Hailing from Norfolk, Virginia, Grammy Award-winning tenor Freddie Ballentine was the 2021 recipient of the Kennedy Center’s Marian Anderson Award, and is an alumnus of both the Cafritz Young Artists of Washington National Opera and the Los Angeles Opera’s Domingo-Colburn-Stein Young Artist Program.
Freddie begins the 2023-2024 season in a return to Seattle Opera, singing Loge in his first German-language performances of Das Rheingold. He then creates the role of Trainer in the highly-anticipated world premiere of Jeanine Tesori’s Grounded at Washington National Opera. Two notable engagements at The Metropolitan Opera follow: Remendado in Carrie Cracknell’s new production of Bizet’s Carmen, and Tybalt in Gounod’s Roméo et Juliette, conducted by Music Director Yannick Nézet-Séguin.
The 2022-2023 season brought two anticipated role debuts at English National Opera, as he sang George Bailey in Heggie/Scheer’s It’s a Wonderful Life, and returned later in the season as Loge in Wagner’s The Rhinegold. Elsewhere, he made his debut with Opera Vlaanderen as Jack O’Brien & Toby Higgins in Kurt Weill’s Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny, sang Valcour in The Anonymous Lover with Atlanta Opera and debuted the role of Sam in Carlisle Floyd’s Susannah with Opera Theatre of Saint Louis. Freddie closed the season with pianist Kunal Lahiry, presenting a recital entitled Our People: A Celebration of Black and LGBTQ Voices Through Song and Vogue at St. George’s Bristol in the UK.
In the 2021-2022 season, Freddie joined the Staatstheater Kassel for his role debut as the Drum Major in Wozzeck and returned to the Metropolitan Opera to reprise the role of Sportin’ Life in Porgy and Bess. He debuted the role of Nick in The Handmaid’s Tale at English National Opera, also appearing in concert with the company for Haydn’s Seven Last Words, and joined Cincinnati Opera for the rescheduled world premiere of Castor and Patience. He also appeared in recital at The Kennedy Center in recognition of his Marian Anderson Award.
Mr. Ballentine’s scheduled engagements for the 2020-2021 season included his first performances of Rodolfo in La bohème with Opera Memphis (cancelled) and Florentine Opera (cancelled), Dr. Richardson in Breaking the Waves with Los Angeles Opera (cancelled), and Miles Zegner in Proving Up with Lyric Opera of Chicago’s Lyric Unlimited series (cancelled). Originally slated to sing Don José in Houston Grand Opera’s cancelled production of Carmen, he instead sang Herr Vogelsang in a digital production of Mozart’s The Impresario. He continued his work with Houston Grand Opera in recital with Lawrence Brownlee for their Giving Voice series, celebrating treasured Black artists, and appeared in a filmed recital from Seattle Opera’s Tagney Jones Hall.
Recent operatic engagements include Sportin’ Life in Porgy and Bess for his debuts with The Metropolitan Opera, English National Opera, and Dutch National Opera; Don José in Carmen and Charlie Parker in Yardbird with Seattle Opera; the Steersman in Der fliegende Höllander with Cincinnati Opera; Reverend Parris in Robert Ward’s The Crucible at the Glimmerglass Festival, and returns to Los Angeles Opera to sing Monastatos in Barrie Kosky/1927’s production of Die Zauberflöte and Amon in Akhnaten.
In concert, Mr. Ballentine has appeared with the Los Angeles Philharmonic for Beethoven’s Choral Fantasy and Arvo Pärt’s Miserere, the New Jersey Symphony for Handel’s Messiah, as a featured soloist with the New York Choral Society for their Christmas Concert, with the Bard Music Festival, for selections from Kálmán’s Die Herzogin von Chicago, and with Naples Philharmonic and the Colburn School for Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony.
Freddie Ballentine trained with the Wolf Trap Opera, Aspen Music Opera Center and The Opera Theatre of St. Louis, who awarded him the Thelma Steward Endowed Artist Alumni Award.