French-Canadian bass-baritone Philippe Sly has gained international recognition for his “beautiful, blooming tone and magnetic stage presence” (San Francisco Chronicle). Mr. Sly is the first prize winner of the prestigious Concours Musical International de Montréal and a grand prize winner Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions singing the varied repertoire of Mozart, Bach, Handel, Stravinsky and Wagner. Recently, he was awarded Concert of the Year in Romantic, Post-Romantic and Impressionist Music at the 16th annual ceremony of the Prix Opus in Québec.
In the 2018-2019 season, Philippe Sly has returned to the Paris Opera for his first performances of Leporello in a new production of Don Giovanni conducted by Philippe Jordan. He has been heard in Handel’s Messiah with the Philadelphia Orchestra conducted by Yannick Nézet-Séguin and with the Handel & Haydn Society conducted by Bernard Labadie. Additional concert engagements include Haydn’s Lord Nelson Mass and Mozart’s Requiem with Orchestra of St. Luke’s and Labadie, as well as Bach Matthäus-Passion with the National Arts Centre in Ottawa. In recital, he performed Winterreisewith pianist Michael McMahon in Montreal, Vancouver, San Francisco, and others. He has also been seen in special performances with Le Chimera Project of Schubert’s Winterreise arranged for Klezmer quartet.
A native of Montreal, Mr. Sly frequently appears with the Montreal Symphony and Kent Nagano. He has been heard with the OSM in Debussy’s Pelléas et Melisande as Golaud, Honegger’s L’Aiglon (recorded for commercial release), Bach’s Johannes-Passion, Méphistophélès in Berlioz’s La Damnation de Faust, and Nielsen’s Symphony No. 3, as well as songs of Rachmaninoff, Grieg, and Sibelius. As a soloist with Yannick Nézet-Séguin, he has sung performances of Mozart’s Mass in C minor and Bach’s Matthäus-Passion, both with the Philadelphia Orchestra, and Bach’s Matthäus-Passion again with Orchestre Métropolitain in Montreal. He is featured as Antonio in a recording of Le Nozze di Figaro with Nézet-Séguin at the Baden-Baden Festival on Deutsche Grammophon.
Philippe has performed Panthée in Berlioz’s Les Troyens with Orchestre Philharmonique de Strasbourg under John Nelson, which won a Grammy Award (Warner/Erato). He made his Los Angeles Philharmonic debut as Guglielmo in Così fan tutteunder Gustavo Dudamel in a production by Christopher Alden, his Philadelphia Orchestra debut in Fauré’s Requiemconducted by Alain Altinoglu, Minnesota Orchestra debut in Fauré’s Requiem conducted by Bernard Labadie, and Dallas Symphony debut in Bach’s Matthäus-Passion with Jaap van Zweden. Additional concert engagements have included Handel’s Messiah with the Toronto Symphony, Montreal Symphony, Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, and at the National Arts Centre; Handel’s Solomon with Bernard Labadie and Les Violons du Roy; concerts of Fauré, Handel, and Haydn with Orchestre Symphonique de Québec; a concert of arias with the Malaysian Philharmonic; and Mozart’s Requiem and Mozart arias with the Toronto Symphony and Labadie.
On the opera stage, Philippe Sly debuted at the Paris Opera in a new production of Così fan tutte as Guglielmo conducted by Philippe Jordan, followed by Zebul in Claus Guth’s new production of Jephtha conducted by William Christie. He also debuted at Festival d’Aix-en-Provence and Opéra de Lyon as the title role in new productions of Don Giovanni. He debuted at the Hamburg Opera in fully-staged performances of Bach’s Matthäus-Passion in a Romeo Castellucci production which was broadcast across Europe and was seen at Opéra Comique in Boesmann’s Au monde. Mr. Sly was a member of the prestigious Adler Fellowship Program at the San Francisco Opera where he made his mainstage debut as Guglielmo in Così fan tutte conducted by Nicola Luisotti. He has also been seen in San Francisco as Ormonte in Christopher Alden’s award-winning production of Handel’s Partenope and as Figaro in Le Nozze di Figaro, in Les Troyens with the Orchestre Philharmonique de Strasbourg,. Mr. Sly made his Glyndebourne debut as Claudio in a new production of Berlioz’s Béatrice et Bénédictdirected by Laurent Pelly.
As a recitalist, Mr. Sly toured Canada in recital with the Debut Atlantic Series and was heard at the Toronto Summer Music Festival with pianist Julius Drake, as well as at the Banff Centre and with the Vancouver Coast Recital Society. He frequently collaborates with guitarist John Charles Britton for guitar/voice duo recitals of Schubert, most recently at the Tucson Guitar Society and in Montreal with Fondation Arte Musica / Musée des beaux-arts de Montréal. Mr. Sly was a Révélation Radio-Canada artist for the 2012-2013 season.
Among his recent and future projects: Don Giovanni and Le Nozze di Figaro in Vienna, Semele in Munich, Lakmé in Zurich, Alcina at the Metropolitan Opera in New York and The Exterminating angel at the Opéra National de Paris and, in concert, Mozart’s Requiem with the NAC Orchestra in Ottawa and at the Konzerthaus Berlin, St Matthew Passion with the New York Philharmonic.
Philippe Sly holds a Bachelor of Music degree in voice performance from McGill University’s Schulich School of Music in Montreal. After winning the MET National Council Auditions, Mr. Sly became a member of the ensemble at the Canadian Opera Company, followed by the San Francisco Opera’s Merola Program and Adler Fellowship. Mr. Sly recently recorded “Phantom on the Dance Floor” and subsequent music video with Canadian singer/songwriter Kiesza. His solo recordings are available on Analekta Records.
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Photo credits – © Mathieu Sly