From: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. LA Opera: Narraboth in Salome (2017, debut). Upcoming: title role in Tannhäuser (2021).
The profile of American tenor Issachah Savage was dramatically raised when he swept the boards at Seattle’s International Wagner Competition in 2014, taking the first prize, audience prize and orchestra favorite award. Formerly a member of San Francisco Opera’s prestigious Merola Program, he performed a varied repertoire including scenes from Samson et Dalila, Lohengrin, Die Walküre and Parsifal. His performance of the last act of Verdi’s Otello, inspired the San Francisco Chronicle to write “From his opening notes — impeccably shaded and coiled with repressed fury — to the opera’s final explosion of grief and shame, Savage sang with a combination of power and finesse that is rare to observe.”
Operatic milestones of Issachah Savage’s recent seasons include his debut as Bacchus in Ariadne auf Naxos at Seattle Opera under Lawrence Renes, his Metropolitan Opera debut as Don Riccardo in Ernani conducted by James Levine, his LA Opera debut as Narraboth in Salome, conducted by James Conlon, and his first Siegmund in Die Walküre at the Canadian Opera Company under Johannes Debus. At Austin Lyric Opera, he has appeared in two of Verdi’s most demanding roles, as Otello and as Radames in Aida, the latter role also marking his debut at Houston Grand Opera, under the baton of Antonino Fogliani. It was in the 2018/19 season that he made three major European debuts to great acclaim: as Bacchus in Ariadne auf Naxos at Théâtre du Capitole Toulouse under Evan Rogister, as Siegmund in Die Walküre with Opéra National de Bordeaux conducted by Paul Daniel and as the High Priest of Neptune in Idomeneo in Peter Sellars’ acclaimed new staging for the 2019 Salzburg Festival, conducted by Theodore Currentzis.
In semi-staged opera performance, Savage has appeared with Riccardo Muti and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra as the Messenger in Aida, the Opera Orchestra of New York in Massenet’s La Navarraise, the National Philharmonic at Strathmore in the title role of Wagner’s Rienzi and with the San Antonio Symphony Orchestra as Manrico in Il Trovatore under Sebastian Lang-Lessing. At both the Aspen Music Festival under Robert Spano and at Tanglewood with the Boston Symphony Orchestra under Jacques Lacombe, Savage again received critical acclaim as Verdi’s Radames.
Equally at home on the concert platform, Issachah Savage has a wide repertoire that includes mainstay works such as Beethove's Symphony No 9, Verdi's Requiem and Mahler's Das Lied von der Erde alongside less-frequently performed pieces like Stravinsky's Pulcinella, Weill's Lost in the Stars and Gershwin's Blue Monday. Savage sang the world premieres of Wynton Marsalis’s All Rise under the late Kurt Masur and the New York Philharmonic, and of Leslie Savoy Burr’s Egypt’s Night with Philadelphia’s Opera North. A much in demand concert soloist, Savage has performed under Gustavo Dudamel and the Los Angeles Philharmonic at both the Hollywood Bowl and New York’s David Geffen Hall, under Paul Daniel with the Orchestre National de Bordeaux-Aquitaine, under Stephane Deneve and the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, under Lawrence Renes and the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra and under Marin Alsop and the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra to name but a few.
In addition to his great competition success in Seattle, Issachah Savage has received a number of prestigious awards, recognition and career grants from institutions including the Wagner Societies of New York, Washington DC and Northern California, the Licia Albanese International Puccini Foundation, the Olga Forrai and Gerda Lissner Foundations and he was honored in the early stages of his career development as the first ever "Scholar Artist" of the Marian Anderson Society of Philadelphia.
Current and future seasons include a return to Bordeaux for Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde with Paul Daniel, concert appearances with both the Dallas Symphony and Washington National Symphony Orchestras and his long-awaited and postponed role debut as Wagner’s Tannhäuser with LA Opera.