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John Tessier (Tenor)

Born: Edmonton, Canada

The Canadian tenor, John Tessier, has gained attention and praise by critics and audiences alike on the international stages (mostly Canada, USA and in the UK) of opera, concert, and recital, for the beauty and honesty of his voice, a refined style and artistic versatility, and for his handsome, youthful presence in the lyric tenor repertoire. He regularly works with many of the most notable conductors before the public today including Martin Haselböck, Bernard Labadie, Nicholas McGegan, John Nelson, and Robert Spano among others. He has appeared with leading opera companies throughout North America in a wide range of repertoire, from Lully’s Persée to Weill’s Der Aufstieg und Fall der Stadt Mahagonny. In the UK he has appeared as Lysander in Britten’s Midsummer Night’s Dream at the Aldeburgh Festival and as Tamino in Die Zauberflöte for the East Anglican Festival. Oratorio and recital work also form a major part of his busy schedule and he has performed frequently for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.

Operatic highlights of past seasons have included Tonio in La Fille du Régiment at Vancouver Opera, Don Ottavio in Don Giovanni and Damon in Acis and Galatea at New York City Opera, Ferrando in Così fan tutte with Manitoba Opera, Tamino in Die Zauberflöte with the Opera Company of Philadelphia, Toronto’s Opera Atelier, and the Edmonton Opera, Belmonte in Die Entführung aus dem Serail and Il Barbiere di Siviglia with L’Opéra de Québec, Laurie in Minnesota Opera’s presentation of Little Women, and Pasquale in Haydn’s Orlando Paladino and Acis and Galatea at Glimmerglass Opera.

John Tessier's concert schedule has brought him to the National Symphony Orchestra, Philadelphia Orchestra, Toronto Symphony Orchestra, and Handel and Haydn Society for George Frideric Handel's Messiah, to the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra Orchestra for a program of J.S. Bach and Schubert, to the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra for the Berlioz Te Deum, to Ensemble Orchestral de Paris for St. Matthew Passion (BWV 244) and St. John Passion (BWV 245) under the baton of John Nelson, to Les Violons du Roy in performances with Bernard Labadie of Haydn’s Lord Nelson Mass and the W.A. Mozart's Requiem at Lincoln Center and on tour elsewhere, and to the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra for J.S. Bach's Magnificat (BWV 243). He also has joined Robert Spano and the Brooklyn Philharmonic Orchestra as Fenton in concert performances of Falstaff.

In the past season (2003-2004) John Tessier's operatic roles included Ernesto in Don Pasquale with Opera Lyra Ottawa and Arizona Opera, Almaviva in Il Barbiere di Siviglia at Vancouver Opera and Opera Colorado, Camille in The Merry Widow with L'Opéra de Montréal, the title role of G.F. Handel’s Imeneo at Glimmerglass Opera, and Agenore in W.A. Mozart's Il Re Pastore at Lincoln Center’s Mostly Mozart Festival conducted by Nicholas McGegan. On the concert stage he returned to the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra for Messiah, participated in concert performances of G.F. Handel's Alcina with Boston Baroque, and performed W.A. Mozart's Mass in C minor with Bernard Labadie and Les Violons du Roy.

During the 2004-2005 season John Tessier's operatic roles include Gerald in Lakmé for the operas of Calgary and Edmonton and Ferrando in Così fan tutte at Vancouver Opera and in a new production by Tim Albery at Glimmerglass Opera. His busy international concert schedule includes performances of Haydn's The Creation with Jane Glover and Chicago’s Music of the Baroque, John Nelson and Ensemble Orchestral de Paris, and Bernard Labadie and the Columbus Symphony Orchestra, G.F. Handel's Messiah with the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra and The Philadelphia Orchestra, W.A. Mozart's Requiem with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, J.S. Bach's St. Matthew Passion (BWV 244) with Nicholas McGegan and the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, and performances and a recording of Carmina Burana with Pro Coro Canada. He also offers solo recital debuts in Edmonton, Calgary, and in San Francisco under the auspices of the Schwabacher Foundation.

In the review for Rossini’s Guillaume Tell the San Francisco Chronicle said Tessier “…brought the house down with ‘où vas-tu.’ Tessier tore through his assignment with clarion tones and superb accuracy winding up with an impressive E-flat.”
“Tessier seems to be that rare jewel, a real Mozart tenor, with a light, pure tone and a refined technique that serves expressive ends. He exemplified the beauty and power of bel canto.” - San Francisco Classical Voice

Source: Liner notes to Naxos 8.554825 CD (J.S. Bach: Christmas Cantatas. Conducted by Mallon, 2000); IMG Artists Website (February 2005)
Contributed by
Aryeh Oron (April 2001, April 2005)

Recordings of Bach Cantatas & Other Vocal Works




Kevin Mallon


BWV 36, BWV 61, BWV 132

Kevin Mallon


Member of Aradia Ensemble
C-1 (2000):
BWV 36, BWV 132, BWV 61

Links to other Sites

John Tessier - Tenor (Official Website)
John Tessier - Tenor (IMG Artists)
John Tessier, Tenor (Austin Lyric Opera)

John Tessier - Biographie (Ensemble Orchestral Paris) [French]
John Tessier, Fernando (Manitoba Opera)

Biographies of Performers: Main Page | A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z
Explanation | Acronyms | Missing Biographies | The Sad Corner


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