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 2019-2020 season, he will return to the Metropolitan Opera to debut the role of Steuermann in a new production of Der fliegende Holländer, conducted by Valery Gergiev and opposite Bryn Terfel, the Metropolitan Opera and Washington National Opera for performances of Tamino in Die Zauberflöte, Bayerische Staatsoper as Pasquale in Orlando Paladino, and Mr. Rodriguez in the world-premiere of Awakenings by Tobias Picker at Opera Theatre of St. Louis.
David Portillo’s 2018-2019 season included a return to the Metropolitan Opera for a role debut as the Chevalier de la Force in Dialogues des Carmélites, a return to the Lyric Opera of Chicago for Arbace in Idomeneo with Sir Andrew Davis, an opera he performed for his debut with the Teatro Real in Madrid, but as Idamante, and finally, Oper Frankfurt and the Glyndebourne Festival as Tamino. On two separate occasions in the season, Mr. Portillo returned to his hometown of San Antonio, Texas for a role debut as Alfredo in La traviata with Opera San Antonio, as well as a solo orchestral program of Italian repertoire with the San Antonio Symphony with Sebastian LangLessing. Orchestral engagements included a return to the Los Angeles Philharmonic for Beethoven’s Mass in C Major, and Haydn’s Lord Nelson Mass with Gustavo Dudamel, an appearance with Grant Gershon and the Los Angeles Master Chorale for Mozart’s Requiem, and 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 Tippett’s A Child of our Time at Carnegie Hall, the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis for Handel’s Messiah, and El Paso Choral Society for first performances of Verdi’s Requiem.
In the 2017-2018 season, David Portillo made a splash in two role debuts at the Metropolitan Opera, first as Eduardo in Thomas Adès’ North American premiere of The Exterminating Angel, then as Camille de Rosillon in The Merry Widow. He performed Count Almaviva in Il barbiere di Siviglia with Houston Grand Opera, and Don Ottavio in Don Giovanni for his debut with Dallas Opera. In the summer of 2018, Mr. Portillo made two important house debuts, at the Deutsche Oper Berlin as Count Libenskof, and the Bayerische Staatsoper as Pasquale in Orlando Paladino. Orchestral highlights of the season included Mozart’s Requiem with Gustavo Dudamel and the Los Angeles Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl.
Past seasons on the operatic stage include appearances at the Metropolitan Opera (Count Almaviva, Jacquino in Fidelio), Lyric Opera of Chicago (David in Die Meistersinger, Trin, La fanciulla del West, Andres in Wozzeck), Houston Grand Opera (Tamino), Opera Australia (Ferrando in Così fan tutte), Washington National Opera (Don Ramiro in La Cenerentola), Metropolitan Opera/Juilliard Opera (Renaud, Armide), Opera Philadelphia (Don Ottavio, Don Giovanni), Glyndebourne Festival (David in Die Meistersinger), Opera Theatre of St. Louis (Don Ottavio; Ferrando), Théâtre des Champs-Élysées (Pedrillo), Opera Philadelphia (Dr. Richardson in Breaking the Waves), Pittsburgh Opera (Belmonte, Die Entführung aus dem Serail; Count Almaviva), San Diego Opera (Don Ramiro), Arizona Opera (Ralph Rackstraw, HMS Pinafore, Tonio), Palm Beach Opera (Count Almaviva, Ernesto in Don Pasquale), the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia in Rome, Italy (Ferdinand, The Tempest), and the Saito Kinen Festival in Japan (Gonzalve, L’heure espagnole). Mr. Portillo has also made important European debuts in recent seasons, including the Wiener Staatsoper (Count Almaviva), Dutch National Opera (Pedrillo in Die Entführung aus dem Serail), Oper Frankfurt (Tamino), The English Concert (Lurcanio in Ariodante), Festival d’Aixen-Provence (Pedrillo, Lurcanio), Salzburg Festival (Don Gaspar in Donizetti’s La favorite), and with Opera Angers-Nantes (Narciso).
With orchestra, David Portillo has appeared as the tenor soloist in Verdi’s Requiem and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 with the Phoenix Symphony and Colorado Music Festival, and Haydn’s Creation with the Colorado Music Festival. In Handel’s Messiah, he has performed with the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, Kansas City Symphony and Richmond Symphony. He has performed as the tenor soloist in Schumann’s Das Paradies und die Peri with the Netherlands Radio Orchestra. With Washington Concert Opera, he has performed Tebaldo in concert performances of I Capuleti e i Montecchi.
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.
Photo by Arielle Doneson