With his mature musicianship, powerful stage presence and engaging, approachable persona, French tenor Benjamin Bernheim stands out from the operatic crowd. In April 2019, he signed a long-term exclusive contract with Deutsche Grammophon. His debut album for the yellow label, set for release this autumn, showcases the breadth and depth of his exceptional talent in a wide-ranging selection of tenor arias.
“Working in partnership with Deutsche Grammophon, a label with such a long and illustrious history, is both an enormous honour and a huge responsibility,” says Bernheim, for whom the world’s most prestigious opera houses are already homes from home. “It’s given me an even greater incentive to perform at the very highest level.” Born in Paris in 1985, Bernheim studied in Lausanne then became a member of Zurich Opera’s renowned International Opera Studio. Before long he was one of the most sought-after lyric tenors worldwide, and he is now regularly invited to appear at La Scala, Milan, the Berlin Staatsoper, the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, the Vienna Staatsoper and the Salzburg Festival, among many others. Wherever he goes, he captivates audiences with his mesmerising vocal and dramatic interpretations.
Accompanied by the Prague Philharmonia under the baton of Emmanuel Villaume, on his debut DG album Bernheim presents a varied programme drawn from the Italian, Russian and French operatic repertoire. His vocal and expressive versatility can be heard, for example, in Lensky’s aria from Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin, an opera in which he enjoyed huge success at the Deutsche Oper in Berlin, and in Edgardo’s “Tombe degli avi miei” from Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor. Another of the characters featured here is Puccini’s Rodolfo (La bohème), a role he sees as “steeped in tradition”, and therefore one for which he needed to find his own personal interpretation – “a challenging but hugely rewarding experience”. The music of his birthplace is particularly close to his heart, and is represented on the album by arias such as “En fermant les yeux” from Massenet’s Manon, “L’Amour! Oui, son ardeur” from Gounod’s Roméo et Juliette and “Salut! demeure chaste et pure” from the same composer’s Faust. “The French repertoire requires perfect diction and the ability to convey the meaning behind the text as well”, observes Bernheim. “There is so much poetry in these pieces and there are so many details to discover in them. My aim is to bring all of this out in my performances. These are works in which I can give 150% and use every different facet of my voice.”