The American countertenor Lawrence Zazzo is one of the most outstanding singers of his generation. A native of Philadelphia and a graduate in both English and Music from Yale University and King’s College, Cambridge, Lawrence made his operatic debut as Oberon A Midsummer Night’s Dream to great acclaim while completing his vocal studies at the Royal College of Music, London.
He has since appeared in many of the world’s finest opera houses and concert halls. His opera roles include the title role in Giulio Cesare (Metropolitan Opera New York, Paris, London, Amsterdam, Brussels, Seville, Bilbao), the title role in Gluck’s Orfeo (Vienna, Toronto, Oslo, Netherlands), Oberon A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Rome, Lyon, Aix-en-Provence, Toronto, Beijing), Farnace Mitridate (Munich), the title role in Radamisto (English National Opera), Arsamene Serse (Theatre des Champs-Elysees, English National Opera, Oper Frankfurt), Goffredo Rinaldo (Berlin Staatsoper, Zurich, Opéra de Montpellier), Ottone Agrippina (Brussels, Frankfurt, Theatre des Champs-Elysees), Endimione La Calisto (Munich, Brussels, Paris), Ottone L’incoronazione di Poppea (Vienna, Berlin, Brussels, Munich), Ruggiero in Orlando Furioso (Frankfurt), and the title roles in Handel’s Sosarme (Sao Carlo, Lisbon) and Alessandro (Karlsruhe).
Lawrence is also a keen advocate of 20th century and contemporary music. He recently created the role of Odysseus in Rolf Riehm's Sirenengesang at the Frankfurt Opera, as well as Trinculo in Thomas Ades’ The Tempest at the Royal Opera House Covent Garden. His Paris Opera debut was as Kreon in Liebermann’s Medea. He has also sung Sciarrino’s Luci mie traditrici in Brussels, New York, and Rouen, and is closely associated with the role of Mascha in Peter Eötvos’ Three Sisters which he has performed in several productions in Lyon, Brussels, Edinburgh, Vienna, and the Netherlands. He made his BBC Symphony Orchestra debut in their commission of Jonathan Dove’s Hojoki, and sang the Refugee in Jonathan Dove’s Flight for the Glyndebourne Festival. He made his Wigmore recital debut with a programme of 20th-century American songs, and recently also premiered there a commissioned song cycle of Shakespeare fool songs by composer Iain Bell.
Lawrence has worked with many distinguished conductors in the fields of Baroque and contemporary music, including René Jacobs, William Christie, Nikolaus Harnoncourt, Rinaldo Alessandrini, Christophe Rousset, John Nelson, Ivor Bolton, Ottavio Dantone, James Conlon, Alan Curtis, Hervé Niquet, Harry Bicket , Joshua Rifkin, Christopher Hogwood, Peter Eötvos, Jean-Claude Malgoire, Trevor Pinnock, Jordi Savall, Harry Christophers, Paul Goodwin and Gabriel Garrido. He was the first western countertenor invited to China to sing Messiah at the Shanghai Opera. His international concert career highlights include: the title roles of Handel’s Lotario and Riccardo Primo with the Kammerorchester Basel and Paul Goodwin, Messiah with Rene Jacobs and the Freiburger Barockorchester and in Notre Dame Cathedral with John Nelson and L’ensemble orchestrale de Paris, Bach Lutheran Masses under Joshua Rifkin in Leipzig, the St. Matthew Passion in Ambronay and Köthen with the Akademie für Alte Musik, the title role in Handel’s Amadigi with Christopher Hogwood and the AAM in London and Birmingham, the title role in Mozart’s Ascanio in Alba with the Berliner Symphoniker, Vivaldi’s Nisi Dominus and Gloria with the Israel Camerata, the B Minor Mass with Ivor Bolton in Salzburg, Jephtha in Graz with Nikolaus Harnoncourt, Theodora in Paris and Vienna with Hervé Niquet and Le Concert Spirituel, and Saul in Berlin and Lisbon with René Jacobs and Concerto Köln. An accomplished recitalist, he has given many around Europe, most recently at the Wigmore Hall, Opera Frankfurt, the Norwegian Opera, the Festival d’Opera Baroque de Beaune, the Rheinvokal Festival, the MA Festival Bruges, and the Vienna Konzerthaus.
His recordings include Rinaldo, Messiah, Griselda and Saul for Harmonia Mundi; Serse and Fernando for Virgin Classics, Partenope for Chandos, Deborah for Naxos, Mozart's Apollo et Hyacinthus for Linn Records, Britten’s Rejoice in the Lamb and Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater for Columns Classics, Riccardo Primo, Athalia, and Duetti Amorosi for Sony BMG, Byrdland, the music of William Byrd and Dowland with the Paragon Saxophone Quartet for Landor Records, and Lunarcy, a lute recital of early and contemporary mad songs with lutenist Shizuko Noiri on EPR Classics. His first solo orchestral CD, A Royal Trio, with La Nuova Musica was released last year on Harmonia Mundi USA, as well as a new complete recording of Mozart's Mitridate with the Classical Opera Company.
Future plans include the Rodelinda in Madrid, Giulio Cesare with Boston Baroque, A Midsummer Night's Dream in Hamburg and Palermo, a new orchestral commission from Rolf Riehm in Saarbrucken, and Stradella’s San Giovanni Battista with Alessandro de Marchi in Innsbruck.