Portillo will make his Met house debut in December.
© Brian Kuhlmann
sings Almaviva in this season’s holiday performances of The Barber of Seville at the Metropolitan Opera, making his house debut in a role that is one of his specialties. Now thirty-four, Portillo made his first appearance in a Met performance in 2012, as a guest in the Met+Juilliard concert staging of Gluck’s Armide at the Peter J. Sharp Theater. That engagement as Renaud was also Portillo’s New York debut, which he called “almost ideal. It was a nice piece of music, but not too much music for me. It was a great venue, with a great conductor, Jane Glover, and amazing people to sing with. They were world-class — I was grateful to be surrounded by that level of quality.”
Pylade in Gluck’s Iphigénie en Tauride is on Portillo’s wish list, as is Nemorino. The bel canto heroes of Donizetti and Rossini are an apt fit for Portillo’s sweet, sexy tenor and keen musicianship; the busy San Antonio, Texas native’s resumé already includes performances of La Cenerentola in Washington; Il Barbiere di Siviglia in Vienna, Palm Beach, Tulsa and Pittsburgh; Anna Bolena in Minnesota; Il Turco in Italia for Wolf Trap and Opera Angers-Nantes; La Favorite in Salzburg; and La Fille du Régiment in Arizona. He’s a proficient Mozartean as well: this past July, Portillo was Pedrillo in Aix’s Entführung, and he has done well-received turns in Europe and North America as Tamino, Don Ottavio, Belmonte and Ferrando.
Next month, Portillo returns to Lyric Opera of Chicago for Andres in David McVicar’s new staging of Wozzeck. He adds another Donizetti role to his repertoire in spring 2016, as Ernesto in Don Pasquale for Palm Beach Opera.
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