From: Chicago, Illinois. LA Opera: Pelléas in Pelléas et Mélisande (2022, debut), after an online On Now recital (2020).
Called “a voice for this historic moment” (Washington Post), Grammy-winning baritone Will Liverman is the recipient of the 2022 Beverly Sills Artist Award by the Metropolitan Opera. He opened the Met’s 2021/22 season in a celebrated “breakout performance” (New York Times) in the leading role of Charles in Terence Blanchard’s Fire Shut Up in My Bones. The subsequent recording won the 2023 Grammy Award for Best Opera Recording. Following Fire’s success, the Met announced that Liverman will star in Anthony Davis’ X: The Life and Times of Malcolm X, which will be the second opera by a Black composer in the company’s history, premiering in the fall of 2023.
Following performances at Tanglewood and Aspen Music Festival, Liverman’s 2022/23 season opened at the Kennedy Center’s 50th Anniversary Celebration, where he played the Celebrant in Bernstein’s Mass. Next, the European premiere of Jeanine Tesori’s Blue took Liverman to Dutch National Opera, where he makes his house debut as the Reverend in the Music Critics Association’s 2020 pick for “Best New Opera.”
Liverman’s The Factotum, which he stars in and composed with DJ/recording artist K. Rico, premiered at the Lyric Opera of Chicago in February 2023. An updated version of Rossini’s The Barber of Seville set in Chicago’s South Side, The Factotum blends classical singing with diverse musical styles, moving from hip-hop, R&B, funk, and gospel to traditional barbershop quartet to create a soul opera. Other 2022/23 season engagements include performances of Pelléas in Pelléas et Mélisande at LA Opera and Zurga in The Pearl Fishers at Austin Opera; appearances with Orpheus Chamber Orchestra at Carnegie Hall and Portland Opera; and solo recital performances at London’s Wigmore Hall.
Notable past performances include revisiting the role of Charles in Fire Shut Up in My Bones at the Lyric Opera of Chicago in a “rich leading performance” (Chicago Tribune); reprisals of his roles in Akhnaten (Horemhab) and The Magic Flute (Papageno) at the Met; Malcolm Fleet in Nico Muhly’s Marnie at the Met; Steward in Jonathan Dove’s Flight at Dallas Opera; Pantalone in The Love of Three Oranges at Opera Philadelphia; Silvio in Pagliacci at Opera Colorado; and Schaunard in La Bohème with the Santa Fe and Dallas Operas, and Opera Philadelphia.
Additionally, Liverman has performed the leading role of Figaro in The Barber of Seville with the Seattle, Virginia, Kentucky, Madison, and Utah Operas. In February 2021, Cedille Records released Liverman’s Dreams of a New Day: Songs by Black Composers with pianist Paul Sanchez. The album debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard Traditional Classical chart and was nominated for Best Classical Solo Vocal Album at the 64th Annual Grammy Awards. His 2020 album, Whither Must I Wander, with pianist Jonathan King, released on Odradek Records, was named one of the Chicago Tribune’s “best classical recordings of 2020” and BBC Music Magazine praised Liverman’s “firm, oaky baritone with a sharp interpretive attitude… admirable poise and clarity of intention.”
Awards and achievements include receiving a 2022 Sphinx MPower Artist Grant, the 2020 Marian Anderson Vocal Award, a 2019 Richard Tucker Career Grant, a 2019 Sphinx Medal of Excellence, a 2017 3Arts Award, and a 2017 George London Award. In 2015, he won the Stella Maris International Vocal Competition, the Gerda Lissner Charitable Fund Award, and a top prize from Opera Index.
Liverman concluded his tenure at the prestigious Ryan Opera Center at the Lyric Opera of Chicago in 2015 and was previously a Young Artist at the Glimmerglass Festival. He holds his Master of Music degree from The Juilliard School and a Bachelor of Music degree from Wheaton College in Illinois.
Please visit WillLiverman.com for more information.
Photo: Jaclyn Simpson