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Hailing from Norfolk, Virginia, Grammy Award-winning tenor Frederick Ballentine was the 2021 recipient of the Kennedy Center’s Marian Anderson Award, and an alumnus of both the Cafritz Young Artists of Washington National Opera and the Los Angeles Opera’s Domingo-Colburn-Stein Young Artist Program.

The 2022-2023 season brings two anticipated role debuts at English National Opera, as he sings George Bailey in Heggie/Scheer’s It’s a Wonderful Life, and returns later in the season as Loge in Wagner’s The Rhinegold. Elsewhere during the season, he makes his debut with Opera Vlaanderen as Jack O’Brien & Toby Higgins in Kurt Weill’s Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny and makes his role debut as Sam in Carlisle Floyd’s Susannah with Opera Theatre of Saint Louis. Future seasons will bring his returns to the Metropolitan Opera and Washington National Opera.

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.

Frederick 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.

Porgy & Bess – English National Opera

"Sportin’ Life’s numbers are highlights thanks to a sparky UK debut from Frederick Ballentine.”

- Erica Jeal, The Guardian

Champion – Washington National Opera

"Frederick Ballentine as old Emile’s caretaker proved moving with his growing conflicting feeligns of frustration and gentle loving.”

- Susan Galbraith, DC Theatre Scene

“Tenor Frederick Ballentine as Luis Griffith was well-cast and naturally compelling.”

- David Friscic, DC Metro Theater Arts

“Tenor Frederick Ballentine sings beautifully and is exceptional as Luis Griffith, the elderly Emile’s caregiver.”

- Kate Wingfield, Metro Weekly

20 Minute Operas – Washington National Opera

“But, as the enigmatic, willing to please, but still-learning Adam, Frederick Ballentine excelled the mark in his deeply complex role, as he interpreted a still evolving character attempting to sort out the conflict between his full-blown military prowess and his still child-like human antecedent as his developing personality tries to sort out what it all means.”

- Terry Ponick, Communities Digital News

The Crucible – Glimmerglass Festival Opera

"Tenors Frederick Ballentine and Ian Koziara sang their respective roles as the overly-concerned-with-his-social-position clergyman Samuel Parris and the odious bailiff Ezekiel Cheever with verve and vastly distinct vocal character, one’s pinging and intense, the other’s as slippery as Judge Danforth’s.”

- Richard Carter, Blasting News

Justice at the Opera with Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg – Washington National Opera

"Not that levity was always appropriate. Frederick Ballentine, a promising tenor, had especially heavy lifting with “E lucevan le stele” from “Tosca,” the Seguidilla scene from “Carmen” and a painful aria from Philip Glass’s “Appomattox,” the opera presented here so successfully in 2015, recounting the Ku Klux Klan’s slaughter of a hundred black militiamen. (Ginsburg introduced this segment by outlining her dissent in the 2013 decision revising the Voting Rights Act.) Ballentine’s voice is still growing toward the final measure of heroic “ping” for the Puccini, but he had every bit of the dramatic and musical heft to bring across the biting scene from Glass’s work, which held up very well against the other excerpts.”

- Anne Midgette, The Washington Post

Appomattox – Washington National Opera

"Frederick Ballentine also stands out with two wonderful stirring portraits of activists. As T. Morris Chester, Freeman and Philadelphia African American journalist in the 1860’s, and then the civil rights leader John Lewis, he was able to show the arc throughout history of the seething drive to overcome the inequities and the lack of retribution for murders of his people that sadly continues.”

- Susan Galbraith, DC Theatre Scene

“Ballentine sang some of the most painful arias in the opera: a description of the murder of Jimmie Lee Jackson, a civil rights activist, in Act II, and an account of the Colfax massacre of 1873, in which dozens of black men were slaughtered in cold blood.”

- Anne Midgette, The Washington Post

“Frederick Ballentine wielded his vibrant tenor expressively as black Civil War correspondent T. Morris Chester and made  a strong impression, too, as Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee chairman John Lewis.”

- Tim Smith, Opera News

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Frederick Ballentine

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