2018–19 Season: George Bailey, It's a Wonderful Life
2019–20 Season: Captain Vere, Billy Budd
William Burden sang George Bailey in San Francisco Opera’s West Coast premiere of Jake Heggie’s It’s a Wonderful Life in fall 2018. The American tenor made his San Francisco Opera debut in 1992 as Count Lerma in Don Carlo and has returned in roles including Laca in Jenůfa, Tom Rakewell in The Rake’s Progress and he created the roles of Dan Hill in Christopher Theofanidis’ Heart of a Soldier and Peter in Mark Adamo’s The Gospel of Mary Magdalene.
An alumnus of the San Francisco Opera’s Merola Opera Program, Burden is a member of the voice faculty at The Juilliard School and the Mannes School of Music. Appearing in prestigious opera houses in the United States and Europe, his repertoire also includes the title roles of Les Contes d'Hoffmann, Faust, Pelléas et Mélisande, Roméo et Juliette, Béatrice and Bénédict, Candide, and Acis and Galatea; Loge in Das Rheingold, Aschenbach in Death in Venice, Florestan in Fidelio, Don José in Carmen, Pylade in Iphigénie en Tauride, Edgardo in Lucia di Lammermoor, Ferrando in Così fan tutte and Lensky in Eugene Onegin.
A supporter of new works, he appeared in the U.S. premiere of Henze’s Phaedra at Opera Philadelphia and created the roles of George Bailey at Houston Grand Opera, Frank Harris in Theodore Morrison's Oscar at the Santa Fe Opera, Gilbert Griffiths in Tobias Picker’s An American Tragedy at the Metropolitan Opera, Dodge in Daron Hagen’s Amelia at Seattle Opera, Ruben Iglesias in Jimmy López's Bel Canto at Lyric Opera of Chicago, and Nikolaus Sprink in Kevin Puts’ Pulitzer Prize-winning Silent Night at Minnesota Opera.