Possessed of a voice the New York Times calls “clarion-toned”, the American tenor John Bellemer has gained a reputation for his strong portrayals in a wide range of repertoire. Bellemer has appeared in leading roles at opera houses across North America and Europe and was featured as Gounod’s Faust in the Academy Award-nominated film Lincoln.
In the 2022-23 season, Bellemer took the stage with Onsite Opera as the Soldier in Kaiser von Atlantis at Carnegie Hall. He also joins the Idaho Falls Symphony as the tenor soloist in a performance of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony.
Bellemer recently made his role debut as Fritz in L’amico Fritz with Teatro Grattacielo to great acclaim: “John Bellemer sang gracefully, able to let his tenor ring…” – Opera (London). In the 2020-2021 season, Bellemer was to have made his debut with Teatro Communale di Bologna in Haydn’s Die Schöpfung; and with the Atlanta Master Chorale in Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis which were either canceled or postponed due to COVID-19.
Engagements in recent seasons have included Nadir in Les Pêcheurs de Perles with North Carolina Opera; Duca in Rigoletto with Michigan Opera Theater; featured artist with the Salt Bay Chamber Festival, and concert performances of Beethoven’s Mass in C and Verdi’s Requiem. Bellemer made debuts with Teatro Reggio Torino as both the tenor soloist in Orff’s Carmina Burana and the Evangelist in the world premiere of Newton’s St. Matthew Passion. He was Lysander in Hawaii Opera’s production of Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream; Peter Quint in Britten’s The Turn of the Screw in China (Beijing); and Steuermann in Der fliegende Holländer with Austin Opera. He returned to Wexford Festival Opera as Gabriele in Foroni’s Cristina, Regina di Svezia; and to the Berkshire Choral Festival as Gerontius in Elgar’s The Dream of Gerontius and Britten’s Spring Symphony; and performed Toni in Henze’s Elegy for Young Lovers at Venice’s Teatro la Fenice.
Bellemer has performed with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center works by Schubert, Schumann and Brahms; at Florence’s Maggio Musicale in the The Rape of Lucretia; with Florida Grand Opera as Alfredo in La Traviata; as Nebuchadnezzar in Britten’s The Burning Fiery Furnace and as Herold in the world premiere of Grassl’s Tassilo with Festival Mattseer Diabelli Sommer in Austria; at the Buxton Festival as Riccardo in Donizetti’s Maria di Rohan; and with Boston Lyric Opera as Don Ottavio in Don Giovanni as well as Sandy/Officer One in Davies’ The Lighthouse.
Other international appearances include Opéra National de Bordeaux, Opéra National de Lorraine, Opéra de Rouen, Teatro San Carlo di Napoli, Teatro Lirico di Cagliari, Teatro delle Muse, Spoleto Festival dei Due Mondi, Opéra de Rennes, Theater Erfurt, Stadttheater Giessen, Opéra Royal de Wallonie, Estonian National Opera, and Teatro Arriaga among others.
Mr. Bellemer’s extensive North American credits also include performances with New York City Opera, San Francisco Opera, San Diego Opera, Madison Opera, Cleveland Opera, Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, Vancouver Opera, Arizona Opera, Calgary Opera, Minnesota Opera, Palm Beach Opera, Dayton Opera, Opera Omaha, Opera Grand Rapids, Opera Ontario, Opera Birmingham, Opera San José, and the Berkshire Opera.
As concert artist, Mr. Bellemer has appeared with the Columbus Symphony, Baltimore Symphony, Winnipeg Symphony, Pacific Symphony, L’orchestre de Bretagne, Orchestra de Leonardo da Vinci, Toledo Symphony, New York Choral Society, Calgary Philharmonic, Bangor Symphony, American Symphony Orchestra, Berkeley Symphony Orchestra, Choral Arts Society of Washington DC, Oratorio Society of New York, and concerts in Paris and New York City sponsored by UNESCO.
In addition to his appearance in Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln, Bellemer has appeared on stage in productions led by film directors Werner Herzog and Sanjay Leela Bhansali.
Bellemer began choral singing as a young child and continued throughout his school years, eventually choosing to study voice over medicine at James Madison University where he received his Bachelor of Music degree. He went on to complete his master’s degree in music at the University of Illinois.
Bellemer has always derived a joy from singing that is evident to his audiences around the world for whom he has sung throughout his distinguished career. “As long as I continue to grow as a performer and a person and as long as the joy continues,” Bellemer says, “I hope to be singing for a very long time.”
Bellemer lives in New York with his wife, Sarah Blaze and their two Parson Russell Terriers.