In a prestigious career built on impeccable technique and innate musicality, Grammy nominated tenor Barry Banks has performed leading roles in the major opera houses throughout the world.
In his core repertoire of bel canto and Classical roles, highlights include Don Narciso (Il turco in Italia) and the title role in Mitridate, re di Ponto at the Bayerische Staatsoper (a role that he also recorded with The Classical Opera label under Ian Page), Ernesto (Don Pasquale) at the Royal Opera House, Count Almaviva (Il barbiere di Siviglia) at Staatsoper Unter den Linden (Berlin), Idreno (Semiramide) at the Teatro di San Carlo in Naples, Arnold (Guillaume Tell) at Welsh National Opera, Tamino (Die Zauberflöte) at the Salzburg Festival, and the title role of Candide at Chicago Lyric Opera for his US debut.
In a relationship with the Metropolitan Opera spanning more than 25 years he has performed over 20 roles; these include Nemorino (L’elisir d’amore), Ernesto, Ramiro (La Cenerentola), Almaviva,Tonio (La fille du régiment), Elvino (La Sonnambula), Lindoro (L’italiana in Algeri), and Italian Tenor (Der Rosenkavalier). He has appeared as Iago in Rossini’s Otello at both Théâtre des Champs-Elysées and the Salzburg Festival; the role of Don Ramiro (La cenerentola) saw his debut at the Gran Teatre del Liceu, and Oreste (Ermione) marked his debut at the Santa Fe Festival. Recent house debuts include Theater an der Wien and the 2021 Rossini Festival in Pesaro in the role of Norfolk (Elisabetta, Regina d’Inghilterra) and at Opéra de Monte-Carlo and the Wiener Staatsoper as Narcisco in performances of Il turcoin Italia with Cecilia Bartoli.
During a long association with English National Opera Banks has appeared in a string of new productions including one of his signature roles Tom Rakewell (The Rake’s Progress), Edgardo (Lucia di Lammermoor), Hoffmann (The Tales of Hoffmann), and the Duke of Mantua (Rigoletto).
The 2021/22 season saw a triumphant return to the Metropolitan Opera in the role of Hades in Matt Aucoin’s acclaimed opera Eurydice, earning him the highest of praise from audiences and critics alike, the Washington Post writing ‘His tenor is white-hot, piercing through the orchestra, threatening to burst into flames as Hades.’ Making further steps into a new territory of repertoire, the 2022/2023 season saw a return to Los Angeles Opera as the Auctioneer/Taylor in Rhiannon Giddens and Michael Abel’s Pulitzer Prize winning opera Omar, roles that he will reprise in the 2023/2024 season at San Francisco Opera. The current season has also seen his role debut as Mime in Das Rheingold for Dallas Opera under the baton of Emmanuelle Villaume, a role that he will return to this summer in China under Yu Long and in the 2023/24 season under the baton of Gustavo Dudamel at the LA Philharmonic.
Barry Banks’ illustrious concert career has included Berlioz’ Grande Messe des Morts under Sir Colin Davis with the London Symphony Orchestra (which was released on LSO Live to considerable acclaim , Britten’s War Requiem at the Teatro allaScala under Xian Zhang to mark the 10th Anniversary of 9/11, The Dream of Gerontius with Münchner Philharmoniker under Sir Andrew Davis, Rossini’s Petite messe solennelle with Royal Philharmonic Orchestra under Daniele Gatti, Gurrelieder with Orquesta y Coro Nacionales de España under the baton of David Afkham, CPE Bach Magnificat with the Mozarteum Orchestra Salzburg under Riccardo Minasi, and many more with the world’s leading orchestras and conductors.
Forthcoming concert performances include the chamber version of Das Lied von der Erde with Thierry Fischer and players from the Utah Symphony Orchestra, Mahler Symphony No. 8 in the closing concert of the Cincinnati Mayfest under Juanjo Mena, and Verdi’s Requiem at the Odeon of Herodes Atticus in Athens.
He has an impressive discography including three recordings of Mahler’s Symphony No.8 – with Utah Symphony Orchestra under Thierry Fischer, London Philharmonic Orchestra under Vladimir Jurowski, and, soon to be released, The Minnesota Orchestra under Osmo Vänskä. He has recorded variously with Sony, EMI, Phillips, Telarc, Teldec, Harmonia Mundi, Opera Rara, Erato, Classical Opera and Chandos, with whom he has had a long and fruitful relationship including a number of recordings in ‘Opera in English’ series and featuring a solo album of bel canto arias.