Christopher Ventris is one of the world’s leading Heldentenors and the pre-eminent Siegmund and Parsifal of his generation. From his acclaimed Bayreuther Festspiele debut as Parsifal in Stefan Herheim’s new production (Daniele Gatti), he went on to innumerable appearances in the role including at Wiener Staatsoper (under both Franz Welser-Möst and Semyon Bychkov), Bayerische Staatsoper (Kent Nagano), Royal Opera House, Covent Garden (Bernard Haitink), Opéra national de Paris (Hartmut Haenchen), San Francisco Opera (Donald Runnicles) and at Opernhaus Zürich (Haitink), the latter portrayal immortalised on DVD. As Siegmund (Die Walküre), Ventris has appeared at Wiener Staatsoper (Sir Simon Rattle), Bayreuther Festspiele, (Marek Janowski), Semperoper Dresden (Christian Thielemann), Washington National Opera (Philippe Auguin), Dutch National Opera (Marc Albrecht) and features on a live recording from Wiener Staatsoper (Thielemann).
Elsewhere in the Wagner repertory, Ventris joined Philippe Jordan at Salzburger Festspiele in the title role Rienzi, made his role debut as Tannhäuser under Sir Mark Elder at Opéra national de Paris, and appeared as Lohengrin at Grand Théâtre de Genève, Teatro Real Madrid and The Dallas Opera. His role debut in Tristan und Isolde at Théâtre de la Monnaie under Music Director Alain Altinoglu, was met with great acclaim: “In the love duet, he sang with honeyed warmth, blending handsomely with Isolde and the orchestra below …” and was followed by concert performances at Royal Danish Opera under Lothar Koenigs.
While Wagner’s music has played a key role in the development of his international career, Ventris’ repertoire flexibility has been pivotal to his enduring success: he has been seen as Peter Grimes at Opernhaus Zürich and Deutsche Oper Berlin, Florestan (Fidelio) at Washington National Opera, Sergei (Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk) in Geneva, Madrid, London and Brussels, and Jimmy Mahoney (Aufstieg und Fall der Stadt Mahagonny) at Berliner Staatsoper, Opernhaus Zürich and Wiener Staatsoper. Števa in Janáček’s Jenůfa marked his debut at the Metropolitan Opera and he more recently sang Laca in Dmitri Tcherniakov’s production at Opernhaus Zürich. Max (Der Freischütz) marked his debut at Teatro alla Scala, he appeared as Pfitzner’s Palestrina at Bayerische Staatsoper and one of his many roles at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden was Manolios in Martinů’s The Greek Passion. His role debut as Prince Andrey Khovansky (Khovanshchina) at Wiener Staatsoper conducted by Semyon Bychkov, was subsequently seen at London’s Royal Albert Hall as part of the 2017 BBC Proms and he returned to the Metropolitan opera in the 2019/20 season in his role debut as Tambour’ Major (Wozzeck), conducted by Yannick Nézet-Séguin and in William Kentridge’s acclaimed production.
Last season, Ventris revisited his success as Tambour’ Major both in production at the Palau de les Arts Reina Sofia under James Gaffigan and in concert with the Boston Symphony Orchestra and Andris Nelsons in Boston and at Carnegie Hall. The current season includes a return to the role of Erik (Der fliegende Holländer) for both Canadian Opera Company under Johannes Debus and Vancouver Opera, and Parsifal with Orquesta de Extremadura under Pablo Heras-Casado.