Zachary Nelson, a native of Annapolis, Maryland, studied vocal performance at The Catholic University of America, and later the prestigious Academy of Vocal Arts in Philadelphia.
This season, Mr. Nelson makes an anticipated role debut as Alberich in Atlanta Opera’s new production of Das Rheingold. Additionally, he sings Mercutio in productions of Roméo et Juliette with Florentine Opera and Opera San Antonio, returns to the role of Leporello in Don Giovanni with North Carolina Opera, and joins the Lubbock Symphony as Sharpless in Madama Butterfly. Future seasons include returns to Lyric Opera of Chicago and Santa Fe Opera.
In the 2021-2022 season, the baritone joined the Lyric Opera of Chicago for its production of L’elisir d’Amore, sang Escamillo in Carmen with Palm Beach Opera, and performed Marcello in La bohème with both New Orleans Opera and the Jacksonville Symphony.
During the COVID-19 impacted 2020-2021 season, Mr. Nelson’s engagements included Conte Almaviva in Le nozze di Figaro with Opera Omaha (cancelled), Marcello in La bohème with the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra (postponed), and the Lyric Opera of Chicago for its production of Le nozze di Figaro (cancelled). In the summer of 2021 he made his awaited debut as Sweeney Todd with Des Moines Metro Opera.
Original engagements during Mr. Nelson’s COVID-19 shortened 2019-2020 season included debuts with New Orleans Opera as Escamillo in Carmen (performed) and Chicago Opera Theater as Doug in Everest (performed). He was scheduled to return to Lyric Opera of Chicago as Donner in Das Rheingold as part of performances of Wagner’s Ring Cycle (cancelled), and also to return to Palm Beach Opera, singing Ping in Turandot (performed). He sang Christmas Concerts with Voices of Ascension in New York City (performed), and during the summer of 2020, was scheduled to make his role debut as Sweeney Todd with Des Moines Metro Opera (postponed).
A regular performer with Lyric Opera of Chicago, the baritone's 2018-2019 season began with a return to the Lyric as a soloist in their widely attended annual Millennium Park concert, followed by performances of Marcello in La bohème. He has also performed Ping in Turandot, Donner in Das Rheingold and covered Enrico Ashton in Lucia di Lammermoor. Other notable recent US appearances include: Santa Fe Opera as Marcello in La bohème, Enrico Ashton in Lucia di Lammermoor, Figaro in Le nozze di Figaro, Malatesta in Laurent Pelly's Don Pasquale, and Angelotti in Tosca, Arizona Opera as the Count in Le nozze di Figaro, San Francisco Opera in Carmen as Escamillo, Pittsburgh Opera debut as Belcore in L'elisir d'amore, and Quinault in Adriana Lecouvreur with Opera Orchestra of New York. He has appeared in concert with Leah Crocetto at New York City's Morgan Library under the auspices of the George London Foundation, essayed Bloch's Sacred Service with Voices of Ascension in New York City, and joined Steven Blier's “Killer B's” with the New York Festival of Song.
In the 2013-2014 season, Mr. Nelson joined the ensemble of the Dresden Semperoper, where he performed the roles of Il Conte in Le nozze di Figaro, Marcello in La bohème, Der Sprecher in Die Zauberflöte, Figaro in Il barbiere di Siviglia, and Guglielmo in a new production of Così fan tutte. Subsequent performances there include Paolo in Simon Boccanegra, Escamillo in Carmen, and he reprised the roles of Gugliemo in Così fan tutte, Belcore in L’elisir d’amore, Marcello in La bohème, and Figaro in both Il barbiere di Siviglia and premiered a new production of Le Nozze di Figaro. Other notable international engagements include: Escamillo in Carmen with Den Norske Opera, the title role of Le nozze di Figaro with the Aix-en-Provence Festival on tour in Manama, Bahrain, and Dr. Falke in Die Fledermaus with the Seiji Ozawa Music Academy in Kyoto, Tokyo, and Nagoya. He made a debut at the Salzburg Landestheater, and returned to the Canadian Opera Company as Escamillo after making his debut as Masetto in Dmitri Tcherniakov's Don Giovanni.
Awards Mr. Nelson has garnered are: The George London Award from the 2012 George London Foundation, 1st prize from the 2012 Opera Index Competition, The 2012 Liederkranz Foundation Competition (General Opera Division), and the 2012 Licia Albanese-Puccini Foundation. Also, 2nd prize from the 2011 Gerda Lissner Competition, the 2011 Giulio Gari Foundation, and the 2011 Loren Zachary Competition.