Lawrence Brownlee is a leading figure in opera, both as a singer on the world's top stages, and as a voice for activism and diversity in the industry. Captivating audiences and critics around the globe, he has been hailed as “an international star in the bel canto operatic repertory” (The New York Times), “one of the world’s leading bel canto stars” (The Guardian), and “one of the most in-demand opera singers in the world today” (NPR).
Brownlee’s 21-22 season includes his role debut in the title role of Rameau’s Platée with Opéra National de Paris and Lindoro in L’italiana in Algeri with Opernhaus Zürich. Brownlee’s concert appearances include his participation in Washington National Opera’s “Come Home: A Celebration of a Return” concert to open The Kennedy Center’s 50th Anniversary Season. He performs in several duo recitals including his “Amici e Rivali” album program with Michael Spyres for Opera Philadelphia, 92Y; in recital with tenor Levy Sekgapane in Toulouse and Paris; and in concert with sopranos Pretty Yende and Jessica Pratt in Germany. He is featured in solo recitals in Seattle, WA, Cleveland, OH, and Roanoake, VA. In the 2022-23 season, Brownlee returns to The Metropolitan Opera as Tamino in a new production of Die Zauberflöte, and he sings Le Comte Ory with the Lyric Opera of Chicago.
In spring 2021, Brownlee joined The Juilliard School as a Distinguished Visiting Faculty Member. He serves as artistic advisor for Opera Philadelphia, where his responsibilities include increasing and expanding audience diversity, advocating for new works, and liaising with the General Director from the perspective of a performing artist. Mr. Brownlee also serves as an Ambassador for Lyric Opera of Chicago’s Lyric Unlimited, and is an Ambassador for Opera for Peace. Highlights of Brownlee’s most recent past seasons include role debuts as Edgardo in Lucia di Lammermoor at New National Theatre Tokyo and Fernand in a new production of Donizetti’s La Favorite with Houston Grand Opera.
Amidst the challenges of COVID-19, Brownlee emerged as a pivotal voice in classical music’s shift toward digital programming and the resurgence of conversations around racial justice.
A passionate advocate for diversity initiatives, Mr. Brownlee works with companies and engages civic organizations in the cities he visits to create programs and experiences seeking to expand opera audiences. In May 2020, Brownlee launched “The Sitdown with LB,” a weekly Facebook Live series exploring the experience of being an African-American opera singer. In 2021 Brownlee expanded the series to include a segment titled “Inside the Industry” where he shifted the focus to a behind-the-scenes look at the opera industry.
He is a Grand Prize Winner of the 2001 Metropolitan Opera National Council auditions. Brownlee is a winner of numerous awards and distinctions including “Male Singer of the Year” (2017 International Opera Awards), the Kennedy Center’s Marian Anderson Award, and the Opera News Award (2021). In October 2019, he had the distinct honor of singing at Jessye Norman’s funeral in her hometown of Augusta, Georgia.