Praised by Opera News for his “rich, versatile voice” and “beautiful instrument,” rising baritone Liam Bonner returns to Houston Grand Opera as Eisenstein in Die Fledermaus and will also return to Los Angeles Opera as the title role in Benjamin Britten’s Billy Budd in a production directed by Francesca Zambello and conducted by James Conlon. Also this season, he debuts at the Lyric Opera of Kansas City as Eisenstein in Die Fledermaus and the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra as Ned Keene in a concert version of Peter Grimes under David Robertson, both in St. Louis and Carnegie Hall.
Mr Bonner recently sang the role of Lieutenant Audebert in the world premiere of the Pulitzer Prize winning opera Silent Night at Minnesota Opera, a role which he reprised at the Opera Company of Philadelphia in the 2012 – 2013 season. Additionally, he made his debut at the Wexford Festival in Chabrier’s Le roi malgré lui as Henri, a role he also sang at Bard Summerscape with Leon Botstein and the American Symphony Orchestra.
Mr. Bonner debuted at Los Angeles Opera as Sid in Paul Curran’s acclaimed production of Albert Herring under James Conlon. He also returned to the Opera Theatre of St. Louis as Guglielmo in Così fan tutte and North Carolina Opera for his role debut as Conte di Luna in Il trovatore. Future seasons will see Mr. Bonner at Houston Grand Opera, Los Angeles Opera, Minnesota Opera, Fort Worth Opera, Opera Company of Philadelphia, and Washington National Opera.
Mr. Bonner sang his first performances of Pelléas in Pelléas and Mélisande with the Opera Theatre of Saint Louis in a new production by David Alden, a role which he also covered at the Metropolitan Opera, as well as the role of Raimbaud in the new production of Le comte Ory. He also sang his first performances of Zurga in Les pêcheurs de perles with New Orleans Opera, Ned Keene in Peter Grimes in a return to Houston Grand Opera, Figaro in Il barbiere di Siviglia with Ash Lawn Opera Festival, and Valentin in Faust with North Carolina Opera.
In recent seasons, he made his Washington National Opera debut as the title role in Hamlet to great acclaim, returned to Houston Grand Opera for Belcore in L’elisir d’amore, and made his Metropolitan Opera debut as Morales in Carmen. Mr. Bonner was also seen at the Metropolitan Opera as Horatio in Hamlet in the worldwide HD broadcast. He sang his first performances of Malatesta in Don Pasquale with Opera New Jersey and Der Geliebte von Gestern in Weill’s Royal Palace at the Bard Music Festival. He also made his Carnegie Hall debut singing Mahler’s Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen as an alumnus guest artist with the Carnegie Mellon Philharmonic.
Mr. Bonner made his European operatic debut as Guglielmo in Così fan tutte at English National Opera. He maintains a strong relationship with Houston Grand Opera where he has sung numerous roles that include Demetrius in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Count in Le nozze di Figaro, Redburn in Billy Budd, the baritone soloist in Theofanidis’ The Refuge (a recording of which is available commercially on the Albany Records label), Harašta in The Cunning Little Vixen, the Witch in Basil Twist’s production of Hänsel und
Gretel, as well as Morales and Dancaïro in Carmen. He joined Wolf Trap Opera for Il Cavaliere di Belfiore in Verdi’s Un giorno di Regno and Papageno in Die Zauberflöte, Berkshire Opera for the Count in Le nozze di Figaro, Aspen Opera Theatre for Sid in Albert Herring, and L'Opéra de Québec for its annual opera gala concert.
The baritone has appeared with the Houston Ballet as soloist in Stravinsky’s Les Noces and in Orff’s Carmina Burana at his alma mater, Carnegie Mellon University. He has also joined the Pittsburgh Symphony for highlights from Mozart’s operas and the Filharmonie Hradec Králové in the Czech Republic for a concert of opera favorites.
Mr. Bonner earned his Master of Music degree from the Manhattan School of Music where he sang his first performances of the title role of Don Giovanni as well as Belaev in Hoiby’s A Month in the Country (also on the Albany Records label). He also holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Carnegie Mellon University in his home city of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Additionally, Mr. Bonner is a former member of the Houston Grand Opera Studio, as well as San Francisco Opera’s Merola Program and Studio and Apprentice Artist at Central City Opera. He is the recipient of the Richard F. Gold Career Grant from the Shoshanna Foundation, a first-prize winner of the Gerda Lissner Foundation Competition, a national semi-finalist in the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, and an award winner from the George London Foundation and Houston Grand Opera’s Eleanor McCollum Competition.