Artist Of The Week: Ryan McKinny

American Bass-Baritone Sings First ‘Don Giovanni’

By Francisco Salazar

Ryan McKinny continues to rise the ranks as one of the great American bass-baritones of his time and this week he makes his second role debut of the season in Mozart’s “Don Giovanni.” He will be featured in a new production for the Houston Grand Opera.

Throughout the past years, McKinny has had a career mixed with classic works by Verdi and Mozart but has also appeared in numerous modern operas by John Adams and Bernstein, among others. He has performed with some of the greatest orchestras, conductors, and performers, as well as many great opera companies. This season alone he took a huge stride in his career by singing his first Wotan in “Das Rheingold,” a huge milestone for any bass-baritone. Critics raved about McKinny’s rich voice and charisma.

Now, after singing numerous Mozart works, in particular Figaro in “Le Nozze di Figaro,” he brings the iconic and seductive “Don Giovanni” to life. He will open a new production by Kasper Holten, which McKinny said in a recent interview “will let the audience in on the sort of mania and delusion of this character so that we see that it’s not necessarily just him, but also larger societal pressures.” That Don Giovanni will be the first of many as he is planning on taking it to the Washington National Opera next season and most likely to many other houses in the future.

And for those who will not be around in Houston or Washington, the bass-baritone will add another new role next season in “Dead Man Walking” at the Lyric Opera of Chicago as well as Jokanaan in “Salome” at the Houston Grand Opera.


For those not familiar with McKinny’s voice, he can be heard in a recent recording of “Parsifal” from the Bayreuth Festival, as well as on “The Audition” from 2007. He also has a recording of Shostakovitch’s unfinished work “Orango.”

Here is McKinny performing during the Operalia competition in “Der Fliegende Hollander’s” Monolouge.


Artist of the WeekNews