(Greenville, South Carolina)
2019–20 Season: Title role, Billy Budd
American baritone John Chest makes his San Francisco Opera debut as Billy Budd. A 2009 participant of the San Francisco Opera’s Merola Opera Program, he is also a graduate of the Bavarian State Opera’s Opera Studio, where he sang over eighty performances. Until September 2016 he was a member of the ensemble at the Deutsche Oper Berlin, where his roles included the title role of Billy Budd, Valentin in Faust, Ford in Falstaff, Silvio in Pagliacci, Figaro in Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Papageno in Die Zauberflöte, Guglielmo in Così fan tutte, and Almaviva in Le Nozze di Figaro.
Chest was a finalist in the 2017 BBC Cardiff Singer of the World competition, winner of the 2010 Stella Maris International Vocal Competition and finalist in the 2011 Queen Sonja International Music Competition. He has sung at major opera houses throughout Europe and the United States, including Washington National Opera, Festival d’Aix-en-Provence, Théâtre des Champs-Élysées, Théâtre du Capitole de Toulouse, and Semperoper Dresden.
Recent and upcoming highlights include debuts at Glyndebourne Festival Opera (Pelléas, Pelléas et Mélisande), Madrid’s Teatro Real (Valentin, Faust) and Den Norske Opera (Belcore, L’Elisir d’Amore); his role debut as Heathcliff in Bernard Hermann’s Wuthering Heights at Opéra National de Lorraine; and appearances at Bavarian State Opera (Guglielmo, Così fan tutte) and Deutsche Oper Berlin (Papageno, Die Zauberflöte). Equally passionate about art song, Chest sang his second recital with pianist Marcelo Amaral at London’s Wigmore Hall in 2018, following a successful debut recital there in 2013.