CHRISTOPHER
BESCH
BASS-BARITONE

“Most tellingly of all two superb vocal soloists were on hand to take on the roles of Jesus (baritone Christopher Besch) and the Evangelist narrator (tenor Steven Paul Spears). The St Matthew may be less dramatically pointed than the St. John Passion, yet the exchanges between Spears and Besch crackled with a tension that was almost theatrical in intensity.

Sometimes Jesus can seem a passive figure in the St. Matthew. Besch though, made him into a daring vital personality.”

St. Matthew Passion

Described as embodying a “commanding stage presence” (DC Theatre Scene), as well as “sweet and earnest” (Houston Chronicle), bass-baritone Christopher Besch is enjoying a diverse career in opera, concert, and recital. Proud to have performed in nine countries on three continents, he has sung under the batons of such distinguished conductors as Lorin Maazel, Leonard Slatkin, and Jeffrey Thomas.

On the opera stage, Mr. Besch has been lauded for his “lively stage presence” (Houston Press).  He will perform Nourabad in Bizet’s Les pêcheurs de perles with Opera in the Heights this coming February.  2016 heard Mr. Besch in performances in Rossini’s La Cenerentola with Opera in the Heights, to which he “gave stentorian voice to Alidoro’s pronouncements.” (Opera) He also created the role of Peter Gray in Wings They Were: The Case of Emeline with Houston Grand Opera’s HGOco, and portrayed Theseus in A Midsummer Night’s Dream at Rice University. Previously, Mr. Besch has been seen as Bartolo in Il barbiere di Siviglia at Rice University, with The American Bach Soloists Academy, the Jailer in Tosca with the Detroit Symphony and Leonard Slatkin, as well as Gregory Spears’ new opera based on the 2003 Columbia Space Shuttle disaster, O Columbia.  He has also performed Rocco in Fidelio with Maestro Viswa Subbaraman at the Skylight Music Theatre in Milwaukee, WI, and Archibald Craven in Nolan Gasser’s operatic treatment of The Secret Garden. He has appeared as Ashby in Puccini’s La fanciulla del West in concert with Orquesta Sinfónica de Galicia in A Coruña, Spain conducted by Maestro Lorin Maazel. The opera was also fully staged and presented at the Castleton Festival in Virginia. The 2012-2013 season saw him as Peter Quince in Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream with Opera Naples, Noye in Noye’s Fludde with Opera Theatre of Weston, and the customs officer in Puccini’s La bohème at The Royal Opera House Muscat in Oman. In the summer of 2012 at the Castleton Festival he sang Fiorello in Il barbiere di Siviglia and Zuniga in Carmen with Maestro Maazel at the helm, as well as Fredrik in Sondheim’s A Little Night Music with Levi Hammer. In the 2011-2012 season as a Young Artist with Opera Colorado, Mr. Besch sang Sam in Trouble in Tahiti, Antonio in Le nozze di Figaro, as well as Figaro in a matinee performance.

As a concert soloist, Mr. Besch will appear in the 2017 Leipzig Bach Festival as a member of Bach Society Houston, the first professional American choir to be honored with an invitation to the festival. He is scheduled to sing Messiah with Christ Evangelical Presbyterian Church, St. John Passion with Bach Society Houston, and Haydn’s Lord Nelson Mass with St. Martin’s Episcopal Church. He has previously sung Mars in Handel’s Parnasso in festa and Jupiter in Marais’ Sémélé in their American premieres with The American Bach Soloists Academy, St. Matthew Passion and Mozart’s Requiem with the Louisville Chorale Arts Society, and as a resident bass soloist at St. Paul’s Cathedral in London with St. Martin’s Episcopal Church Choir, as well as frequent engagements as a bass soloist with Bach Society Houston.

Mr. Besch was a semi-finalist for the 2012 Eleanor McCollum Competition at the Houston Grand Opera, one of the Rocky Mountain and Gulf Coast Regional Finalists for the Metropolitan National Council Auditions, and placed in the Denver Lyric Opera Guild Competition, and was awarded the Harold Norblum Award through Opera Colorado.

Mr. Besch is in his second year of studies for the Doctorate of Musical Arts program at Rice University, where he is the Malcolm W. Perkins Teaching Fellow. He also serves as Adjunct Faculty at Lone Star College, Kingwood and teaches private voice.

“Christopher Besch, a young professional opera singer from Minnesota, anchored the production with his strong and lyrical baritone and authoritative delivery.”

Noye’s Fludde

“Christopher Besch, sounded richly pompous as Ashby. His exclamations were ringing in the upper bass register while he could still gravel out pleasant low notes. This helped dramatize his overall character choice – driven to find Dick Johnson, but going about it in a cavalier sort of way.”

La fanciulla del West

“Bass-baritone Christopher Besch was a strong, upstanding Fredrik, carrying his part with a kind of befuddled grace as his romantic interests whirled out of control.”

A Little Night Music

“But the best singing of the cast came from the lanky Christopher Besch as Don Basilio. His buffo aria, “La calunnia,” hit all the right points, and he used his height and wingspan to comic advantage.”

Il barbiere di Siviglia

2017

Bass
2017 Leipzig Bach Festival with Bach Society Houston
Rick Erickson, Conductor
Leipzig, Germany
http://bachsocietyhouston.org
June 6 -18

Bass
Herr Gott, dich loben wir – BWV 16 & Der Geist hilft – BWV 226 (Bach)
with Bach Society Houston
Rick Erickson, Conductor
Christ the King Lutheran Church
Houston, TX
http://bachsocietyhouston.org
June 4

Bass Soloist
St. John Passion – BWV 245 (Bach) with Bach Society Houston
Rick Erickson, Conductor
Christ the King Lutheran Church
Houston, TX
http://bachsocietyhouston.org
April 9 & 14

Schwanengesang (Schubert)
DMA Recital
Duncan Hall at Rice University Shepherd School of Music
Houston, TX
April 3, 5:30pm

Bass Soloist
Lord Nelson Mass with St. Martin’s Episcopal Church
St. Martin’s Episcopal Church
Houston, TX
March 26

Bass
Bach Family Motets with Bach Society Houston
Rick Erickson, Conductor
Christ the King Lutheran Church
Houston, TX
http://bachsocietyhouston.org
February 19

Nourabad
Les pêcheurs de perles with Opera in the Heights
Maestro Eiki Isomura, conductor
Houston, TX
http://www.operaintheheights.org/
February 3, 9, 11 at 7:30pm
February 2 at 2pm

Works of Brahms, Ropartz, and Hoiby
DMA Recital
Duncan Hall at Rice University Shepherd School of Music
Houston, TX
January 11, 8pm

2016

Bass Soloist
The Messiah with Christ Evangelical Presbyterian Church
Christ Evangelical Presbyterian Church
Houston, TX
http://www.cepc.org/connect/music-worship/christ-in-the-arts/messiah/
December 15, 16, & 17

Bass
Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland – BWV 61 (Bach)
with Bach Society Houston
Rick Erickson, Conductor
Christ the King Lutheran Church
Houston, TX
http://bachsocietyhouston.org
December 11

Bass Soloist
Ein feste Burg ist unser Gott – BWV 80 (Bach)
with Bach Society Houston
Rick Erickson, Conductor
Christ the King Lutheran Church
Houston, TX
http://bachsocietyhouston.org
October 30

Bass Soloist
Die Elenden sollen essen – BWV 75 (Bach) with Bach Society Houston
Rick Erickson, Conductor
Christ the King Lutheran Church
Houston, TX
http://bachsocietyhouston.org
September 25

Mars
Parnasso in festa with The American Bach Soloists Academy
Maestro Jeffrey Thomas, Conductor
San Francisco Conservatory of Music Concert Hall
August 11 & 12

Bass Soloist
Choral Residence with St. Martin’s Episcopal Church Choir
St. Paul’s Cathedral
London, UK
July 25, 26, 27, & 28

Peter Gray
Wings They Were: The Case of Emeline (Cornelius) with HGOco (Houston Grand Opera)
Houston, TX
April 29 – May 8

Bass Soloist
Herz und Mund und Tat und Leben – BWV 147 (Bach)
with Bach Society Houston
Rick Erickson, Conductor
Christ the King Lutheran Church
Houston, TX
http://bachsocietyhouston.org
June 5

Bass Soloist
Easter Oratorio – BWV 249  (Bach)
with Bach Society Houston
Rick Erickson, Conductor
Christ the King Lutheran Church
Houston, TX
http://bachsocietyhouston.org
April 24

Theseus
A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Britten)
with Rice University
Maestro Richard Bado, Conductor
Edward Berkeley, Stage Director
Rice University Wortham Theater
Houston, TX
March 16, 18, 20

Alidoro
La Cenerentola (Rossini) with Opera in the Heights
Maestro Eiki Isomura, conductor
Houston, TX
http://www.operaintheheights.org/
Feb 5, 7, 11, 13

2015

Bartolo
Il barbiere di Siviglia (Rossini) with Rice University
Rice University Wortham Theater
Houston, TX
November 6, 8, 10, and 12

Ensemble (Bass)
O Columbia (Gregory Spears) with Houston Grand Opera (HGOco)
Bayou Music Center
Houston, TX
https://www.houstongrandopera.org/columbia/
September 23 and 24

Bass Soloist
B Minor Mass (Bach) with The American Bach Soloists Academy
Maestro Jeffrey Thomas, Conductor
San Francisco Conservatory of music
San Francisco, CA
August 16

Jupiter
Sémélé (Marais) with The American Bach Soloists Academy
Maestro Jeffrey Thomas, Conductor
San Francisco Conservatory of Music
San Francisco, CA
August 13 and 14

Jailer
Tosca with The Detroit Symphony Orchestra
Maestro Leonard Slatkin, Conductor
Orchestra Hall Detroit, MI
http://www.dso.org/ShowEventsView.aspx?id=1654&prod=1653
May 29 and 31

Chorus
Alexander’s Feast with Ars Lyrica
Zilkha Hall, Hobby Center for the Performing Arts
Houston, TX
May 17

Bass Soloist
Beethoven Mass in C with St. Martin’s Episcopal Church
St. Martin’s Episcopal Church
Houston, TX
May 3

Bass Soloist
Christ lag in Todes Banden – BWV 4 (Bach) with Bach Society Houston
Rick Erickson, Conductor
Christ the King Lutheran Church
Houston, TX
http://bachsocietyhouston.org
April 26

Jesus
St. John Passion with Lawrence University
Maestro Stephen Sieck, Conductor
Lawrence Memorial Chapel
Appleton, WI
April 24

Bass Soloist
St. Matthew Passion with Bach Society Houston
Rick Erickson, Conductor
Christ the King Lutheran Church
Houston, TX
http://bachsocietyhouston.org/
March 29 & April 3

Bass Soloist
Herz und Mund und Tat und Leben – BWV 147 (Bach) with Bach Society Houston
Rick Erickson, Conductor
Christ the King Lutheran Church
Houston, TX
http://bachsocietyhouston.org
February 15

Archibald Craven
The Secret Garden with Opera Theatre of Weston, VT
Mary Westbrook-Geha, Conductor
http://www.operatheatreofweston.com/
January

2014

Bass Soloist
Magnificat (Bach)
Christ the King Lutheran Church
Houston, TX
http://bachsocietyhouston.org/
Dec 14, 2014

Bass Soloist
Cantata 187 (Bach)
Bach Society Houston
Christ the King Lutheran Church
Houston, TX
http://bachsocietyhouston.org/
October 5, 2014

Il Commendatore
Don Giovanni with the Castleton Festival
Castleton, VA
http://www.castletonfestival.org/
July 5, 12, 18, 2014

Yakuside (Bonze cover)
Madama Butterfly with the Castleton Festival
Castleton, VA
http://www.castletonfestival.org/
June 28, July 6, 11, 20, 2014

2013

Bartolo
Le nozze di Figaro with Rice University
Maestro Richard Bado, Conductor
Vera Calabria, Director
Wortham Opera Theatre, Rice University Houston, TX
November 1, 3, 5, 2013

Rocco
Fidelio with The Skylight Music Theatre
Maestro Viswa Subbaraman, Conductor
Milwaukee, WI
September 20 – October 6, 2013

Ashby
La fanciulla del West with The Castleton Festival Maestro
Lorin Maazel, Conductor
Castleton, VA
July 6, 12, and 21, 2013

Ashby
La fanciulla del West with La Sinfónica de Galicia Maestro
Lorin Maazel, Conductor
La Coruña, Spain
June 6 & 8, 2013

Peter Quince
A Midsummer Night’s Dream with Opera Naples Maestro
Richard Bernas, Conductor
Miromar Design Center, Naples FL
February 23 -24, 2013

Noye
Noye’s Fludde with Opera Theatre of Weston
Weston and Rutland, VT
January 6-13, 2013

2012

Doganiere and Benoit/Alcindoro Cover
La bohème with Royal Opera House Muscat
Lorin Maazel, Conductor
Oman, Muscat
November 3 and 4, 2012

Fredrik
A Little Night Music with The Castleton Festival
Maestro Levi Hammer, Conductor
Castleton, VA
July 14 and 15, 2012

Zuniga
Carmen with The Castleton Festival
Lorin Maazel, Conductor
Castleton, VA
July 4 – 8, 2012

Fiorello
Il barbiere di Siviglia with The Castleton Festival
Lorin Maazel, Conductor
Castleton, VA
June 23 – July 1, 2012

Bass Soloist
Mozart’s Requiem with The Louisville Choral Arts Society
Louisville, KY
March 23, 2012

Antonio
Le nozze di Figaro with Opera Colorado
Denver, CO
February 11 – 19, 2012

2011

Sam
Trouble in Tahiti with Opera Colorado
Denver, CO
November 4-6, 2011

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