Artist Profile: Tenor John Osborn, Specialist of Rare Bel Canto Gems

By David Salazar

Tenor John Osborn, born on May 16, 1972, has enjoyed a prolific career specializing in opera repertoire that few other tenors venture to take on.

The artist, who hails from Sioux Falls, Iowa, studied at Simpson College and made his professional debut at the Des Moines Metro Opera in 1993. He would then go on to win the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions at age 21, becoming one of the youngest ever to manage the feat (Nadine Sierra currently holds the record at age 20). In 1996, he won first prize at the Operalia Voice Competition.

From there the tenor has performed around the world at such houses as the Metropolitan Opera, Proms, Royal Opera House, Rossini Opera Festival, Salzburg, Frankfurt, Teatro Regio di Torino, La Scala, and Teatro Colón, among others.

He has made a vast number of recordings of such operas as “Armida,” “Benvenuto Cellini,” “Les Contes d’Hoffmann,” and “I Puritani,” among others.

He is also the recipient of such awards as Best Male Singer at the International Opera Awards.

Signature Roles

The tenor has been a major proponent of the Bel Canto repertoire and much of his success has come from the operas of Rossini and Donizetti. Perhaps one of his finest interpretations in recent years is that of “Guillaume Tell,” the tenor able to meld the gorgeous vocal writing and expectations of Bel Canto with a darker and weightier dramatic approach.

Watch and Listen

Here is an excerpt from “Guillaume Tell” where you can see his vocal precision and dramatic insight.

And for those who want something a little lighter and fun, here is “Ah mes amis” from “La Fille du Régiment.”


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