Bryan Hymel, born on August 8, 1979, is one of the exciting artists living and breathing today. The American tenor, whose lyric voice makes him perfect for the French repertoire and some dips into the Italian, is one of the most sought-after around the world, putting his mark on such operas as “Les Troyens” and “Guillaume Tell.”
He doesn’t have a vast recorded legacy to this date, but there are a number of works on the market that showcase Hymel’s vibrant talent.
The tenor’s solo album was released by Warner Classics in 2015 and essentially shows what the tenor does best – French opera. The album is actually a nice combination of the rare with the more expected, showcasing arias from composers that you might not expect to find here. For example, Verdi’s “Jerusalem” or works by Reyer, Sigurd, and Rabaud make for a unique offering.
Les Vêpres Siciliennes
Hymel shines brightly in this staged production from the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden of Verdi’s middle period French work. He is quite apt for Verdi’s high tessitura in this particular work and also has a fine ensemble to join him, including Erwin Schrott, Michael Volle, and Lianna Haroutounian. Antonio Pappano conducts.
Quite possibly the best recording that Hymel has on the market, this production from the ROH was originally set to star Jonas Kaufmann. But Hymel had so thoroughly dominated the role at that point in time (he made a dominant debut at the Met in this very opera), that no one missed the great German tenor here. Hymel is impeccable as Enée and that aria at the end is a tour-de-force vocally from the tenor. Flanked by Anna Caterina Antonacci, Eva-Maria Westbroek, a solid Sir David McVicar production, and Antonio Pappano, this is one of the finest renditions of the Berlioz masterwork there is.
Robert le Diable
Another ROH production that was to feature a vastly different cast, Hymel’s voice proves a solid match for Meyerbeer’s ridiculously difficult vocal writing. While the overall cast is quite good, Hymel’s singing is possibly the standout of the production.
Another ROH production (noting a pattern here?), the young tenor (only 31 at the time of release) is a compelling Don José vocally and shows the potential that he would fully realize in “Troyens” and “Robert le Diable.”