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Christian Pursell

About this Artist

American bass-baritone CHRISTIAN PURSELL (Samuel / Doeg) is quickly establishing himself as one of the rising stars of the next generation of singers.

Currently an Adler Fellow at the San Francisco Opera, this season he appeared onstage there as Walter Raleigh in Roberto Devereux, the Jailer in Tosca, Count Lamoral in Arabella, and as part of the Angel Quartet in Jake Heggie’s It’s a Wonderful Life. This spring he also sings the role of Samuel in Handel’s Saul in performances with Philharmonia Baroque in both San Francisco and at the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles. This summer he covers the role of Zoroastro in Orlando and Escamillo in Carmen at the San Francisco Opera, and next season he continues his second year as an Adler Fellow with roles in several of the company’s 2019/20 season productions and returns to the Mormon Tabernacle Choir for performances of Handel’s Messiah. 

Pursell’s other recent engagements have included his debut at Houston Grand Opera as Tom in Laura Kaminsky’s Some Light Emerges, Liberto/Littore in L’Incoronazione di Poppea and roles in the premiere of Gregory Spears’ critically acclaimed opera Fellow Travelers at the Cincinnati Opera, his debut at the Vienna State Opera in Prokofiev’s The Gambler, and Dandini in La Cenerentola with the Merola Opera Program at the San Francisco Opera. Additional roles include Marcello in La Bohème, Belcore in L’Elisir d’Amore, Pandolfe in Cendrillon, and Harašta in The Cunning Little Vixen

As a concert soloist, Pursell has performed Britten’s War Requiem, Brahms’ Ein deutsches Requiem, Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9, Haydn’s The Creation, Faure’s Requiem, and Handel’s Messiah

Pursell’s first commercial recording, the world premiere recording of Gregory Spears’ Fellow Travelers with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, was released in fall 2017.

A native of Santa Cruz, CA, Pursell is a graduate of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and received his Master of Music degree at the University of Cincinnati – Conservatory of Music (CCM). He was recently awarded a 2018 Richard F. Gold Career Grant and was Winner of the 2018 Partners for the Arts Competition. Other past awards include a 2017 Sara Tucker Study Grant from the Richard Tucker Music Foundation, Second Award of the 2017 Jensen Foundation Competition, and being named Winner of the 2017 Theodor Uppman Award from the Sullivan Foundation.