the role of Boconnion in The Mines of Sulfur at the Wexford Festival; Ferrando in Così fan tutte with both Madison Opera and Opéra de Rouen in Paris, under Oswald Sallaberger; Toni in Pierre Luigi Pizzi's production of Henze's Elegy for Young Lovers at Teatro Arriaga in Spain; Gennaro in Lucrezia Borgia at the Buxton Festival; Don José in Carmen with Michigan Opera Theatre; Messiah with Alabama Symphony; Belmonte in Die Entführung aus dem Serail in a return to Teatro Lirico di Cagliari; Herr M in Hindemith's Neues vom Tage with Teatro delle Muse in Ancona; Lindoro in L'italiana in Algeri in Paris, France and New York City sponsored by UNESCO; Britten's Serenade for Tenor, Horn and Strings with the Columbus Symphony Orchestra; Messiah with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra; and Dvorák's Stabat Mater with the Choral Arts Society of Washington DC.
Other international appearances include Macduff in Macbeth and Ferrando in Così fan tutte with Opéra National de Bordeaux, Tamino in Die Zauberflöte and Sali in Delius' A Village Romeo and Juliette with Teatro Lirico di Cagliari, and Pinkerton in Madama Butterfly with Opéra de Rennes. He was Almaviva in Il barbiere di Siviglia with Stadttheater Giessen, Don Ottavio in Don Giovanni with Opéra Royal de Wallonie, Toni in the same production of Elegy for Young Lovers with Teatro di San Carlo in Naples, Don José in Carmen with Estonian National Opera, and Andres in Wozzeck with Opéra National de Lorraine.
Mr. Bellemer's extensive North American credits include performances of Alfredo in La traviata with Cleveland Opera, Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, Arizona Opera, Calgary Opera, and Berkshire Opera, the Duke in Rigoletto with Arizona Opera, Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, and Shreveport Opera, and Almaviva in Il barbiere di Siviglia with Minnesota Opera, Hawaii Opera Theatre, and Palm Beach Opera. He has performed Don Ottavio in with Hawaii Opera Theatre and Dayton Opera, Don José with New York City Opera, Opera Theatre of Saint Louis and Boston Lyric Opera, and Ernesto in Don Pasquale with Palm Beach Opera. He has also sung the title role in Faust with Austin Lyric Opera, Macduff with Vancouver Opera, Roméo in Roméo et Juliette with Opera Grand Rapids and Opera Ontario, Nemorino in L'elisir d'amore, Rodolfo in La bohème, Pinkerton with Berkshire Opera, and Nadir in Les Pêcheurs de perles with Arizona Opera.
A gifted concert artist, Mr. Bellemer has appeared with the New York Choral Society at Alice Tully Hall performing Rossini's Petite Messe solennelle; Calgary Philharmonic in Beethoven's Symphony No. 9, conducted by Hans Graf; American Symphony Orchestra in Beethoven's Missa solemni, conducted by Leon Botstein; Berkshire Symphony Orchestra, under Kent Nagano, in the American premiere of 60th Parallel; Danville Symphony singing Beethoven's Choral Fantasy; and as soloist in Handel's Messiah, with both the Fresno Philharmonic Orchestra and the Reno Chamber Orchestra. Mr. Bellemer made his Carnegie Hall debut with the New England Chamber Ensemble performing Mozart's Requiem, and has performed in gala concerts presented by the Richard Tucker Foundation, Arizona Opera, Nevada Opera, and San Jose Symphony.
Committed to the art of the vocal recital, John Bellemer toured with pianist John Wustman from 1992 to 1998 in a program titled "The Songs of Franz Schubert." He made his European recital debut at the Estonian National Opera with mezzo-soprano Sarah Blaze, and has appeared as a guest recitalist to benefit the Napa Valley Symphony, as well with both Stanford and James Madison Universities.
Mr. Bellemer holds a Bachelor of Music degree from James Madison University and a Master of Music degree from the University of Illinois. He lives in New York with his wife, Sarah Blaze.