“…Brenden Gunnell’s baritonally tinted, direct, slim and yet powerfully dramatic tenor voice developed itself in the smartly programmed evening exceptionally well. Always close to his text, the young singer dares pale colors, risks difficult expressions and existential threats…yet the voice follows him and stays true the course, even when he sets everything on expression…”
Der Merkur, Munich 18.06.2010
Liederabend Schwanengesang and Krämerspiegel
Michigan native Brenden Gunnell graduated from the Curtis Institute of Music in 2006, under the direction of Mikael Eliasen and vocal pedagogy of Joan Patenaude Yarnell. During his four years of study, he was exposed to a wide range of operatic and concert repertoire. Owing to the developed system of study under Eliasen, Brenden was avaIlable to participate in five fully staged productions annually, as well as concert performances and many solo recital opportunities . Fully staged roles included Tamino, Albert Herring, Male Chorus in The Rape of Lucretia and Oronte in Handels Alcina.
In 2006, Brenden was accepted as a young artist in the Opera Studio Netherlands in Amsterdam, where he performed the Vietnamese and Thai premiere’s of The Rape of Lucretia singing the Male Chorus.
Brenden began his first professional engagement in 2007 at the Tiroler Landestheater under the direction and vocal instruction of world renowned mezzo soprano KS Brigitte Fassbaender, in Innsbruck, Austria, where he remained for four seasons. Owing to his grasp of languages, stagecraft, and quick study ability, Brenden was able to perform in over 30 staged productions, ranging from smaller roles, operetta, and broadway to main roles. Notable performed roles include but are not limited to: Beppe, Steuermann (Holländer), Peter Quint, Andres (Wozzeck), Loge, Arturo, Tamino, Matteo/Elemer (Arabella), Chevalier de la Force (Carmelites), and Jenick (Bartered Bride).
Guest engagements in the period 2007-2011 included Handel’s Messiah with Helmuth Rilling, War Requiem with Staatskapelle Weimar, Peter Quint with L’Ensemble le Basse Normandie, Froh and Siegmund with Sopot Wagner Orchestra in Gdansk Poland(2009, 2010), Loge (Das Rheingold) with Oper Halle (2010,2011) and Kapellmeister Stroh (Intermezzo) with the Bayerische Rundfunk under direction of Ulf Schirmer with the Richard Strauss Festspiele Garmisch Partenkirchen.
After two last minute cancellations, Brenden was invited to give his recital debut in the seldom heard, tongue-in-cheek cycle Krämerspiegel of Strauss, in the Richard Strauss Festspiel Garmisch Partenkirchen, to critical acclaim. He was thereafter invited to give a recital in the 2014 festival, where he will perform the Michaelangelo Sonnets of Britten, Rückert Iieder of Mahler, and lieder of Richard Strauss.
In 2011, Brenden was invited to join the ensemble of the Norwegian National Opera in Oslo, Norway, on a two year contract. At this time, his voice began to shift into the young heroic fach, and he began his vocal instruction with tenor Robert Gambill, to facilitate the transition. Roles include Erste Geharnischter, Peter Grimes (cover)/Bob Boles, Seeman/Hirt (Tristan), Eumete (Ulisse), and Male Chorus (The Rape of Lucretia).?! For the concert season 2012-2013, Brenden can be heard in the Norwegian premiere of Hans Zender’s Winterreise (an orchestral interpretation of Schuberts masterpiece) with Oslo Sinfonietta under Christian Eggen. Brenden can also be heard in Edward Elgars seminal work, The Dream of Gerontius with maestro John Helmer Fiore, as Gerontius in the Oslo Cathedral.
In concert repertoire, Brenden has specialized in the complete concert works of Benjamin Britten. He has performed nearly all the chamber cycles, and well as piano cycles several times in various venues. Additionally, he has focused heavily on Schuberts Winterreise and Schwanengesang, The Diary of One who Vanished of Janacek, Richard Strauss’ Krämerspiegel, as well as Mahlers Rückert Lieder, Beethoven’s An die ferne Geliebte, Missa Solemnis, and 9th Symphony, Mendelssohns Paulus and Elias, and JS Bachs Mattheus and Johannes passions.
On commercial recording Brenden can be heard as Christopher in Ned Rorem’s Miss Julie with David Agler (2005) on Albany Records, and as first Grail Knight in Parsifal, under Jaap van Zweden (2010) with The Netherlands Radio Orchestra, available on Challenge Classics label.
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