Podcast 65: Tenor Barry Banks

Peter, Brooke, Walker, and Chuck sit down for a rollicking convo with internationally renowned bel canto tenor Barry Banks about how his youthful goal to be a concert trumpet player morphed into his highly successful career in opera. Other topics covered include how to co-parent a 13-month-old while on tour, and Barry’s exciting upcoming season including his performance of Truffaldino in The Love for Three Oranges as part of Opera Philadelphia’s 019 Festival.

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  • BLUE
    • Jeanine Tesori, composer
    • Tazewell Thompson, librettist & director
    • Glimmerglass Festival 2019
    • Kenneth Kellogg, The Father
    • Briana Hunter, The Mother
    • Aaron Crouch, The Son
  • Paris, France
  • The Moulin Rouge
  • The Palais Garnier


  • Paris Opera debut at the age of 25


  • Opera Saratoga
    • Mozart & Salieri by Rimsky-Korsako
      • based on the poetic drama by Alexander Pushki
    • Daughter of the Regiment by Donizett
    • Ellen West, World Premier
      • Ricky Ian Gordon, composer
      • Frank Bidart, poe
  • Hamilton on Broadway


  • Joe’s Pub
    • So Far (An Evening to Benefit Young At Arts)
    • Lindsey Rider, singer & producer
    • Stephen Powell
  • Gurrelieder by Schoenberg
    • Auditorio Nacional de Musica
  • Madrid, Spain


  • The Cricket Recovers, a children’s opera
  • Richard Ayres, composer
  • Tanglewood Festival of Contemporary Music

As a boy, Barry was the boy soprano soloist in his local family church. When he began high school he started to play the trumpet and became a member of:

  • Staffordshire County Music School
  • Staffordshire County Youth Choir, as a chorister 
  • Staffordshire County Youth Brass Band, principal cornet player 

He was a member of multiple brass bands including: 

  • The Northern Brass Ensemble 
  • Greenway Moor Brass Band 

Barry began his training as an opera singer at these 2 organizations:

  • Royal Northern College of Music, 1979
  • BBC Northern Singers 
  • National Opera Studio in London, 1985

Sir Alan Charles Maclaurin Mackerras

Australian conductor who recorded all of the Gilbert & Sullivan operas

Ian Page, British Conductor

  • Classical Opera Company, founder/artistic director
  • Mitridate, re di Ponto by Mozart, 2015 recording
  • Barry sang Mitridate

Guilliame Tell by Rossini

  • Welsh National Opera, Cardiff 2014
    • Barry sang Arnold

Opera Philadelphia 019 Festival

  • The Love For Three Oranges by Sergei Prokofiev
    • Allesandro Talevi, director
    • Corrado Rovaris, conductor
    • Barry is singing Truffaldino

Dallas Opera

  • The Golden Cockerel by Rimsky-Korsakov
    • Paul Curran, director/choreographer
    • Emmanuel Villaume, conductor
    • Barry is singing Astrologer

Los Angeles Opera

  • Euridice, world premiere opera
    • Matthew Aucoin, composer
    • Sarah Ruhl, librettist and original playwright
    • Mary Zimmerman, director
    • Barry is singing Hades

Jonathan Harvey, British Composer and Music Professor

New York City Opera

  • Il Viaggio al Reims
    • Barry was in the 1st production to use the new ambient sound system
    • Jim Robinson, director



  • The Pleasures (and Pitfalls) of Love (featuring opera excerpts from Mozart)
    • Summer Vocal Arts Program 2019
    • Brooklyn Music School 9/5 & 9/7
  • Metropolitan Opera
    • Akhnten, Porgy & Bess, Wozzeck
  • The Constitution
    • Benjamin Yarmolinsky, composer
    • Vertical Player Repertory


  • Das Lied von Erde (The Song of the Earth) 
    • Mahler, arr, conductor


  • dell’Arte Opera Ensemble Summer Festival 2019
    • Princess Maleine
    • La liberazione di Ruggiero
    • Scenes from the Tower
  • Moulin Rouge on Broadway
  • Bat Out of Hell at City Center
  • Opera Philadelphia 019 Festival
    • The Love For Three Oranges

First Opera Performance attended


  • Wozzeck
  • Werner Herzog directed a movie of the play starring Klaus Kinski


  • Eugene Onegin by Tchaikovsky


  • The Second Hurricane by Aaron Copland


  • The Magic Flute & Otello
  • Stewart Burrows, tenor
  • Charles Craig, tenor


In a prestigious career built on excellent bel canto credentials, Barry Banks performances of roles by Bellini, Rossini and Donizetti have taken him to the world’s leading opera houses including The Metropolitan Opera, Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, Teatre del Liceu and the Salzburg Festival, culminating in his debut later this season at the Rossini Opera Festival, Pesaro in a revival of Elisabetta regina d’Inghilterra. In the USA, his season will not only include debuts at Opera Philadelphia (The Love for Three Oranges ), and at Dallas Opera (The Golden Cockerel ); but will also include the world premiere of Matt Aucoin’s Eurydice at Los Angeles Opera.

Concert highlights include Lulu with the Cleveland Orchestra under Franz Welser-Möst. Barry Banks’ disco graphy includes Mitridate with Classical Opera Company (Ian Page), The Elixir of Love, The Italian Girl in Algiers, Don Pasquale, Don Giovanni , The Thieving Magpie and The Magic Flute all in the ‘Opera in English’ series for Chandos. DVD releases include Armida from The Metropolitan Opera. His solo recital disc for Chandos – Barry Banks sings Bel Canto Arias – received substantial critical acclaim and his performance in Mahler’s mighty Symphony No. 8 with the Utah Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Thierry Fischer is released on the Reference Records label.

His performance of Berlioz’ Grand Messe des Morts under the late Sir Colin Davis and the London Symphony Orchestra is released on LSO Live.

Credits: Barry Banks, Peter Szep, Walker Lewis, Chuck Sachs, Brooke Larimer, Rossa Crean (Theme Music), Peter Szep (Editor), Photo: Christian Steiner

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