Chinese-born bass-baritone Shenyang was propelled into the spotlight in 2007 when, at the tender age of 23, he won the BBC Cardiff Singer of the World Competition. After initial studies at the Shanghai Conservatory of Music, he went on to graduate from The Julliard School, the Salzburg Young Artist Project and to join the Metropolitan Opera’s Lindemann Young Artist Program, which marked the beginning of an ongoing relationship with the prestigious theatre where he most recently appeared as Sprecher in Julie Taymor’s beloved production of “Die Zauberflöte”, conducted by Antony Walker.
Opera highlights of the intervening seasons include the title role in “Le nozze di Figaro” which he sang for the first time at the National Centre for the Performing Arts in Beijing and subsequently for Seattle Opera, and Alidoro in Rossini’s “La cenerentola” marking his debuts at Glyndebourne Festival, Bayerische Staatsoper, Opernhaus Zürich and Washington National Opera. At the Metropolitan Opera, he has appeared in “La cenerentola” under Fabio Luisi, as Masetto in a new production of “Don Giovanni” under Sir Andrew Davis, as Garibaldo in Handel’s “Rodelinda” under Harry Bicket – released on DVD by Decca - and as Colline in “La bohème” under Marco Armiliato. In concert version, Shenyang has appeared as Zoroastro in Handel’s “Orlando” on tour with the English Concert and Harry Bicket, as Leporello in “Don Giovanni” with the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra, and as Allazim in Mozart’s “Zaïde” with Ensemble ACJW and David Robertson at Carnegie Hall.
In a nod to a new, more dramatic future repertoire, Shenyang has two major role debuts in the current season: a unanimously-praised Gunther in Wagner’s “Götterdämmerung” with the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra under Jaap van Zweden, recorded for future release by Naxos and of which Opera Magazine wrote “…to which he gave dignity as well as lyrical phrasing and polished diction.” and Jochanaan in concert performances of R Strauss’ “Salome”, with the Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra and Alexander Liebreich.
Concert appearances have played a pivotal role in Shenyang’s career to date. He has amassed an impressive repertoire meanwhile and made numerous major debuts around the world at the request of some of the world’s most influential conductors. In Beethoven, he has performed with both the Sydney Symphony Orchestra under David Robertson and the San Francisco Symphony under Michael Tilson-Thomas in “Missa Solemnis”, in his Symphony No. 9 he has appeared under Yannick Nézet-Séguin and the Philadelphia Orchestra, Alan Gilbert and the New York Philharmonic, Matthew Halls and the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, and Gianluigi Gelmetti and the Monte Carlo Philharmonic, and in his “Mass in C”, he debuted under Michael Tilson Thomas and the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra. Rossini’s “Stabat Mater” marked his debut with Sir Antonio Pappano and the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, and it was in Mahler’s Symphony No. 8 that he appeared with both the New Japan Philharmonic and the Swedish Radio Symphony orchestras under Daniel Harding. With Edo de Waart and the Hong Kong Philharmonic, Shenyang performed Mahler’s “Des Knaben Wunderhorn” and sang Mendelssohn’s “Elijah” with both Boston Symphony and Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra under the late Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos and James Conlon respectively. Handel’s “Messiah” has been a regular feature of the annual calendar, and marked his New York Philharmonic debut under Helmuth Rilling with whom he collaborated regularly in repertoire including Bach “Mass in B minor”, Mozart and Verdi Requiems and Haydn’s “Die Jahreszeiten”. Additional repertoire recently performed includes Schoenberg’s “Guerrelieder” (Beijing Music Festival) and Janáček’s “Glagolitic Mass” (Grant Park Music Festival), and he has also appeared under Valery Gergiev as guest soloist at the White Nights Festival in St Petersburg.
Shenyang not only embodies a 21st century bridge between the cultures of East and West, breathing life into the vocal treasures of his native heritage, but was also appointed Brand Ambassador for Montblanc in 2011 in recognition of his emerging stature as a prominent musical and cultural figure in Asia. He has been Artist in Residence with the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra where he performed numerous programmes with conductor Long Yu in a repertoire ranging from Bach and Mozart to Rachmaninov and Mahler, and gave the world premiere of the orchestral song cycle, “Song of Farewell” (written for him by composer Xiaogang Ye) in Beijing, before taking it to the Berlin Philharmonie with the China National Symphony Orchestra. Shenyang is a regular feature of the Beijing Music Festival where he has recently performed “Des Knaben Wunderhorn” with Daniel Harding and the China Philharmonic, been presented in a solo “Liederabend” featuring songs by Schubert, Loewe, and Mahler, performed as part of Jing Xiang’s opera, “Yuan Ye”, conducted by Long Yu, and been part of the nationally televised gala concert celebrating the music of Chinese composer Huang Zi. The current season brings Shenyang to London’s Royal Festival Hall in a Chinese New Year celebration concert with the Philharmonia Orchestra under Long Yu, as well as to the Dresdner Musikfestspiele in the world premiere of Tan Dun’s “Buddha Passion”. Shenyang will reprise “Buddha Passion” next season with the Los Angeles Philharmonic under Gustavo Dudamel as part of the orchestra’s celebrations of the Chinese New Year.
A dedicated Lieder singer, Shenyang received the Alice Tully Vocal Arts Award which led to his New York recital debut at Lincoln Center in 2009 with pianist Vlad Iftinca in a programme of Schubert, Loewe, Brahms, and Wolf and he has subsequently appeared in duo recital with soprano Susanna Phillips and pianist Brian Zeger at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and as part of Brahms’ “Liebeslieder Walzer” with Daniel Barenboim at Carnegie Hall. Further recital appearances include at BBC Hoddinott Hall in Cardiff, the Hong Kong Arts Festival and at Shanghai’s Grand Theatre. In 2015, Shenyang and the Stradivari Quartet presented Schubert’s “Winterreise” in a specially commissioned arrangement at Shanghai’s Symphony Hall to exceptional critical acclaim.
As of July 2019