Skip to page content

Sean Panikkar

About this Artist

A recent graduate of the San Francisco Opera Adler Fellowship, SEAN PANIKKAR is quickly becoming known for his “surpassing musicality and passion, commanding self-confidence, and gorgeous expression.” The American tenor of Sri Lankan heritage made his Metropolitan Opera debut last season as Edmondo in Manon Lescaut, conducted by James Levine, and his European operatic debut as Gomatz in Mozart’s Zaïde at the Aix-en-Provence Festival in a production directed by Peter Sellars and conducted by Louis Langrée.

During the 2008/09 season, the tenor returned to the stage of the Metropolitan Opera as Arturo in Lucia di Lammermoor, conducted by Marco Armiliato, and made his debut at the Opera Theatre of Saint Louis as Count Almaviva in a new production of The Ghosts of Versailles. Other engagements include a return to Pittsburgh Opera as Jim Casey in Ricky Ian Gordon’s The Grapes of Wrath, a return performance at Opera Colorado as Nadir in Les pêcheurs de perles, and performances of Narraboth in Salome with Vancouver Opera. Highlights of recent seasons include Tybalt in Roméo et Juliette at the Metropolitan Opera under the baton of Plácido Domingo, Alfredo in La traviata at Arizona Opera, and, at San Francisco Opera, performances in The Queen of Spades, Le pauvre matelot, The Maid of Orleans, Manon Lescaut, Tristan und Isolde, Fidelio, Norma, and Die Zauberflöte.

On the concert stage Panikkar has performed Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 with the San Francisco Symphony Youth Orchestra, Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde (in the chamber arrangement by Arnold Schoenberg) with the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra at the Ojai Festival, and Die Zauberflöte with Leonard Slatkin at the Hollywood Bowl. He also joined Esa-Pekka Salonen, Peter Sellars, and the Los Angeles Philharmonic for The Tristan Project in Los Angeles and at Lincoln Center.

Panikkar was a Metropolitan Opera National Council Pittsburgh District winner and a Great Lakes Regional Finalist (Encouragement Award winner). He has been honored by the George London Foundation with the 2007 Robert Jacobson Memorial Award and a 2009 George London Award. He is a former member of the Pittsburgh Opera Center, Central City Opera Studio Artist program, and Seagle Music Colony. He holds Master’s and Bachelor’s degrees in Voice Performance from the University of Michigan.