Dennis Petersen

Dennis Petersen

Hailed by The Chicago Tribune as a “Wonderfully natural singing actor,” through his innate sense of style, command of languages, and superior acting abilities, tenor Dennis Petersen is sought after for a variety of operatic roles. Mr. Petersen is also an avid performer of musical theater and contemporary opera, as indicated by his recent success at Opera Theatre St. Louis in The Grapes of Wrath, a show he reprised with Michigan Opera Theatre earlier this season.  He sang the role of Beadle in Sweeney Todd with Mill City Summer Opera, was part of Minnesota Opera’s production of A Handmaid’s Tale and Spoleto Festival USA’s production of Anthony Davis’ Amistad, as well as New York City Opera’s production of Lizzie Borden.

Artist Bio

Hailed by The Chicago Tribune as a “Wonderfully natural singing actor,” through his innate sense of style, command of languages, and superior acting abilities, tenor Dennis Petersen is sought after for a variety of operatic roles. Mr. Petersen is also an avid performer of musical theater and contemporary opera, as indicated by his recent success at Opera Theatre St. Louis in The Grapes of Wrath, a show he reprised with Michigan Opera Theatre earlier this season.  He sang the role of Beadle in Sweeney Todd with Mill City Summer Opera, was part of Minnesota Opera’s production of A Handmaid’s Tale and Spoleto Festival USA’s production of Anthony Davis’ Amistad, as well as New York City Opera’s production of Lizzie Borden.

Most recently, Mr. Peterson returned to Minnesota Opera as Aegisth in Strauss’ Elektra, performed in their World Premiere productions of The Fix as Hugh, and The Italian Straw Hat as Vezinet, and performed as a soloist in Mahler’s Das Lied von Den Erde with The University of Iowa.

Mr. Petersen is a tremendously respected character tenor, performing over one hundred roles during his extensive career, such as Father Greenville in Dead Man Walking, which he sang at the opera’s New York City premiere; Mime in both Das Rheingold and Siegfried, which he performed to great acclaim with Seattle Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, The Metropolitan Opera, San Francisco Opera; and Herod in Salome which he sang with major opera companies such as Minnesota Opera and San Francisco Opera. Mr. Petersen also sang the role of the School Master in the Japanese Tour of Cunning Little Vixen with the Saito Kinen Festival, returning there to sing Goro in Madama Butterfly. Mr. Petersen has repeatedly lent his strong and entertaining interpretations to other major character roles of the repertoire such as Monostatos in The Magic Flute and Bob Boles and the title role in Peter Grimes. Additionally, Mr. Petersen’s performances in Mahagonny with the Spoleto Festival USA met great success.

Of his performance in one of his signature roles of Herod in Minnesota Opera’s production of Salome, critics wrote “…Petersen as Herod was not just excitingly sung but was also the evening’s strongest characterization: a depraved, superstitious borderline psychotic whose frenzy and lust became barely manageable as the story unfolded.” He has also portrayed the role with Boston Lyric Opera and Winnipeg Opera.

Over his extraordinary career, Mr. Petersen has built a strong relationship with the best opera houses around the world, including The Metropolitan Opera, San Francisco Opera and Lyric Opera of Chicago, returning there often to perform important roles in operas such as War and Peace, Turandot, Die Fledermaus, Capriccio, Wozzeck, The Nose, Der Rosenkavalier, Two Boys, Dialogues of the Carmelites, Le Nozze di Figaro, Mazepa, The Rake’s Progress, Lulu, The Merry Widow, Les contes d’Hoffman and Boris Godunov.

Mr. Petersen’s orchestral and recital repertoires include Mozart’s C Minor Mass, Handel’s MessiahBach’s Magnificat, all of which he sang with the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony with the Eugene and Columbus Symphonies,  Michael Tippett’s A Child of our Time, with the New York Choral Society at Carnegie Hall; Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde and Eighth Symphony, Schubert’s Die Winterreise and Die schöne Müllerin. Additionally, Mr. Petersen has performed with the New Jersey Symphony, Baltimore Symphony, and the Calgary Philharmonic.

Updated 4.29.21

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Press

"...wonderfully natural singing actor..." – Chicago Tribune

Dialogues des carmélites – “That wonderfully natural singing actor, tenor Dennis Petersen, as the chaplain, [was] desperate to maintain order and devotion in the face of impending doom.”

"...his portrayal of the Siegfried Mime [...] was masterful." – Opera Warhorses

Siegfried – “Dennis Petersen has emerged as one of the handful of superb character tenors, and his portrayal of the Siegfried Mime (the largest part in Siegfried other that the hero himself) was masterful.”

"...a cringe-inducing performance as the son of a domineering mother." – Financial Times

Kat’a Kabanova – “…and Dennis Petersen, as Katya’s husband Tichon, gives a cringe-inducing performance as the son of a domineering mother.”

"...powerful tenor and his tonal variety..." – Seattle Tribune

Siegfried – “Petersen also made a great impression, using his powerful tenor and his tonal variety to excellent advantage in creating a character unpleasant enough that we forgive Siegfried for dispatching him.”

"...perfect intonation." – Opera News

Die Fledermaus – “Dennis Petersen’s charming Blind managed to stutter with perfect intonation.”