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

With performances described as embodying a “commanding stage presence” (DC Theatre Scene), as well as “sweet and earnest” (Houston Chronicle), bass-baritone Christopher Besch enjoys a diverse career in opera, concert, and recital. In addition to an abundant performing schedule, he also serves as a Lecturer of Voice at The University of Texas – San Antonio and maintains a private teaching studio in Houston, TX. 

On the operatic stage, Mr. Besch has been lauded for his “lively stage presence” (Houston Press). Highlights of his traditional operatic career include performances in Rossini’s La Cenerentola with Opera in the Heights with Maestro Eiki Isomura, to which he “gave stentorian voice to Alidoro’s pronouncements” (Opera), and Rocco in a Bollywood-themed Fidelio with Maestro Viswa Subbaraman at the Skylight Music Theatre. However, some of his most treasured performances occurred under the baton of the late Maestro Lorin Maazel, which included Ashby in Puccini’s La fanciulla del West in concert with Orquesta Sinfónica de Galicia in A Coruña, Spain and a later staged version at Maazel’s Castleton Festival in Virginia, Il Commendatore in Mozart’s Don Giovanni, and Zuniga in Bizet’s Carmen.

Music which lies on the modern side of “classical” is also a passion of Mr. Besch’s. He created the role of Peter Gray in Wings They Were: The Case of Emeline with Houston Grand Opera’s HGOco. He was a member of the company for Gregory Spears’ opera based on the 2003 Columbia Space Shuttle disaster, O Columbia, and portrayed Archibald Craven in Nolan Gasser’s operatic treatment of The Secret Garden with The Opera Theatre of Weston. He also gave the premier of the song cycle Notes in a Minister’s Notebook by B.P. Herrington on poetry by the American poet Miller Willams.

While Mr. Besch will always have a passion for the stage, he has lately found himself focusing his work in area of concert performance. Recently, he stepped in for an ailing colleague during Bach’s one-on-a-part St. Matthew Passion with Bach Society Houston and sang all of the bass roles as well as the choral parts as a soloist. Also with Bach Society Houston, he appeared in the 2017 Leipzig Bach Festival will be returning for the 2020 festival in June. Additionally, Mr. Besch has been engaged as a soloist in Verdi’s Requiem with the Green Bay Civic Symphony and Mozart’s Requiem with the Victoria Bach Festival, as well as Mars in Handel’s Parnasso in festa and Jupiter in Marais’ Sémélé in their American premieres with The American Bach Soloists Academy.

In a complement to his engagements as a performer, Mr. Besch is also a passionate academic. He is pursuing his Doctorate of Musical Arts at the prestigious Rice University, where during his course work he served as the Malcolm W. Perkins Teaching Fellow. He is expected to complete the degree in the summer of 2020. His primary research interests include the acoustics and psychoacoustics of the voice with a particular bent towards how hearing influences the perception of the sung voice. Mr. Besch has also done extensive work with the implementation of the voice analysis software VoceVista as a teaching tool both in the studio and the pedagogy classroom. 

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, placed in the Denver Lyric Opera Guild Competition, and was awarded the Harold Norblum Award through Opera Colorado.

 

“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

2020

Bass
Leipzig Bach Festival and Germany Tour with Bach Society Houston
Rick Erickson, Conductor

Leipzig, Germany and surrounding cities
June 11-21

Bass
On to Leipzig! (Repertoire RBD) with Bach Society Houston
Rick Erickson, Conductor
http://bachsocietyhouston.org

Christ the King Lutheran Church
Houston, TX
June 7, 6pm

Voice Faculty Advisor
Bach Society Houston Academy

Dates TBD (May 2020)
Houston and Galveston, TX

Figaro
The Marriage of Figaro with University of Texas at San Antonio Lyric Theater
Troy Peters, Conductor

University of Texas at San Antonio Downtown Campus
Buena Vista Theater
April 2, 3, 4 – 7:30pm
April 5, 3pm

Apollo
Anthony Brandt’s Kassandra with Opera in the Heights
Houston, TX
February 23, 2pm
February 29, 7:30pm

Masterclass
Lone Star College – Montgomery
February 7, 1:30pm

Baritone Soloist & Ensemble Member
MATCH GIRL & BLACKBIRD with New American Voices and Aperio: Music of the Americas
David Lang’s The Little Match Girl Passion
Shawn Crouch’s Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird (World Premiere)
MATCH Houston
3400 Main St. 77002
February 2, 6pm
&
Sam Houston State University
January 26, 3:30pm

Masterclass
Lone Star College – Kingwood
January 27, 12:30pm

 Solo Recital
with Colin Boothby, organ

Trinity Episcopal Church
1015 Holman St
Houston, TX 77004
January 12, 7:30pm

2019

Soloist
Bach Society
BWV 36 “Schwingt freudich euch empor” with Bach Society Houston
Rick Erickson, Conductor

Christ the King Lutheran Church
Houston, TX
December 15, 6pm

Soloist
Magnificat (Bach)
Tobin Winterlude Concert
Yoojin Muhn, Conductor

University of Texas at San Antonio Recital Hall
San Antonio, TX
December 5, 7:30pm

Narrator
A Lincoln Address (Persichetti) with The University of Texas at San Antonio Symphonic Band
University of Texas at San Antonio Recital Hall
San Antonio, TX
November 26, 7:30pm

Presenter
“VoceVista 5.2: Synthesizing the Singing Voice in Real Time”
Texoma Region NATS Conference Artist Series

University of North Texas Recital Hall
Denton, TX
October 31, 12:30pm

Soloist
“By the Waters of Babylon” by Herbert Howells
with Andrew Lloyd – organ, Ryan Murphy – cello, and Stephanie Westney – violin
Faculty Chamber Music Concert

University of Texas at San Antonio Recital Hall
San Antonio, TX
October 8, 7:30pm

Bass Soloist
BWV 67 “Halt im Gedächtnis Jesum Christ” with Bach Society Houston
Rick Erickson, Conductor

Christ the King Lutheran Church
Houston, TX
October 6, 6pm

Soloist
San Antonio Opera Guild Meeting
Private Residence
September 22, 2pm

Soloist
“Meet the Faculty” Recital

University of Texas at San Antonio Recital Hall
San Antonio, TX
September 4, 11:30am

Bass (Chorus)
Various Works with Oregon Bach Festival
Eugene, OR
June 28 – July 15

Bass
Polychoral Motets with Bach Society Houston
Rick Erickson, Conductor
http://bachsocietyhouston.org
Christ the King Lutheran Church
Houston, TX
May 10, 7:30pm
Sam Houston State University Huntsville, TX
May 14, 7:30pm

Bass Soloist
Bach’s St. Matthew Passion with Bach Society Houston
Rick Erickson, Conductor
http://bachsocietyhouston.org
Christ the King Lutheran Church Houston, TX
April 14, 6:00pm
April 19, 3:00pm

Bass Soloist
BWV 69 “Lobe den Herrn, meine Seele” with Bach Society Houston
Rick Erickson, Conductor
http://bachsocietyhouston.org
Christ the King Lutheran Church Houston, TX
February 24, 6:00pm

Solo Recital
Premier of Notes in a Minister’s Notebook by B.P. Herrington and other works
Andrew Schneider, pianist
Lone Star College – CyFair
Center for the Arts
January 11, 7:30pm

2018

Bass Soloist
Righini Mass in D Minor with Bach Society Houston
Rick Erickson, Conductor
http://bachsocietyhouston.org

Christ the King Lutheran Church
Houston, TX
October 21, 6:00pm
&
A&M United Methodist Church
College Station, TX
October 21, 6:00pm

Bass Soloist
Various Works with St. Martin’s Episcopal Church Choir
St. Patricks and Christ Church Cathedrals
Dublin, Ireland
July 15-23

Bass (Chorus)
Various Works with Oregon Bach Festival
Eugene, OR
July 6-14

Bass Soloist
Mozart’s Requiem with Victoria Bach Festival
Alejandro Hernandez-Valdez, Conductor
Our Saviour’s Lutheran Church
Victoria, TX
June 9, 7:30 P.M.

Soloist
“Italian Seasoning” with the Kingwood Chorale
Dr. Todd Miller, Conductor
First Presbyterian Church of Kingwood
Kingwood, TX
May 5, 7:30 P.M.

Featured Artist
Artist Showcase with Opera in the Heights
Houston, TX
http://www.operaintheheights.org/artist-showcase/
April 29, 2 P.M.

Bass Soloist
Verdi Requiem with The Civic Symphony of Green Bay
Seong Graham, Conductor
Weidner Performing Art Center
Green Bay, WI
http://www.gbcivic.org/
April 15, 2 P.M.

Bass
Bringet dem Herrn Ehre seines Namens – BWV 148 (Bach) with Bach Society Houston
Rick Erickson, Conductor
Christ the King Lutheran Church
Houston, TX
http://bachsocietyhouston.org
April 29, 6:00 P.M.

Bass
Handel’s Brockes Passion with Bach Society Houston
Rick Erickson, Conductor
Christ the King Lutheran Church
Houston, TX
http://bachsocietyhouston.org
March 25, 6:00 P.M.
March 30, 3:00 P.M.

Doctoral Chamber Recital
Bach BWV 82 – “Ich habe genug”, Howells – “By the Waters of Babylon”, Fehre – “Der Schulmeister in der Singschule”
Edyth Bates Old Organ Recital Hall
Shepherd School of Music, Rice University
Houston, TX
February 19, 7:30 P.M.

Haman
Handel’s Esther and Felsted’s Jonah with Bach Society Houston in collaboration with Ars Lyrica Houston
Zilkha Hall, Hobby Center for the Performing Arts
http://bachsocietyhouston.org
February 16, 7:30 P.M.

2017
Bass Soloist
Handel’s Messiah with Texas Master Chorale
Brad Bouley, Conductor
Cypress Creek Christian Church
December 16, 7:30

Bass Soloist
Bach Magnificat: Vespers for Advent with Bach Society Houston
Rick Erickson, Conductor
Christ the King Lutheran Church
Houston, TX
http://bachsocietyhouston.org
December 10, 6:00 P.M.

Bass
Complete Bach Motets with Bach Society Houston
Rick Erickson, Conductor
Christ the King Lutheran Church
Houston, TX
November 5, 6:00 P.M.

Schwanengesang
DMA Recital
Charlie Tauber, Pianist
Lone Star College Kingwood
October 20, 8:00 p.m.
&
Duncan Recital Hall at Rice University – Shepherd School of Music
October 22, 3:00 p.m.

Bass
Mass in B Minor – BWV 232 (Bach) with Bach Society Houston
Rick Erickson, Conductor
Zilkha Hall, Hobby Center for the Performing Arts
Houston, TX
http://bachsocietyhouston.org
September 24, 6:00 P.M.

Bass (Chorus)
Various Works with Oregon Bach Festival
Matthew Halls, Conductor
Eugene, OR
June 29 – July 15

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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