Recognized for his charismatic portrayals and commanding voice, Lester Lynch is receiving rave reviews as he tackles some of Verdi’s most important baritone roles from Scarpia to Rigoletto to Count di Luna. Opera Today recently enthused that“It was booming baritone Lester Lynch who served notice that he is now in consideration for admittance to the Scarpia Preferred Pantheon. Mr. Lynch sang much of the night with exceptionally controlled suavity and mellifluous rolling tone, but when he needed to pour it on he had the Puccinian fire power and the dramatic heat to raise the hair on the back of your neck.” The Cincinnati Enquirer wrote “Lester Lynch made a superb Macbeth, delivering an authoritative performance with a firm, powerful voice and wonderfully communicating both tragedy and madness.”
Highlights of the 2011 - 12 season for Mr. Lynch include the title role in Rigoletto with the Canadian Opera Company, a return engagement with the Bregenzer Festspiele as Gerald in Andrea Chenier, and a concert performance with the Greenville Symphony, among others. Future seasons include appearances with the Berlin Philharmonic and Dallas Opera.
During the 2010 - 11 season Mr. Lynch joined the San Francisco Opera as Carbon in Cerano de Bergerac and Lyric Opera of Chicago as Herald in Lohengrin, where The Chicago Tribune declared he sang with “clarion conviction” and MusicalCriticism.com wrote Lynch has a “resounding baritone, with its deep, resonant overtones and hearty vibrato that bounces around the corners of the theater like a ball in a pinball machine.” Additional engagements included the Bregenzer Festpiele as Gerald in Andrea Chenier, and the Kentucky Opera as Alfio and Tonio in Cavalleria Rusticana and I Pagliacci. He offered concerts with the Virginia Symphony, Akron Symphony, and Bayerische Rundfunkorchester, and a solo recital at the Saint Louis Art Museum.
During the 2009 - 10 season the joined Washington National Opera as Porgy in Porgy and Bess, Glimmerglass Opera as Scarpia in Tosca, and the New Jersey State Opera as Crown in Porgy and Bess. As Nottingham in Roberto Devereaux with Minnesota Opera, the Star Tribune raved that he is “equipped for stardom” with his “vocally and physically charismatic Nottingham, who persuasively negotiates the sudden turn from stalwart ally to enraged husband.” In addition, he sang Porgy in a concert performance with the Jacksonville Symphony, Crown in Porgy and Bess with the Orlando Philharmonic, Handel’s Messiah with the Virginia Symphony, Vaughan Williams’ A Sea Symphony with the Santa Barbara Choral Society, and offered a recital at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music.
During his debut with Lyric Opera of Chicago during the 2008 – 09 season, Mr. Lynch was heard in different performances as both Crown and Porgy in Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess. “Lynch's practiced Crown is one of the stronger features of Lyric's primary cast, but he is even stronger as Porgy, a role he is portraying for the first time with a major opera company. Indeed, Lynch carried the show on his broad shoulders. He rolled out a powerful, resonant, basso-like baritone for the big numbers, climaxing in "Oh, Bess, Oh Where's My Bess?"—the cry of a deeply wounded soul.” (Chicago Tribune) In addition, he debuted with the San Francisco Opera, also as Crown, sang Count Di Luna in Il Trovatore with Minnesota Opera, and Germont in La Traviata with Lyric Opera of Kansas City. He made his debut with the Cleveland Orchestra in selections from Porgy and Bess, sang Porgy in concert on tour in Europe, performed at Carnegie Hall in celebration of Marilyn Horne’s 75th birthday, and offered a series of recitals of music performed by Paul Robeson.
During the 2007 - 08 season Mr. Lynch performed the title role of Macbeth with the Dayton Opera, where he was praised for being a “a superb Macbeth, delivering an authoritative performance with a firm, powerful voice and wonderfully communicating both tragedy and madness.” (Cincinnati Enquirer). In addition, he sang Count Di Luna in Il Trovatore with the Nashville Opera and Kentucky Opera, and Sharpless in Madama Butterfly with the Opera Theatre of St. Louis. His powerful performance of Crown in Porgy and Bess with the Dallas Opera that season was deemed the “best reason to go” by the Star-Telegram. In concert, he sang Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 with the Southwest Florida Symphony and the role of High Priest in a concert performance of Samson and Delilah with the Kentucky Opera opposite Denyce Graves.
In the 2006-2007 season Mr. Lynch sang Crown in Porgy and Bess with the Opera Company of Philadelphia and the Los Angeles Opera, Tonio in I Pagliacci with Pittsburgh Opera and Lake George Opera, and Germont in Traviata with Opera Cleveland. On the concert stage, he sang Brahms’ Requiem with the Washington Master Chorale at the Kennedy Center, Carmina Burana with the Omaha Symphony and the Houston Ballet, and with the Madison Opera in their popular Opera in the Park series. During the 2005 – 2006 season, Mr. Lynch sang Crown in Porgy and Bess with Washington National Opera, and also on a recording with the Nashville Symphony conducted by John Mauceri (Decca). He performed with the Washington Master Chorale at the Kennedy Center in the world premiere of Adolphus Hailstork's Whitman's Journey, which was written for him, and joined the Cincinnati Symphony under Maestro James Conlon for Carmina Burana, and the Dayton Symphony for Dvorak’s Te Deum.
Important company debuts include Marcello in La Boheme with New York City Opera, Germont in La Traviata with Houston Grand Opera, Count di Luna in Il Trovatore with Deutsche Oper am Rhein and Seattle Opera, Flint in Billy Budd with Canadian Opera Company, and the title role of Rigoletto with the Dayton Opera. Additional operatic highlights include Marcello in La Boheme and The Bartender in Conrad Susa’s Black River both with the Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, Paolo in a new production of Simon Boccanegra with the Santa Fe Opera, and Renato in Un Ballo in Maschera with Michigan Opera Theater. He sang Amonasro in Aida with Connecticut Opera, Marcello in La Boheme with Cincinnati Opera, Tonio in I Pagliacci, Count di Luna in Trovatore, and Amonasro in Aida all with the Dayton Opera, Count Almaviva in Le Nozze di Figaro and Nat Turner in Vanqui with Opera Columbus, and Escamillo in Carmen with Shreveport Opera. In addition, he performed Crown in Porgy and Bess with the Houston Grand Opera on tour in Europe at Teatro alla Scala in Milan and at L’Opera Bastille in Paris.
An accomplished concert artist, Mr. Lynch has performed a wide variety of repertoire with orchestras across the continent, including the New York Philharmonic, National Symphony Orchestra, St. Paul Chamber Orchestra and Houston Symphony. He sang both Crown and Jake in Porgy and Bess with the Philadelphia Orchestra and Ravinia Festival Orchestra with Bobby McFerrin conducting, and performed in Placido Domingo’s Operalia concert in Santa Domingo and the Dominican Republic with Eugene Kohn conducting. He was the soloist in Copland’s Old American Songs with the New World Symphony, Mendelssohn’s Die Erste Walpurgis Nacht with the Grant Park Music Festival, and Bach Magnificat with the Orchestra of St. Lukes at Carnegie Hall. Mr. Lynch performed as Don Fernando in Fidelio with the Cincinnati Symphony under Paavo Järvi, and sang Fauré’s Requiem with the Duluth-Superior Orchestra, Carmina Burana with the Fox Valley Symphony and the New York Oratorio Society at Carnegie Hall, and Elijah with the Flagstaff Symphony. In addition, he was the soloist in Brahms’ Requiem with the Tucson Symphony, sang in the premiere of I Build a House with the Columbia Pro Cantare, and offered Mussorgsky’s Songs and Dances of Death with the Chautauqua Symphony. His performance of Amonasro in Aida with the Springfield Symphony was later broadcast on PBS.
A frequent recitalist, Mr. Lynch has toured throughout the United States under the auspices of the Marilyn Horne Foundation, highlighted by a performance at Merkin Hall in New York where he premiered a song cycle by Lowell Lieberman which was commissioned for him by the Foundation. In addition, he has offered a recital with pianist/composer John Musto at the Morgan Library in New York, which was sponsored by the George London Foundation.
Mr. Lynch is the recipient of many distinguished awards, including the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, the George London Vocal Competition, and the Sullivan Awards, and his work with Opera Theatre of Saint Louis earned him the prestigious Richard Gaddes Award. He is a graduate of the Juilliard Opera school.