Professor of Voice
An exciting and commanding figure in opera houses and concert halls throughout the world, bass-baritone Andrew Wentzel was declared a "vocal standout ... who alone achieved a touch of human emotion through strong, sensitive singing" by Opera News following performances of Banquo in Macbeth. The Washington Times agreed, lauding his "flexible but powerful voice" which has "vocal reserves to spare and total abandon in his phrasing." In season 2011-12 Andrew Wentzel returned again to Knoxville Opera Company singing as Frère Laurent in Roméo et Juliette. Additionally he appeared with the Bangor Symphony in their performance of Fauré's Requiem. His 2010-11 season included the role of Comte des Grieux in Manon in a return to Knoxville Opera Company. Recent highlights include singing as soloist in Haydn's The Creation with the Virginia Arts Festival and in Messiah with the Symphony Orchestra of India, under Coomi Wadia, at the prestigious Jamshed Bhabha Opera House in Mumbai (Bombay) India.
Other highlights include Raimondo in Lucia di Lammermoor and Padre Guardiano in La forza del destino, both with Knoxville Opera; soloist in Mozart's Requiem with the Memphis Symphony Orchestra; performances in both Vienna and Budapest with the Budapest Concert Orchestra, singing Haydn's The Creation (recorded on the CMI label); and concert performances of Purcell's King Arthur and The Fairy Queen with the Magnolia Baroque Orchestra. Other successes include performances of Le Comte de Breville in the world premiere production of Stephen Hartke's The Greater Good, or the Passion of Boule de Suif with Glimmerglass Opera (recorded for the Naxos record label), and Colline in La bohème with Knoxville Opera. Concert appearances included Handel's Messiah with the Richmond Symphony Orchestra and Mozart's Requiem with the Chattanooga Symphony.
At the Metropolitan Opera, where he made his debut in 1985, Mr. Wentzel has appeared in numerous productions including Roméo et Juliette, Billy Budd, I puritani, Rigoletto, La fanciulla del West, Turandot, Manon, and Les Contes d'Hoffmann. Other operatic credits include Figaro in Le nozze di Figaro with New York City Opera and San Diego Opera, Mr. Flint in Billy Budd with Houston Grand Opera, La bohème with the Washington Opera, Norma with Minnesota Opera, Collatinus in The Rape of Lucretia with Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, Don Alfonso in Così fan tutte with Glimmerglass Opera, and Don Basilio in Il barbiere di Siviglia and Sparafucile in Rigoletto with Boston Lyric Opera. He has performed Brander in La Damnation de Faust with the Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal (with a performance at Carnegie Hall); Le Père in L'Enfance du Christ with the NHK Symphony Orchestra in Tokyo, conducted by Charles Dutoit; Horace Giddens in Regina with Florida Grand Opera; Comte des Grieux in Manon with the Chattanooga Symphony Orchestra; Alidoro in La Cenerentola with Knoxville Opera; and Olin Blitch in Susannah with Calgary Opera, Opera Columbus, Nashville Opera and Indianapolis Opera. With Opera Theatre of Saint Louis he performed in Japan as Old Emperor, Sea God, and Recluse in the premiere of Minoru Miki's The Tale of Genji. On the concert stage Mr. Wentzel has performed the Mozart Requiem with the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra and Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra under Hans Vonk. He has sung Messiah with the Philadelphia Orchestra, Pacific Symphony Orchestra, Seattle Symphony, and the University Musical Society Chorus of Ann Arbor, Michigan. Mr. Wentzel performed arias by Handel and Mozart at the Bravo! Colorado Music Festival, and the title role in Elijah with the Richmond Symphony Orchestra and Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra. He has performed Bloch's Sacred Service with the Chattanooga Symphony Orchestra, Schoeck's Elegie with the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra, Bach's Mass in B Minor with the Choral Arts Society of Washington at the Kennedy Center, Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 with the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra, Bach's St. Matthew Passion with the Berkshire Choral Festival, Haydn's The Seasons with the Spokane Symphony Orchestra, and Philip Glass' Symphony No. 5 with the Pacific Symphony Orchestra. With the Boston Symphony Orchestra he sang Weill's Seven Deadly Sins and the world premiere of Ned Rorem's Swords and Plowshares. Other performances include Berlioz' L'Enfance du Christ with the Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal (recording available on the Decca label), Schumann's Szenen aus Goethes Faust with the Bard Festival at Lincoln Center, and the world premiere of Shostakovich's Rayok with the National Symphony Orchestra (recording available on Erato Records). Mr. Wentzel's other recordings include the Dvorák Te Deum with the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra on the Koss label, and the role of Godoy in Menotti's Goya, recorded live at the Festival dei Due Mondi in Spoleto, on the Nuova Era label. His performance of Shojo in the world premiere of Minoru Miki's Joruri with Opera Theatre of Saint Louis is available on Videodisc and VHS.
As Professor of voice, serving on the faculty at the University of Tennessee since January, 1996, he has established a strong reputation as a trainer of young professionals as well as a highly sought after adjudicator for such many important vocal competitions, including those of the Metropolitan Opera National Council. Working with the Knoxville Opera, Mr. Wentzel revitalized the Knoxville Opera Studio, attracting talented young singers to gain on the job training in the professional setting. Students from his voice studio have participated in some of the most prestigious apprentice programs in the United States while advancing their careers.
Mr. Wentzel has served on the professional training staff of the Janiec Opera Company at the Brevard Music Center since 2013.
- M.M. in Vocal Performance – University of Southern California (1978)
- B.A. in American Literature – Middlebury College (1973)
French Masterworks Delight BSO Audience
"Bass baritone Andrew Wentzel sang with power and reserved emotion, his 'Libera me' masterfully handled."
— Marcia Gronewold Sly, Fenceviewer
Gilmore Raises the Bar for Opera in Knoxville With a Superb Performance in Lucia
"Knoxville bass Andrew Wentzel brought his great voice and a charismatic characterization to the role of Raimondo Bidebent, the Ashton family chaplain and tutor. As if he possessed dramatic glue, the wedding scenes seemed to coalesce around him as he provided both story exposition and moral asides."
— Alan Sherrod, Knoxville Metropulse
"Andrew Wentzel makes an ideal Rev. Blitch. His evident study of TV evangelists is put to good use, from physical mannerisms and gestures to vocal innuendo - even to hairstyle." [SUSANNAH - Opera Columbus]
— Columbus Dispatch
"In the title role, Wentzel was winning. He sang with confidence and portrayed Figaro as a man of wit and substance." [LE NOZZE DI FIGARO - San Diego Opera]
— San Diego Union-Tribune
"Andrew Wentzel looked great, sang with power and acted with precision as Rev. Olin Blitch. His impassioned call for sinners in Act II nearly lured a few from the audience. And his seduction scene with Susannah was sensitive and believable." [SUSANNAH - Central City Opera]
— Rocky Mountain News