German baritone, Dennis Chmelensky, joins Washington National Opera as a member of the Cafritz Young Artist Program for the 2020-21 season. Praised for his “strikingly individual timbre” (Philadelphia Magazine) and “his moving, rich baritone accompanied by real acting” (Phindie), Dennis recently performed the title role DON GIOVANNI in a Curtis/Opera Philadelphia co-production under the baton of Karina Canellakis, and later in Mexico City and León, Guanajuato. In 2020, Dennis made his debut in Russia performing in the Opera for Peace — Leading Young Voices of the World Gala. His debut in Japan as Eisenstein in DIE FLEDERMAUS with the Seiji Ozawa Festival was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Dennis is a 2018 Opera Awards career grant recipient.
Operatic credits include Don Giovanni (Don Giovanni), Junior (A Quiet Place), Papageno (Die Zauberflöte), Paul (Empty the House), Golaud (Impressions de Pelléas), Junius (The Rape of Lucretia), Mr. Gobineau (The Medium), Perichaud (La Rondine), Blansac (La scala di seta), Spinellochio (Gianni Schicci), Pirelli (Sweeney Todd), The Clock (L‘enfant), and Schaunard (La Bohème).
A Berlin-native, Dennis’ love for lieder and new music since a young age led him to unique opportunities throughout his career. He embarked on a three year journey from 2016-2019 to perform Hugo Wolf’s Italienisches Liederbuch throughout the United States, during which he made his debut at the National Gallery of Art. Last season, he made his Konzerthaus Berlin debut singing works by Franz Schubert and Ned Rorem’s Aftermath during a tour throughout Athens, Paris, Kempten and Teleuda. He also performed Mahler’s Rückert and Kindertotenlieder with players of the National Symphony Orchestra. Dennis was a finalist at the Young Concert Artists competition and received multiple grants from the Gerda Lissner Foundation. A pioneer for new music, Dennis has worked alongside living composers, such as Kris Defoort, Helmut Oehring, Aiyana Braun, Rene Orth and Ned Rorem. He sang Paul in the world premiere of Orth’s opera, EMPTY THE HOUSE. In 2016, Dennis made his Carnegie Hall debut performing Berio’s Sinfonia.
Dennis holds a Bachelor of Music degree and Master of Music degree from the Curtis Institute of Music, where he studied with Marlena Malas and Mikael Eliasen. He also studied conducting at the University of the Arts Berlin. His training includes past resident artist apprenticeships with the International Meistersinger Akademie (Neumarkt, Germany), the Chautauqua Music Festival, and the Franz Schubert Institute (Baden bei Wien). His debut album, DENNIS, was released in 2009 by Sony Music.