Bass-Baritone

Michael Wanko

American bass-baritone Michael Wanko has the unique ability to perform within the dramatic repertoire in addition to the major buffo and comedic roles in bel canto works.  He also shines in the works of Gilbert & Sullivan and began his 2010-2011 season with a company debut with Michigan Opera Theatre as the role Ko-Ko THE MIKADO.  He also begins the current season with Opera Idaho as the Major General THE PIRATES OF PENZANCE, a role he also performed recently with Kentucky Opera.  In 2009-2010 Mr. Wanko returned to Utah Opera to perform the title role in GIANNI SCHICCHI and with New Orleans Opera the role of the Sacristan TOSCA, a role he performed on the concert stage the season before in a debut with the New York Philharmonic under the baton of Lorin Maazel.  Also during the 2008-2009 season he performed the role of Dulcamara L'ELISIR D'AMORE with Opera Grand Rapids and Bartolo LE NOZZE DI FIGARO with Utah Opera.  Mr. Wanko looks forward to reprising the role of Dulcamara twice this season with Opera on the James and Mississippi Opera.

American bass-baritone Michael Wanko has the unique ability to perform within the dramatic repertoire in addition to the major buffo and comedic roles in bel canto works.  He also shines in the works of Gilbert & Sullivan and began his 2010-2011 season with a company debut with Michigan Opera Theatre as the role Ko-Ko THE MIKADO.  He also begins the current season with Opera Idaho as the Major General THE PIRATES OF PENZANCE, a role he also performed recently with Kentucky Opera.  In 2009-2010 Mr. Wanko returned to Utah Opera to perform the title role in GIANNI SCHICCHI and with New Orleans Opera the role of the Sacristan TOSCA, a role he performed on the concert stage the season before in a debut with the New York Philharmonic under the baton of Lorin Maazel.  Also during the 2008-2009 season he performed the role of Dulcamara L'ELISIR D'AMORE with Opera Grand Rapids and Bartolo LE NOZZE DI FIGARO with Utah Opera.  Mr. Wanko looks forward to reprising the role of Dulcamara twice this season with Opera on the James and Mississippi Opera.

Mr. Wanko made his professional debut with the New York City Opera debut as Leporello DON GIOVANNI.  He repeated the role for New York City Opera in the spring of 2002 as well as singing the role of Sacristan TOSCA.  Michael Wanko returned to New York City Opera in the fall of 2002 as Bartolo LE NOZZE DI FIGARO, Marco GIANNI SCHICCHI and again as Leporello DON GIOVANNI.

During New York City Opera's 2003-2004 season he again sang Bartolo and the Sacristan as well as covering the role of Candy in Floyd's OF MICE AND MEN.  Mr. Wanko made debuts with both Lake George Opera singing Dulcamara L'ELISIR D'AMORE as well for the Utah Symphony & Opera singing Sir Joseph Porter H.M.S. PINAFORE.  In 2005 he made a "show stealing" debut with the Anchorage Opera as Leporello DON GIOVANNI and debuted with the New Jersey Symphony as the Sacristan TOSCA.  He later returned to The Utah Symphony and Opera as Ko-Ko THE MIKADO and the Sacristan TOSCA at the New York City Opera.

Mr. Wanko later performed a duet concert with Theresa Santiago for Volkswagen in Hamburg, Germany.  His European debut took place in Lucca, Italy, as Don Magnifico LA CENERENTOLA, followed by the Barga Music Festival.  Mr. Wanko debuted at Carnegie Hall in a staged version of  IL SIGNOR BRUSCHINO with the Orpheus Chamber Ensemble.  Other companies with which Mr. Wanko has appeared include the Aspen Music Festival, Eugene Opera, and the Utah Opera Ensemble.

His 2005-2006 season included engagements at Opera Idaho as Ko-Ko THE MIKADO, a return to The Utah Symphony and Opera as the Major-General PIRATES OF PENZANCE and a return to Opera East Texas to reprise the role of the Sacristan TOSCA.  Mr. Wanko's engagements during the 2006-2007 season included the roles of  Sir Joseph Porter H.M.S. PINAFORE with the Anchorage Opera and The Duke of Plaza-Toro THE GONDOLIERS with the Utah Symphony & Opera.

During the 2007-2008 season he again performed Sacristan for the Utah Symphony & Opera and Knoxville Opera as well as Dulcamara L'ELISIR D'AMORE with Opera Santa Barbara. Of his performance of Dulcamara a critic noted he, "gave the evening's most accomplished performance... he was funny and touching, and he sang with maturity and experience."

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