"Ben Heppner is one of today’s truly great dramatic tenors"

BBC Music Magazine, London, June 2005


Ben Heppner was born in Murrayville, BC (Canada) on 14 January 1956. In 1974 he began studies at the University of British Columbia Music School and won the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation Talent Competition five years later. In 1988 he received the first Birgit Nilsson Prize at the Metropolitan Opera Auditions, making his United States debut at Carnegie Hall in a Command Performance for the King and Queen of Sweden and his US opera debut as Walther von der Vogelweide in Tannhäuser at the Lyric Opera of Chicago. His European debut came one year later as Lohengrin at the Royal Swedish Opera, followed by his debut at La Scala, Milan in 1990 as Walther von Stolzing in Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, and his Japanese debut with Das Lied von der Erde in 1991. Ben Heppner has won numerous awards and distinctions, including several honorary doctorates from Canadian universities, the Royal Philharmonic Society’s Music Award 2005 and Queen Elizabeth II’s Golden Jubilee Medal 2002; in 2001 he was made an Officer within the Order of Canada. His recordings have been crowned with a wealth of prestigious awards.



1992 Salzburg Festival début in title role of La clemenza di Tito. Creates title role for the world premičre of William Bolcom's McTeague at Lyric Opera of Chicago
1993 Receives Echo Deutscher Schallplattenpreis for "Singer of the Year"
1994 Début as Peter Grimes at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden. Winner of Vanier Award from the Toronto Junior Board of Trade
1995 Sings the role of Walther von Stolzing in concert performances of Die Meistersinger under Sir Georg Solti
1996 First staged performances of Andrea Chénier, for Seattle Opera. Winner of Seattle Opera's "Artist of the Year" award. Appears as Bacchus in Ariadne auf Naxos with the Metropolitan Opera on tour in Frankfurt
1997 First staged Tristan performances in Seattle Opera's Tristan und Isolde. Gurrelieder with the Minnesota Orchestra
1998 First solo recital tour of North America, appearing in Kansas City, Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, Carmel (California), and Fairfax (Virginia)
1999 Television appearances include "Something Special - Portrait of a Tenor" for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and "An Evening with Ben Heppner"
2000 Millennium gala concert in Toronto. Appears as the Emperor in Die Frau ohne Schatten at the Vienna State Opera. Florestan in Fidelio at the Metropolitan Opera, New York. First performances of Aeneas in Les Troyens in London with the London Symphony Orchestra under Sir Colin Davis
2001 Début at the Opéra national de Paris as Peter Grimes. First performances of Otello in concert with the Munich Philharmonic under James Levine; stage début in the role with Lyric Opera of Chicago. Created Officer of the Order of Canada. Signs exclusive contract with Deutsche Grammophon
2002 Concert of German arias for VARA Radio in Amsterdam with Edo de Waart. Recitals in Canada and the US, followed by further concerts of German and French operatic repertoire throughout Europe. Recording of French opera arias released on DG (Juno Award 2002)
2003 Sings Aeneas in a new production of Les Troyens with Levine at the Met. Stars in festival performances of Tristan und Isolde at the Berlin Staatsoper with Daniel Barenboim and also gives a solo recital at the Staatsoper. Concert in Puerto Rico followed by concert performances of Fidelio with the Munich Philharmonic and James Levine. Reprises role of Aeneas in multi-award-winning Les Troyens with the London Symphony and Sir Colin Davis at the BBC Proms, followed by another complete performance in Birmingham’s Symphony Hall. Further performances of Tristan at the Met. Walther in Die Meistersinger at the Paris Opéra. Recitals in Toronto, Vancouver, Montréal and Atlanta. Christmas season performances of Messiah in Kitchener, Ontario. Releases: Fidelio from the Met with Levine (on DVD) and a recording of Tosti songs
2004 Appearances include the Marilyn Horne 70th Birthday Gala in February at Carnegie Hall, recitals in the US and throughout Europe, Lohengrin at the Bavarian State Opera in April and May, Britten’s Peter Grimes at Covent Garden in July, and Verdi’s Otello at the Met in September and October. Deutsche Grammophon releases include DVDs of complete live performances of Tristan (Record Academy Prize, Tokyo, 2005) and Die Meistersinger from the Met
2005Further performances of Otello at the Met (with Levine) as well as at Covent Garden (with Pappano), Tristan at the Opéra-Bastille (with Salonen), Stolzing at the Berlin Staatsoper (with Barenboim), Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde with Levine and the MET Orchestra at Carnegie Hall, Elgar’s Gerontius with Sir Colin Davis and the LSO at the Barbican, recitals throughout the US and Canada
2006Tristan at the Vienna State Opera (with Welser-Möst), Lohengrin and Parsifal as well as Beethoven’s Fidelio at the Met and Missa Solemnis with the BSO at Boston’s Symphony Hall (all with Levine); Fidelio at the Châtelet (with Chung), Puccini’s Turandot at Covent Garden, and Idomeneo at the Met; concerts with the Toronto SO. CD release this year: selections from Wagner’s Ring cycle
01/2006