Tenor Michael Sylvester, widely considered one of the finest lyric spinto tenors of his generation, has sung leading roles in the major opera houses of the world, including the Metropolitan Opera, London’s Covent Garden, Milan’s La Scala, Vienna Staatsoper, Opera Australia’s Sydney Opera House, San Francisco Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Dallas Opera, Paris Opera, Buenos Aires’ Teatro Colon, Houston Grand Opera, Venice’s Teatro La Fenice, Staatsoper Berlin, Grand Theater de Geneva, Deutsche Oper Berlin, Florence’s Maggio Musicale, Hamburg Staatsoper, Bonn Staatsoper, Frankfurt Staatsoper, Opera de Toulouse, the New Israeli Opera and many others. During the 1990s, Mr. Sylvester sang more performances at the Metropolitan Opera of Radames in Verdi’s opera AIDA than any other tenor. A 1989 article in USA Today named Mr. Sylvester as one of the two most important tenors of his generation.
Among others his opera repertoire includes Radames in AIDA (which he has sung nearly 200 times), the title role Don Carlo in DON CARLO, Adorno in SIMON BOCCANEGRA, Cavaradossi in TOSCA, Pinkerton in MADAMA BUTTERFLY, Calaf in TURANDOT, Rodolfo in LA BOHEME, Bacchus in ARIADNE AUF NAXOS, Der Kaiser in DIE FRAU OHNE SCHATTEN, Samson in SAMSON ET DALILA, Don Jose in CARMEN and Pollione in NORMA. All in all, he has performed close to fifty leading roles. The many works he has performed in concert include Verdi’s REQUIEM, Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde and Symphony #8 and Beethoven’s Symphony #9 with orchestras worldwide.
Among his recordings are the title role in DON CARLO with James Levine (Sony Classics), Adorno in SIMON BOCCANEGRA with Sir George Solti (Decca), Calaf in TURANDOT (EMI video), Mahler’s Symphony #8 with Robert Shaw (Telarc) and Mendelssohn’s Die ertse Walpurgisnacht (Arabesque). Additionally, he has been featured in numerous Saturday afternoon radio broadcasts from the Metropolitan Opera and in other broadcast and televised performances around the world.
Currently, Mr. Sylvester is an Associate Professor of Voice at Wichita State University. He is General Director and Co-Founder of the San Miguel Institute of Bel Canto, a training program for select young professional opera singers with career potential. He served as the Master Teacher and Artist-in-Residence for the Concurso San Miguel opera competition, the largest for Mexican opera singers. Mr. Sylvester teaches annually at the iSing! Festival in Suzhou, China and at Chicago Summer Opera. In 2013 he was invited to be the Artist-in-Residence at the Art Song Festival at the University of Toledo.
His student in Mexico, soprano Denis Velez, recently won the 2020 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions Finals, and will be joining the Ryan Opera Center of the Chicago Lyric Opera. Another of his students from Mexico, Yunuet Laguna, was accepted into the Metropolitan Opera’s Lindemann Young Artist Development Program. Additionally, he has students performing in North America and Europe and several that have been successful in national and international competitions.
In recent years, Mr. Sylvester has turned his performing talents toward recital and concert work, having given recitals in Chicago, Wichita (KS), San Miguel de Allende (Mexico), Rochester (NY), Atlanta, Toledo (OH), Indianapolis and Ridgefield (CT). Concerts have included Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde and Beethoven’s Symphony #9.
He has just finished his first book, English Diction and Enunciation for North American Singers, and is finalizing its publication and eventual interactive e-book publication. Currently he is working on a project called A Survey of Historically Important Classical Singers of the 20th Century, an audio project aimed at introducing young singers to the singers that came before them.