Joel Sorensen is recognized as one of the finest tenors to specialize in character repertoire, regularly praised for the clarion quality of his voice and a superlative vocal technique that supports his consummate musicality and impeccable diction. In recent seasons, he excelled in German repertoire in performances worldwide as Andres in Wozzeck, Herod in Salome, and Loge and Mime in Der Ring des Nibelungen. The Independent (London) said, “Joel Sorensen, well known to both New York City and Metropolitan Opera audiences, is a beautifully expressive tenor, gifted at characterization, who made Mime rise above caricature to emerge as a surprisingly lyrical, put-upon creature.” This season, Mr. Sorensen sings Dr. Caius in Falstaff with San Diego Opera, Spoletta in Tosca with Canadian Opera Company, and returns to San Francisco Opera to sing Incredible in Andrea Chénier and Vitek in The Makropulos Case. Recent engagements include Spoletta in Tosca with San Diego Opera and The Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra, Goro in Madama Butterfly with Toledo Opera, Curley in Of Mice and Men with Manitoba Opera, and Wilhelm in Ghosts of Versailles and Don Curzio in Le nozze di Figaro with Los Angeles Opera.
This season, Mr. Sorensen sings Dr. Caius in Falstaff with San Diego Opera, Spoletta in Tosca with Canadian Opera Company, and returns to San Francisco Opera to sing Incredible in Andrea Chénier and Vitek in The Makropulos Case. Recent engagements include Spoletta in Tosca with San Diego Opera and The Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra, Goro in Madama Butterfly with Toledo Opera, Curley in Of Mice and Men with Manitoba Opera, and Wilhelm in Ghosts of Versailles and Don Curzio in Le nozze di Figaro with Los Angeles Opera.
A seasoned Metropolitan Opera artist, he returned in recent seasons to perform Goro in Madama Butterfly and Spoletta in their new production of Tosca. He first débuted at The Met in Samson et Dalila, followed by countless performances in several productions including Monostatos in Die Zauberflöte, Monsieur de Beausset in Prokofiev’s epic War and Peace, Valzacchi in Der Rosenkavalier, Goro in Madama Butterfly, and Loge in Das Rheingold. From his performance as Andres/Cochenille/Pittichinaccio/Frantz in The Metropolitan Opera’s Les contes d’Hoffmann Opera News wrote “Joel Sorensen showed brilliant versatility in the four comic parts.”
With a formidable reputation on the west coast, Joel is a house favorite at San Francisco Opera, San Diego Opera, and Los Angeles Opera. At San Francisco, he performed Pasquale Sciortino in La Ciociara, Balthasar Zorn in Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, Le médecin in Debussy’s La chute de la maison Usher, Elder Hayes in Susannah, Mr. Pease in the world première of Tobias Picker’s Dolores Claiborne, Dr. Caius in Falstaff, a reprisal of the role Spoletta in Tosca with the esteemed opera house, and a production of Der Ring des Nibelungen. For San Diego Opera, he appeared as First Tempter/First Knight in Pizzetti’s Assassinio nella cattedrale, a contemporary operatic adaptation of T.S. Eliot’s play Murder in the Cathedral; Pang in Turandot; Tybalt in Roméo et Juliette; Valzacchi in Der Rosenkavalier; Andres in Wozzeck; Beppe in Pagliacci; and Rodriguez in Don Quichotte. With Los Angeles Opera, performances include Guidobald in Die Gezeichneten, Spoletta in Tosca, and LA Opera’s production of Der Ring des Nibelungen.
Additional recent engagements include Zorn in Die Meistersinger in his début with the Lyric Opera of Chicago; his début with Salzburg Landestheater as Andres in Wozzeck; Goro in Madama Butterfly with the Atlanta Opera; Herod in Salome at the Florentine Opera; Pedrillo in Die Entführung aus dem Serail with Atlanta Opera and Portland Opera; Mime in Das Rheingold in his U.K. début with the Longborough Festival Opera; and his Wagnerian début with the Opera Theater of Pittsburgh in performances of Jonathan Dove’s English-language reduction of The Ring Cycle.
Since his 1994 début as Monostatos in Die Zauberflöte with New York City Opera, Mr. Sorensen returned to the company for more than 200 performances in over two dozen productions including Madama Butterfly, Falstaff (Caius and Bardolfo), Attila, the Emmy Award-winning La traviata, La rondine, Turandot, Mefistofele, Il trittico, Salome, and Of Mice and Men. He was prominently featured in several new productions including Les contes d’Hoffmann, Borodin’s Prince Igor, Mayuzumi’s Kinkaku-ji, Jost Meier’s The Dreyfus Affair, Gottfried von Einem’s The Visit of the Old Lady, Weill’s The Seven Deadly Sins, Charles Wuorinen’s Haroun and the Sea of Stories (world première), Hindemith’s Mathis der Maler, and Richard Danielpour’s Margaret Garner.
In concert, he appeared with the Utah Symphony in Stravinsky’s Renard; at Alice Tully Hall in a surrealist opéra bouffe by Francis Poulenc Les mamelles de Tirésias with Opéra Français de New York; with the National Symphony in Der Rosenkavalier at the Kennedy Center; at Avery Fisher Hall with the American Symphony Orchestra in Hindemith’s expressionist opera Mörder, Hoffnung der Frauen and Kurt Weill’s Der Protagonist; and Carnegie Hall with Eve Queler’s Opera Orchestra of New York as Melot in Tristan und Isolde and Uldino in Attila. Mr. Sorensen can be heard on the EMI world-première release of Die Bürgschaft conducted by Julius Ru.