Manager: Elizabeth Crittenden , Artistic Advisor & Consultant
Management Territory: Worldwide
“Braun was flawless, curling not only his gorgeous baritone but every nuance of possible expression around this arresting music.” Toronto Star review of Kindertotenlieder
“Canadian Russell Braun sang with extraordinary dramatic intensity and vocal abandon, his warm and expressive baritone conveying touching pathos. ..To be sure, his performance here reaffirms him as one of the very best singing actors in front of the public today.” La Scena Musicale review of Iphigenia in Tauride
"The most outstanding performance was that of Russell Braun's Chou En-lai, his luminous baritone inflecting the figure of the Chinese premier with humanity and flashes of moral self-awareness. Braun has a way of digging for the emotional core of every phrase he sings, as well as the flexibility to move fluidly between different expressive registers." Classical Review of Nixon in China
Renowned for his luminous voice “capable of the most powerful explosions as well as the gentlest covered notes” (Toronto Star) baritone Russell Braun rightfully claims his place on the concert, opera and recital stages of the world. His intelligent and thoughtful portrayals of Chou En-lai, Billy Budd, Prince Andrei, Figaro, Papageno, Count Almaviva, Don Giovanni, Pelléas, Eugene Onegin, and The Traveller have captivated audiences at the Metropolitan Opera in New York, l'Opéra de Paris, the State Opera in Vienna, the Royal Opera, Covent . . . Garden, the Los Angeles Opera, La Scala in Milan, the Salzburg or the Glyndebourne Festival.
Russell’s 2012-2013 season begins with his much-anticipated debut in the role of Di Luna, in the Canadian Opera Company’s production of Verdi’s “Il Trovatore”. In another departure from his signature roles, Russell returns to the title role of “Don Giovanni” with the Teatro Real in Madrid. Concerts and recitals are a major feature of the year. Following his appearance in recital with the Washington Vocal Arts Society, he joins conductor Nicholas McGegan, soprano Yulia Van Doren, counter-tenor Daniel Taylor, tenor Michael Schade, and the Toronto Symphony in Handel’s beloved “Messiah”. Additional performances in Toronto include the Brahms “Requiem” for Off-Centre Music Salon, a Koerner Hall concert where he and famed Canadian violinist James Ehnes appear for the first time together with pianist Carolyn Maule in a program featuring the world premiere of a piece for violin, baritone and piano by Canadian composer John Estacio.
Future seasons will take Russell to the Geneva Opera, the Edmonton Opera, Canadian Opera Company and the Metropolitan Opera.
Recent seasons have seen Russell in performances in the Canadian Opera Company productions of “Iphigénie en Tauride” and l’Amour de Loin, in a new production of Faust at the Metropolitan Opera, and in “Manon” at La Scala. Concerts and recitals featured appearances with the National Arts Centre Orchestra in “Carmina Burana”, in Mendelssohn’s “Elijah” with the Washington National Symphony, Mahler's “Das Lied von der Erde” with the Smithsonian Chamber Players in Toronto’s Koerner Hall, Bach’s “St. Matthew Passion” with the Calgary Philharmonic, “A Sea Symphony” with the Colorado Symphony, and in recital with pianist Carolyn Maule in High River, Alberta.
The 2010-2011 season featured Russell’s highly successful role debuts as Chou En-lai in John Adams’s “Nixon in China” at the Metropolitan Opera in New York and as Olivier alongside Renée Fleming in Capriccio, also at the Met. He also toured to Japan with the ROH Covent Garden as Lesaut in “Manon” and made his South American debut with the Rio di Janiero Orchestra.
Other recent opera appearances include ▪The Traveller in Benjamin Britten’s “Death in Venice” at the Theatre an der Wien in Vienna ▪ Lescaut in the ROH Covent Garden production of “Manon” ▪ Valentin in “Faust” at ROH Covent Garden ▪ the title role of “Pelléas et Mélisande” at La Scala ▪ at the Opéra national de Paris in “Iphegénie en Tauride”, “Die Zauberflöte”, “Cosi fan tutte”, “Faust”, “Pelléas et Mélisande” ▪ “Eugene Onegin” with the San Francisco Opera ▪ the title role in “Billy Budd”, as Prince Andrei in “War and Peace”, and as Enrico in “Lucia di Lammermoor” with the Canadian Opera Company. Performances have also taken him to New York’s Metropolitan Opera (I Pagliacci and Il Barbiere di Siviglia), at the Salzburg Festival (Ariadne auf Naxos, Roméo et Juliette), the Vienna Staatsoper (Roméo et Juliette, Die Zauberflöte, Ariadne auf Naxos, Die Fledermaus, Billy Budd), San Diego (Les Pecheurs de Perles, Cosi fan tutte), the Glyndebourne Festival (Pelléas et Mélisande), l’Opéra de Montréal (Die Zauberflöte), and l’Opéra de Québec (Don Giovanni).
CONCERTS AND RECITALS
Concerts and recitals always have a major place on Russell’s calendar. In addition to an extensive recital tour of Western Canada, in the past few seasons he has appeared with the New York Philharmonic in the World Premiere of “The World in Flower” a new work by Peter Lieberson, in a special 2010 Olympics performance of Mahler’s “Symphony No. 8” with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra and Bramwell Tovey, at the BBC Proms in Fauré’s “Requiem”, the Salzburg Festival in Schubert’s “Mass in G”, the Tanglewood Festival in Brahms’s “Deutsche Requiem”, with the St. Louis Symphony, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, the Toronto Symphony conducted by Bernard Labadie, in “L’Enfance du Christ” with the Rotterdam Philharmonic, in “Elijah” with the Minnesota Orchestra and in the Duruflé “Requiem” with Les Violons du Roy in Québec City. His performance in Britten’s “War Requiem” in Toronto continues to be a stand-out in Toronto’s musical memory.
He has also performed in duo recital with Michael Schade in London, Edinburgh, Toronto, San Diego, Graz, Berlin, Hamburg, Vienna, Strasbourg, Ludwigsburg and Kansas City and in solo recital in Montréal, Toronto, New York, Paris (La Chapelle Royale at Versailles), Winnipeg and Ottawa. His interpretations of German Lieder have won him international acclaim — “A searching musician, Braun also has one of the world's most beautiful baritone voices. He brings a poet's soul and a young man's bewildered grief to Schubert's shattering cycle of solitude and loss.” (New York Newsday).
Russell’s extensive discography includes the GRAMMY-nominated Mahler’s “Das Lied von der Erde” (Dorian), his highly acclaimed and JUNO-nominated recording of Schubert’s “Die Winterreise” with pianist Carolyn Maule and the 2007 JUNO-award-winning recording of Mozart arias with tenor Michael Schade and soprano Isabel Bayrakdarian, both on the CBC Records label. “Winterreise” quickly made its mark among a revered set of recordings of the famous song-cyle – “[it] goes up against this formidable competition [Fischer-Dieskau and Goerne], as well an estimable Winterreise by Braun's late father, Victor. Braun fils's effort emerges with considerable credit...a mellifluous, musical and strongly felt interpretation.” (Opera News)
Winner of the 2001 JUNO for “Apollo e Daphne” with Les Violons du Roy (Dorian), Russell has twice recorded “Dido & Aeneas” (Telarc with the Boston Baroque; CBC Records with Taflemusik), the award-winning Soirée Française with tenor Michael Schade, Le Souvenir, a collection of Canadian songs, Shattered Night, Shivering Stars featuring the music of Canadian composer Alexina Louie and Liebeslieder - Folksongs with the Aldeburgh Connection. Other releases include Meditation, featuring the works of Gerald Finzi (CBC Records) and Serata Italiana, a recording of Italian opera arias and duets with tenor Michael Schade (CBC Records), and Beethoven Lives Upstairs, Mozart and Magic Fantasy, and Daydreams and Lullabies on the Classical Kids Label.
Russell’s much-lauded portrayal of Chou En-lai in Adams’s “Nixon in China” at the Metropolitan Opera will be released in HD on DVD and Blu-ray by Nonesuch in October 2012. Also on DVD, he can be seen as Mercutio in the highly acclaimed Salzburg Festival production of “Roméo et Juliette” and heard in the Mark Morris dance adaptation of “Dido and Aeneas”, and Alexina Louie’s comic opera “Burnt Toast”, a series of eight 6-minute comic operas written by Dan Redican for television featuring many of Canada’s brightest actors and the voices of some of its most famed opera stars.
Russell Braun makes his home near Toronto with his wife, pianist Carolyn Maule and their sons, Benjamin and Gabriel.