Praised by Opera News for “high notes with ease, singing with a luxuriant warm glow that seduced the ear as he bounded about the stage with abandon,” American tenor David Portillo has established himself as a leading classical singer of his generation. In the 2021.22 season, Mr. Portillo will perform Lurcanio in George Frideric Handel’s Ariodante with the Palau des les Arts Reina Sofia in Valencia, Lysander in A Midsummer Night’s Dream with Opéra de Lille, and Tamino in Die Zauberflöte with Pittsburgh Opera.
Cancellations due to the COVID-19 pandemic included appearances at the Metropolitan Opera as the title role in Roberto Devereux and as Tybalt in Roméo et Juliette, the Bayerische Staatsoper as Pasquale in Haydn’s Orlando Paladino, Opera Theatre of St. Louis as Mr. Rodriguez in what would have been the world premiere of Tobias Picker’s Awakenings, and Minnesota Opera as Lensky in Eugene Onegin. In concert, he had been scheduled to perform Ludwig van Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, Hector Berlioz’s Roméo et Juliette with the Kansas City Symphony, and Handel’s Messiah with The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra.
In the 2020.21 season, Mr. Portillo performed the title role in a filmed version of Albert Herring with Minnesota Opera, originated the role of Jonathan Harker in the world premiere of John Corigliano and Marc Adamo’s Lord of Cries with Santa Fe Opera, gave a virtual recital for Valhalla Media Live with pianist Yasuko Oura, and was the tenor soloist in Johann Sebastian Bach’s B Minor Mass with the Orchestre Métropolitain in Montreal, conducted by Yannick Nézet-Séguin. In the 2019.20 season, he returned to the Metropolitan Opera for his role debut as Steuermann in a new production of Der fliegende Holländer, conducted by Valery Gergiev, and as Tamino in the English-language version of The Magic Flute, a role he then reprised with Washington National Opera.
Mr. Portillo’s 2018.19 season included returns to the Metropolitan Opera for his role debut as the Chevalier de la Force in Dialogues des Carmélites, to Lyric Opera of Chicago as Arbace in Idomeneo with Sir Andrew Davis – an opera he had performed in his debut with the Teatro Real in Madrid, but as Idamante – and finally, to Oper Frankfurt and the Glyndebourne Festival as Tamino. On two separate occasions over the course of the season, Mr. Portillo returned to his hometown of San Antonio, Texas, first for his role debut as Alfredo in La traviata with Opera San Antonio, and then for a solo orchestral program of Italian repertoire with the San Antonio Symphony and conductor Sebastian Lang-Lessing. Additional orchestral engagements included performances of Beethoven’s Mass in C Major and Franz Joseph Haydn’s Lord Nelson Mass with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, under the baton of Gustavo Dudamel, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s Requiem with the Los Angeles Master Chorale and conductor Grant Gershon, and Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana with DePaul University as part of the opening celebrations of the Holtschneider Performance Center. Finally, he joined the Minnesota Orchestra for performances of Bach’s Christmas Oratorio, the New York Choral Society for Michael Tippett’s A Child of our Time at Carnegie Hall, the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis for Handel’s Messiah, and the El Paso Choral Society for performances of Giuseppe Verdi’s Messa da Requiem.
Past operatic highlights include appearances at the Metropolitan Opera (Eduardo in Thomas Adès’ The Exterminating Angel, Camille de Rosillon in The Merry Widow, Count Almaviva in Il barbiere di Siviglia, and Jacquino in Fidelio), Lyric Opera of Chicago (David in Die Meistersinger, Trin in La fanciulla del West, and Andres in Wozzeck), Houston Grand Opera (Count Almaviva and Tamino), Opera Australia (Ferrando in Così fan tutte), Washington National Opera (Don Ramiro in La Cenerentola), Metropolitan Opera/Juilliard Opera (Renaud in Jean-Baptiste Lully’s Armide), Opera Philadelphia (Don Ottavio in Don Giovanni), Glyndebourne Festival (David), Opera Theatre of St. Louis (Don Ottavio and Ferrando), Théâtre des Champs-Élysées (Pedrillo in Die Entführung aus dem Serail), Opera Philadelphia (Dr. Richardson in Missy Mazzoli’s Breaking the Waves), Pittsburgh Opera (Belmonte in Die Entführung aus dem Serail and Count Almaviva), San Diego Opera (Don Ramiro), Dallas Opera (Don Ottavio), Arizona Opera (Ralph Rackstraw in Arthur Sullivan’s HMS Pinafore and Tonio), Palm Beach Opera (Count Almaviva and Ernesto in Don Pasquale), the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia in Rome, Italy (Ferdinand in Adès’ The Tempest), and the Saito Kinen Festival in Japan (Gonzalve in Maurice Ravel’s L’heure espagnole). Mr. Portillo has also made important European debuts in recent seasons, including at the Wiener Staatsoper (Count Almaviva), Dutch National Opera (Pedrillo), Oper Frankfurt (Tamino), Deutsche Oper Berlin (Count Libenskof in Il viaggio a Riems), The English Concert (Lurcanio in Ariodante), Festival d’Aix-en-Provence (Pedrillo and Lurcanio), Salzburg Festival (Don Gaspar in Gaetano Donizetti’s La favorite), and Opera Angers-Nantes (Narciso in Il turco in Italia).
In concert, Mr. Portillo has performed Mozart’s Requiem with the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra at the Hollywood Bowl, under the baton of Maestro Dudamel; Verdi’s Messa da Requiem with the Phoenix Symphony; Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 and Haydn’s Creation with the Colorado Music Festival; the Messiah with The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, Kansas City Symphony, and Richmond Symphony; as the tenor soloist in Robert Schumann’s Das Paradies und die Peri with the Netherlands Radio Orchestra; and as Tebaldo in concert performances of I Capuleti e i Montecchi with Washington Concert Opera.
An alumnus of the Ryan Opera Center at Lyric Opera of Chicago, Merola Opera Program at San Francisco Opera, and Wolf Trap Opera in Vienna, Virginia, Mr. Portillo grew up in San Antonio, Texas, and currently resides in Minneapolis, Minnesota.