Artist Of The Week: Frederick Ballentine

Rising Star Tenor Makes Long-Awaited Metropolitan Opera Debut

By Francisco Salazar
(Credit: Karli Cadel)

This week, the Metropolitan Opera will open its 2019-20 season with a new production of “Porgy and Bess.” The acclaimed production by James Robinson is set to feature an all-star cast as well as some rising stars and Met debutants. Among the newcomers is Frederick Ballentine, who will perform the role of Sportin’ Life in his Met debut.

Ballentine previously performed the role at the Glimmerglass Festival, English National Opera and De Nederlandse Opera where he received rave reviews. Critics noted that the tenor was “vibrant” and “sparky” and also stated that “Ballentine’s acting was top class, making Sporting Life horrifically creepy.”

Interestingly enough, Ballentine performed the production the Met is bringing to the stage at the ENO so it will be interesting to see how his interpretation has grown since the first time he took on the production.

A fast growing star, Ballentine is an alumnus of both Washington National Opera and LA Opera’s renowned Young Artist Programs. This season, he is set to perform at the Seattle Opera, Cincinnati Opera, and LA Opera. And for those that are not able to attend the New York performances of “Porgy and Bess,” the tenor will reprise his signature Sportin’ Life at the Washington National Opera in the production he first did at the Glimmerglass Festival in 2017.


Ballentine is featured on a number of CDs including the recently produced CD of “The Ghosts of Versailles,” as well as on “My Christmas,” Plácido Domingo’s Christmas album.

Here he is performing an excerpt from “Carmen.”

And here he is performing in a recital with the Washington National Opera.


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