Bejun Mehta

Acclaimed by The New York Times as “One of the most commanding, exhilarating countertenors of the modern era” and by The Los Angeles Times as “…less a countertenor than simply a remarkable singer”, American countertenor and pedagogue Bejun Mehta enjoys a renowned and influential world career. Mehta’s application of bel canto technique has changed and expanded what it means to be a modern countertenor.

In a career marked by consistency and durability, the press chronicled every stage: from debut (“It is a thrill to report: A star is born” –Los Angeles Times 1999, “Mr. Mehta is a sheer singing animal”/“A justified sensation” –New York Times 1998/2003) to mid-career (“Bejun Mehta is arguably the best countertenor in the world today” –Süddeutsche Zeitung/2012), to the present: “The fact that [Mehta] turned 50 in June of [2018] is not visible and the voice of the world-famous countertenor also shows no signs of wear and tear; he astonished in every respect” –Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung/2019. “Pure vocal perfection” –Opernglas 2022.

For over twenty-five years, Mehta has performed leading roles—some in productions specifically mounted for him—at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, La Scala Milan, Berlin State Opera, Bavarian State Opera Munich, Hamburg State Opera, Theater an der Wien, Théâtre Royal de La Monnaie, De Nederlandse Opera, Gran Teatre del Liceu Barcelona, Teatro Real Madrid, Zurich Opera, Opéra Nationale de Paris and the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées, the Metropolitan Opera, New York City Opera, Glimmerglass, Chicago Lyric Opera, San Francisco Opera, Los Angeles Opera, Salzburg Festival, Glyndebourne, the Aix-en-Provence and Santa Fe Festivals and the Wiener Festwochen.

On the concert stage, either touring CD programs or in recital of wide-ranging repertoire, Mehta has appeared at the Amsterdam Concertgebouw, Wigmore Hall London, the Wiener Musikverein and Konzerthaus, the Haus für Mozart/Salzburg, Carnegie Hall, Zankel Hall, Palais des Beaux-Arts and Flagey/Brussels, Palau des Arts Valencia, Auditorio Nacional de Madrid, Cité de la Musique and Théâtre du Châtelet Paris, Prinzregententheater and Cuvilliés Theatre/Munich, Berliner Konzerthaus and Boulez Saal, Rudolfinum and Estates Theater/Prague, the Edinburgh, San Sebastian, Verbier, and Schleswig- Holstein Festivals and the BBC Proms London.

His many recordings have won the 2011 ECHO Klassik for Opera Recording of the Year (Ombra cara), the Diapason d’Or (twice: Ombra cara, CANTATA, yet can I hear…), Le Diamant d’Opera Magazine (CANTATA, yet can I hear…), the Choc de Classica (multiple), BBC Music Magazine Premiere Recording of the Year (Written on Skin), Gramophone Award – Contemporary (Written on Skin), Opera Magazine Award (multiple), and the Edison Klassiek (multiple). Mehta has been twice nominated for the GRAMMY Award, once as singer for Agrippina/Harmonia Mundi and won as Recording Producer for Janos Starker’s 1997 Bach Cello Suites on BMG/RCA. He was shortlisted for the Preis der Deutschen Schallplattenkritik and nominated for the 2004 Laurence Olivier Award for Outstanding Achievement in Opera (Orlando/Covent Garden).

Active as a voice teacher since 2015, Mehta has been a regular Guest Professor at the Conservatorium van Amsterdam and the Oslo Academy of Opera and is often invited to give lessons/ masterclasses for Young Artist Programs such as the Salzburg Young Singers Project, the Opera Studios of the Netherlands Opera and Staatsoper Hamburg, and CAMPUS at Theater an der Wien. Mehta maintains private voice studios in Berlin and New York and currently has students in the ensembles of the Komische Oper Berlin, Oper Nuremberg, the Wiener Staatsoper, et al., in competitions worldwide and launched into the career. Mehta will sit on the juries for the 2023 Queen Elisabeth International Voice Competition and the Cesti Competition for Baroque Opera.

Mehta’s own voice studies were with Joan-Patenaude Yarnell (Curtis Institute of Music and Manhattan School of Music) and with Phyllis Curtin (Boston University). He won fellowships to Tanglewood and the Music Academy of the West for further study. His special musical mentors/teachers have been Marilyn Horne, Arleen Auger, Claudio Abbado, Leonard Bernstein, and Janos Starker. From 1984-1990 Mehta studied violoncello with Aldo Parisot (Yale School of Music). Mehta attended Yale University and was graduated in 1990 with a B.A. magna cum laude With Distinction in Germanic Languages and Literatures.

Mehta has been fortunate to have numerous roles and new works written for him, most notably George Benjamin’s Written on Skin, widely considered one of the most important new operas of the 21st century. Benjamin subsequently wrote a solo cantata for Mehta called Dream of the Song which he has performed with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, the Orchestre de Paris, and the Boston Symphony, among others. Mehta also originated the role of Stefan in Toshio Hosokawa’s Stilles Meer for the Hamburg Staatsoper and gave the world premiere of I am in need of Music by Tobias Picker for the occasion of Marilyn Horne’s 70th Birthday Gala in Carnegie Hall.

He has sung virtually all the major roles in his Fach and has enjoyed singing newly rediscovered works by composers such as Traetta, Graun, and Conti. The list of acclaimed conductors with whom Mehta has worked includes Daniel Barenboim, Andris Nelsons, Daniel Harding, Zubin Mehta, Donald Runnicles, Sir Charles Mackerras, George Benjamin, Kent Nagano, Nikolaus Harnoncourt, René Jacobs, Ivor Bolton, Marc Minkowski, Harry Bicket, William Christie, Christophe Rousset, Emmanuelle Haïm, Giovanni Antonini, Ottavio Dantone, Frans Brüggen, Nicholas McGegan, among many others.

Bejun Mehta is one of the very few classical singers in history to have been profiled by the CBS Newsmagazine 60 Minutes (with Bob Simon 2002). Other television profiles include A&E’s Breakfast with the Arts, Arte, ARD, ORF 2 along with dozens of print profi les worldwide. At La Scala, a string of historic firsts: In 2017 Mehta became the first countertenor to sing the title role and make the house premiere of Tamerlano; in 2018 he became the first countertenor in history invited by La Scala to give a mainstage solo recital; in 2019 Mehta became the first countertenor to sing the role of Giulio Cesare in the house.

Mehta’s 1983 boy soprano recording of Handel Arias with the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra (Bejun) is still available after forty years on Delos Music. (Debut Artist of the Year –Ovation. “Astonishing…a voice of freshness and sweet beauty.” –Stereo Review)

Website: bejunmehta.com
Twitter: @bejunmehta

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