Charles Castronovo

Acclaimed internationally as one of the finest lyric tenors of his generation, Charles Castronovo has sung at most of the world’s leading opera houses, including the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, Paris Opera, Metropolitan Opera, Berlin State Opera, Vienna State Opera, Teatro Real in Madrid, Deutsche Oper Berlin, Théâtre Royale de la Monnaie in Brussels, Bavarian State Opera in Munich, Gran Teatre del Liceu in Barcelona, San Francisco Opera and Lyric Opera of Chicago. Castronovo closed out the 2020/21 season with his first performances of Rodolfo in Luisa Miller at the Glyndebourne Festival. In the current season, the tenor will make his role and house debut in the title role of L’amico fritz at the Teatro del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino in Firenze, as well as his debut as Pinkerton in Madama Butterfly at the Bavarian State Opera. He will also appear for the first time at the Wroclaw Opera as Des Grieux in Manon and at the Theatre des Champs-Elysees in Messa di Gloria. Castronovo recently returned to the Lyric Opera of Chicago as Nemorino in L’elisir d’amore and to the Met as Rodolfo in La Boheme, and he will soon return to the Berlin State Opera and to Munich as Rodolfo. 

Born in New York and raised in California, Charles Castronovo began his career as a resident at the Los Angeles Opera. He was then invited to join the Metropolitan Opera’s Lindemann Young Artists Development Program, and in the autumn of 1999 he made his debut at the Metropolitan Opera as Beppe in the opening night performance of Pagliacci, opposite Placido Domingo. In the first years of his career, Castronovo built his repertoire with such debuts as Tamino in Die Zauberflöte and Fenton in Falstaff in Pittsburgh, where he also sang his first Faust; Don Ottavio in Don Giovanni and Ernesto in Don Pasquale in Boston; and Ferrando in Cosi Fan Tutte in Portland, where he also sang his first performances of Nemorino in L’elisir d’amore. He debuted as Alfredo in La Traviata with the Minnesota Opera, as Belmonte in Die Entführung aus dem Serail with the Colorado Opera, and as Elvino in La Sonnambula and Rodolfo with the Michigan Opera Theater.

Castronovo made his European stage debut at the 2000 Savonlinna Festival in Don Giovanni. He subsequently debuted in Germany at the Berlin State Opera in the same work under Daniel Barenboim, in France at the Théâtre du Capitole in Toulouse as Fenton, and in Great Britain at the London Proms of 2002 in Ravel’s L’heure Espagnole. In the 2003/04 season, he made his debuts at the San Francisco Opera, Paris Opera and Vienna State Opera as Tamino, and in September of 2004 he debuted at the Royal Opera House as Ferrando. This was followed by his Italian stage debut as Alfredo at the Teatro Carlo Felice in Genoa. Other significant debuts included Alfredo at the Hamburg State Opera and the Megaron in Athens, Fenton at the Theatre Royale de la Monnaie in Brussels, and Ferrando at the Bavarian State Opera in Munich. He also made his debut at the Salzburg Festival as Belmonte in Entführung. Castronvono subsequently debuted in Chicago as Tamino, in Toronto and Barcelona as Alfredo, and at the Deutsche Oper Berlin as Ruggero in La Rondine. He sang his first Duca in Rigoletto in Bordeaux and then reprised the role for his debut in Oslo. He has sung Alfredo in several revivals at Covent Garden, where he has also performed Ruggero, Tom Rakewell in The Rake’s Progress, Tamino and Rodolfo. Castronovo has appeared in Vienna as Lensky in Eugene Onegin, Nemorino, and Alfredo; in Munich as Gennaro in Lucrezia Borgia, Admeto in Alceste, Edgardo in Lucia di Lammermoor, and Don Ottavio; at the Berlin State Opera as Alfredo, Nemorino, and Faust; and at the Metropolitan Opera as Roméo in Roméo et Juliette, Rodolfo, Don Ottavio, and Tamino. He sang his first Hoffmann in Les Contes d’Hoffmann in Baden Baden and his first Des Grieux in Manon in Toulouse. Castronovo sang his first Damnation de Faust in concert in Nice and has also been heard in this work in Baden Baden with the Berlin Philharmonic, under Sir Simon Rattle; with the Dallas Symphony, under Jacques Lacombe; and with the Pittsburgh Symphony, under Manfred Honeck. He sang his first staged performances of Damnation at the Berlin State Opera, with Sir Simon Rattle on the podium.

In recent seasons, Charles Castronovo has begun to add lirico spinto roles to his repertoire: Jason in the rarely performed original French version of Cherubini’s Médée at the Berlin State Opera, conducted by Daniel Barenboim; Gabriele Adorno in Simon Boccanegra at the Salzburg Festival in 2019, under Valery Gergiev; Faust in Mefistofele in Baden Baden; and the title role in Roberto Devereux in Munich. He has also participated often in performances of lesser known works: as Mylio in Lalo’s Le Roi d’Ys in Toulouse; as Vincent in Gounod’s Mireille at the Paris Opera; in Massenet’s Therese at the Festival de Montpellier, where he also sang Lalo’s La Jacquerie; and in concerts of Gounod’s Cinq Mars. Castronovo starred opposite Plácido Domingo as Mario in the world premiere of Daniel Catan’s Il Postino at the Los Angeles Opera, a role that he also performed in Paris and Santiago. He also recorded Mercadante’s Virginia for Opera Rara. 

Charles Castronovo sang his first Verdi Requiem for his debut at the Semperoper Dresden with the Staatskapelle Dresden and Christian Thielemann. He has also been heard in this work in Paris under both Myung-whun Chung and Sir John Eliot Gardiner.