Recently touted as “the true hero of the production” for his performance as Sarastro in Die Zauberflöte, Kevin Langan has earned a sterling reputation as a leading performer in opera and concert with international audiences. Mr. Langan was the last protégé of Walter Legge, the legendary operatic record producer and promoter, and husband to Elizabeth Schwarzkopf. Under their sponsorship, he began his extensive career with a critically acclaimed recital at The Wigmore Hall in London. His “deep, toffee-smooth voice and convincing interpretive abilities” (New York Times) have made him a favorite in opera companies throughout the world. His career currently spans 40 years and over 1400 performances covering a vast repertoire of over 80 roles from early Baroque through 21st Century works, with the majority of his work in Händel, Mozart, and Verdi operas.
Most recently, Mr. Langan returned to Florida Grand Opera as the Commendatore in Don Giovanni, Central City Opera as Sarastro in The Magic Flute, performed Gremin in Eugene Onegin with Opera Santa Barbara, performed Osmin in Abduction from the Seraglio with Livermore Valley Opera, reprised his role as Nourabad in Les pêcheurs de perles with Opera Tampa, and performed the role of Seneca in L’incoronazione di Poppea with Boston Baroque. He currently serves on the voice faculty of Westminster Choir College’s Florence Voice Program in Italy every Spring. Next, he will perform Pistola in Falstaff.
Mr. Langan remains a company favorite with San Francisco Opera after 30 years of work. He recently became the first artist in the 88-year history of the company to reach the lofty level of 300 career performances in leading roles. He appeared in 43 different productions in San Francisco, beginning with Samson et Dalila, which was broadcast on PBS and distributed on DVD, through critically acclaimed performances of Timur in Turandot (available on DVD), Colline in La bohème, Ramfis in Aïda, Padre Guardiano in La forza del destino, Henry VIII in Anna Bolena, Sparafucile in Rigoletto, Sobakin in The Tsar’s Bride, Balthazar in La favorite, and Sarastro in Die Zauberflöte. Mr. Langan’s “notable Sarastro” (The New Yorker) was also heard in Dallas, Houston, Philadelphia, St. Louis, San Diego, Austin, Toronto, Calgary, Winnipeg, Hamilton, Omaha, West Palm Beach, Washington, and Santa Fe. Mr. Langan is also a company favorite for several other eminent North American companies, including 11 seasons with The Lyric Opera of Chicago giving over 125 performances of 13 different productions and 14 seasons with The Santa Fe Opera giving over 165 performances of 20 different productions.
Also an artist of international critical acclaim, some highlights from Mr. Langan’s international career include the role of Parson/Badger in The Cunning Little Vixen with The Saito Kinen Festival in Japan and the Maggio Musicale in Florence, both with Maestro Seiji Ozawa (the latter available on DVD), and The Mostly Mozart Festival on Tour to Japan in Mozart’s Requiem and as Leporello in Don Giovanni.
Mr. Langan has performed multiple times at The Metropolitan Opera, most recently as Colline in La bohéme and Basilio in Il barbiere di Siviglia, which he also performed with Opera Carolina, Toledo Opera, and Opera Grand Rapids. Highlights from Langan’s recent seasons include Phillip II in Don Carlos with Canadian Opera Company; Bartolo in Le nozze di Figaro with Dallas Opera and with Netherlands Opera under Nicklaus Harnoncourt; Timur in Turandot with Opera Carolina; Cuno in Der Freischütz with Virginia Opera; Raimondo in Lucia di Lammermoor with Eugene Opera; Pimen in Boris Godunov with Seattle Opera, Canadian Opera Company, and Florida Grand Opera; and Frère Laurent in Roméo et Juliette in an exciting co-production with Opera Carolina, Virginia Opera, Toledo Opera, Opera Grand Rapids, and Lyric Opera Baltimore. He also was involved in Minnesota Concert Opera’s production of excerpts from Der Ring des Nibelungen, where he performed as Fafner in Das Rheingold and Siegfried, Hunding in Die Walküre, and Hagen in Götterdämmerung.
Additional highlights include Piero in Donizetti’s Pia de Tolomei with The Spoleto Festival USA, Dr. Grenvil in La traviata and Samuel in Un ballo in maschera with San Diego Opera; Wurm in Luisa Miller with Washington National Opera; Ezra Mannon in Marvin David Levy’s Mourning Becomes Electra with Florida Grand Opera; Swallow in Peter Grimes with Santa Fe Opera; The Capitán in Florencia en el Amazonas with Opera Colorado; Osmin in Entführung aus dem Serail with Opera Lyon, Santa Fe Opera, Boston Baroque Opera, and Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra; and Seneca in L’incoronazione di Poppea with Dallas Opera, Canadian Opera Company, Florida Grand Opera, Santa Fe Opera, Central City Opera, and Music of the Baroque-Chicago. Mr. Langan also appeared in the highly-successful world première of Tobias Picker’s Emmeline as Henry Mosher at Santa Fe Opera, which was televised on PBS, and subsequently produced at New York City Opera.
An accomplished concert artist, Mr. Langan finds himself performing under the batons of those such as James Conlon with The San Francisco Symphony and Cincinnati May Festival as Rocco in Fidelio, which he also performed under John Nelson for The Caramoor Festival; Michael Tilson Thomas for Mahler’s Das klagende Lied with The Pittsburgh Symphony, Janáček’s Glagolitic Mass with The Chicago Symphony, and as Hobson in Peter Grimes with The San Francisco Symphony; and Edo de Waart with The St. Paul Chamber Orchestra as Trulove in The Rake’s Progress. Other orchestral highlights include Verdi’s Requiem with Dallas Symphony Orchestra, Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 with Seattle Symphony, Händel’s Messiah with Houston Symphony, Rossini’s Stabat Mater with Buffalo Symphony, Mozart’s Requiem with The Los Angeles Philharmonic, Stravinsky’s Oedipus Rex with The National Symphony in Washington, and the role of Orest’s Guardian/Old Servant in Elektra with Boston Symphony Orchestra.
Mr. Langan’s video credits in addition to the DVD release of David Hockney’s Turandot, include DVD releases of Aïda with Luciano Pavarotti, Samson et Dalila with Plácido Domingo, Vivaldi’s Orlando Furioso with Marilyn Horne, Janáček’s Cunning Little Vixen from Maggio Musicale in Florence, Italy, Tobias Picker’s first opera Emmeline seen on National PBS Television, and Janáček’s Cunning Little Vixen under Seiji Ozawa, seen on National NHK Television throughout Japan, and RAI Television in Italy, and now on DVD through Arthaus Musik. Mr. Langan’s discography includes the Grammy-nominated Teldec recording of Le nozze di Figaro under Nicklaus Harnoncourt, and Albany Records’ Emmeline under George Manahan and recorded live with The Santa Fe Opera.
"...rich and resonant voice with a real grasp of italian...” – Limelight
Pia de Tolomei – “Veteran American bass Kevin J. Langan puts in a star turn as Piero, a hermit (here an ancient, decorated soldier). His prayer after the storm, “Divo Spirto, il cui squardo penetra” is a highlight of the score and reveals a stylish, rich and resonant voice with a real grasp of italian.”
"...knows the character inside and out...""...knows the character inside and out..." – The Daily Camera
The Magic Flute – “The true hero of the production, however, is bass Kevin Langan as Sarastro. Langan has played this role for decades, but has probably never been asked to play it quite like this. While Talevi’s conception of the character makes sense, the serious arias Mozart wrote for him really do not fit with that conception. Langan somehow makes it work. The ringmaster is, after all, a father figure. Only someone who knows the character inside and out could interpret him in this way so successfully.”
"...crisp articulation and elegant musical line...” – Opera News
Le nozze di Figaro – “Bass Kevin J. Langan was an excellent Rocco, investing the jailer role with crisp articulation and elegant musical line.”
"...a vocal sheen that I have never heard before...” – OPERA Magazine
Le nozze di Figaro – “The Bartolo of the noted American bass Kevin Langan was absolutely revelatory; he delivered ‘La vendetta’ with a vocal sheen that I have never heard before.”
"...offered the complete package..." – The Musical Criticism
Roméo et Juliette – “And easily the best among the secondary roles was the Friar Lawrence of veteran bass Kevin Langan. In fact, of all the singers, it was only Langan who offered the complete package; vibrant ringing tone, polished phrasing, incisive diction, and convincing, unfussy acting. Hopefully, the younger singers (including the two leads) were paying attention to the mastery Langan brought to the ‘craft’ of being a successful opera singer.”
"...the dramatic peak of the evening...” – Los Angeles Times
Turandot – “Kevin Langan brought luxury vocalism to Timur, and his reaction to Liu’s suicide was the dramatic peak of the evening.”
“...the stand-out was Kevin Langan..." – OPERA Magazine
Fidelio – “The stand-out was Kevin Langan , who sang Rocco in an unaffected, warm and patient manner.”