Matthew Sprizzo

Artists 2023-2024


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dean elzinga

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dean elzinga Biography

Recent additions to American bass-baritone Dean Elzinga’s operatic repertoire are Osmin in Mozart's Die Entführung aus dem Serail and Pizarro in Beethoven’s Fidelio at the Edmonton Opera; and  Zoroastro in Haendel's Orlando at the Sacramento Opera.  He is regularly welcomed on concert and opera stages, often in 20th-century works requiring his unique dramatic conviction and presence.  He enjoyed international acclaim for Peter Maxwell Davies’ Eight Songs for a Mad King, performing it in New York, Cleveland, Boston and Santa Monica; sang the title role in Harold Farberman’s A Song of Eddieand Schönberg’s Die glückliche Hand at New York’s Bard Festival; performed and recorded Elliott Carter’s What next? in Amsterdam and Turin; and recently enjoyed great success performing Schoenberg's Ode to Napoleon with Peter Serkin and the Brentano String Quartet at New York's 92nd Street Y, as well as on a West Coast tour.  Other recent highlights include Beethoven's Ninth Symphony with the Calgary Philharmonic and Pasadena Symphony; Verdi Requiem with the Florida Orchestra/Stefan Sanderling; and two operas at Long Beach Opera:  Ullman's The Emperor of Atlantis and Carl Orff's The Clever One.  In 2013 he sang Vaughan-Williams’ Dona nobis pacem with the La Jolla Symphony and Chorus and returns to the Metropolitan Opera for the revival of Shostakovich’s The Nose.  

With a voice suited to considerable baritone and bass literature, Mr. Elzinga has performed Elgar's Dream of Gerontius (Vancouver Symphony), Britten's War Requiem (Nashville Symphony), Berlioz Roméo et Juliette (Portland Symphony), Bach’s St. Matthew Passion (National Philharmonic), Vaughan-Williams’ A Sea Symphony (Rochester Philharmonic), the Verdi Requiem (Santa Rosa Symphony), Brahms Requiem(Baltimore Choral Arts Society, Memphis Symphony), and Haydn's Die Jahreszeiten and Mahler's Eighth Symphony at the Bard Festival under Leon Botstein.   He is among the most sought-after Beethoven #9 basses, having performed this work with the Reading, Vancouver, Long Beach, New West, Phoenix, San Diego Symphonies, Minnesota Orchestra, and Rochester and Naples Philharmonics.  Messiah engagements include the Toronto, Pacific, Baltimore and Ann Arbor Symphonies and Florida Philharmonic.  He has sung Haydn’s Creation with the Florida Orchestra and Amarillo Symphony, and the Mozart Requiem with the Eugene Symphony and Chautauqua Festival Orchestra.

Equally at home on the operatic stage, Mr. Elzinga's roles include Mozart’s Figaro, Escamillo in Carmen, Leporello and Méphistophélès at the Vienna Volksoper; two roles at Des Moines Metro Opera (Nick Shadow in Stravinsky’s The Rake’s Progress and the Four Villains in Offenbach's Les contes d’Hoffmann); Nilakantha in The Pearl Fishers at Calgary Opera; Nick Shadow and Leporello in Mozart’s Don Giovanni at the Edmonton Opera, the Speaker in Mozart's Magic Flute with Michigan Opera Theatre, Pittsburgh Opera and at the Hollywood Bowl with the Los Angeles Philharmonic under Leonard Slatkin.  Other opera credentials include the Metropolitan Opera (Biterolf in Wagner's Tannhaeuser under James Levine), San Diego Opera (the King in Aida), Seattle Opera (Hoffmann Villains), Arizona Opera (Leporello and Figaro), Hawaii Opera Theatre (Almaviva in Figaro), Sacramento Opera (Leporello, Méphistophélès in Gounod’s Faust), Glimmerglass and New York City Operas (Polyphemus in Handel’s Acis and Galatea), Opera Omaha (Raimondo in Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor), Opera San Jose (title role of Il Turco in Italia) and Vancouver Opera (Ramfis in Aida).   Of special note was his participation as Hagen in the Long Beach Opera’s reduction of Wagner’s Ring cycle.  He has also performed the title role of Mozart's Don Giovanni and Figaro in concert with the National Philharmonic.  Conductors with whom he has worked include Christopher Seaman, John DeMain, David Lockington, Bertrand de Billy, Asher Fisch, Boris Brott, Emmanuel Villaume, Yves Abel and Maximiano Valdes.  

October 2014 Debut with Washington DC's Cathedral Choral Society in the Brahms Requiem: 
"Dean Elzinga's fine-grained, vividly expressive bass-baritone suited his two solos well..."
                                                                                                                                                                                       -The Washington Post

Role Debut as Osmin in Mozart's Die Entführung aus dem Serail at the Edmonton Opera:
"We can give kudos to the supporting cast on this one:  all have their moments of comic and singing glory.  Elzinga makes the most of his sinister, deep-voiced role as the main villain; chewing up the scenery provided by Dipu Gupta..."
                                                                                                                                                                                     -The Edmonton Journal

Verdi Requiem with Stefan Sanderling and the Florida Orchestra:  
"A night of glorious singing...bass-baritone Dean Elzinga threw himself into the Tuba mirum, spookily stressing mors (death)."                                                                                                                                                                                                                             

Twin bill at the Long Beach Opera:  
"Every voice was full, rich and perfectly cast.  Dean Elzinga, Death in the first opera and an unfortunate Peasant in the second, has a towering presence, a sonorous bass voice and exemplary diction."

Return concert with the Reading Symphony: 
“Elzinga, who sang memorably with the RSO last season in Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, returned to sing Aprite un po’ quegli occhi, Figaro’s denunciation of treacherous women from Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro.  His is a smooth, rich voice enhanced by his acting skill.”
                                                                                                                                                                                           -The Reading Eagle

Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony with the New West Symphony: 
“Bass-baritone Dean Elzinga brought an emotional heft that drew immediate focus when the Ninth Symphony turned to vocal input in its final movement, announcing that it was time to turn to joy.”
                                                                                                                                                                                   -The Ventura County Star

Vaughan-Williams’ A Sea Symphony with Christopher Seaman and the Rochester Philharmonic: 
“Friday’s performance was tight and exuberant, buoyed by first-class soloists.  Bass-baritone Dean Elzinga seemed tailor-made for this kind of music, with his ringing projection and emphatic declamation.”
                                                                                                                                                              -The Rochester Democrat and Chronicle

Sir Peter Maxwell Davies’ Eight Songs for a Mad King: 
“…an extraordinarily gifted singer/actor/acrobat/tragedian/clown named Dean Elzinga, previously unknown to me, met those demands with the force of Lord Nelson’s massed cannons, and delivered one of the most memorable solo turns of my recent memory…Elzinga shaped an astonishing gamut:  searing, shocking and remarkable, too, in the absolute clarity of his diction, even at the most piercing falsetto.”
                                                                                                                                                                                                       -LA Weekly

Elgar’s The Dream of Gerontius with Bramwell Tovey and the Vancouver Symphony: 
“While the title role is a major tour de force for the tenor, the writing for mezzo-soprano and bass-baritone makes it own considerable demands;  Fryer and Dean Elzinga proved up to their tasks, holding their own against the tide of Elgar’s rich orchestral writing.”
                                                                                                                                                                                         -The Vancouver Sun 

Nick Shadow in Stravinsky’s The Rake’s Progress at the Des Moines Metro Opera: 
“Dean Elzinga’s malevolently oily Nick Shadow was resonantly sung and limned with keen, sardonic humor.”
                                                                                                                                                                                                    -Opera News

Four Villains in Les Contes d’Hoffmann at the Des Moines Metro Opera: 
“…performed with great relish by bass-baritone Dean Elzinga…referred to collectively as Les Villains, Elzinga’s characters were the personification of evil.  An eerily magnetic presence on stage, Elzinga’s opening aria in the prologue displayed an opulent, clear tone which became one of the anchors of the evening.”
                                                                                                                                                                                 -The Des Moines Register

Schoenberg's Ode to Napoleon with the Brentano String Quartet/Peter Serkin: 
“The playful elegance of Mr. Wuorinen’s piece seemed even brighter coming after Schoenberg’s Ode to Napoleon, a stentorian neo-Expressionist work for speaker and quintet, based on a Byron poem.  Dean Elzinga, a bass-baritone who replaced an ill Richard Lalli, brought an imposing ferocity to his vivid, powerfully musical recitation.”
                                                                                                                                                                                       -The New York Times

"Elzinga brought out this Schoenbergian range of outrage against tyranny with great immediacy...The performance will not soon be forgotten."
                                                                                                                                                                                    -The Los Angeles Times

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