Curtis Bannister, Tenor
Described by TimeOut Chicago Magazine as “radiating with slowly simmering energy” for his performance as Man 1 in Jason Robert Brown's Songs for a New World, Curtis Bannister has been praised nationwide in the operatic and musical theatre repertoire for his artistry and dramatic portrayals. Of his debut performances as Otello, the Salt Lake City Tribune and The Herald Journal, respectfully, praised his “dramatic inflection and compelling energy” as well as his “thrilling tenor voice and a towering stage presence.”
In the 2017/18 season, Curtis debuts with Kokandy Productions as John Paul in Michael LaChiusa's LITTLE FISH, debuts a new musical, THE CIVILITY OF ALBERT CASHIER, with Permoveo Productions, returns to Lyric Opera of Chicago to perform the role of Set in THE SCORPION'S STING for Lyric Unlimited, travels to London for performances as Enjolras in LES MISERABLES and performs the role of Jerome, while understudying the role of Franklin Sheppard, in Sondheim's MERRILY WE ROLL ALONG with Porchlight Music Theatre. Future performances for the 2018, and 2019 will be announced at a later date.
Mr. Bannister returned to the roster at Lyric Opera of Chicago for their productions of Les Troyens and Norma in the 2016/17 season as well as performing as tenor soloist in Haydn's Lord Nelson Mass for the Baltimore Choral Arts Society, debuted with Writers Theatre as Lieutenant Barri/Mother in a reading of Stephen Sondheim's Passion, debuted with Porchlight Music Theatre as Edward Moncrief in On A Clear Day You Can See Forever, and returned to Writers Theatre in Jason Robert Brown's Parade; a production in which he understudied and ultimately performed the roles of Jim Conley, Newt Lee, and Riley. In April 2017, Curtis was a Special Award recipient in The Kurt Weill Foundation's Lotte Lenya Competition Finals.
Highlight performances from the 2015/16 season included a return to the Finger Lakes Musical Theatre Festival/Merry-Go-Round Playhouse as the title role in Sweeney Todd (off-stage cover), tenor soloist in Mozart’s Requiem for the Musica Lumina Orchestra, a debut as Don Jose for the Natchez Festival of Music in Carmen and a return to Utah Festival Opera & Musical Theatre for his debut as Sportin’ Life in Porgy & Bess. Curtis was also a finalist for the 2016 American Prize in Opera, a finalist in the 2016 Lotte Lenya Competition of The Kurt Weill Foundation and, in September 2016, was invited to Toulouse, France as one of three representatives of the United States chosen to compete in the 51st Concour International de Chant de Toulouse
Highlights from previous seasons include Mr. Bannister's debut at the Lyric Opera of Chicago as Peter (Sportin' Life cover) in the Francesca Zambello production of Porgy & Bess, 1st Heavenly Friend in Lyric Opera of Chicago’s acclaimed production of Carousel (directed by Rob Ashford), his debut with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra as Ragotski/Cacambo/The Baron in Candide (conducted by Marin Alsop), Monty in the new world premiere production of Saturday Night Fever with Finger Lakes Musical Theatre Festival/Merry-Go-Round Playhouse, his international recital debut of German lieder and Negro spirituals with the Musique de Chambre au Louvre, Man 1 in Jason Robert Brown’s Songs for a New World at Chicago’s Stage 773, Enjolras in Les Miserables with Utah Festival Opera & Musical Theatre, John in Miss Saigon with Merry-Go-Round Playhouse, Aaron the Moor in Shakespeare's Titus Andronicus with Stillpointe Theatre, and his debut with the Paris Opera Ballet as an ensemble dancer in the Maurice Béjart interpretation of Ravel’s Bolero for the Ballet’s 2012 North American tour.
Mr. Bannister has performed as Pirelli in the off-Broadway production of Sweeney Todd, Thomas in the pre-Broadway production of Amazing Grace for Broadway in Chicago, and portrayed the role of Andre DeSheilds for the National Players/Olney Theater Center's production of Ain’t Misbehavin'. A graduate of the Peabody Institute of The Johns Hopkins University and award recipient of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions (Mid-west region), Curtis is a very proud native of Green Bay, Wisconsin.
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