Sam Handley, bass-baritone
A graduate of Lyric Opera of Chicago’s Ryan Opera Center, Sam Handley has been praised for “his rich, burnished” voice and the “genuine emotional depth of his characterizations.” As a member of the Ryan Opera Center, he performed more than a dozen roles, including Quince in Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Tom in Un ballo in maschera. After appearing in Il trittico at the Castleton Festival, he returned to sing Colline in La bohème with Lorin Maazel. Charles Ward of The Houston Chronicle has described his “vivid and polished singing” as “. . .leaving the audience panting. . .” On the symphonic stage, his deep repertoire encircles masterworks of Handel, Haydn, Bach, Beethoven, Stravinsky, Vaughan Williams, and Mozart, in whose Requiem Handley has been described as “striking in the tuba mirum.”
In the current season, Mr. Handley joins the roster of The Metropolitan Opera for the first time in Robert Carsen’s new production of Der Rosenkavalier. He returns to Lexington Symphony and Symphony New Hampshire with Maestro Jonathan McPhee for the second and final installment in Maestro McPhee’s Essential Ring, a unique distillation of Wagner’s Epic Ring Cycle. He also joins DuPage Opera Theater for their production The Mikado as Pish-Tush.
Most recently, Mr. Handley performed the role of Konrad Nachtigall in Die Meistersinger von Nürnburg with the San Francisco Opera. He sang the Sprecher in Opera Colorado’s production of Die Zauberflöte, and on the concert stage he performed as soloist in a concert performance of Roger Waters’ opera Ca Ira with the Nashville Symphony, both in the 2014-15 season. With the Atlanta Opera, he sang Basilio in their production Il barbiere di Siviglia. He recently made his European debut (as well as his role debut) as Escamillo in a new production of Carmen with Theater Aachen. He returned to the Lyric Opera of Chicago for their production of Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg as Hans Folz. Mr. Handley made his Asian debut in Beijing at the National Centre for the Performing Arts as Basilio in Il barbiere di Siviglia, conducted by Lorin Maazel. He made his Severance Hall and Carnegie Hall debuts with The Cleveland Orchestra in performances of Salome with Franz Welser-Möst. Recent concert engagements included a return to the Santa Fe Symphony for Handel’s Messiah, and added the Requiems of Verdi and Brahms plus Mendelssohn’s Elijah to his repertoire.
Additional career highlights include Leporello in Don Giovanni with the Ryan Opera Center, Don Magnifico in La Cenerentola with the Merola Opera Program, the title role in Don Pasquale on tour with the Santa Fe Opera, Mr. Emerson in Nelson’s A Room with a View (DVD by Newport Classics), Sancho in Telemann’s Don Quichotte and Polyphemus in Acis and Galatea with Houston’s Mercury Baroque (KUHF records), Bottom in Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Caspar in Weber’s Der Freischütz, Jaggers in Argento’s Miss Havisham’s Fire, The King in Prokofiev’s The Love for Three Oranges, Dikoy in Janáček’s Katya Kabanova, and Dr. Miracle in Offenbach’s Les Contes d’Hoffmann.
A fervent proponent of contemporary composers, Handley has delivered several world premieres, including the music of Scott Gendel and Dan Black with the Madison Contemporary Orchestra. He has been a guest artist with the Houston Symphony, the National Symphony with Leonard Slatkin, and the Chicago Symphony at Ravinia with James Conlon. Among his several recordings, Argento’s Casanova’s Homecoming is available through Newport Classics and the DVD of his collaboration with Peter Schickele for P. D. Q. Bach in Houston: We Have a Problem is available from Acorn Media.
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