American operatic tenor Lawrence Brownlee sings the famous aria “Ah!
The Opera written by Donizetti while he was living in Paris between 1838 and 1840 quickly became a popular success, partly because of the famous aria “Ah! mes amis, quel jour de fête!”, which requires of the tenor no fewer than nine high Cs! And the aria comes comparatively early in the first act, giving the tenor less time to warm up, making things even more difficult. The aria is sometimes called the “Mount Everest” for tenors.
Hailed by the Associated Press as one of “the world’s leading bel canto tenors,” Lawrence Brownlee‘s opera debut was in 2002. He played the role of Count Almaviva, a young count in love with the heroine, Rosine; in The Barber of Seville at the Virginia Opera in Norfolk, Virginia. It would become his signature operatic role.
He made his Metropolitan Opera debut in a new production of Il Barbiere di Siviglia in 2007. The role has since become one of his most recognizable and famous. He has subsequently appeared in Il Barbiere in Vienna, Milan, Berlin, Madrid, Dresden, Munich, Baden-Baden, Hamburg, Tokyo, New York, Washington, San Diego, Seattle, and Boston.
Brownlee’s career highlights include performances of The Barber of Seville at the Vienna State Opera, the Boston Lyric Opera, and Madrid’s Teatro Real. He has appeared in Rossini’s L’italiana in Algeri and La Cenerentola at Milan’s La Scala, as Belfiore in Rossini’s Il viaggio a Reims in Brussels, and as Tonio in Donizetti’s La fille du régiment at the Cincinnati Opera.
He has also received acclaim in Rossini’s Armida, alongside Renée Fleming, in the famously challenging role of Tonio in La fille du régiment, and as Arturo in I puritani at the Metropolitan Opera. In 2014 Brownlee, Juan Diego Flórez, and Javier Camarena were called “The Three Tenors,” and said to “represent a new golden age in high male voices and in the singular thrill of their top notes.
Related: Javier Camarena sings Ah! Mes Amis
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