B I O G R A P H Y
Tenor Brandon Scott Russell is a 2018 National Semi-Finalist in the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions and has been noted to have a “free-flowing tenor of considerable beauty and accomplishment” (Opera Today).
Russell will be performing with Ozarks Lyric Opera as Don Ottavio in their new production of Don Giovanni in Spring 2023. In 2022 Russell performed as Alfredo in Central Ohio Symphony's orchestral production of La Traviata. Previously Russell was set to perform as Harold Mitch in Arizona Opera's production of A Streetcar named desire (2021), perform in Cincinnati Opera's world premiere Fierce (2020), and make his Toledo Symphony Orchestra debut as the Tenor soloist in Mahler's Das Lied von Der Erde (2020), but was not able to due to Covid Cancellations. In the Fall of 2021 Russell performed at Opera America as Victor Frankenstein in a workshop production for Arizona Opera's new work Frankenstein, by Gregg Kallor.
In his 2019-2020 season Russell was a participant in the 2019 Merola Opera Program where he created the role of David in Jake Heggie’s World Premiere Opera If I were you, where he “made his presence felt with his booming voice” (Parterre Box). During the Merola Opera Grand Finale he received critical acclaim for his Act 1 aria from Rusalka where his “lyric beauty of voice combined with outstanding diction” as he “filled the auditorium with ringing clarity” (San Francisco Classical Voice & Bay Area Reporter). He made his company and role debut as Canio in I pagliacci with Greensboro Opera where he "effortlessly filled the auditorium with anguished but beautiful sound... sung with technical assurance that has become all too uncommon among singers of any age" (Voix-des-arts).
In his 2018-2019 season, Russell made his Carnegie Hall debut with MidAmerica International singing as the Tenor Soloist in Haydn’s Mass in C Major. He was a Gerdine Young Artist with Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, covering Alfredo in La traviata, Mr. Marshall in Regina, and performing in the Stars of Tomorrow Concert. He returned to Cincinnati Opera where he performed as The Teacher in Julien Bilodeau's U.S. Premiere of Another Brick in the Wall where he was “one of the evening’s standouts who wielded a big voice and stick to match” (Cincinnati Biz Journal). He made his company and role debut with Winter Opera Saint Louis as Alfred in Die Fledermaus and was a Resident Artist with Knoxville Opera performing as Edgardo in a touring production of Lucia di Lammermoor.
At the University of Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music (CCM) Russell performed as the title role in Candide and as Rinuccio in Gianni Schicchi where he “displayed an exciting Italianate tenor in his aria praising Florence, with the power to soar over Puccini’s voluptuous orchestra” (Cincinnati Business Courier). During Cincinnati Opera's Summer Festival, he sang the roles of 1st armored man in Die Zauberflöte and Parpignol in La bohème (while covering the leading tenor roles of Tamino and Rodolfo). Russell debuted with Springfield Regional Opera performing the role of Cassio in their performance of Verdi's Otello.
Other notable credits include Idomeneo (Idomeneo), Alfredo (La traviata), Narraboth (Salome), and Don José (Carmen). He has had success with the MONCA where he has received three encouragement awards at the district level, three district wins moving on to the regionals, and one 1st place regional win making him a 2018 National Semi-Finalist. He received 2nd place in the 2018 National Partners For the Arts Competition and received 3rd place in the 2017 Shreveport Opera Competition.
Russell has participated across the United States in prestigious young artist programs, such as the Merola Opera Program, Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, The Wolf Trap Opera Company, Cincinnati Opera, Des Moines Metro Opera, and Houston Grand Opera’s Young Artist Vocal Academy.
Russell completed his undergraduate studies at The University of Missouri-Kansas City Conservatory under the tutelage of Dr. Raymond Feener, where he performed in the Main Stage productions of Dialogues des Carmelites (Le Chevalier), La tragédie de Carmen (Don José), and in Die lustige Witwe (Camille de Rosillon). He was a UMKC Trustees’ Scholar receiving a double degree in Vocal Performance and Music Education, graduating with summa cum laude Latin Honors.
He holds Masters and Artist Diploma degrees at the University of Cincinnati-College Conservatory of Music, where he studied under the tutelage of William McGraw. Russell is currently the Tenor Artist-In-Residence at Missouri State University, teaching Classical, Musical Theatre, and Contemporary Commercial Music. He is Shenendoah Conservatory Level 1-3 CCM Pedagogy Institute certified.