Grammy Award-winning bass Wei Wu recently made his company debut with the Santa Fe Opera as Kobun in the world premiere production of The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs, a role which he will reprise in his debut with San Francisco Opera in the spring of 2020. Original engagements for the COVID-19 shortened 2019-2020 season features company debuts with Opera Philadelphia as the Bonze in Madama Butterfly and with Pensacola Opera as Ferrando in Il Trovatore and role debut with Pittsburgh Symphony as Rocco in Fedelio. He returns to Washington National Opera as Sarastro in Die Zauberflöte and Lodovico in Otello, NCPA Beijing as the Four Villains in Les contes d’Hoffmann and appears with the PROTOTYPE Festival as the Nephew in Blood Moon.
Next season, the bass will return to Opera Philadelphia for a new world premiere commission by Jennifer Higdon. He will make his role debut of the Price Gremin with Minnesota Opera. He will return to the Metropolitan Opera in the fall to cover the role of Don Basilio in Il Barbiere di Sivigilia. He will also join the touring performances to reprise the role as Kobun in the The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs Altlanta Opera, Lyric Opera of Kansas City and Austin Opera. Other company and Symphony debuts also include with Portland Opera as Ferrando in Il Trovatore. Mozart Requiem as the Bass soloist with Grand Rapids Symphony.
Last season, Mr. Wu returned to Washington National Opera as the Sacristan in Tosca, sang the role of Raimondo in Lucia di Lammermoor with Maryland Lyric Opera, and debuted with Minnesota Opera as Arnold “Chick” Gandil in the world premiere of Joel Puckett’s The Fix. With NCPA Beijing he appeared as Il Re in Aida, and he appeared in concert with The Orchestra Now for Verdi’s Requiem.
In the 2017-2018 season, Mr. Wu sang Don Basilio in Il barbiere di Siviglia with Washington National Opera, appeared in concert with the West Virginia Symphony for Verdi’s Requiem, and sang the Bonze in Madama Butterfly with The Princeton Festival.
The bass’s performances in the 2016-2017 season included creating the role of Kobun in The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs in his debut with Santa Fe Opera, Timur in Turandot with Pittsburgh Opera and Don Basilio in Il barbiere di Siviglia with NCPA Beijing, and he covered Gualtiero Walton in I Puritani for the Metropolitan Opera. On the concert stage, he joined the Kansas City Symphony and Choral Arts DC for the Mozart Requiem, and appeared withWashington Concert Opera as Phanuel in Hériodade.
Mr. Wu’s 2015-2016 season included engagements singing the Old Hebrew in Samson et Dalila at the NCPA Beijing, Bonze in Madama Butterfly with North Carolina Opera in his company debut, Father Trulove in The Rake’s Progress with Pittsburgh Opera, and the Ghost of Nino in Washington Concert Opera’s production of Semimirade. In his final year as a Cafritz Young Artist of Washington National Opera, his role assignments included covering the role of Zuniga in Carmen, and Wilcox in the World Premiere of Better Gods.
In the 2014-2015 season, he appeared as Colline in La bohème, The King in The Little Prince, Javelinot in Dialogues of the Carmelites, covers the Captain in Florencia en el Amazonas, and sings Mr. Shaw in the world premiere Penny. He made his debut with Washington Concert Opera in Guntram under the baton of Maestro Antony Walker, and joined the Glyndebourne Festival to cover Osmin in Die entführung aus dem Serail. Mr. Wu also made his Alice Tully Hall debut singing in concert with performers from China’s I Sing Festival, and debuted with NCPA Beijing as the Four Villains in Les contes d’Hoffman under director Francesca Zambello.
In his first season with Washington National Opera, Mr. Wu has made his debut in the world premiere production of The Lion, The Unicorn and Me as the Inn Keeper, Lizard, Ox and The Shepherd, and he also appeared in Breaking, part of the American Opera Initiative. He has also appeared in The Magic Flute as the Second Armored Man at the Kennedy Center.
A native of China, the bass first came to the United States as a young artist covering the titular role in the world premiere of Poet Li Bai at Central City Opera in 2007. He also served as the lead cover of Li Bai throughout the production’s subsequent tour in Rome, Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Denver and Los Angeles. While a student at University of Colorado, Wei Wu performed roles including: Figaro in Le nozze di Figaro (University of Colorado), Colline in La bohème (Colorado Springs Philharmonic), Ferrando in Il trovatore and Tom in Un ballo in maschera (China National Opera).
Mr. Wu is a regional finalist and district special award winner (Rocky Mountain Region) for the Metropolitan Opera National Council Audition in 2010 and 2012. He was also the winner of the Denver Lyric Opera Guild Competition in 2011 and 2012. The second prize winner of The Gerda Lissner Foundation Vocal Competition and placed third in the 5th Taiwan Vocal Competition. He is featured as Kōbun Otogawa on the original cast live recording of The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs, which received the 2019 Grammy Award for Best Opera Recording.
Mr. Wu received his B.M. in Vocal Performance from the People’s University of China, Beijing, and received his Performance Certificate and M.M. in Voice Performance at the University of Colorado at Boulder.