Called “a voice for this historic moment” (Washington Post), GRAMMY Award winning baritone Will Liverman is the recipient of the 2022 Beverly Sills Artist Award by The Metropolitan Opera and the co-creator of The Factotum – called “mic-drop fabulous good” (Opera News) – which premiered at the Lyric Opera Chicago in 2023. Described as “nothing short of extraordinary” (Opera News) with a “beaming, high baritone that easily asserts” (LA Times), Liverman has been hailed by critics for his versatility in dramatic and comedic roles, as well as on concert stages in North America and internationally, and his dedication and vision as a composer, artist, and advisor helping to evolve and push the performing arts industry forward.
This season sees Liverman’s return to the Metropolitan Opera in the title role of X: The Life and Times of Malcolm X, Anthony Davis’ groundbreaking and influential work, and the third opera by a Black composer in the company’s history, to be conducted by Kazem Abdullah in its newly revised score. Liverman was previously seen on the Met stage opening its 2021-22 season in a widely celebrated, “breakout performance” (New York Times) as Charles in Terence Blanchard’s Fire Shut Up In My Bones, which won the 2023 GRAMMY Award for Best Opera Recording. He later reprised the role at the Lyric Opera of Chicago in a “rich leading performance” (Chicago Tribune) described as a “beautifully vocalized [...] gripping portrayal” (Opera News).
Following Summer 2023 engagements at Tanglewood, SummerStage, Brooklyn Art Song Society, and The Princeton Festival, Liverman’s 2023-24 season includes productions with Opera Philadelphia for the world premiere of Rene Orth’s 10 Days in a Madhouse as Dr. Josiah Blackwell and the Met Opera for Roméo et Juliette as Mercutio. In concert, he joins the Lexington Philharmonic for the orchestrated world premiere of Shawn E. Okpebholo’s Two Black Churches, Houston Symphony for Carmina Burana, Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra for Brahms’ A German Requiem, and The Washington Chorus for Elijah Reimagined, plus Dayton Opera, Caramoor, and Cincinnati Song Initiative for vocal recitals. He also serves as Artistic Advisor for Renée Fleming’s SongStudio at Carnegie Hall.
Last season, the Lyric Opera of Chicago presented the world premiere of Liverman’s new opera, The Factotum, which he starred in and composed with DJ King Rico. Inspired by Rossini’s Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Liverman and Rico place the story in a present-day Black barbershop on Chicago’s South Side, and celebrate the strength of community and power of the human spirit. Blending together diverse musical styles, including hip-hop, R&B, funk, gospel, and traditional barbershop quartet to create a soul opera, The Factotum “offers a chameleonic pastiche of soul, funk, and classical elements that is incredibly effective” (Opera News). Regarding the highly successful production, “Will Liverman is the real deal” according to the Chicago Tribune, “masterfully [anchoring] this production and [providing] some of its finest vocal moments” (Chicago Sun Times). Houston Grand Opera, Portland Opera, and Washington National Opera are all slated to put on The Factotum in future seasons.
The packed 22-23 season included opening The Kennedy Center’s 50th Anniversary Celebration, where Liverman played the Celebrant in Bernstein’s Mass; starring as the Reverend in the European premiere of Jeanine Tesori’s Blue at Dutch National Opera (house debut); and singing the title role in Pelléas et Mélisande at LA Opera and Zurga in Les pêcheurs de perles at Austin Opera (role debuts). He also appeared with Orpheus Chamber Orchestra at Carnegie Hall, Portland Opera, Philadelphia Chamber Music Society, American Pops Orchestra, Brooklyn Art Song Society, Art Bath, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Guggenheim Museum, and Sparks & Wiry Cries, plus solo recitals at London’s Wigmore Hall, Alice Tully Hall, Virginia Opera, Chamber Music Northwest, Friends of Chamber Music, and Rhode Island College’s Sapinsley Hall.