American tenor Joshua Kohl has been praised for his “firm technique and dynamic phrasing" (The Baltimore Sun) and for his “strong, ringing” tone (The Washington Post). This powerful and engaging artist returns to Theater Freiburg for the 2019-2020 season in the roles of Fenton in Falstaff, Prologue/Peter Quint in The Turn of the Screw, Lenski in Eugene Onegin, and Pinkerton in Madama Butterfly. On the concert stage, he will appear with the Philharmonisches Orchester Freiburg as the tenor soloist in Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde and Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony. In the United States, Mr. Kohl returns to Fargo-Moorhead Opera in the spring as Turiddu in Cavalleria rusticana.
During his first two seasons with Theater Freiburg, Mr. Kohl was seen as Lenski in Eugene Onegin, Rodolfo in La bohème, Alfred in Die Fledermaus, Don Ottavio in Don Giovanni, Váňa Kudrjaš in Káťa Kabanová, Louis Ironson in Angels in America, and Eiolf in César Franck’s Hulda — the last of which will soon be released by Naxos. This past spring, Mr. Kohl returned home as Don Jose in Carmen with Fargo-Moorhead Opera, and in June he made his Serbian debut at the National Theater in Belgrade as Rodolfo in La bohème.
Additional highlights of the 2017 - 2018 season included B.F. Pinkerton in Madama Butterfly with Opera Theater of Connecticut, Martin in The Tender Land with Intermountain Opera, and Váňa Kudrjaš in Káťa Kabanová with Konzert Theater Bern. On the concert stage, Mr. Kohl enjoyed collaborating with the Santa Fe Symphony as tenor soloist in Messiah as well as a return to Opera Southwest for their New Year’s Eve Gala.
During the 2016-2017 season, he performed as Váňa Kudrjaš in Káťa Kabanová with Seattle Opera, as the Duke of Mantua in Rigoletto with Baltimore Concert Opera, as Pinkerton in Madama Butterfly with First Coast Opera, and as Frederic in The Pirates of Penzance with both Knoxville Opera and Fargo-Moorhead Opera. Concert performances included two different engagements with the South Dakota Symphony: Handel’s Messiah and Bach’s Mass in B minor. In August, he won Second Prize in Maryland Lyric Opera’s inaugural Vocal Competition.
In the 2015-2016 season, the tenor joined Opera Delaware as the title role in Amleto. The Philadelphia Inquirer wrote of his performance, “Most characters have good soliloquy moments, but the title role is a star maker, to which Opera Delaware's Joshua Kohl brought a hard-to-match standard of unself-conscious charisma. He was all you'd want in a spoken Hamlet, but with a gleaming, mid-weight tenor voice that filled all vocal nooks and crannies.” In addition, he joined Fargo-Moorhead Opera as Rinuccio in Gianni Schicchi, Baltimore Concert Opera as the title role in Edgar, New Jersey Festival Orchestra as Rodolfo in La bohème, the Hartford Symphony for Elijah, and the National Chorale and the Rhode Island Philharmonic for concert performances of Messiah.
Mr. Kohl made his Seattle Opera debut in Ariadne auf Naxos in the 2014-2015 season for which Opera News said his “focused Brighella was the comic quartet’s standout.” Additionally, the tenor joined Opera Southwest as Rodolfo in La Bohème and Knoxville Opera as Ralph Rackstraw in their production of HMS Pinafore. Of the latter, the Knoxville News Sentinel said his “tenor voice was as clear and crisp as brisk air on the North Sea.”
During the 2013-2014 season, Mr. Kohl performed as Alfred in Die Fledermaus with Sarasota Opera, Fenton in Falstaff with Opera Santa Barbara, and Greenhorn in scenes from Jake Heggie’s Moby Dick with Fargo-Moorhead Opera. In addition, he joined Opera Theater of Connecticut as Rodolfo in La Bohème and Hawaii Opera Theatre in The Mikado, where “as leading young lover Nanki-Poo, [he] has a wonderfully full, clear tenor that was a joy to listen to in whatever he sang” (Honolulu Star-Advertiser). He was “the vocal standout of the evening” as Nemorino in L’elisir d’amore with Knoxville Opera, where “the clarity of his voice throughout his range was impressive and satisfying, as was his power at moments of lovelorn anguish” (MetroPulse).
During the 2012-2013 season, the tenor performed as Alfredo in La Traviatawith Opera Omaha, Edgardo in Lucia di Lammermoor with Dayton Opera, where he “offered a brilliant, fiery performance” (Opera News), Chevalier in Dialogues of the Carmelites with Hawaii Opera Theatre, Pinkerton in Madama Butterfly with Opera Southwest, and Nanki-Poo in The Mikado with Lyric Opera of Kansas City, where he was a “brazen Nanki-Poo, with an excellent lyric tenor voice that features truly honest high notes" (The KC Independent). On the concert stage he returned to the New Haven Symphony for performances of Carmina Burana.
Recent operatic highlights include Pinkerton in Madama Butterfly for student matinee performances with Dallas Opera, Alfredo in La Traviata with Nashville Opera and Tulsa Opera, Edgardo in Lucia di Lammermoor and Don Ottavio in Don Giovanni with Sarasota Opera, and the Duke in Rigoletto with Opera Saratoga, where his “singing revealed the fullest emotional range of the principals — joy, rapture, rage” (Albany Times Union). Of his performance in Macbeth with Utah Opera, The Salt Lake Tribune said that he “nearly steals the show with his impassioned portrayal of Macduff. The young tenor brings a jolt of urgency to every scene he's in, and the aria in which Macduff expresses his grief over his family's murder is arguably the emotional high point of the evening.” He was heard as Rodolfo in La Bohème with Pittsburgh Opera in a student matinee performance, and he debuted with Opera Theatre of St. Louis as First Jew in Salome while also covering Narraboth. In his debut with Virginia Opera as Nemorino in L’elisir d’amore, he offered a “sincere and touching performance” while “[displaying] a bright voice of great size, yet capable of movement and nuance” (Portfolio Weekly). Other engagements included Tamino in Die Zauberflöte with Sarasota Opera and Opera North, Don José in Carmen with Lake George Opera, Al Joad in the World Premiere of The Grapes of Wrath with Minnesota Opera and Utah Opera, and Ferrando in Così fan Tutte with Commonwealth Opera.
Concert performances of note include Carmina Burana with the Hartford Symphony, where he “conveyed the roasting swan’s plight with poignancy and humor” (In the Spotlight), West Side Story Suite with the Lexington Philharmonic, Mendelssohn’s Symphony No. 2 with the New Jersey Symphony, Handel’s Messiah with the New Haven Symphony, and Stravinsky’s In memoriam Dylan Thomas with Yale University. He performed with composer Richard Wargo in “From the Bards of Ireland,” a concert of Irish-inspired music, appeared in Los Angeles with Operetta Foundation, performed with Opera Theatre of Connecticut at the Sanibel Music Festival, and represented the city of San Francisco at the Nakanoshima International Music Festival in Osaka, Japan. He offered recitals under the auspices of the Upper Ohio Valley Opera Guild and for the Albright College Concert Series, for which The Reading Eagle praised his “ambitious program that showed his versatility, his acting ability and, above all, his glorious voice.” He appears as the title character in Albany Records’ recently released album The Birdseller.
While an Artist Diploma candidate in Opera at Yale University, he appeared as Torquemada in L’Heure Espagnole, Alfred in Die Fledermaus, and Dr. Ucitelli in Comedy on a Bridge. Concert engagements included Carmina Burana with the Yale Camerata, Les Noces with the Yale Symphony Orchestra, and Gounod’s St. Cecilia Mass with the Connecticut Master Chorale, for which the Danbury News-Times said his rendition of the Sanctus was the “high point” of the afternoon.
As a Resident Artist at the Minnesota Opera, he sang Serano in La Donna del Lago, Nathaniël/Spalanzani in Les contes d’Hoffmann, and covered the role of Gérald in Lakmé. He has also performed in principal and comprimario roles with Boston Lyric Opera, San Francisco’s Merola Opera Program, Atlanta Lyric Theatre, The Ohio Light Opera, Boston University’s Opera Institute, and the University of Cincinnati’s College-Conservatory of Music.
Mr. Kohl was a National Semi-Finalist in the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions in 2007, having won both the Minnesota District and Upper Midwest Region. He earned a Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Cincinnati and a Master of Music degree from Boston University, and he attended Middlebury College’s intensive summer immersion program where he studied the German language and culture.