In the title role, Sean Panikkar continued to position himself as one of the stars of his generation. And, as far as I can imagine, this is his ideal role. Panikkar naturally possesses the requisite boyish charm, the goofy naïveté, for the young Noman, as well as the acting skill to darken it as he transforms into the killer Shalimar. His voice is unassailable—firm, sturdy and clear, and he employs it with maximum dramatic versatility.
Opera News, Henry Stewart
There was much fine singing in the supporting roles; in particular, Sean Panikkar, as the Austrian captain Rudolphe, showed a degree of power and weight that I hadn’t heard in his previous outings at the Met. He seems ready for bigger assignments at the house.
The New Yorker, Alex Ross
Sean Panikkar continues “to position himself as one of the stars of his generation… His voice is unassailable—firm, sturdy and clear, and he employs it with maximum dramatic versatility” [Opera News]. The American tenor of Sri Lankan heritage made his Metropolitan Opera debut under the baton of James Levine in Manon Lescaut (commercially available on DVD on EMI), and his European operatic debut in Mozart’s Zaïde at the Aix-en-Provence Festival in a production directed by Peter Sellars and conducted by Louis Langrée (commercially available on DVD on Opus Arte).
Sean Panikkar returns to the Metropolitan Opera in the 2016-17 for presentations of Guillaume Tell, Jenůfa, and Roméo et Juliette and, in a re-engagement with Pittsburgh Opera, he creates the role of Wendell Smith in the world premiere of The Summer King by composer Daniel Sonenberg, to be directed by Sam Helfrich and conducted by Antony Walker. The tenor joins Cincinnati Opera as Rodolfo in La bohème in a production conducted by Louis Langrée, returns to the role of Alfredo in La traviata for his debut at Opera Carolina, and assays the role of Anatol in Barber’s Vanessa with Toledo Opera.
Highly prized as an interpreter of contemporary music on leading international stages, Sean Panikkar created the roles of Adam in Giorgio Battistelli’s CO2 for a debut at Teatro alla Scala in a world premiere conducted by Cornelius Meister and directed by Robert Carsen, Agent Henry Rathbone in David T. Little’s JFK at the Fort Worth Opera, and he garnered passionate acclaim in the title role of Jack Perla’s Shalimar the Clown for Opera Theatre of Saint Louis. Broadway World reported, “Sean Panikkar stands out above them all. This is truly his show… His pure, clear voice displays truly remarkable power. It shines like a beacon above the rest even when the entire cast are singing their hearts out. And his diction is superb. This is a longish opera and Shalimar is a tour de force role; Panikkar triumphs in it!”
Mr. Panikkar’s numerous engagements with the Metropolitan Opera feature the roles Molqui in a company premeiere of The Death of Klinghoffer conducted by David Robertson in a powerful new production by director Tom Morris (War Horse), Tybalt in Roméo et Juliette sharing the stage with Hei-Kyung Hong and Piotr Beczala under the baton of Plácido Domingo, Arturo in Lucia di Lammermoor conducted by Marco Armiliato, and Brighella in Ariadne auf Naxos led by Kirill Petrenko.
Highlights of recent seasons also include a new production of Nabucco at Washington National Opera, La bohème staged by Francesca Zambello at the Royal Albert Hall in London and at Michigan Opera Theatre, Béatrice et Bénèdict with Opera Boston, The Magic Flute at Pittsburgh Opera and the Glimmerglass Festival, as well as what has come to be one of his signature parts, Nadir in Les pêcheurs de perles, for Fort Worth Opera, Pittsburgh Opera, and Opera Colorado. Additional operatic credits feature Silent Night at the Lyric Opera of Kansas City, Salome both at Washington National Opera in the company’s new Francesca Zambello production and at the Saito Kinen Festival in performances conducted by Omer Meir Wellber, a debut at Santa Fe Opera as Kodanda in a new production of Menotti’s rarely produced The Last Savage directed by Ned Canty and conducted by George Manahan, Cassio in a new production of Otello at The Dallas Opera, conducted by Graeme Jenkins and directed by Tim Albery, and Ricky Ian Gordon’s The Grapes of Wrath with the American Symphony Orchestra for the tenor’s Carnegie Hall debut.
Symphonic performances have featured Sean Panikkar with Leonard Slatkin and the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra in Berlioz’s Roméo et Juliette, The Tristan Project with Esa-Pekka Salonen and the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Mendelssohn’s Elijah with Michael Christie and the Phoenix Symphony, Händel’s Messiah with Ragnar Bohlin and the San Francisco Symphony, and Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony with Raymond Leppard and the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra.
Sean Panikkar is a member of Forte, the operatic tenor group combining voices from different cultures into one incredible sound. The trio was created and debuted for the first time ever on America’s Got Talent and had never met until only days before their first audition. During the summer 2013 broadcasts of America’s Got Talent, Forte was seen and heard by tens of millions of television viewers in national broadcasts on NBC. Their self-titled debut recording on Columbia Records was released in November 2013 and a follow-up recording, The Future Classics, was released in 2015.
An alumnus of San Francisco Opera’s Adler Fellowship, he holds Master’s and Bachelor degrees in Voice Performance from the University of Michigan.
Bill Palant, Étude Arts
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