Brian Banion’s combination of physical and vocal acting combined with his versatile, warm, well-projected bass-baritone voice are demonstrated in a variety of roles including Leporello in Don Giovanni, Basilio Il barbiere di Siviglia, Figaro in Le Nozze di Figaro, Escamillo and Zuniga in Carmen, Daland in Der fliegende Holländer, the Doctor in Vanessa, Nick Shadow in The Rake’s Progress, Dick Deadeye in HMS Pinafore, Sparafucile in Rigoletto, Nourabad in Les Pêcheurs de Perles, and Frère Laurent in Roméo et Juliette.
This season includes a return to Piedmont Opera as Dulcamara in L’Elisir d’Amore, and Beethoven’s 9th Symphony with the Springfield Symphony. Next season includes a return to Indianapolis Opera as Leporello in Don Giovanni, and Simone in Gianni Schicchi with the Columbus Symphony. Last season included a role debut as Ramfis in Aida in a co-production between The Columbus Symphony Orchestra and Opera Columbus, a return to Piedmont Opera and role debut as Lieutenant Horstmayer in Silent Night, a return to the Lyric Opera of Kansas City as Basilio in Il barbiere di Siviglia, and a company and role debut with Indianapolis Opera as Emile de Becque in South Pacific. The 2017 season included a return to Piedmont Opera and role debut as Mustafa in L’Italiana in Algeri, and a debut with Soo Opera as Basilio in Il barbiere di Siviglia. The 2016 season included a return to Piedmont Opera as Sparafucile in Rigoletto, and a debut with the Great Lakes Chamber Orchestra as Escamillo in Carmen. The 2015 season included a return to Piedmont Opera as Daland in Der fliegende Holländer, Leporello in Don Giovanni with the University of Louisville, Beethoven’s 9th Symphony with the Central Ohio Symphony, and Zuniga and Morales in Carmen with The Columbus Symphony Orchestra. Recent seasons have included a debut with Sacramento Opera as Simone in Gianni Schicchi, a return to Piedmont Opera as Don Basilio in Il barbiere di Siviglia, Escamillo in Carmen with The Springfield Symphony Orchestra, recitals in Sorel, Quebec and in Montréal. 2012 included a return to Piedmont Opera as Leporello in Don Giovanni, Handel’s Messiah with The Symphony Orchestra of Virginia Beach and The Boise Philharmonic, and a return to The Princeton Festival as Simone in Gianni Schicchi. Other recent engagements include Zuniga in Carmen with Asheville Lyric Opera, Frère Laurent in Roméo et Juliette with Opera Columbus, Figaro in Le nozze di Figaro and Dick Deadeye in HMS Pinafore with Piedmont Opera, and a debut with The Princeton Festival as Peter Quince in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Brian returns to The Bay View Music Festival this summer, where he has been a Resident Artist for seven years.
No stranger to modern music, Mr. Banion created the role of Reverend Arthur Baines in the world premiere of Robert Aldridge’s Elmer Gantry, making his Nashville Opera debut. He reprised Baines in Montclair, New Jersey. He also created the role of the Unnamed Bass in Edwin Penhorwood’s Too Many Sopranos.
Additional engagements include a debut with the Spoleto Festival USA as Leporello in the internationally acclaimed Gunter Kramer production of Don Giovanni, Verdi’s Requiem on tour throughout France, Germany, Switzerland, and Spain with The Robert Page Festival Singers, a debut with The Lyric Opera of Kansas City as the title role in Le Nozze di Figaro, as well as returns to Opera Columbus in La Traviata, The Merry Widow, and as Leporello in Don Giovanni. Brian returned to kick off the finals of The 2010 Arnold Schwarzenegger Classic Bodybuilding Competition, singing the National Anthem for the fourth straight year.
Brian has collaborated with a number of opera companies, symphony orchestras, and has been a featured soloist at festivals here and abroad. These include the Michigan Opera Theatre, Opera Columbus, Kentucky Opera, Greensboro Opera, Nevada Opera, Berkshire Opera, Opera Roanoke, Columbus Light Opera, the Cincinnati May Festival, the Columbus Symphony Orchestra, the Halle Symphony Orchestra, the Mansfield Symphony, the Carmel Symphony, and the Anderson Symphony. His concert performances include Mendelssohn’s Elijah, Beethoven Ninth Symphony, Verdi Requiem, Mozart Requiem, Walton’s Belshazzar’s Feast, Fauré Requiem, Bach Passions, and Schubert Mass in A-flat and G.
Brian Banion has won awards in several important vocal competitions, including those of the Metropolitan Opera Auditions, the Fritz and Lavinia Jensen Foundation, Opera Index Grant, Opera Columbus Vocal Competition, and the Bel Canto Vocal Scholarship. Brian performed graduate work at Indiana University, where he studied with the legendary Metropolitan Opera bass-baritone, Giorgio Tozzi. He completed his undergraduate degree from Capital University, where he studied Trombone.
Brian Banion is sublimely ridiculous in the role of the egotistical and chauvinistic Mustafa. Banion displays great and fearless talent for physical comedy.
-Lynn Felder, The Winston-Salem Journal
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