Artist of the Week: John Osborn Takes on ‘Fra Diavolo’ in Rome

By David Salazar

“Fra Diavolo” is a rarely performed opera and yet it has a great deal to offer for the tenor that decides to take on its major challenges. Well, this week, tenor John Osborn will be the man to step into the role of Auber’s opera at the Teatro dell’Opera di Roma with a cast that also features Roberto de Candia, Sonia Ganassi, Giorgio Misseri, and Pretty Yende.

The Iowa Native is deeply immersed in the French repertoire, coming off back to back runs of Meyerbeer’s “Le Prophète” in Toulouse and Essen this past summer. He also recently interpreted the role of Arnold in “Guillaume Tell” for a single showcase at the Metropolitan Opera and also sang “La Juive” in Munich last summer.

That said, he is a bel canto specialist with the operas of Rossini, Bellini (especially “Norma”), and Donizetti figuring rather prominently in his repertoire over the last few years.

Osborn studied music at Simpson College and made his professional debut at the Des Moines Metro Opera in 1993. From there he would go on to win the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions in 1994 as a 21-year-old and made his Met debut just two years later in “Salome.” In 1996, he also won the first prize at the Operalia Vocal Competition in Bordeaux, France. From there, he has performed at every major opera house around the world and in 2012 became the first non-Italian artist to win the Aureliano Pertile Tenor Award in Asti, Italy. Other major awards include the 2014 Bellini d’Oro, the Best Tenor award at the International Opera Awards the Premio Cittadina di Diana Marina, among many others.

After “Fra Diavolo,” the tenor is next slated to return to the Bel Canto repertoire in the role of Tonio in “La Fille du Régiment” at the Teatro de Maestranza in Seville. Then he kicks off 2018 with a run of Gounod’s “Faust” in Geneva before taking the role of “Benvenuto Cellini” in Paris. He closes out his 2017-18 season with the title role in “Les Contes d’Hoffmann” at the Holland Festival in Amsterdam.

The tenor has a vast discography that includes Bellini’s “Norma (with Cecilia Bartoli in the title role),” Rossini’s “Otello (also with Bartoli), and Rossini’s “Semiramide,” among others.

Check this out as he throws off high Cs as if they were nothing.


Artist of the WeekNews