Praised for his “stentorian” and “robust bass” by the New York Times, American bass Peter Volpe continually receives critical and popular acclaim across four continents for his powerful command and the rich texture of his timbre. Possessing a vast and ever-expanding repertoire of over 90 roles in six languages in a career encompassing more than 35 years, his captivating style and interpretive skill embraces the depth of every historical and fictional character he embodies. Of his recent portrayal of Prince Gremin in Eugene Onegin, Opera News applauded his ability “to create in his single aria and scene an impressive dignity. His full-bodied bass and great candor of tone, together with his intelligent interpretation, won him a well-deserved ovation.”
In wide-ranging repertoire that spans from Mozart to Verdi and Rossini
to Britten, he has graced the stages of many of the great opera houses
throughout the US and abroad, including the Metropolitan Opera, Lyric Opera of
Chicago, San Francisco Opera, Washington National Opera, Santa Fe Opera, Oper
Stuttgart, Vancouver Opera, the Glimmerglass Festival, Opera Philadelphia, New
York City Opera, Florida Grand Opera, Central City Opera, Florentine Opera,
Austin Lyric Opera, Arizona Opera, Atlanta Opera, Pittsburgh Opera, Sarasota
Opera, Nashville Opera, Kentucky Opera, Lyric Opera of Kansas City, Hawaii
Opera Theatre, Spoleto Festival USA, Palm Beach Opera, Portland Opera, Michigan
Opera Theatre, Opera Saratoga, Mobile Opera, Opera Omaha, Virginia Opera, New
Orleans Opera, and the Bard Festival as well as the opera houses of Manitoba,
Montreal, Ottawa, Edmonton, Tokyo, Kyoto, Shanghai, Beijing, Prague, Colmar,
Mulhouse, Imola, Riccione, Strasbourg, Karlsruhe, Bremen, Dusseldorf, and
Mr. Volpe has performed with some of the most celebrated conductors of his time: James Levine, Seiji Ozawa, Valery Gergiev, Sir John Pritchard, Maurizio Arena, Marcello Viotti, Semyon Bychkov, Joseph Rescigno, Vincent La Selva, Richard Buckley, Leon Botstein, and Richard Hickox among others.
Recent highlights of Mr. Volpe’s career include three broadcasts for the Metropolitan Opera’s Live in HD series: Puccini's Triptych, Rossini’s Armida, and Verdi’s La Traviata as well as the Verdi Requiem at the Chichester Festival in Chichester, England, and Marcel in Meyerbeer’s Les Huguenots with Leon Botstein at Bard SummerScape for which Opera News Hailed “Peter Volpe gave a terrific performance as the querulous old soldier Marcel, incisive and endearing; the decibels he produced were impressive” and the New York Times declared “the bass Peter Volpe brought a robust voice and charismatic presence to Marcel, the count’s stalwart protector.” In 2007, Mr. Volpe created the role of Antoine Deguiche in the world premiere of David DiChiera and Bernard Uzan’s Cyrano for Michigan Opera Theatre. Recordings of the Bard SummerScape Les Huguenots and Michigan Opera Theatre’s Cyrano, as well as a DVD of the MET’s Armida, were subsequently released and well-received.
Mr. Volpe made a recent foray into the Wagnerian repertoire, having performed Hunding in Die Walküre with the American Symphony Orchestra at Bard College under Leon Botstein, an All-Wagner concert with North Carolina Opera, and Daland in Der fliegende Holländer at the Glimmerglass Festival in a new production by Francesca Zambello for which Opera News extolled “Peter Volpe, in firm, resonant voice, played Daland not as an old buffoon but as a virile commander in early middle-age.” In addition, has performed Daland to great acclaim with Virginia Opera, Florentine Opera, and Washington National Opera.
This season’s engagements include Judge Turpin in new Christopher Alden production of Sweeney Todd at the Glimmerglass Festival, a repeat of Judge Turpin with New Orleans Opera, Il Commendatore in Don Giovanni with Nashville Opera, Daland in Der fliegende Holländer with Austin Opera, Basilio in Il barbiere di Siviglia with Florentine Opera, and Gremin in Eugene Onegin with Spoleto Opera.
Notable performances for Mr. Volpe include the title role in Don Giovanni with Florentine Opera for which Opera News praised “Peter Volpe's handsome figure and aristocratic bearing made for good casting as Giovanni. His virile bass caressed “Deh vieni alla finestra” sensuously…”, King Philip II in Don Carlo with Vancouver Opera and Austin Lyric Opera to which the Austin Post hailed “The standout performer of the evening was Peter Volpe as King Phillip. His stage presence and deep bass were captivating”, and Méphistophélès in Faust with Vancouver Opera and Palm Beach Opera to which the America Record Guide proclaimed, “Bass Peter Volpe as Mephistopheles seemed in constant motion for each new manifestation of his trickery... his vocal resources are impressive.”
Other notable roles in Mr. Volpe’s expansive repertoire include Ramfis in Aïda (Palm Beach Opera, Austin Opera, Michigan Opera Theatre, Arizona Opera), Il Commendatore in Don Giovanni (Arizona Opera), Raimondo in Lucia di Lammermoor (Portland Opera), Frère Laurent in Roméo et Juliette (Vancouver Opera, Austin Opera, Michigan Opera Theatre), Sparafucile in Rigoletto (Arizona Opera, Austin Opera), Gremin in Eugene Onegin (Washington National Opera, Opera Lyra Ottawa), König Ludwig in Euryanthe (Bard SummerScape), Marquis of Calatrava and the cover of Guardiano in La forza del destino (Washington National Opera), Basilio in Il barbiere di Siviglia (Opera Omaha), Zuniga in Carmen (Seiji Ozawa Opera Project in Japan, Arizona Opera), Banquo in Macbeth (Portland Opera, Arizona Opera), Raimondo in Lucia di Lammermoor (Austin Opera), Timur in Turandot (Opera Lyra Ottawa, Portland Opera, Manitoba Opera, Florentine Opera), and Ferrando in Il trovatore (Arizona Opera) as well as productions of Britten’s Billy Budd and Tchaikovsky’s Maid of Orleans (Washington National Opera), Salome, Nabucco, and Roméo et Juliette (San Francisco Opera), and covers of Pistola in Falstaff, Silva in Ernani, and Méphistophélès in Faust (Lyric Opera of Chicago).
A consummate concert artist,
Mr. Volpe has performed Verdi’s Requiem with the
Philharmonia Orchestra of London at The Chichester Festival, the Manhattan
Philharmonic at Carnegie Hall, The Chattanooga Symphony, L’Orchestra di Imola
in Italy, the New Jersey Symphony, Oberlin Conservatory, Arizona State
University, Indianapolis Symphony, Queens Symphony, and Augusta Choral Society.
In addition, he has performed Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 with
the Chattanooga Symphony, Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis with
the New York Metropolitan Orchestra, Edmonton Symphony, and Augusta Choral
Society, Händel’s Messiah with the Edmonton and
Louisville Symphonies, Mozart’s Requiem with the Choral
Society of Philadelphia, and an all-Verdi concert with the The Washington
Chorus at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C.
Mr. Volpe was born and raised in Long Island, NY. A second-generation Italian-American, he was exposed to opera early in life and quickly developed a passion for the art form. He completed his studies at Indiana University under the tutelage of the great Italian basso, Nicola Rossi-Lemeni who took Volpe on as his protegèe and to whom Mr. Volpe attributes his technique and knowledge of the bass repertoire. Shortly after the completion of his studies, Mr. Volpe was accepted into the prestigious Merola Program at San Francisco Opera and subsequently made his San Francisco Opera main stage debut at 26 years of age. He has received awards and mentions from the MacAllister Vocal Awards Competition, the Palm Beach Opera Vocal Competition, and the Sylvia Getzky Competition.