Opera News praises tenor Chad Shelton for one of his trademark roles, claiming that his “Don José was the dramatic heart of this production; this was a performance that grew in complexity as he struggled to reconcile the forces of loyalty, lust and fate. Shelton owned the final scene, as his character descended into despair fueled by psychotic obsession. His bright tone amplified the intensity of the last gripping moments.” In the 2019-20 season, he returns to Houston Grand Opera for two role debuts: Herod in Salome and the Witch of Endor in Saul. He also reprises Pollione in Norma with Calgary Opera and Pinkerton in Madama Butterfly with Inland Northeast Opera. Last season, he returned to the Seiji Ozawa Music Academy to reprise his acclaimed performances of Don José in Carmen. He sang further performances of Pollione in Norma with North Carolina Opera as well as returned to Houston Grand Opera as the leading tenor in the world premiere of Tarik O’Regan’s The Phoenix, the Metropolitan Opera as Roderigo in Otello, and Florentine Opera as Charles II in Floyd’s Prince of Players.
He has joined the Opéra National de Lorraine numerous times, including for the title role of Idomeneo, Giasone in Cherubini’s Medea, Don José in Carmen, Jack in Gerald Barry’s The Importance of Being Earnest, Lysander in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Guido Bardi in Eine florentinische Tragödie, Lechmere in Owen Wingrave, Tamino in Die Zauberflöte, and the title role of Candide. He is a frequent leading presence with Houston Grand Opera and has joined the company previously for Pollione in Norma, Aegisth in Elektra, Don José in Carmen, Froh in Das Rheingold, Cavaradossi in Tosca, Alfredo in La traviata, Pinkerton in Madama Butterfly, Fredrik Egerman in A Little Night Music, Camille in Die lustige Witwe, Janek in The Makropolous Case, Tamino in Die Zauberflöte, Captain Vere in Billy Budd, and Nemorino in L’elisir d’amore. Acclaimed for his performances of contemporary works, he recently triumphed as Chairman Mao in Adams’ Nixon in China with the company, following his debut of the role with San Diego Opera. He also created the roles of Nico in Lysistrata and Laurie in Little Women (released on the Ondine label and broadcast on PBS), both by Mark Adamo, and Charles II in Floyd’s Prince of Players and Ulises in Catán’s Salsipuedes in addition to singing Arcadio in the composer’s Florencia en el Amazonas, all with Houston Grand Opera as well. He made his Metropolitan Opera debut as Roderigo in the debut of the current production of Otello and has also joined the company for its productions of Elektra and Cyrano de Bergerac.
He has also sung Sir Edgar Aubry in Der Vampyr and the Prince in The Love of Three Oranges with Grand Théâtre de Genève, Lysander in A Midsummer Night’s Dream with Théâtre de Caen; Tamino in Die Zauberflöte with Grand Théâtre de Genève, Opera Pacific; further performances of to the title role of Idomeneo with Théâtre de Caen and Grand Théâtre de Luxembourg; Erik in Der fliegende Holländer with Boston Lyric Opera; Pinkerton in Madama Butterfly with Opéra National de Bordeaux and Lyric Opera Baltimore; Don José in Carmen with Opéra-Théâtre de Metz, Seiji Ozawa Music Academy, Austin Opera, Portland Opera, Utah Opera, Festival Classique at the Hague, Pensacola Opera, and Opera Pacific; and Alfredo in La traviata with Austin Lyric Opera, Arizona Opera, Utah Opera, Nevada Opera, Opera Pacific, Central City Opera, Hyogo Performing Arts Center in Japan, and Pensacola Opera. He has also joined Central City Opera for a host of other roles including further performances of Laurie in Little Women, Pinkerton in Madama Butterfly, Don Ottavio in Don Giovanni, Fernando in Granados’ Goyescas, Cavaradossi in Tosca, and Reverend Paris in The Crucible.
Other career highlights include Pilade in Ermione and further performances of Nico in Lysistrata and Laurie in Little Women with New York City Opera; E. Porter Alexander in the world premiere of Glass’ Appomattox with San Francisco Opera; Hindley in Floyd’s Wuthering Heights with Florentine Opera; Duca in Rigoletto and Edgardo in Lucia di Lammermoor with Austin Lyric Opera; Roméo in Roméo et Juliette with Madison Opera; Alfred in Die Fledermaus and Jacquino in Fidelio with Dallas Opera; Leo in Blitzstein’s Regina with Lyric Opera of Chicago and Florida Grand Opera. He has also sung Belmonte in Die Entführung aus dem Serail with Opera Australia and Portland Opera; Don Ottavio in Don Giovanni with Opera Colorado; and Ferrando in Così fan tutte with Arizona Opera, Kentucky Opera, and at the Hyogo Performing Arts Center. His contemporary repertoire also includes further performances of Little Women with Central City Opera, Chautauqua Opera, and Opera Omaha; Tom Rakewell in The Rake’s Progress with the Teatro Municipal de São Paulo and Lyric Opera of Kansas City; Sam in Floyd’s Susannah with Chautauqua Opera; and George in Danielpour’s Margaret Garner with Cincinnati Opera and the Opera Company of Philadelphia.
Mr. Shelton is equally in demand as a concert soloist and has joined the Minnesota Orchestra for Mozart’s Requiem, Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9, Janáček’s The Diary of One Who Vanished, as well as the title role in concert performances of Candide. His performances of Respighi’s Belkis, Queen of Sheba Suite and Argento’s Le tombeau d’Edgar Poe, also with the Minnesota Orchestra, have been released on the Reference label. He has sung Siegel’s Kaddish with the Houston Symphony; Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 with the Utah Symphony, Pacific Symphony, Phoenix Symphony, Rochester Philharmonic, and Colorado Music Festival and Mozart’s Requiem with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir; Verdi’s Requiem with the Brussels Philharmonic; Handel’s Messiah with the Virginia Symphony Orchestra and the Houston Symphony; and a gala concert of opera favorites with the Puerto Rico Symphony Orchestra.
He is the recipient of a Richard Tucker Foundation Career Grant and the Richard F. Gold Career Grand from the Shoshana Foundation. He holds a Master of Music degree and Artist diploma from the Yale University School of Music and a Bachelor of Music degree from Louisiana State University.
“Chad Shelton's Don José was the dramatic heart of this production; this was a performance that grew in complexity as he struggled to reconcile the forces of loyalty, lust and fate. Shelton owned the final scene, as his character descended into despair fueled by psychotic obsession. His bright tone amplified the intensity of the last gripping moments.”
— Opera News