Hugh Russell baritone
About Hugh RussellCanadian baritone Hugh Russell continues to receive high praise for his charisma, dramatic energy and vocal beauty. He is widely acclaimed for his performances in the operas of Mozart and Rossini, and is regularly invited to perform with symphony orchestras throughout North America. At the center of his orchestral repertoire is Orff’s popular Carmina Burana, which Mr. Russell has performed with The Philadelphia Orchestra, The Cleveland Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, San Francisco Symphony, Houston Symphony, Pittsburgh Symphony, Seattle Symphony, Toronto Symphony, and Vancouver Symphony, among others. The New Orleans Times-Picayune said, “Baritone Hugh Russell also grasped the theatrical nature of Orff’s work, nearly stealing the show with a voice that ranged from organ-deep rumbles to flute-like falsetto – and an acting style that drew roars of laughter as he captured the bullishness of an intoxicated medieval abbot.”
Recent engagements include: Carmina Burana with the Kansas City Symphony and the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra; Pangloss in Candide in Salt Lake City and Seoul, South Korea, Abimelech in Samson et Dalila with North Carolina Opera, Noah Joad in Grapes of Wrath with Michigan Opera Theater. He also recently sang Carmina Burana with New Mexico Philharmonic and in Mexico City under the baton of Carlos Miguel Prieto, as well as with the Chicago Philharmonic, the Las Vegas Philharmonic, the Louisiana Philharmonic, the Orquesta Nacional de Costa Rica, and the Orquesta Sinfonica del Principado de Asturias in Oviedo, Spain. He also sang Rachmaninoff’s The Bells with the Orchestre Metropolitain de Montreal and Yannick Nezet-Seguin, joined Palm Beach Opera in the role of Major General Stanley in Pirates of Penzance, and performed the role of Noah Joad in Grapes of Wrath with Opera Theatre of Saint Louis.
Hugh Russell joined Calgary Opera in 2016 as Papageno in The Magic Flute. He reprised Carmina Burana with the Columbus Symphony Orchestra and the Grand Rapids Symphony, and sang Rachmaninoff’s The Bells and with the Cincinnati Symphony. In the 2014-2015 season, Mr. Russell performed the role of Falke in Die Fledermaus with Vancouver Opera. Orchestral engagements included Faure’s Requiem with the Dallas Symphony, opera scenes with the Princeton Symphony, and Carmina Burana with the Rhode Island Philharmonic, the West Michigan Symphony, and the Louisville Orchestra.
In 2013-2014, Mr. Russell performed Carmina Burana with the Pittsburgh Symphony, the Israel Philharmonic, and the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. Also that season, he debuted Mendelssohn’s Elijah with the Orquesta Sinfonica del Principado de Asturias in Oviedo, Spain. On the operatic stage, he made his company debut with Cincinnati Opera as Father Palmer in Kevin Puts’ opera Silent Night, and sang Taddeo in L’italiana in Algeriin his debut with the Calgary Opera.
Selected operatic engagements of recent seasons comprise a return to Opera Theatre of St. Louis as General Stanley in The Pirates of Penzance, Harlequin in Ariadne auf Naxos with Kent Nagano and the Los Angeles Opera, the lead role of the Pilot in Rachel Portman’s The Little Prince with Boston Lyric Opera, Taddeo in L’italiana in Algeri with Vancouver Opera, Valentin in Faust with Pittsburgh Opera, Taddeo, Belcore in L’elisir d’amore, and Eisenstein in Die Fledermaus with Arizona Opera, his New York City Opera debut singing the title role in Il barbiere di Siviglia, his UK debut as Virginio in Mercadante’s Virginia at the Wexford Festival,and Papageno in Die Zauberflöte and Dandini in La Cenerentola with Atlanta Opera.
Additional notable concert engagements include the Brahms Ein deutsches Requiem and Mahler’s Songs of a Wayfarer with the Vancouver Symphony under Music Director Bramwell Tovey, Vaughan Williams’s Sea Symphony with Edo de Waart and the Milwaukee Symphony, Fauré’s Requiem with Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra and the Orquesta de Sevilla, Rachmaninoff’s The Bells with the Madison Symphony Orchestra, Songs of a Wayfarer with the Indianapolis Symphony and the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony, John Adams’s The Wound-Dresser with the Toledo Symphony, and Tobias Picker’s Tres sonetos de amor with L’Orchestre Philharmonique de Strasbourg. Mr. Russell has also been a regular performer with the New York Festival of Song and has sung in the Festival’s recitals at Merkin Concert Hall, the Kaye Playhouse, and the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC, and was cited by the New York Times for his “lovely sound.”
Hugh Russell continued his success as baritone soloist in Carmina Burana with the San Francisco Symphony, the Seattle Symphony, the Detroit Symphony Orchestra under Leonard Slatkin, Vancouver Symphony, Edmonton Symphony, New Mexico Symphony, the National Symphony Orchestra, the Philadelphia Orchestra in Vail, the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony Orchestra the Sarasota Symphony Orchestra, the Oberlin Conservatory (his alma mater), the Indianapolis Symphony with Music Director Krzysztof Urbanski, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Milwaukee Symphony under Andreas Delfs, and the Houston Symphony under Music Director Hans Graf, made debuts with the Danish Radio Symphony under the baton of the late Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos as well as with the Naples Philharmonic.
As a member of the Pittsburgh Opera Center, Mr. Russell sang the roles of Malatesta in Don Pasquale, the title role in Pelléas et Mélisande, and Guglielmo in Così fan tutte, a role he has also performed with Boston Baroque. Reviewing the latter performance, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review wrote, “Baritone Hugh Russell was magnificent…His was also the most completely acted performance.” A further triumph with this company was his performance in Dominick Argento’s Postcard from Morocco.
Mr. Russell was both an Adler Fellow and a member of the Merola Opera Program at San Francisco Opera, where he was heard in Ariadne auf Naxos and in Messiaen’s St. François d’Assise. The San Francisco Classical Voice proclaimed, “He seems born for the stage. And with a lyrical voice boasting a strong and exciting top end, he is a complete performer.”