John Bellemer

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. He is featured in the Academy Award-nominated film “Lincoln” as Gounod’s Faust. Engagements in the 2018-19 season include soloist in works by Schubert, Gardel, Ventadorn, and Dowland at the Salt Bay Chamberfest, and soloist in Hours of Freedom: The Story of the Terezín Composer with the Defiant Requiem Foundation at Zankel Hall in New York’s Carnegie Hall.

In the 2017-18 season, Mr. Bellemer’s highlights included the Duke of Mantua in Rigoletto with Michigan Opera Theatre, following his return to Berkshire Chorale Festival in the summer of 2017 as soloist in Verdi’s Requiem. In the 2016-17 season, Mr. Bellemer returned to Austin Lyric Opera as Der Steuermann in Der fliegende Holländer, Pacific Symphony Orchestra as soloist in Messiah, and debuted with North Carolina Opera as Nadir in Les pêcheurs de perles. His engagements in the 2015-16 season included his return to Hawaii Opera Theatre as Lysander in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Rodolfo in La bohème with Bangor Symphony Orchestra, soloist in Bach Cantatas with Toledo Symphony Orchestra, Hours of Freedom with Defiant Requiem Foundation at Czech Center New York, Carmina Burana with Teatro Regio di Torino, and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 with Pacific Symphony Orchestra with a repeat performance in the summer.

Recent engagements included Don Ottavio in Don Giovanni and Sandy/Officer One in Davies’ The Lighthouse with Boston Lyric Opera; Gabriele in Foroni’s Cristina, regina di Svezia and Sali in Delius’ A Village Romeo and Juliet with Wexford Festival Opera; Elgar’s The Dream of Gerontius and Britten’s Spring Symphony with Berkshire Choral Festival; Toni in Henze’s Elegy for Young Lovers at Venice’s Teatro la Fenice; works by Schubert, Schumann and Brahms Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center; Male Chorus in The Rape of Lucretia with Florence’s Maggio Musicale; Alfredo in La Traviata with Florida Grand Opera; and Nebuchadnezzar in Britten’s The Burning Fiery Furnace and as Herold in Grassl’s Tassilo with Festival Mattseer Diabelli Sommer (Austria).

Other international appearances include Opéra National de Bordeaux, Opéra National de Lorraine, Opéra de Rouen, Teatro San Carlo di Napoli, Teatro Lirico di Cagliari, Teatro delle Muse, Spoleto Festival dei Due Mondi, Opéra de Rennes, Theater Erfurt, Stadttheater Giessen, Opéra Royal de Wallonie, Estonian National Opera, and Teatro Arriaga among others.

Mr. Bellemer’s extensive North American credits also include performances with New York City Opera, San Diego Opera, Michigan Opera Theater, Madison Opera, Cleveland Opera, Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, Hawaii Opera, Arizona Opera, Calgary Opera, Minnesota Opera, Palm Beach Opera, Dayton Opera, Opera Omaha, Austin Opera, Vancouver Opera, Opera Grand Rapids, Opera Ontario, Opera Birmingham, Opera San José, and the Berkshire Opera.

As concert artist, Mr. Bellemer has appeared with the Columbus Symphony, Baltimore Symphony, New York Choral Society, Calgary Philharmonic, American Symphony Orchestra, Berkeley Symphony Orchestra, Pacific Symphony, Choral Arts Society of Washington DC, Oratorio Society of New York, and concerts in Paris and New York City sponsored by UNESCO.

Mr. Bellemer toured with pianist John Wustman from 1992 to 1998, performing a program titled “The Songs of Franz Schubert.” He made his European recital debut at the Estonian National Opera.

Mr. Bellemer holds a bachelor’s degree from James Madison University and a master’s from the University of Illinois. He lives in New York with his wife, Sarah Blaze and their Parson Russell Terrier, Bandit.

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Pearl Fishers – North Carolina Opera
John Bellemer’s bright tenor made Nadir’s outbursts ring, while negotiating, if not fully controlling, the role’s numerous lyric passages.– The News and Observer

John Bellemer brought to the role of Nadir his considerably wide experience in opera, concerts, and recitals. His vocal rendition was characterized by a genuine tenor realization. His first-act aria “Je crois entendre encore” was splendid and every bit as infectious as the famous duet with Zurga…The universally acclaimed duet “Au fond du temple saint,” was sung magnificently; the stuff of operatic rapture.– CVNC

This being opera, there was amazing singing. Boy, was there amazing singing! The voices of the male leads, John Bellemer (Nadir) and Jarrett Ott (Zurga) blended perfectly and their range was jaw-dropping.– Triangle Arts and Entertainment

Ira Hayes in “Der leuchtende Fluss” – Theater Erfurt
John Bellemer is Ira Hayes, an outstanding title hero who radiates credibility from the first moment – vocally too, thanks to his keen tenor. –

Maria di Rohan – Buxton Festival
John Bellemer, the American tenor, is a Riccardo of considerable style, with the sprint of a real Donizettian tenor as the action hots upHilary Finch, The Times (UK)

BSO’s stripped down ‘La Boheme’ puts music above spectacle
Bellemer’s tenor voice was strong, resonant and charming.Judy Harrison, Bangor Daily News

Rigoletto – Opera Theatre of Saint Louis
You haven’t fully experienced that Verdi chestnut “La donna è mobile” until you’ve heard a Duke like the young tenor John Bellemer, in the St. Louis “Rigoletto,” sing it…”  – Anthony Tommasini, New York Times

WSO brings the spirit of Beethoven to life
After the low strings’ delicious opening statement of the principal theme that launches the finale, Bellemer introduced the chorale with his soaring, recitative evocation to ‘friends.’ The four soloists presented as a remarkably well-blended ensemble throughout, with Bellemer a particular standout with ringing high notes and legato phrasing. — Holly Harris, Winnipeg Free Press

Cristina, Regina di Svezia, Chelsea Opera Group, Cadogan Hall
COG always casts from strength. Here it already had two perfect foils ready-made from Wexford in the … roles of lover and rival: [including] fully Italianate sounding (and looking) American tenor John Bellemer as Gabriele de la Gardie. — David Nice, Arts Desk

Fine support was provided … especially by John Bellemer as Gabriele, the apex of a triangle with Cristina and Maria. — Brian Kellow, Opera News

John Bellemer thrilled as Gabriele here with strong tenor, which has a tremendous radiance even in the heights. – OMM

Duke University Chapel’s Dramatic and Magnificent Messiah Turns 80
This performance’s special sense of occasion was evident from the first solo recitative and air, ‘Comfort ye my people,’ sung powerfully by tenor John Bellemer with a clarion ring combined with warmth…. Diction was impeccable. William Thomas Walker, Classical Voice of North Carolina

A Village Romeo and Juliet – Wexford Festival Opera
Leading the cast, John Bellemer’s Sali was an attractive presence both vocally and dramatically. His is a technique that leaves nothing to chance, finishing and finessing each phrase with great attention. A lovely open top register brings colour to the more impassioned moments, and he balanced a convincing sense of youthful uncertainty with a mature delivery. — Alexandra Coghlan, New Statesman

As Sali and Vreli, John Bellemer and Jessica Muirhead were unfailingly sympathetic. Bellemer brought just the right touch of impetuousness to the role, his buoyant tenor conveying the optimism and conviction of the young lover, while Muirhead’s clear ringing soprano combined burgeoning ardour with eloquent innocence. — Claire Seymour, Opera Today

As the lovers, John Bellemer as Sali and Jessica Muirhead as Vreli, give a committed and moving performanceClare Colvin, The Sunday Express (UK)

John Bellemer and Jessica Muirhead are ideal as the lovers, well-matched, starkly convincing. — Antony Craig, Gramophone

The Lighthouse by Peter Maxwell Davies – Boston Lyric Opera
As the other two grapple with the revelation, Sandy launches into a sentimental love song, a Victorian parlor diversion, which Bellemer presents in a terrific imitation of a cardboard Irish tenor…. Musically, the evening was also close to perfect…. The three vocalists were superb. David Bonetti, Berkshire Fine Arts

Then as the Prologue becomes the main body of the opera, titled ‘The Cry of the Beast,’ the three officers morph into the three lighthouse keepers themselves. What an odd bunch they are. And how convincingly the three singers embodied them…. Firm tenor John Bellemer is the sentimental Sandy, blighted in love…. As they become more and more desperate, their voices screech into hair-raising falsetto. — Lloyd Schwartz, Boston Phoenix

John Bellemer’s lyric tenor negotiated Davies’ declamations with aplomb and … made the oasis of lyrical singing in the middle of the opera an important and moving counterpoint to the horror. Angelo Mao, Boston Classical Review

The singers, all possessed of crisp diction, were excellent. John Bellemer sang Sandy with a tenor of arresting sweetness. — George Loomis, Musical America

Lucia di Lammermoor – Opera Birmingham
As Edgardo, tenor John Bellemer … came through with a passionate rendering of ‘Tu che a Dio’ in the final graveyard scene. — Michael Huebner, Birmingham News

Faust – Hawaii Opera Theater
As Faust, Akina cast John Bellemer, a fine tenor with beautiful tone and excellent technique. His voice is not especially large, and he had to work to hold his own, but that actually worked out well: Bellemer’s Faust was less a hero than an earnest and well-meaning fellow, a pawn among stronger characters. Ruth Bingham, Honolulu Star-Advertiser

Luisa Miller – Buxton Opera House
… the ardent tenor of John Bellemer makes an ideal Rodolfo. David Denton, Yorkshire Post

She was happily matched to an engaging young American tenor John Bellemer, who expressed love with finesse and confronted adversity with bravado. — Rupert Christiansen, The Telegraph (UK)

The most accomplished singing came from John Bellemer’s Rodolfo, whose ‘Quando le sere al placido’ (the most famous number in the score) rang out sweetly and sincerely. — Andrew Clark, Financial Times

Passions run high with a vocally muscular Rodolfo in John Bellemer, disarmingly touching in his most celebrated number ‘Quando le sere al placido.’ — Lynne Walker, The Independent

John Bellemer as Rodolfo is every bit the romantic Italian tenor; his singing in the only well-known number from the opera, ‘When in the evening’, would have been met with shouts and whistles had we been in Turin rather than oh-so-reserved Buxton. Chris Ramsden, Notes From Middle England

Carmen – Michigan Opera Theatre
American tenor John Bellemer made his MOT debut, singing Don José’s music with admirable restraint … he sang with an intelligence that produced … admirable results. — John Guinn, Opera News

As the object of Carmen’s current appetite Bellemer’s Don José makes a persuasive decline from upright country boy and dutiful soldier to a man driven to distraction by this sexual whirlwind that no man can resist. In Act II, the tavern scene, Bellemer’s earnest, brilliant singing of ‘The Flower Song’ highlights the production’s radical turn toward dramatic focus as Carmen and her fellow brigands plan a risky job. Aldrich and Bellemer forge an electrifying death match. Bellemer’s distraught Don José is a piece of work: a good man disintegrating before our eyes. — Lawrence B. Johnson, Detroit News

La Traviata

As Alfredo Germont, John G. Bellemer gave an impressive Cleveland Opera debut.  His seamless delivery and his clean technique made for a suave performance.  – Akron Beacon Journal

Tenor John Bellemer, in the role of the love-struck Alfredo, showed a dramatic flair in his high-spirited libiamo, his lovelornUn di felice, and his passionate Parigi o cara. – El Paso Inc.

Tenor John Bellemer (Alfredo)sang with a hero’s passion as he portrayed the emotions of love, jealousy and revenge. – El Paso Times

…all three gave credible performances,  with Bellemer’s Alfredo taking top vocal honors.  Bellemer sang with consistently pleasing tone and musicality, never pushing his voice beyond his natural capabilities and always singing on the breath.  He was a convincing romantic lead in the Byronic mold, revealing the depth of his love for Violetta with straightforward honesty and direct ardor. – Out Now Magazine