Praised as a “mature artist with a voluminous sound,” baritone and composer Joel Balzun started the 2019-2020 performance season with a return appearance to Carnegie Hall following his debut as a prize-winner in the Lyndon Woodside Oratorio-Solo Competition. Other season highlights include “Alidoro” (La Cenerentola) with Opera Buffs, Messiah with Claremont Symphony Orchestra and his role debut as “Sharpless” (Madama Butterfly) and “Elder #4/Administrator” in the New York premiere of Lembit Beecher’s Sky On Swings alongside Susanne Mentzer. Other roles include the title roles in Don Giovanni and Gianni Schicchi, the Four Villains (Les contes d'Hoffmann), “Prince Yeletskiy” and “Count Tomskiy” (Pikovaya Dama), “Albert” (Werther), “Belcore” (L'elisir d'amore), “Dr. Malatesta” (Don Pasquale) and “Valentin” (Faust), among others. Balzun also enjoys a close relationship with Pacific Opera Project, where he has appeared as “Marcello” (La bohème), “El Dancaïro” (Carmen), “Marchese d’Obigny” (La traviata) and “Cascada” (The Merry Widow). An avid proponent of the music of living and contemporary composers, Balzun won critical acclaim for his portrayal of the titular Joseph de Rocher in Jake Heggie's Dead Man Walking with Miami Music Festival.
Balzun holds a master’s degree in vocal performance and literature from the Eastman School of Music, where he studied with Jan Opalach and Benton Hess. He has augmented his training as a fellow at the Tanglewood Music Center and Pittsburgh Festival Opera where he was in Jane Eaglen's Mastersingers Project for Young Dramatic Voices. An enthusiastic teacher, he currently serves on the music faculty of Biola University. www.joelbalzun.com.