tenor Chad Shelton, photo by Jenna Barrett

tenor Chad Shelton, photo by Jenna Barrett

Biography

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 2016-17 season, he makes returns to the Grand Théâtre de Genève for his first performances of Sir Edgar Aubry in Der Vampyr and Houston Grand Opera to reprise Chairman Mao in Adams’ Nixon in China and sings Don Jose in Carmen on tour in Japan as a guest artist of the Seiji Ozawa Music Academy Opera Project.  He also sings his first performances of Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde with the Phoenix Symphony and returns to the roster of the Metropolitan Opera for its production of Cyrano de Bergerac.  Last season, he returned to Houston Grand Opera for Cavaradossi in Tosca and to create the role of Charles II in the world premiere of Carlisle Floyd’s Prince of Players.  He made his Metropolitan Opera debut as Rodrigo in a new production of Otello and also joined the company for Elektra in addition to returning to one of his most frequently performed roles, Alfredo in La traviata, with Pensacola Opera.  

He has joined the Opéra National de Lorraine numerous times, including for the title role of Idomeneo, Giasone in Cherubini’s Medea, Don Jose 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 Alfredo in La traviata, Don Jose in Carmen, Pinkerton in Madama Butterfly, Froh in Das Rheingold, 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 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 Ulises in Catan’s Salsipuedes in addition to singing Arcadio in the composer’s Florencia en el Amazonas with Houston Grand Opera.

He has also sung 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 Jose in Carmen with Opéra-Théâtre de Metz, 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, and at the Hyogo Performing Arts Center in Japan.  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 Woman with New York City Opera; E. Porter Alexander in the world premiere of Glass’ Appamattox 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 A 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, 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

Raves

“Vocal honors were stolen by tenor Chad Shelton, who brought thrilling tone and technical precision to his endearingly American Jack Worthing...
— Opera News
 

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