Skip to main content

Vinson Cole

  • Voice

American tenor Vinson Cole taught at New England Conservatory from Fall 2006 through Spring 2010.

Internationally recognized as one of the leading artists of his generation, Cole's career has taken him to all of the major opera houses across the globe, including the Metropolitan Opera, Opera National de Paris Bastille, Teatro alla Scala Milan, Theatre Royale de la Monnaie, Brussels, Berlin State Opera and the Deutsche Oper Berlin, Munich State Opera, San Francisco Opera, Hamburg State Opera, Opera Australia, the Royal Opera House Covent Garden, Seattle Opera, and many more.

Equally celebrated for his concert appearances, Cole has been a frequent guest of the most prestigious orchestras throughout the world and has collaborated with the greatest conductors of this era including Christoph Eschenbach, Claudio Abbado, Carlo Maria Giulini, James Levine, Lorin Maazel, James Conlon, Kurt Masur, Zubin Mehta, Riccardo Muti, Seiji Ozawa, Gerard Schwarz, as well as Sir George Solti and Giuseppe Sinopoli.

Cole had an especially close working relationship with the late Herbert von Karajan, who brought the artist to the Salzburg Festival to sing the Italian Tenor in Der Rosenkavalier—the first of many performances there together. Their collaboration went on to include works such as Verdi's Requiem, Beethoven's Missa Solemnis, Mozart's Requiem, and Bruckner's Te Deum. Many of these were issued on recordings on Deutsche Grammophon.

Born in Kansas City, Mo., Vinson Cole completed his vocal studies at the Curtis Institute of Music under the tutelage of legendary singer and teacher Margaret Harshaw. He made his professional operatic debut at the San Francisco Spring Opera in the title role of Mascagni's L'Amico Fritz and subsequently made his first European debuts singing at the Festival d'Anjou in Angers in Handel's Acis and Galatea, and then at the Welsh National Opera as Belmonte in Mozart's Die Entfuehrung aus dem Serail. Important international operatic debuts all followed in rapid succession. He debuted in Santa Fe as Fenton in Falstaff, at the NYCO as Rodolfo in La Bohème, at the Paris Opera as Belmonte, at the Nice Opera in Maria Stuarda, at the Vienna State Opera in La Traviata, at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden in a new production of La Clemenza di Tito, at the Chicago Lyric in the title role of Idomeneo, at the Berlin State Opera, under Daniel Barenboim, in the revival of Busoni's rarely performed Die Brautwahl, at Wiener Festwochen in Alceste, at the Teatro San Carlo Naples in I Puritani, at the Bavarian State Opera in Munich in Damnation de Faust, at the Hamburg State Opera in Carmen, and at the Theatre Royale de la Monnaie in the title role of Don Carlos.

Cole made his La Scala debut in Gluck's Iphigenie en Tauride under Riccardo Muti, and returned to Milan for Don Giovanni and Gluck's Armide, both under Maestro Muti. Armide was staged by Pier Luigi Pizzi, and opened the 1995 La Scala season. Cole was also heard at the Scala in Hoffmann and Damnation.

In 1988, Cole made his Metropolitan Opera debut in 1988 as Alfredo in Die Fledermaus and later returned to the house for Manon, Traviata, Bohème, L'Elisir D'Amore, Gianni Schicchi, and Carmen. He also appeared with the company on tour in Japan in Berlioz's Damnation de Faust under James Levine.

Cole debuted at the Seattle Opera in Gluck's Orphée et Eurydice, and this production marked the beginning of a long relationship with the company in productions yearly of Così fan tutte, Romeo et Juliette, Werther, Carmen, Faust, Les Pecheurs de Perles, Lakme, Les contes d'Hoffmann, Don Carlos, in its original Five Act 1867 Version, composed for the Paris Opera, Anna Bolena, La Bohème, Madama Butterfly, L'Elisir d'amore, as well as Un ballo in maschera, and his debut in Puccini's Tosca. In the summer of 2006, he returned to the company as the Italian Tenor in Der Rosenkavalier.

Vinson Cole has also been a frequent guest of the Australian Opera, and appeared in Sydney in many of his most famous roles including Faust, Werther, Hoffmann, Carmen, and Don Carlos. Cole starred in the new production of Berlioz's Damnation de Faust at the Semper Opera in Dresden in April of 2007. Other highlights of past seasons have included Bohème at the San Francisco Opera, Edgardo in Lucia di Lammermoor with the Houston Grand Opera, Pinkerton in Madame Butterfly with the New Japan Philharmonic, under the baton of Seiji Ozawa, concerts of Mahler's Symphony No. 8 at the Ravinia Festival, and also with the BSO at Carnegie Hall under James Levine, Liszt's Faust Symphony with the Seattle Symphony under Gerard Schwarz, L'Enfance du Christ with the Los Angeles Philharmonic and Esa-Pekka Salonen, Berlioz's Romeo et Juliette with the Orchestre de Paris, with Eschenbach conducting, and a return to the Boston Symphony Orchestra in Stravinsky's Persephone.

Studies at University of Missouri, Kansas City, the Philadelphia Musical Academy, and Curtis Institute of Music. Former faculty of the University of Washington School of Music.

Photo by Hiller