|“As Dr. Malatesta, the oil that greases this elaborate conspiracy, Brian Leerhuber was sleazy in character but fleet of voice. Not only did he match Del Carlo’s rapid-fire patter note for note, he complemented it with lyrical passages, as in his compelling ‘Bella siccome un’angelo’ in the first scene of Act I. Del Carlo and Leerhuber stole the show repeatedly, individually and together, but nowhere more entertainingly than at the conclusion of their aforementioned duet, where they lapsed briefly into a broken English (“Don’t-a worry, Don Pasquale”).”
(Walter B. Bailey, Opera News, April 2006)
Brian Leerhuber has been praised as an artist of outstanding promise in opera, recital and orchestral concerts. His 2008-2009 season was dominated by Italian operas. He began the season as Marco in a new production of Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi by film legend Woody Allen conducted by James Conlon at Los Angeles Opera and he sang Schaunard in La Bohème at San Francisco Opera conducted by Nicola Luisotti. He made debuts with Opera Cleveland as Rossini’s Figaro and at Orlando Opera as Dandini in La Cenerentola.
During the 2007-2008 season Mr. Leerhuber portrayed General Robert E. Lee in the world premiere performances of Appomattox by Philip Glass at San Francisco Opera. He made his Los Angeles Opera debut as Schaunard and returned to Minnesota Opera as Orsanes in Reinhard Keiser’s Croesus. These performances were conducted by Harry Bicket and directed by Tim Albery and marked the work’s North American premiere. He was also heard on the concert platform performing as a featured soloist in the Grapes of Wrath Suite by Ricky Ian Gordon with the Los Angeles Master Chorale.
Mr. Leerhuber created the role of Tom Joad in Ricky Ian Gordon’s The Grapes of Wrath to great acclaim with Minnesota Opera and Utah Opera. He made his debut with the San Francisco Opera as Dr. Falke in Die Fledermaus conducted by Donald Runnicles.
Recent highlights of Mr. Leerhuber’s career include debuts with the Houston Grand Opera as Dr. Malatesta in Don Pasquale conducted by Patrick Summers and directed by James Robinson, the Tulsa Opera as Harlekin in Ariadne auf Naxos at Tulsa Opera, and the title role in Il Barbiere di Siviglia in a new production at Santa Fe Opera.
During the 2004-2005 season, he sang the role of Breedley in the world premiere of William Bolcom's A Wedding at Lyric Opera of Chicago directed by the late Robert Altman and conducted by Dennis Russell Davies. Later in the season, he sang Count Almaviva in Le Nozze di Figaro with Austin Lyric Opera as well as Marcello in La Bohème in Billings, Montana, and Der Kaiser von Atlantis with Cincinnati Opera under Summers and at the Spoleto as well as for his debut with the Concert Association of Florida under Conlon.
A Los Angeles native, Mr. Leehuber is a winner of the 2003 Sullivan Foundation Award and a former member of the Lyric Opera Center for American Artists. He made his Lyric Opera of Chicago debut as the Novice’s Friend in Billy Budd and then went on to appear as Papageno in the student matinee cast of Die Zauberflöte, as the Marchese in La traviata, as Silvano in Un ballo in maschera, and as Sharpless in the student matinee cast of Madama Butterfly. Mr. Leerhuber was also a Young Artist in Residence with the Juilliard Opera Center, where he performed in productions of The Rape of Lucretia (Tarquinius) and Gluck's Armide (Hidraôt). As Principal Baritone for Opera San Jose for two seasons, he sang the roles of Don Giovanni, Papageno, Danilo, Mercutio, Nick Shadow, Enrico (Lucia), Slim (Of Mice and Men) and Poeta (Il Turco in Italia).
He has appeared with Festival Opera of Walnut Creek to great critical acclaim as Schaunard and both the Mozart and Rossini Figaros. At the Music Academy of the West, he sang in Rossini's Il viaggio a Reims (Don Alvaro) and Le nozze di Figaro (Conte).
Other past engagements include appearances with the Santa Fe Opera, Eugene Opera, Rimrock Opera, Rogue Opera, Monterey Symphony, Northwest Indiana Symphony, San Francisco Concert Chorale, Racine Symphony, Opera Buffs and the Berkeley Opera - singing the role of Eumée in the West Coast premiere of Fauré's Penelope.
In the summer of 2003, Mr. Leerhuber made his European operatic debut in France at the Lyrique en Mer festival as Guglielmo (Così fan tutte) and Schaunard.
An accomplished recitalist, Mr. Leerhuber has performed for the Marilyn Horne Foundation in the Sixth Annual Birthday Concert at Lincoln Center, as well as in a solo recital at the Kosciuszko Foundation in New York City, and Foundation sponsored recitals in Tyler, Texas and Carmel, California. Other recital credits include the 92nd Street Y in New York City, Alice Tully Hall, the Bank of Brazil Cultural Center in Rio de Janeiro, Ravinia, University of Illinois at Chicago, Appalachian Music Festival, Cleveland Art Song Festival, Hidden Valley Music Seminars, several Sundays At Four concerts from the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (broadcast live over KUSC Radio), and a staged version of Wolf's Italianisches Liederbuch, directed by Frank Corsaro.
Mr. Leerhuber graduated Summa cum Laude from UCLA, where he performed the roles of Papageno, Testo (Il combattimento di Tancredi e Clorinda) and Riccardo in a concert version of I Puritani conducted by Plácido Domingo. He currently makes his home in San Francisco.