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A native of Lynn, Massachusetts baritone JAMES MADDALENA first gained international recognition for his notable portrayal of Richard Nixon in the world premiere of John Adams' Nixon in China at the Houston Grand Opera which was telecast nationally on the PBS "Great Performances" series which won an Emmy Award. Subsequently the Peter Sellars-directed production appeared at The Netherlands Opera, The Edinburgh Festival, The Brooklyn Academy of Music, The Washington Opera, the Frankfurt Opera, at Australia's Adelaide Festival, and in Paris. Mr. Maddalena can be heard on the Grammy Award-winning, best-selling Nonesuch recording.
During the 1998-99 season Mr. Maddalena made his Atlanta Opera debut as Lescaut in Manon prior to returning to New York City Opera as Sharpless in Madama Butterfly as well as Peter in Hansel und Gretel. He then traveled to San Diego Opera for Hansel und Gretel, to the Chicago Symphony Orchestra for his debut in the world premiere of John Harbison's Four Psalms, to The Birmingham Symphony for the world premiere of a Gunther Schuller composition honoring Martin Luther King and he returned to The Glimmerglass Opera in the title role of Monteverdi's Il Ritorno d'Ullisse in Patria. The highlight of his season occurred at The Brooklyn Academy of Music when he sang Schubert's tour de force cycle, Die Winterreise, with Robert Spano, accompanist, in a setting conceived by the renowned installation artist, Christian Boltanski. Other recent engagements include Lakme with New Orleans Opera; Hansel und Gretel, The Dracula Diary and New Year with Houston Grand Opera; The Ballad of Baby Doe and Beatrice et Benedict with Boston Lyric Opera; The Crucible with Opera Carolina; the Peter Sellars productions of Das Kleine Mahagonny at The Brooklyn Academy of Music (which was later revived in Paris), the world premiere of Harvey Milk with Houston Grand Opera as well as the subsequent mounting with San Francisco Opera which was recorded by Teldec (Donald Runnicles, conductor); von Einam's The Visit of the Old Lady at New York City Opera; Regina and Romeo et Juliette with Opera Pacific; productions of Don Giovanni and L'Italiana in Algeri at Glimmerglass Opera; and the world premiere of Midnight Angel at Opera Theatre of St. Louis.
In 1991 he created the role of the Captain in John Adams' The Death of Klinghoffer in the world premiere at the Monnaie in Brussels. Klinghoffer was then produced at the Opera de Lyon, at BAM, at San Francisco Opera and at the Vienna Festival prior to being recorded by Nonesuch (Kent Nagano, conductor).
Other European opera credits for the New England Conservatory of Music graduate include don Alfonso in Cosi fan tutte, Merlyn in Tippett's New Year and Papageno in Die Zauberflöte at Glyndebourne Festival Opera, the Count in Le Nozze di Figaro at Barcelona's famed Teatru Liceu and Mark Morris productions of Handel's L'Allegro il Penseroso ed il Moderato, in which he performed as vocal soloist, and as Aeneas in Purcell's Dido and Aeneas at the Theatre Royal de la Monnaie in Brussels.
An active concert singer, James Maddalena has sung the premiere of Eliot Goldenthal's oratorio about Viet Nam entitled Fire, Water, Paper with The Pacific Symphony (recorded by Sony Classical), as well as with The Boston Symphony, concert performances of Nixon in China in Talinn, Estonia and at the 1998 Aspen Music Festival, La Damnation de Faust with The Brooklyn Philharmonic, Messiah with Boston's Handel & Haydn Society and with The Pacific Symphony, Hindemith's Requiem with the Orchestra of the Accademia di Santa Cecilia in Romem (Wolfgang Sawallisch, conductor), The Passion According to St. John in Turin, Italy (also with Sawallisch), the title role of Orfeo in Venice, John Adams' The Wound Dresser with the Royal Scottish Orchestra, Harbison's Word From Paterson with San Francisco Symphony, Carmina Burana in Seville, Spain and Palermo, Italy and Messiah with the London Philharmonic. In Boston he has performed not only Messiah, Solomon, Theodora, the Christmas Oratorio, and the complete cycle of Bach cantatas at Emmanuel Church with Craig Smith, conductor, but also The Passion According to St. John, Brahms' Deutsche Requiem, Mozart's "Coronation" Mass and Vespers with Boston Baroque. The latter was recorded by Harmonia Mundi USA. He has also appeared as vocal soloist in the Mark Morris Dance Group performances throughout the U.S. and in Hong Kong and Israel. He has sung with the Spokane Bach Festival and at New York's Alice Tully Hall.
His prolific recording catalogue also includes Le Nozze di Figaro as well as Cosi fan tutte which were directed by Peter Sellars and telecast nationally over PBS as well as throughout Europe and which were released by Decca/London Records on videocassette and laser disc and The Dracula Diary by Robert Moran on the BMG Classical Catalyst label and Regina for EMI (John Mauceri, conductor). In keeping with his involvement in contemporary opera, Mr. Maddalena sang in the world premiere of Michael Tippett's New Year with the London Philharmonic and recorded it for BBC Television.
Engagements for James Maddalena during the 1999-2000 season included Madama Butterfly with New York City Opera, concert performances of Nixon in China with The Brooklyn Philharmonic, his return to The Houston Grand Opera for Little Women (which will be taped for later telecast as part of the “Great Performances” series on PBS) and his debut with The English National Opera in a new production of Nixon in China. He also returned to The Spokane Bach Festival for the Bach B Minor Mass, conducted by Gunther Schuller.
Recent commitments include Madama Butterfly with Boston Lyric Opera, Der Rosenkavalier, in which he will sing his first Faninal at Opera Pacific, and the St. Matthew Passion with The Dayton Philharmonic.