“Whatever he sings, Pursell’s diction is a model of clarity, and his intriguingly dark voice is beautifully projected…”
“note-perfect and poignant.”
“power, precision and congeniality”
American bass-baritone Christian Pursell is quickly establishing himself as one of the rising stars of the next generation of singers.
Currently in his final year as an Adler Fellow at the San Francisco Opera, Mr. Pursell’s 2019/20 highlights include Lieutenant Ratcliffe in Billy Budd at the San Francisco Opera, his role debut as Escamillo in Carmen at Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, and Handel’s Messiah with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.
His 2018/19 season saw debuts at San Francisco Opera as Walter Raleigh in Roberto Devereux, and at Walt Disney Concert Hall as Samuel in Handel’s Saul with Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra. His 2017 engagements included debuts at Wiener Staatsoper as Second Englishman in Prokofiev’s The Gambler, Houston Grand Opera as Tom in Laura Kaminsky’s Some Light Emerges, and a critically acclaimed performance of Dandini in La Cenerentola with the Merola Opera Program.
During his time as an Adler Fellow, Mr. Pursell’s appeared on the San Francisco Opeara’s mainstage as the Jailer in Tosca, Count Lamoral in Arabella under the baton of Marc Albrecht, and an Angel in It’s a Wonderful Life conducted by Patrick Summers. Previous roles performed include Marcello in La Bohème, Belcore in L’Elisir d’Amore, Pandolfe in Cendrillon, Harašta in The Cunning Little Vixen, and Liberto/Littore in L’Incoronazione di Poppea.
As a concert soloist, Mr. Pursell has performed Britten’s War Requiem, Brahms’ Ein deutsches Requiem, Bach’s St. Matthew Passion, Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9, Haydn’s The Creation, Faure’s Requiem, Pärt’s Passio, and Strauss’ Salome. His first commercial recording, the world premiere of Gregory Spears’ Fellow Travelers with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, was released in 2017.
A 2019 Igor Gorin Memorial Award recipient and national semi-finalist of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions (2016), Mr. Pursell is a Richard F. Gold Career Grant recipient (2018), winner of the Partners for the Arts competition (2018), second award winner of the Jensen Foundation competition (2017), winner of the Theodor Uppman Award from the Sullivan Foundation (2017), and recipient of a Sara Tucker Study Grant from the Richard Tucker Music Foundation (2017).
A native of Santa Cruz, California, Mr. Pursell is a graduate of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, and received his Master of Music degree from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music.