“I predict you will hear much much more of tenor Maxwell Levy…Mr. Levy is that rare, somewhat dark voiced tenor who not only has the stentorian delivery needed to fill any hall, but also the ability to scale it back with gorgeous results, as he imbues his vocalization with immense heart and feeling…If the sold out, cheering houses are any indication, I think the response is: More, please.” – Opera Today (Queen of Spades – Glimmerglass 2019)
Athlone Artists is pleased to welcome tenor Maxwell Levy to its roster of artists. Levy, set to return to London for his final year in the Royal Academy Opera program this winter, is an enthusiastic interpreter of operatic, oratorio, art song and musical theater repertoire. His recent career highlights have included singing the role of Hermann in The Queen of Spades at The Glimmerglass Festival, Tamino in Die Zauberflöte and Ricardo in Massenet’s Chérubin at Royal Academy Opera in London and the Opera Box Ghost in The Ghosts of Versaillesconducted by Joseph Colaneri at the Opéra Royal du Château de Versailles. He was slated to reprise his role of Officer Krupke in Francesca Zambello’s 2018 Glimmerglass Festival production of West Side Story at the Teatro Lirico di Cagliari and make his debut as Don José in Opera Loki’s Carmen, touring France and the U.K., but these performances had to be postponed due to COVID-19.
Levy took what he calls, “both a circuitous route and a direct route” to make it to the operatic stage. He grew up in New York in a family rooted in musical royalty – his great-grandfather Abe Feder was a Tony-nominated lighting designer with over 300 Broadway productions on his résumé and his maternal grandmother, Toba Sherwood, a professional actress who performed in the original Broadway production of The Most Happy Fella. His parents – though not theater artists themselves – instilled in their son a love of music, and he started performing in local and regional musical theater productions at the age of six. It wasn’t until his senior year of high school that Levy discovered opera, when his AP European History teacher managed to get tickets for his class to see a dress rehearsal of Tosca at the Met. “I thought I was going to fall asleep,” says Levy. “Instead, I walked out at the end of the first act and I thought, ‘this is what I want to do for the rest of my life.’”
Though he enjoyed performing as a hobby, Levy pursued his other passions, like creative writing and political philosophy, which led him to the University of Pennsylvania to seek his bachelor’s degree in Philosophy, Politics and Economics. In his sophomore year, he met bass-baritone Thomas Shivone, then a student at the Curtis Institute, who helped prepare the young tenor for a chorus audition at Opera Philadelphia. Still pursuing his degree at Penn, Levy was hired to perform in four shows with the company. “First up was Turandot starring Christine Goerke,” remembers Levy. “It was like all of my dreams were coming true. And I decided it’s worth it for me to give this a shot.” Shivone introduced Levy to renowned voice teacher Marlana Malas, who brought him to study at the Chautauqua Institution and then – after he had completed his undergraduate studies – into the master’s program at The Juilliard School.
The past couple of summers, Levy participated in the Young Artist Program at The Glimmerglass Festival, where he met Miguel Rodriguez of Athlone Artists. The two forged a musical kinship over Zoom, during which Levy became confident that the two were a good fit. “Miguel is a kind, supportive, encouraging, caring person,” says Levy. “He is more than I would’ve imagined in a manager, and I feel like this is going to be a lifelong connection.”
Levy is looking forward to heading back to London this fall and sinking his teeth into many more operatic characters. He still loves reading political philosophy and creative writing, but doesn’t regret straying from his original career path. “When I look back,” he says, “any little inkling of doubt has been pushed away by the happiness that I feel on stage.”