The American tenor, Mark Thomsen, begins in Minnesota, where he graduated from Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, Minnesota. He spent two years as an apprentice with the Minnesota Opera and then set off to achieve a Master's degree in Applied Voice from the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York. After spending three years in the Houston Opera Studio, he joined the ensemble, which performed Leonard Bernstein's A Quiet Place at the Kennedy Center, La Scala, and Wiener Staatsoper, before recording the opera for Deutsche Grammophon. Thomsen has twice won the Pavarotti Award at the Metropolitan Opera's National Council auditions.
Mark Thomsen was a member of the Houston Grand Opera for 3 years, appearing in mainstage productions of Peter Grimes, Der fliegende Holländer, Eugene Onegin, La Traviata, Fidelio, and Trouble in Tahiti. Thomsen had the privilege of developing his early career under the guidance of Beverly Sills at the New York City Opera, where he performed the title role of La Clemenza di Tito, Don Ottavio in Don Giovanni, Pinkerton in Madama Butterfly, and many others, including the premiere of Argento's Casanova. At the conclusion of his first year in New York, he received the New York City Opera Debut Artist of the Year award.
Mark Thomsen spent several valuable seasons with the Santa Fe Opera, a renowned center for progressive opera, where his repetoire expanded to include Flamand in Capriccio, Tamino in Die Zauberflöte and roles in the American Premiere of von Bose's The Sorrows of Young Werther and Siegfried Matthus's Judith. His flexibility and technical ability grew in roles such as Henry Morosus in Die Schweigsame Frau, the Steuermann in Der fliegende Holländer, in Strauss's Friedenstag and Feuersnot, and other exciting world premiere performances.
An accomplished and versatile singer, Mark Thomsen enjoys a successful career in the United States and abroad. His performance repertoire includes the history of opera, from Cavalli, Bach, and Mozart, to Puccini, Verdi, and Richard Strauss, and the premieres of operas by composers such as Dominick Argento, Leonard Bernstein, Carlyle Floyd and Lowell Liebermann.
Mark Thomsen has shared his vocal and acting talents in a variety of venues across the USA, with notable engagements. Some of these include the title role in the American premiere of Lowell Liebermann's The Picture of Dorian Gray (Florentine Opera), as Camp Williams in Cold Sassy Tree (Austin Lyric Opera and Kansas City Opera), as Lenski in Eugene Onegin (Indianapolis Opera), as the title role in Werther and as Jenik in The Bartered Bride (Washington Opera), Lennie in Of Mice and Men and the title role in Les contes d'Hoffmann (Edmonton Opera), and as Fitzpiers in the world premiere of Stephen Paulus' The Woodlanders. Additional companies he has performed with include the Opera Theatre of St. Louis, Connecticut Opera, Dallas Opera, Houston Grand Opera, Minnesota Opera, Boston Lyric Opera, Portland Opera, Opera Columbus, Opera Omaha, Spoleto Festival USA, and the Colorado Festival.
European engagements have included several seasons with the Vienna Volksoper where he performed leading roles in operettas and Mozart operas. He toured Japan with the Volksoper and later joined the Wiener Staatsoper as Count Almaviva in Il Barbiere di Siviglia. He made his Opéra de Nantes debut as Belmonte in Die Entfürung aus dem Serail and returned in a later season as Count Almaviva in Il Barbiere di Siviglia.
Mark Thomsen has appeared on Garrison Keillor's Prairie Home Companion radio program several times to sing lyric recital pieces and participate in comedic skits and has been involved with pre-performances of Garrison Keillor's first opera, Mr. and Mrs. Olson. This is a comedy that depicts a couple that have become bored with their lives and how they seek meaning in their own Midwestern way, Mrs. Olson by going to chat rooms on the Internet and hooking up with an unsavory type (a baritone) and Mr. Olson by searching for that savoir faire in his own life -- smoking a Gauloise cigarette and wearing a beret. I sang 'I always wanted to be a french lover' to the 'Habanera' from Bizet's Carmen, the "Ode to red jello" to "Che gelida manina" from La Boheme, two originals by Andy Stein about opera (very funny) and a beautiful romantic called 'Summer Nights'."
Memorable performances of recent years have included Tenors 4U concerts, a fun-filled romp as Frederic in Pirate's of Penzance in Florida, a "Holiday of Musicals" in Guatemala City, Don Ottavio in Don Giovanni at the Lincoln Center with the Met, an acclaimed stand-in for Don Jose for the Chicago Lyric Opera's Carmen, and Nicias in an exotic Palm Beach production of Thais. From 2008 to the present, Mark Thomsen has fulfilled engagements with the Metropolitan Opera to cover the roles of Don Ottavio in Mozart's Don Giovanni, Nicias in Massenet's Thais, Rossini's L'Armida, and others.
After singing a concert for the King and Queen of Sweden at Interlachen Country Club in October, Mark Thomsen returned to his home in Nevada and joined forces with the Las Vegas Philharmonic for a November patriotic concert, which included some A. Copland songs, at the new Las Vegas Smith Center. Upcoming engagements for December 2012, include George Frideric Handel's Messiah with the Las Vegas Valley People's Chorus on December 11, at Green Valley Presbyterian Church and a Christmas concert with the tenor group T4U at Christ the Servant Lutheran Church in Henderson, Nevada on December 15, 2012. A highlight for 2013 is a new role, Faust, in Berlioz's The Damnation of Faust. This will be a concert version, sung English in Anchorage, Alaska.