James McLennan debuted with Pacific Opera Victoria as Sesto in the 2002 production of Julius Caesar. He returned as Brighella in Richard Strauss' Ariadne auf Naxos, and as Goro the marriage broker in the 2015 production of Madama Butterfly. In 2017 he reprises the role of young Jean Bilodeau in Les Feluettes, which he performed in the opera's 2016 world première in Montreal. He will also perform Bilodeau with Edmonton Opera in October 2017.
James has been celebrated for his "considerable charm," "dramatic intensity" and "strong yet pure tenor," in a career encompassing over 25 roles on opera stages across Canada. An alumnus of Toronto's famed Second City improv and comedy training centre, Jamie's lovesick protagonists, quirky villains and comical sidekicks have been winning over audiences from coast to coast for more than a decade. Possessing a "sweet lyric voice," James' "freely expressive and carefully nuanced singing" has also been featured in repeat performances with major Canadian orchestras and musical ensembles.
Highlights of Jamie's 2016/17 season include Pang in Turandot with Edmonton Opera, Bardolfo in Falstaff at Manitoba Opera, Candide (Candide Suite) with the Windsor Symphony, and the world première of A Prairie Boy's Life by John Greer at the Winnipeg Art Gallery. Recent credits include Almaviva in The Barber of Seville with Edmonton Opera; Tamino (The Magic Flute) with the Sudbury Symphony; Dr. Caļus (Falstaff) and Goro for Opéra de Montréal ; Remendado in Carmen and Spoletta in Tosca with Opera Lyra Ottawa, and Tiberge in Le portrait de Manon at the Muskoka Opera Festival.
Previous operatic roles include Triquet in Eugene Onegin with Vancouver and Edmonton Opera, Beppe in Pagliacci and Caius in Falstaff for Hamilton Opera, Borsa in Rigoletto with Manitoba Opera, the Innkeeper in Der Rosenkavalier, Gastone in La traviata, and the Fourth Jew in Salome for Vancouver Opera; Remendado in Carmen and Miner/Chester Arthur/Hotel Clerk in The Ballad of Baby Doe for Calgary Opera; Adam in The Bird Seller, Laczi in Der Zigeunerprimas and the title role in Candide for Toronto Operetta Theatre; and Almaviva in Il barbiere di Siviglia with Saskatoon Opera.
Past concert highlights include Bach's St. John Passion and Magnificat with the Grand Philharmonic Choir, Haydn's Die Schöpfung and John Tavener's Requiem with the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, Israel in Egypt with the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir, and Carmina Burana with the Prince George Symphony and Toronto's VOCA Chorus. Other performances include the Bach Mass in b minor with the Vancouver Bach Choir, Mendelssohn's St. Paul Oratorio for Toronto's Pax Christi Chorale, the Bach Magnificat with the Toronto Bach Consort and Britten's Company of Heaven and Haydn's St. Nicolas Mass with Thirteen Strings in Ottawa.
An alumnus of the Opéra de Montréal's Atelier lyrique, James McLennan is featured on a Naxos recording of Charpentier's Messe de Minuit and Te Deum with Toronto's Aradia Ensemble.
James McLennan holds a degree in French Translation from York University's Glendon College. He is the founder and president of Gaston Murdock, a translation firm focusing on the arts, public administration and academic writing.
There were several fantastic instrumental performances as well as carefully nuanced and freely expressive singing by young Torontonians Wang and McLennan, who made the often difficult music as light as a breeze at Pooh Corner.
McLennan summoned up dramatic intensity when needed and with his terrific diction and lyrical delivery was another star of the night.
Winnipeg Free Press