The profile of American tenor Issachah Savage was dramatically raised when he swept the boards at Seattle’s International Wagner Competition in 2014, taking First Prize, Audience Prize and Orchestra Favourite award. Formerly a member of San Francisco’s prestigious Merola Opera Program, Issachah performed a varied repertoire including scenes from Samson et Dalila, Lohengrin, Die Walküre and Parsifal. His performance of the last act of Verdi’s Otello, inspired the San Francisco Chronicle to write “From his opening notes — impeccably shaded and coiled with repressed fury — to the opera’s final explosion of grief and shame, Savage sang with a combination of power and finesse that is rare to observe.”
Operatic milestones of Issachah Savage’s recent seasons include his debut as Bacchus in Strauss’ Ariadne auf Naxos at Seattle Opera under Lawrence Renes, his Metropolitan Opera debut as Don Riccardo in Verdi’s Ernani conducted by James Levine, his Los Angeles Opera debut as Narraboth in Salome, and his recent return as Tӓnnhauser, both conducted by James Conlon, as well as his first Siegmund in Die Walküre at the Canadian Opera Company under Music Director, Johannes Debus. At Austin Lyric Opera, Savage has appeared in two of Verdi’s most demanding roles, as Otello, and as Radames in Aida. The latter role marked his debut at Houston Grand Opera under the baton of Antonino Fogliani. It was in the 2018/19 season that Issachah Savage made three major European debuts to great acclaim: as Bacchus in Ariadne auf Naxos at Théâtre du Capitole Toulouse under Evan Rogister, as Siegmund in Die Walküre with Opéra National de Bordeaux conducted by Paul Daniel and as Gran Sacerdote di Nettuno in Mozart’s Idomeneo in Peter Sellars’ acclaimed new staging for the 2019 Salzburg Festival, conducted by Teodore Currentzis.
In semi-staged opera performance, Savage has appeared with Riccardo Muti and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra as the Messenger in Aida, the Opera Orchestra of New York in Massenet’s La Navarraise, the National Philharmonic at Strathmore in the title role of Wagner’s Rienzi and with the San Antonio Symphony Orchestra as Manrico in Il trovatore under Sebastian Lang-Lessing. At both the Aspen Music Festival under Robert Spano and at Tanglewood with the Boston Symphony Orchestra under Jacques Lacombe, Savage again received critical acclaim as Verdi’s Radames.
Equally at home on the concert platform, Issachah Savage has a wide repertoire that includes mainstay works such as Beethoven Symphony No.9, Verdi Messa da Requiem, Mahler Das Lied von der Erde, and Schoenberg Gurre-Lieder alongside less-frequently performed pieces like Stravinsky Pulcinella, Weill Lost in the Stars, and Gershwin Blue Monday. Savage sang the world premieres of Wynton Marsalis’s All Rise under the late Kurt Masur and the New York Philharmonic, and of Leslie Savoy Burr’s Egypt’s Night with Philadelphia’s Opera North. A much in demand concert soloist, Savage has performed under Gustavo Dudamel and the Los Angeles Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl and New York’s David Geffen Hall, under Paul Daniel with the Orchestre National de Bordeaux Aquitaine, under Stephane Deneve and the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, under Lawrence Renes and the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, and under Marin Alsop and the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. In recent seasons he returned to Bordeaux for Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde with Paul Daniel and performed Beethoven Symphony No.9 under Marin Alsop and the Handel and Haydn Society in Boston, as well as with Fabio Luisi and the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, Riccardo Muti and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Gustavo Dudamel and the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Gustavo Gimeno and The Toronto Symphony Orchestra, and Jahja Ling and the Cleveland Orchestra. He recently made his debut with the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra as Froh in Wagner’s Das Rheingold, conducted by Music Director Yannick Nézet-Séguin.
In addition to his great competition success in Seattle, Issachah Savage has received a number of prestigious awards, recognition and career grants from institutions including the Wagner Societies of New York, Washington DC and Northern California, the Licia Albanese International Puccini Foundation, and the Olga Forrai and Gerda Lissner Foundations; he was honoured in the early stages of his career development as the first ever ‘Scholar Artist’ of the Marian Anderson Society of Philadelphia.
Current and future seasons include his Lyric Opera of Chicago debut and his return to The Metropolitan Opera, as well as concert appearances with the Danish National Symphony Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony Orchestra, National Symphony Orchestra in Washington, DC and Orquestra Sinfônica do Estado de São Paulo.