From the time of his professional operatic debut at the Teatro alla Scala in 2002 as Don Alfonso in Lucrezia Borgia, bass Burak Bilgili has enjoyed a busy international career.
Recent engagements include Zaccaria in Nabucco with the Auckland Symphony and the Washington National Opera, Dvorak’s Stabat Mater with the National Symphony, Ramfis in Aida with Edmonton Opera, Quasimodo in Bizet’s Notre Dame with The American Symphony Orchestra, Procida in Vespri Siciliani with the Caramoor Festival, and a return to Savonlinna Festival for the world premiere of La Fenice, Sarastro in Die Zauberflöte for Avignon, and Hunding in Die Walkure for the Coloradao Symphony, his return to the Grand Theatre de Geneve and the Seattle Opera as Don Basilio, and his return to Vancouver Opera as Raimondo in Lucia di Lammermoor, his San Francisco Opera debut as Ferrando in Il Trovatore, Leporello in Don Giovanni for Grand Théâtre de Gèneve, Zaccaria in Nabucco and Leporello in Don Giovanni for Michigan Opera Theatre, Fiesco in Simon Boccangra for L’Opéra de Montréal, and Giorgio in I Puritani for Cagliari. Concert engagements include Dvořák’s Stabat Mater with the New York Choral Society at Carnegie Hall, and Janacek’s Glagolitic Mass with the Atlanta Symphony.
He opened the 2009-2010 season with his San Francisco Opera debut as Ferrando in Il Trovatore, returned to the Grand Théâtre de Gèneve as Leporello in Don Giovanni, the Michigan Opera Theatre as Zaccaria in Nabucco and Leporello in Don Giovanni, and made his L’Opéra de Montréal debut as Fiesco in Simon Boccangra. He finished the season in Cagliari as Giorgio in I Puritani.
In the 2008-2009 season, he returned to the Metropolitan Opera as Ferrando in Il Trovatore and made his Grand Théâtre de Gèneve debut in the same role. He returned to Florida Grand Opera as Nilkanatha in Lakme, the Michigan Opera Theatre as Dulcamara in L’Elisir d’amore and Palermo for I Puritani. He opened the 2007-2008 season as the Four Villains in Les Contes d’Hoffmann for the Virginia Opera, followed by his debut at the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino with Zubin Mehta as Padre Guardiano in La forza del destino, Don Basilio with Michigan Opera Theater and the Canadian Opera Company, Nourabad in Les Pêcheurs de Perles for Florida Grand Opera, and completed the season in Daniel Catán’s Florencia en el Amazonas.
Mr. Bilgili’s 2006-2007 season began at Den Norske Oper as Escamillo in Carmen, followed by Banquo in Verdi’s Macbeth with the Vancouver Opera, and Walter in Luisa Miller with the Canadian Opera Company. With the Florida Concert Association he was heard as Ferrando in an all-star cast of Verdi’s Il Trovatore, followed by Colline in La Bohème at the Las Palmas Opera Festival. He closed the season as Ramfis in Aida at Cincinnati Opera. Mr. Bilgili opened the 2005-2006 season with Banco in Macbeth for the Canadian Opera Company, followed by Timur in Turandot for the New York City Opera, Leporello for Vancouver Opera, and Banquo for his Seattle Opera debut. Other engagements included Escamillo in Carmen at the Savonlinna Opera Festival, and Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, with the Louisville Symphony Orchestra.
Highlights of Mr. Bilgili’s 2004-2005 season included two debuts: his Canadian Opera Company debut in Toronto Raimondo in Lucia di Lammermoor, followed by his debut at the Gran Teatro del Liceu in Barcelona as Timur in Turandot. He was also Colline in La Bohème and Don Basilio in Il Barbiere di Siviglia at the Cincinnati Opera Festival. He made his Metropolitan Opera debut as Leporello in a new production of Don Giovanni in the 2003-2004 Season, under the baton of Sir Andrew Davis. His schedule in 2003-2004 also included house debuts with Pittsburgh Opera and Vancouver Opera as Don Basilio in I Barbiere di Siviglia.
In 2002 he debuted as Raimondo in Lucia di Lammermoor with Rome Opera and Palm Beach Opera and Sparafucile in Baltimore Opera’s Rigoletto. Other highlights of previous seasons include Faure’s Requiem in France with the Lyon Symphony Orchestra and Istanbul European Choir and solo recitals at the 25th and 28th International Istanbul Music Festival as part of the Young Soloist Series. Mr. Bilgili appeared in recital singing Schubert's Die Winterreise at the Austrian Consulate Cultural Office in Istanbul. He was a member of San Francisco Opera’s Merola Program. Mr. Bilgili also appeared as soloist in Mozart's Requiem and Coronation Mass with the Istanbul European Choir, and joined the Istanbul State Opera as Don Geronio in Il Turco in Italia and Abimelech in Samson et Dalila.
A recipient of numerous awards, the Turkish bass garnered First Prizes in the International Hans Gabor Belvedere Singing Competition 2002 in Vienna, the International Alfredo Kraus Competition 2002 in Las Palmas, the Neue Stimmen International Opera Competition in 2001, the Mario Lanza Opera Competition, and the J. Parkinson Italian Opera Competition. He was also a winner of the Loren Zachary Opera Competition, the Licia Albanese-Puccini Foundation International Voice Competition, and was First Place winner in both the Giargiari Bel Canto Voice Competition and 1998 Siemens Opera Competition in Turkey.
A graduate of the Academy of Vocal Arts in Philadelphia, Mr. Bilgili’s repertoire there included the title role in Don Giovanni, Count Rodolfo in La Sonnambula and Colline in La Bohème. Mr. Bilgili also graduated from Conservatory of Mimar Sinan University in 2000. He studied with Maestro Bonaldo Giaiotti and Katia Ricciarelli at the Academia Lirica Internationale in Parma, Italy. He is recently working with Maestro Bill Schumann.