Greer Grimsley - Bass-Baritone
American Bass-Baritone Greer Grimsley continues to fascinate critics in his prolific career. Opera News wrote: “Greer Grimsley outshone everybody else in the cast — not hard to do when you’ve got a terrific voice,” and “Greer Grimsley was ideal as a deeply caring Kurwenal, with his George London-like fusion of baritone range and bass coloration.”
Grimsley is internationally recognized as an outstanding singing actor and one of the most prominent Wagnerian singers of our day. Continuing his reign as a leading interpreter of the god Wotan, he sang the eminent role for the Metropolitan Opera’s Ring Cycle in Robert Lepage’s landmark production, directly followed by Stephen Wadsworth’s production for Seattle Opera, his 3rd complete Cycle for the company in the last decade . The Huffington Post exclaimed: “Grimsley commanded the stage in ‘Das Rheingold’ and ‘Die Walkure’ with his wide-ranging and handsome voice, and equally so in ‘Siegfried.’ He was fresh and powerful in all that he did. He sings…well…like a God... The world has waited for a very long time for a Wotan who can sing without barking or rasping, and he has arrived.
Engagements this past season included Jack Rance in La fanciulla del West with Minnesota Opera, a return to Seattle Opera as Scarpia in Tosca, the High Priest in Samson et Dalilah with Atlanta Symphony, the title role in Der fliegende Holländer at Ravinia Festival in Maestro James Conlon’s final performance with the company, and his long awaited debut as the sadistically demonic barber, Sweeney Todd for Vancouver Opera.
This season he will appear as Hans Sachs in Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg at San Francisco Opera; Scarpia in Tosca at San Diego Opera; Jochanaan in Salome with New National Theatre Tokyo; the title role in Der fliegende Holländer at Seattle Opera and Palacio de la Opera in Coruña, Spain; and the title role in Sweeney Todd at the Glimmerglass Festival. Future engagements through 2018 include returns to The Metropolitan Opera, Houston Grand Opera, Dallas Opera, San Francisco Opera, and the New National Theatre Tokyo.
Having performed the role of John the Baptist in Salome with San Francisco Opera, San Diego Opera, Santa Fe Opera, and Vancouver Opera, Greer made his Dallas Opera debut with Deborah Voigt in the title role. The San Francisco Chronicle exclaimed: “Bass-baritone Greer Grimsley was a thunderous and dramatically compelling Jokanaan. Grimsley invested the part with rhetorical strength and an air of moral solidity - the perfect antithesis to Salome's eroticized jitters."
His reputation as a leading interpreter of Wagner’s work was earned through a series of critically acclaimed performances in the repertoire at a diverse group of international opera companies: Wotan in Die Walküre and Das Rheingold at Deutsche Oper Berlin, Gran Teatre del Liceu in Barcelona, and Tokyo’s Nikikai Opera Foundation; and in the entirety of Der Ring des Nibelungen with the Teatro La Fenice di Venezia, Oper Köln, on tour in Shanghai, The Metropolitan Opera and Seattle Opera; his other signature role as the terrifying Der Fliegende Holländer with performances at Deutsche Oper Berlin, at the Teatro Comunale di Bologna under Maestro Gatti’s baton, with Opéra national de Lorraine in Nancy, France, with San Francisco Opera, Seattle Opera, Pittsburgh Opera, Opera Lyra Ottawa, and in Lithuania; Telramund in Lohengrin with the Metropolitan Opera, Royal Danish Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, and Seattle Opera; Kurwenal in Tristan und Isolde with the Prague National Theatre, the Royal Danish Opera, Opera de Bellas Artes in Mexico, Lyric Opera of Chicago, and Seattle Opera; and finally Amfortas in Parsifal with the Metropolitan Opera.
International engagements also include Scarpia in Tosca at the Oper der Stadt Köln, at the Deutsche Oper Berlin, The Norwegian National Opera in Oslo, and at the Hyogo Performing Arts Center in Japan; Jokanaan in Salome with the Deutsche Oper Berlin, Aarhus-Den Jyske Opera in Denmark, the Scottish Opera, and the Opera de Bellas Artes in Mexico; Mephistopheles in Faust in Oviedo, Spain; Mandryka in Arabella with the Royal Danish Opera; Don Pizarro in Fidelio with the Scottish Opera as well as the Portuguese National Opera São Carlos; Jack Rance in La Fanciulla del West and the title role in Bluebeard’s Castle with L’Opera de Montreal; the title role in Don Giovanni and Scarpia in Tosca with the Stadttheater Basel in Switzerland; the Villains in Les Contes d’Hoffmann with New Israeli Opera; and Amonasro in Aïda with Opera de Caracas in Venezuela.
In North America his performances have also included Captain Balstrode in Peter Grimes, Escamillo in Carmen, Jochanaan in Salome, and Scarpia in Tosca with The Metropolitan Opera; Canyka in the world prèmiere of Ashoka’s Dream with Santa Fe Opera Richard Lionheart in Marschner’s Der Templer und Die Juden with the Wexford Festival; Scarpia in Tosca with Seattle Opera, San Diego Opera, Opéra de Montréal, Portland Opera, Pittsburgh Opera, and Opera Colorado; Méphistophélès in Faust at the San Diego Opera, New Orleans Opera, and in a new production with Arizona Opera; Don Pizarro in Fidelio with Santa Fe Opera, Seattle Opera, and Portland Opera; Jack Rance in La fanciulla del West with Seattle Opera; the title role of Macbeth with Minnesota Opera, Vancouver Opera, and Opera Lyra Ottawa; Amonasro in Aïda with Portland Opera; and Claggart in Billy Budd with Pittsburgh Opera, and most recently, in his Los Angeles Opera début.
Lauded for his incredible performances of symphonic repertoire, Mr. Grimsley is in high demand as a concert artist. He made his New York Philharmonic début as Don Pizzaro in Fidelio with conductor Kurt Masur at the inaugural season of the Lincoln Center Festival. Additional concert engagements include Verdi’s Requiem with the Atlanta Symphony at Carnegie Hall; Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony with the Seattle Symphony and San Antonio Symphony; the High Priest in Samson et Dalila with Washington Concert Opera; Don Pizzarro in Fidelio with the Saint Louis Symphony; and Scarpia in Tosca with Deborah Voigt and the Minnesota Orchestra.
Mr. Grimsley first came to international attention as Escamillo in the Peter Brook production of La tragédie de Carmen, which he subsequently performed in venues around the world, including his Italian débuts at the Festival dei Due Mondi in Spoleto and the Teatro Comunale di Bologna. He also performed Escamillo in Bizet’s Carmen in over 15 productions throughout the world. He currently resides in New Orleans with his wife, mezzo-soprano voice professor, Luretta Bybee.