John Ken Nuzzo (Tenor)
Born in Tokyo, the Japanese-American tenor, best known for his lyrical grace, studied voice with Patrick Goeser in the Conservatory of Music at Chapman University in California.
His first professional engagement was as the tenor soloist in Bach’s B minor Mass with the Master Chorale of Orange County, followed by featured performances in Berlioz Requiem, Beethoven’s Mass in C and Rachmaninoff’s Vespers, Op.37.
He joined the ensemble at the Vienna State Opera from 2000 to 2003, shortly after his international opera debut with Opera de Monte-Carlo Japan Tour as Gastone in Verdi’s La Traviata, under the baton of Richard Bonynge.
In 2001, for his outstanding performance as Novice in Britten’s Billy Budd, he was awarded the Eberhard Waechter Medal, which is given annually to the two most promising new artists among the Austrian opera houses.
He quickly established his career in Austria, guest appearing as Tony in Bernstein’s West Side Story at the Volksoper Wien and as Syphax in Zemlinsky’s King Kandaules at the Salzburg Festival, under the baton of Kent Nagano.
In 2003, with the invitation of Maestro James Levine, he made his Metropolitan Opera debut as Brighella in R. Strauss’s Ariadne auf Naxos and Sellem in Stravinsky’s The Rake’s Progress. Also under the baton of James Levine, he made his debut with the Munich Philharmonic Orchestra as Jaquino in the concert version of Beethoven’s Fidelio. He then returned to the Salzburg Festival as Nathanael in Offenbach’s Les Contes D’Hoffmann under the baton of Kent Nagano. He was also featured in Verdi’s Don Carlo with Valery Gergiev and Saint-Saens’s Samson and Delilah with Placido Domingo.
Although he traveled globally, he always remained close to the land of his birth, Japan. He was awarded the 13th Idemitsu Music Award. He sang the tenor solo in Berlioz Requiem with the NHK Symphony under the baton of Charles Dutoit. He made his New National Theater Tokyo debut as Fenton in Verdi’s Falstaff under the baton of Dan Ettinger.
When he was invited to sing in NHK’s Red and White Concert, Japan’s longest-running New Year’s Eve Concert on TV, his fame in Japan spread overnight. This rare success as an opera singer, led him to sing the theme song of NHK’s prestigious historical drama, SHINSENGUMI. He then sang in JAL’s “Yakushiji Otobutai” concert, which was featured as the international in-flight DVD program for one year. His first full album ‘Tenorissimo’ was released from Universal Music. And finally, he produced his first concert ‘Mozart: His Life, His Operas” which toured in eight major cities of Japan.
The 2005/2006 was a difficult season because of his knee surgery, due to the injury he had during the rehearsal at the Metropolitan Opera. However, soon after his recovery, he returned to the Metropolitan Opera and sang Tybalt in Gounod’s Romeo et Juliette and Jaquino in Beethoven’s Fidelio, while he covered Ferrando in Mozart’s Cosi Fan Tutte. He was also the cover for Don Ottavio in Mozart’s Don Giovanni during the Metropolitan Opera Japan Tour 2006.
In 2007, he returned to the Metropolitan Opera as Song Seller and Rinuccio in the new production of Puccini’s II Trittico, which was broadcasted in HD around the world.
After making his debut at Pittsburg Opera and making his mark as Nemorino in Donizetti’s L’Elisir d’Amore with Ms. Elizabeth Futral as Adina, he moved his home base back to Japan, where he was featured as Camille de Rosillon in Lehar’s The Merry Widow under the baton of Maestro Yutaka Sado.
This season, he will be heard as Rodolfo in Puccini’s La Boheme with the Anchorage Opera.
“American tenor John Nuzzo sang a brilliant Nemorino, his Una furtiva lagrima, a furtive tear brought down the house…” -Times Leader-
“The comic Schicchi (MET), in which Stephanie Blythe shone as Zita and Alessandro Corbelli was a comic hit as Schicchi, but to me John Nuzzo walked off with the honors in this one as Rinuccio, the young lover. Wow!” -Leonard Link-
“John Nuzzo zaehlt zu den grossen Tenorhoffnungen an der Staatsoper “ -Buehne Wien-
“Nuzzo is a quite promising tenor… “ -Los Angeles Times-
Japan Idemitsu Music Award 2003 Winner
Eberhard Waechter Gesangsmedailen Austria 2001 Winner
International Hans Gabor Belvedere Singing Competition Japan Winner
Japan Vocal Competition 1st place
A’litalia Internationl Singing Competition 2nd place
Los Angeles Young Artists Vocal Competition 1st place
Los Angeles Opera Guild Competition 1st place
Palm Springs Opera Guild Competition 3rd place
Pasadena Opera Guild Competition 1st place
Riverside Opera Guild Competition 1st place
Opera 100 Competition 1st place
S.A.I. Vocal Competition 1st place
Orange County Musical Arts Competition 1st Place
KIRIN [Challenge Cup Soccer] Japan vs Ghana
RICOH [Major League Baseball Opening Ceremony] Japan/USA
- New York Yankees vs Tampa Bay Devil Rays
House [Rokko Natural Mineral Water]
Del Monte [Pasta Veroche]
Game Cube [Bloody Roar Extreme] (Shion)
Play Station [Bloody Roar 3] (Shion)
Nintendo 64 [Akumajou Dracula] (Cornell)