William Burden (tenor)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
William Burden as Frank Harris in Oscar at Opera Philadelphia, 2015, with Heidi Stober as Ada Leverson.

William Burden is an American opera singer (tenor). Since his professional debut at the San Francisco Opera in 1992, he has performed in lead roles in North America and Europe.


Burden was born in Miami. As an undergraduate he studied at Middlebury College and then entered the Indiana University School of Music where he received his master's degree in Vocal Performance working with Margaret Harshaw. Burden participated in a number of summer programs, the Merola Program of the San Francisco Opera, the Santa Fe Opera Apprentice program, and the Wolf Trap Young Artists’ Program.[1]

Professional career[edit]

In 1992 Burden was called to the San Francisco Opera to sing Count Lerma in Don Carlo and Janek in The Makropoulos Case.[1] He has appeared in lead roles at major opera houses, including Metropolitan Opera, San Francisco Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Houston Grand Opera, Seattle Opera, Opera Philadelphia, Santa Fe Opera, New York City Opera, La Scala, Glyndebourne Opera Festival, Paris Opera, Munich State Opera, Canadian Opera Company, and the Saito Kinen Festival.

Burden has performed in a number of world premieres:[2] Gilbert Griffiths in Tobias Picker's An American Tragedy (Metropolitan Opera, 2005), Dodge in Daron Hagen's Amelia (Seattle Opera, 2010), Nikolaus Sprink in Kevin Puts's Silent Night, Dan Hill in Christopher Theofanidis's Heart of a Soldier (San Francisco Opera, 2011),[3] Peter in Mark Adamo's Gospel of Mary Magdalene (San Francisco Opera, 2013),[4] and Frank Harris in Theodore Morrison's Oscar (Santa Fe Opera, 2013). In the famous opera, Don Giovanni, he met his future wife, Carol Chickering. Bill and Carol went on to have two children, a daughter, Claire, and a son, Jaxon.

His repertoire includes many lead roles, including:[5]

Burden also sang in concert with Les Arts Florissants, the BBC Orchestra, and the Berlin Philharmonic, among others. He is currently a faculty member at Mannes School of Music, where he serves as Chair of the Voice Department, and The Juilliard School. Burden has also studied with Arthur Levy.[7]


Anthony Tommasini wrote about one of his performances that his “(s)ubdued emotional intensity permeates every line of his singing. His English diction is a model of clarity”.[8]


  1. ^ a b William (May 21, 2012). "American Orpheus: An Interview with William Burden". Opera Warhorses. Retrieved Feb 21, 2012.
  2. ^ Driscoll, F. Paul. "New Directions". www.operanews.com/. Metropolitan Opera Guild. Retrieved 14 June 2014.
  3. ^ Kosman, Joshua. "Promise unfulfilled". www.sfgate.com/. SFGate. Retrieved 14 June 2014.
  4. ^ Scheinen, Richard. "San Francisco Opera's 'Gospel of Mary Magdalene' world premiere is an ordeal". www.mercurynews.com/. San Jose Mercury News. Retrieved 14 June 2014.
  5. ^ "William Burden". opus3 artists. Retrieved Feb 21, 2013.
  6. ^ Tommasini, Anthony. "Caught Between Desire And Duty". www.nytimes.com. New York Times. Retrieved 14 June 2014.
  7. ^ "William Burden". www.newschool.edu. Retrieved 20 October 2017.
  8. ^ Anthony Tommasini (August 2, 2008). "Billy Budd the Jock, Beautiful and Agile". The New York Times. Retrieved Feb 21, 2013.