A recent graduate of the Ryan Opera Center at the Lyric Opera of Chicago, tenor Jesse Donner has already distinguished himself on the operatic and concert stage with his “vibrant” (Chicago Classical Review) and “fresh and juicy” (Chicago Tribune) voice. This season he will join the Louisville Orchestra as the soloist in Mozart’s REQUIEM and Handel’s MESSIAH. He will return to the Chicago Philharmonic to solo on their Concert for Peace as part of their Polish Festival, and will sing on the Fall Gala Concert for Toledo Opera. This season also brings his company debut with Dupage Opera as Eisenstein in DIE FLEDERMAUS. In 2017-2018, Mr. Donner made his debut with Union Avenue Opera as Ismaele in NABUCCO and sang the Emporer Alteum in TURANDOT with Cedar Rapids Opera.
Mr. Donner was a resident artist at Lyric Opera of Chicago from 2014-2017, where he was commended for his “polished” and “heroic” tenor (Chicago Classical Review). In 2016-2017, he sang Froh in DAS RHEINGOLD, First Armored Man in DIE ZAUBERFLÖTE, and Flavio in NORMA on the mainstage, while covering Normanno in LUCIA DI LAMMERMOOR, Helenus in LES TROYENS, and Lensky in EUGENE ONEGIN. With the Ryan Opera Center, Donner’s concert appearances included an excerpt from TROILUS AND CRESSIDA with the Civic Orchestra and Sir Andrew Davis, and a concert performance of Lennie Small in OF MICE AND MEN with the Grant Park Orchestra, where he “came into his own with his touching portrait of the simple-minded Lennie” (Chicago Tribune).
In the 2015-2016 season, he sang Abdallo in NABUCCO and Der Kellner in DER ROSENKAVALIER and covered several leading roles, including General Alfredo in the world premiere of BEL CANTO, Ismaele in NABUCCO and the Drum Major in WOZZECK. To close the season, he shared a recital with renowned soprano Christine Brewer as part of Harris Theater’s Beyond the Aria series and received critical acclaim for his Rising Stars in Concert performance of the Prince’s aria from Dvořák’s RUSALKA.
Mr. Donner debuted Diener in CAPRICCIO and Walther in TANNHÄUSER in the 2014-2015 season, and covered Walter in THE PASSENGER. For his performance in Tannhäuser, Opera News noted that “Jesse Donner fielded a notable Walther, who could be heard pealing above the ensembles.” On the concert stage, he debuted with Chicago’s Civic Orchestra in Poulenc’s LES MAMELLES DE TIRÉSIAS and returned later in their season as tenor soloist in Mozart’s GREAT MASS IN C MINOR. Donner also appeared with the Adrian Symphony as tenor soloist in Beethoven’s NINTH SYMPHONY.
Mr. Donner won the 2015 Luminarts Fellowship and the Bel Canto grand prize, received the 2014 George Shirley Award for Opera Performance, a special encouragement award from the 2014 Metropolitan Opera National Council Regional Auditions, and first place in the 2012 Michigan Friends of Opera Competition. A native of Des Moines, IA, Donner completed graduate and post-graduate studies at the University of Michigan and received a Bachelor of Music degree from Iowa State University.
Ismaele in NABUCCO
Jesse Donner brings a strong and pure tenor and a noble bearing to the role of Ismaele. - Broadwayworld.com
True heldentenors are hard to find; UAO has a fine one in Jesse Donner’s Ismaele. He’s a tall and commanding figure, with a ringing voice. - St.Louis Dispatch
Walther in TANNHÄUSER
Jesse Donner fielded a notable Walther, who could be heard pealing above the ensembles. - Opera News
Flavio in NORMA
Jesse Donner a worthy Flavio - Chicago Classical Review
Oct 23-27, 2018
Nov 2-3, 2018
Concert for Peace: Polish Festival
Nov 7-11, 2018
Nov 28-Dec 1, 2018
NW Indiana Symphony Orchestra
Dec 11-14, 2018
Einsenstein - Die Fledermaus
Jan 26 & 27, 2019
Rodolfo - La Boheme
Union Avenue Opera
July 26 &27, Aug 2 & 3, 2019