Frederick Ballentine to Receive 2021 Marian Anderson Vocal Award

By Logan Martell
(Credit: Jens Fauth)

Washington National Opera has announced that tenor Frederick Ballentine has been named as the recipient of the 2021 Marian Anderson Vocal Award, in recognition of his artistic accomplishments and great promise of an illustrious career.

A Virginia native and a 2018 alumnus of WNO’s Cafritz Young Artist Program, Ballentine made his Metropolitan Opera debut in their acclaimed 2019 production of the Gershwins’ “Porgy and Bess,” playing the role of Sportin’ Life. He has appeared as a soloist with the New York Choral Society, Naples Philharmonic, Los Angeles Philharmonic, and the Simon Bolivar Orchestra of Venezuela, among others. Other engagements have seen him perform with companies such as Seattle Opera, Cincinnati Opera, New Jersey Symphony, Opera Memphis, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Houston Grand Opera, and more.

The award will be presented at a concert at Kennedy Center Terrace Theater on December 7, 2021. Ballentine has curated the program of the concert to illustrate “the journey of Black and LGBT people of America. Our separation from the whole. Our constant oppression. Our lost loves and souls. But most beautifully, our resilience.” Ballentine will be accompanied by pianist Kunal Lahiry for works ranging from Franz Schubert to Nina Simone.

The award also includes a $10k cash prize, and the opportunity to lead a master class with students in the Vocal Music Program of the Duke Ellington School of the Arts. Among the panelists for this year’s award were distinguished artists and former winners, such as Lawrence Brownlee, Roderick Cox, Samuel Gelber, Denyce Graves, David Lomelo, Christina Scheppelmann, Karen Slack, Melissa Wegner, among others.