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BEN HEPPNER is recognized worldwide as the finest dramatic tenor before the public today. He excels in the most challenging roles, from Wagner's Tristan and Lohengrin to Verdi's Otello and Berlioz' Aeneas. He is acclaimed in music capitals around the world for his beautiful voice, intelligent musicianship, and sparkling dramatic sense. His performances on the opera stage, in concert with the world's leading orchestras, in the most prestigious recital venues, and in recordings have set new standards in his demanding repertoire.
Ben Heppner will make more than 25 concert appearances throughout Europe and North America in the 2007/08 season, beginning with recitals throughout Ontario, Canada and a gala concert at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa. He will also join the Philharmonic Orchestra of La Scala and Riccardo Chailly on a North American tour that will culminate at Carnegie Hall. He will sing Elgar's Dream of Gerontius with the Boston Symphony, conducted by Sir Colin Davis, and with the Vancouver Symphony. In addition to these performances, Heppner will sing Sibelius songs with the Los Angeles Philharmonic and Esa-Pekka Salonen in the Salle Pleyel in Paris and the Barbican Centre in London. He will join the Berlin Philharmonic to sing Mahler's Das Lied von der Erde at the Berlin Philharmonie, Carnegie Hall, and Symphony Hall in Boston, and he can also be heard in recital at the Grand Théâtre de Genève and Baltimore's Shriver Hall. Heppner will return to the Metropolitan Opera in March for performances of Tristan und Isolde, with James Levine, which will be simulcast to movie theaters throughout North America and the United Kingdom. He will finish the season singing his first staged performances of the title role in Siegfried with Sir Simon Rattle and the Berlin Philharmonic at the Aix-en-Provence Festival.
In the 2006/07 season, Heppner appeared at the Metropolitan Opera in the title roles of both Andrea Chénier and Idomeneo, the latter of which was also his debut role with the company in 1991. He also appeared in dozens of concert engagements throughout Europe and North America, beginning with a solo recital at Carnegie Hall. He sang Act III of Siegfried with the Hallé Orchestra in Manchester, England, and toured with the Rotterdam Philharmonic throughout Germany to sing arias from Die Walküre and Siegfried. His other engagements included concerts in Paris, Madrid, Bilbao, Dresden, and Mannheim, as well as a recital tour through his native British Columbia. Heppner finished his season with performances of Lohengrin at the Paris Opera and the Vienna State Opera.
In August 1998, Heppner sang his first performances of Tristan und Isolde in a new production for Seattle Opera. The international press was ablaze with accolades for "a Tristan for the new millennium." He subsequently sang this heroic role at the Metropolitan Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, the Berlin State Opera, the Salzburg Easter Festival, Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, and in a new Peter Sellars production for the Paris Opera. He has been associated with the Wagner repertoire since 1988, when he won the first Birgit Nilsson prize, and the following year, when he sang Lohengrin with the Royal Swedish Opera and at the Bolshoi Theatre.
Many of Ben Heppner's greatest portrayals have been revealed in new productions at the Metropolitan Opera, which include Robert Wilson's production of Lohengrin, Walther von Stolzing in Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, Florestan in Fidelio, Aeneas in Les Troyens, Gherman in The Queen of Spades, and the Prince in Rusalka. He has sung these and other roles at Covent Garden, the Vienna State Opera, La Scala, the Bavarian State Opera, the San Francisco Opera, and Lyric Opera of Chicago.
Heppner joined the Boston Symphony Orchestra as a soloist in Mahler's Eighth Symphony for James Levine's first concerts as the orchestra's Music Director. His large orchestral repertoire also includes Schoenberg's Gurrelieder, Kodály's Psalmus Hungaricus, and Britten's War Requiem. He has performed these and other works with the Berlin Philharmonic, the Vienna Philharmonic, the Metropolitan Orchestra, the Chicago Symphony, the Philharmonia Orchestra, the London Symphony Orchestra, the Toronto Symphony, the Philadelphia Orchestra, and the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande. He has worked with conductors including Sir Georg Solti, Claudio Abbado, Christian Thielemann, Sir Andrew Davis, Daniel Barenboim, Lorin Maazel, Sir Charles Mackerras, Wolfgang Sawallisch, Seiji Ozawa, Valery Gergiev, Esa-Pekka Salonen, and Mstislav Rostropovich.
Ben Heppner can be heard on RCA Red Seal on several solo discs, including My Secret Heart, Dedication, Ben Heppner sings German Romantic Opera, and Great Tenor Arias. His complete opera recordings include Lohengrin, Turandot, and Fidelio for RCA Red Seal, Die Meistersinger for both Decca and EMI, Rusalka for Decca, Hérodiade and Oberon for EMI, Der fliegende Holländer for Sony, Die Frau ohne Schatten for Teldec, and Ariadne auf Naxos for Deutsche Grammophon. Also for Deutsche Grammophon, he has released Airs Français, Ideale, a collection of Tosti songs, and a disc of arias from Wagner's Die Walküre and Siegfried. They inaugurated their new series of live-recorded Metropolitan Opera performances on DVD with Heppner as Tristan and as Florestan in Fidelio.
Heppner studied music at the University of British Columbia. He first gained national attention in 1979 as the winner of the Canadian Broadcasting Company Talent Festival. In December 1998, CBC television's Something Special featured Ben Heppner in an hour-long portrait of the artist. He is a 1988 winner of the Metropolitan Opera auditions and he received Grammy awards in 1998 for his recording of Die Meistersinger on London/Decca records and in 2001 for his recording of Les Troyens with the London Symphony Orchestra on LSO Live. Ben Heppner is an Officer of the Order of Canada.