“Bernheim is by some distance the finest Des Grieux I have heard: young, good-looking, with an understanding of the style – his dreamlike, head-voiced ‘Rêve’ was a miracle of vocal elegance – he is without equal today.”
The Sunday Times, April 2019 (reviewing his debut as Des Grieux in Massenet’s Manon)
One of the leading tenors of the new generation of singers, Benjamin Bernheim has made a string of major appearances at the world’s most prestigious opera houses in recent years. His list of recent and forthcoming performances, including critically acclaimed returns to the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, the Vienna Staatsoper, the Opéra National de Paris and La Scala, Milan, underline his status as the opera world’s brightest rising star.
Critics and audiences alike have been captivated by Bernheim’s interpretations of the great lyric roles of Puccini, Verdi, Donizetti, Gounod, Massenet and Tchaikovsky. His voice, described as “flawless and pure” by Opera News, and distinguished by its striking expressive breadth and tonal variety, reflects a rare dedication to the art and craft of singing. “If we, as singers, simply remain at one level, we stop being artists,” he told Spanish music magazine Codalario in March 2019. “We have to keep working and improving. That’s why it’s so important to me to learn new repertoire, travel to other countries and sing in other opera houses.”
Benjamin Bernheim signed an exclusive long-term contract with Deutsche Grammophon in April 2019. His Yellow Label debut album, set for international release in autumn 2019, captures the central roles in his current Romantic repertoire, including arias from operas by Gounod, Massenet, Donizetti, Tchaikovsky, Verdi and Puccini.
Born in Paris in 1985 and raised in Geneva, Benjamin Bernheim was introduced to singing during childhood by his opera-loving parents. He joined the Geneva Conservatory’s children’s choir at the age of ten and, soon after, fell in love with opera when the choir performed in Cavalleria rusticana and Pagliacci at the Grand-Théâtre in Geneva. Bernheim studied at the Conservatoire de Lausanne with Gary Magby and Dale Duesing, participated in masterclasses with Giacomo Aragall, and attended Carlo Bergonzi’s renowned Accademia Verdiana in Busseto.
In 2008 Bernheim joined Zurich Opera’s International Opera Studio; he returned to the company two years later as a member of its renowned ensemble, and was soon in high demand as a guest artist at the world’s leading opera houses. In recent seasons he has sung Puccini’s Rodolfo in London, Paris, Vienna and Zurich, Gounod’s Faust for his North American debut in Chicago as well as in Paris, Verdi’s Alfredo in Zurich, London and Berlin, and Tchaikovsky’s Lenski in Berlin. He has also played several roles in productions at the Salzburg Whitsun and Summer festivals.
Highlights of Benjamin Bernheim’s 2018-19 season have included a return to the Royal Opera House for his first performance of Verdi’s Requiem, conducted by Sir Antonio Pappano; his debut as Nemorino in Vienna, where he also appeared in La bohème and Die Zauberflöte; La traviata at Covent Garden and La Scala; and Puccini’s Messa di gloria with Pappano at London’s Barbican. In April 2019, he made his debut as Des Grieux in Massenet’s Manon in Bordeaux to extraordinary critical and public acclaim: “In this role debut, [Bernheim] takes gold from the outset: superlative diction, nobility of phrasing, power where necessary, and careful attention to line with a masterful use of the mixed voice, essential for this repertoire … Here is the new tenor French opera has been waiting for.” (Forum Opera)
Next season will include a return to the Opéra de Paris for new productions of both La traviata (September/October 2019) and Manon (February-April 2020), as well as his house and role debut as the Duke in Rigoletto at the Bayerische Staatsoper in Munich (November 2019). He will reprise the role of Rodolfo in Berlin (December 2019), Paris and Munich (both July 2020) and that of Alfredo in Berlin (January 2020) and Vienna (June 2020).
In a recent interview for the Vienna Staatsoper, he looked forward to the opportunity of exploring heavier roles and continuing to cultivate the greatest possible range of vocal colours as he matures. “The Benjamin Bernheim [of] three years ago had different voice colours and views than today’s Bernheim,” he recalled. “And in three years everything will be different again.”