“as Gunther, he gave dignity as well as lyrical phrasing and polished diction”
As the winner of the BBC Cardiff Singer of the World in 2007, Shenyang was immediately propelled into the spotlight with an array of international engagements including debuts at the Metropolitan Opera, Glyndebourne Festival, Bayerische Staatsoper, Opernhaus Zürich and Washington National Opera. A decade on, this Chinese Bass-baritone has established himself as one of the finest voices of his generation, has amassed an expansive repertoire for both the opera and concert stages, and enjoys enduring relationships with a wide range of today’s pre-eminent conductors.
After studies at the Shanghai Conservatory of Music, The Julliard School, Salzburg Young Artist Project and the Metropolitan Opera’s Lindemann Young Artist Program, Shenyang launched his operatic career in roles by Rossini, Mozart and Handel and enjoyed appearances at the Metropolitan Opera under Fabio Luisi, Sir Andrew Davis, Harry Bicket and Marco Armiliato to name a few. In a nod to a more dramatic future repertoire, Shenyang has made several key role debuts in the last two seasons: as Don Pizarro in Beethoven’s Leonore with the Danish National Symphony Orchestra under Manfred Honeck; Jochanaan in concert performances of Salome with the Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra and Alexander Liebreich; and a unanimously-praised Gunther in Wagner’s Götterdämmerung with the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra under Jaap van Zweden (recorded by Naxos) and which Opera Magazine described as “full of character…with lyrical phrasing and polished diction.”
The concert stage has always played a pivotal part in Shenyang’s season planning taking him to all corners of the globe in a varied repertoire: Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis with both the Sydney Symphony Orchestra/David Robertson and the San Francisco Symphony/Michael Tilson-Thomas; Beethoven’s Symphony No.9 with the Philadelphia Orchestra/Yannick Nézet-Séguin, the New York Philharmonic/Alan Gilbert and the Oslo Philharmonic/Klaus Mäkelä; Rossini’s Stabat Mater with the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia/Sir Antonio Pappano and Mahler’s Symphony No.8 with both the Nederlands Philharmonisch Orkest/Marc Albrecht and the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra/Daniel Harding. Additional repertoire regularly performed includes Brahms’ Ein deutsches Requiem, Schoenberg’s Gurrelieder, Janáček’s Glagolitic Mass, Mahler’s Des Knaben Wunderhorn, Mendelssohn’s Elijah and Handel’s Messiah.
Shenyang’s 2019/20 season includes appearances with Berliner Philharmoniker/Daniel Harding for Berlioz’s Romeo et Juliette, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra/Santtu-Matias Rouvali for Stravinsky’s Oedipus Rex, Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks/John Eliot Gardiner to Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis, Wiener Philharmoniker/Andris Nelsons for Beethoven’s Symphony No.9, and Helsinki Philharmonic/Klaus Mäkelä for Mussorgsky’s Songs and Dances of Death. Last season included the hugely successful world premiere of Tan Dun’s Buddha Passion at Dresdner Musikfestspiele, a work which subsequently served as the vehicle of Shenyang’s debut with the Los Angeles Philharmonic under Gustavo Dudamel and the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, and was extensively toured across China with Orchestre National de Lyon. The current season includes further performances with Santa Cecilia, NDR Elbphilharmonie and Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France conducted by the composer himself.
Shenyang is committed to serve as a bridge between the cultures of East and West, breathing life into the vocal treasures of his native heritage, and was appointed a Brand Ambassador for Montblanc in recognition of his stature as a prominent musical and cultural figure in Asia. He has been Artist in Residence with the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra where he performed works by Bach, Mozart, Rachmaninov and Mahler together with conductor Long Yu, he is a regular feature of the Beijing Music Festival where he returns this season in the Chinese premiere of Vaughan Williams’ Songs of Travel with the Mahler Chamber Orchestra under Vladimir Ashkenazy, and he gave the world premiere of the orchestral song cycle, Song of Farewell (written for him by composer Xiaogang Ye) in Beijing, before taking it to the Berlin Philharmonie with the China National Symphony Orchestra.
A dedicated Lieder singer, Shenyang received the Alice Tully Vocal Arts Award which led to his New York recital debut at Lincoln Center in 2009 with pianist Vlad Iftinca, and he has subsequently appeared as part of Brahms’ Liebeslieder Walzer with Daniel Barenboim at Carnegie Hall, and in duo recital with soprano Susanna Phillips and pianist Brian Zeger at the Metropolitan Museum of Art; the trio recently released a disc of Schubert songs and duets titled “A Lost World” on Delos. In 2015, Shenyang and the Stradivari Quartet presented Schubert’s Die Winterreise in a specially commissioned arrangement at Shanghai’s Symphony Hall to exceptional critical acclaim, and he repeated the programme last season with the Borusan Quartet at Istanbul’s Is Sanat Hall.
“The finale revealed in Shenyang a Friar Laurence of impeccable diction, dark-hued and often thrilling delivery, and great musical sensitivity. His air, ‘Pauvres enfants’ was direct, unfussy, an excellent foil for the orchestra around him.”
(Seen and Heard International, September 2019)
“Shenyang’s Gunther is full of character”
(Opera Magazine, January 2019)
“Shenyang’s impeccably voiced Gunther”
(Gramophone, November 2018)
“the Chinese baritone Shenyang as Gunther – a thankless role but one to which he gave dignity as well as lyrical phrasing and polished diction.”
(Neil Fisher, Opera Magazine, April 2018)
“[Shenyang’s] earnest and full-bodied tone was a good counterbalance to Hagen’s brazen lack of decency.”
(Bachtrack, January 2018)
“Shenyang showed off an enormous, rich barrel of a voice as the Speaker.”
(New York Classical Review, December 2016)
“Chinese bass-baritone Shenyang graced Figaro with a plush instrument and fluid singing”
(Opera News, January 2016)
“The opening night boasted the dashing, resonant Figaro of Chinese star Shenyang”
(Seattle Times, January 2016)
“For his debut in Seattle it was Chinese bass-baritone Shenyang in the title role of Figaro…He gave a technically secure performance, revealing his celebrated vocal qualities in the last act.”
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