Henry Runey is a native of Charleston, South Carolina. He began performing as soloist at the age of 6, with local churches and school functions, although his musical training didn’t begin until the age of 16. At 18 in Florida while attending Seminole High School, he won four « 1st Place Medals » in the District and State Music Competition. At 19 he was presented in his first full length opera as the Doctor in « The Village Barber » at the St. Petersburg Junior College under the direction of Dr. Charles-Micheal Carroll. At 20 he won « 1st Place » in the South-Eastern Regional « National Association of Teachers of Singing Competition », and while attending the University of South Florida, at 21, was « 1st Place District Winner » and « Regional Finalist » of the Metropolitan Opera Auditions. In 1983 he sang with, and as soloist in, the University Chamber Singers under the direction of Dr. Robert Summer on their European Tour also performing the Mozart « Requiem » with Sir Neville Marriner.

In 1984 he auditioned for the prestigious Manhattan School of Music in New York City and was awarded the Richard Rodgers Musical Scholarship where he was cast in leading roles in several New York premieres including, the Doctor in D. Schostakovich’s « The Nose », Arnold in H. W. Henze’s « The English Cat », Arlechino in E. Wolf-Ferrari’s « The Inquisitive Women » and the Burgermeister in R. Strauss’ « Feuersnot ». He was named an « Outstanding Apprentice » at the Santa Fe Opera and appeared there in Mozart’s « The Magic Flute » and the American Premiere of A. Sallinen’s « The King Goes Forth To France ».

In 1985 Henry made his Lincoln Center debut at Avery Fischer Hall as Talbot in Verdi’s « Giovanna d’Arco », performing with Carlo Bergonzi and Margaret Price, opening it’s first « Opera in Concert » series conducted by Richard Bradshaw. The same year he was chosen by Birgit Nilsson to participate in her open to the public Master Classes in New York. Henry would later be asked by Madame Nilsson to perform in her New York Gala Concert.

In 1986 he was engaged as « Cover Artist » for the role of Zoroastro in Handel’s « Orlando » with Marilyn Horne, June Anderson, Gianna Rolandi, Jeffrey Gall & Rodrick Kennedy conducted by Sir Charles Mackerras at the Lyric Opera of Chicago. This subsequently led to his engagement in Lyric Opera’s Young Artists Program where he was featured in a number of roles including ; Colline in « La Boheme », Sparafucile in « Rigoletto », Sarastro in « The Magic Flute », and as A Man With A Cornet Case in « Postcard from Morocco » (directed by Chicago’s Frank Galati).

In 1987 Henry was awarded a grant from the prestigious Astral Foundation, their aim is to recognise and assist the « Stars of Tomorrow » and in 1988 was a Grand Finalist (the same year with Roberto Alagna) in the Opera Company of Philadelphia/Luciano Pavarotti International Voice Competition.

Mr. Runey’s versatility is evident in the more than 60 operatic roles to his credit. His specialty has clearly been established to be the Bel Canto repertoire, predominately Rossini and Verdi, although he has been produced in a very large ecclectic repertoire ranging from Ancient music, Baroque, Classic, Bel Canto, Romantic, Modern, Contemporary as well as Experimental pieces. He has been involved in 9 World Premieres, 4 of which were created for him. With Lyric Opera of Chicago alone he has performed over 20 roles in 6 languages, over 145 performances, opposite such stars as Rockwell Blake, Leila Cuberli, Placido Domingo, Giuseppe Giacomini, Cynthia Lawrence, Leo Nucci, Jessie Norman, Eva Marton, Chris Merritt, Kiri TeKanawa, Anna Tomowa-Sintov, Tatiana Troyanos, Samuel Ramey…..


Some of Henry’s most notable roles with Lyric Opera have been ; Ferrando in Verdi’s « Il Trovatore », The Old Hebrew in Saint-Saëns’ « Samson & Dalilah », Thanatos in Gluck’s « Alceste », Parsi Rustomji in Glass’ « Satyagraha », the Ghost in Thomas’ « Hamlet », as well as performing in the World Premieres of « The Fan », Baron Del Cedro, by Lee Goldstein and as Waiter, Posse and Guest in « McTeague » by William Bolcom, this production being directed by Robert Altman.

Since his debut with the Seattle Opera in 1988 Henry has been heard as Count Monterone in Verdi’s « Rigoletto », Parsi Rustomji in Glass’ « Satyagraha », Konrad Nachtigal in Wagner’s « Die Meistersinger von Nuremburg », Henry VIII in Donizetti’s « Anna Bolena », The King of Egypt in Verdi’s « Aida », The Monk in Verdi’s « Don Carlos », Zuniga in Bizet’s « Carmen », and the Police Commissioner in Strauss’ « Der Rosenkavalier ».


Paris, France is where Henry made his European concert debut as Il Prefetto in Donizetti’s « Linda di Chamounix » with Valeria Esposito, Elena Zilio, Luca Canonicci & Armando Ariostini at the Salle Pleyel conducted by Arturo Tamayo with the Orchestra of Radio France also having this performance radio broadcast throughout Europe.

Théâtre du Capitôle in Toulouse is where Henry made his European stage debut as Ferrando in a new production of Verdi’s « Il Trovatore » (with Françoise Pollet, Dolora Zajick, Franco Bonissoli and Alain Fondary) directed by Nicolas Joël and conducted by Michel Plasson. Since this debut Henry has been a regular guest in Toulouse in a wide variety of roles ; Ferrando (twice reprised) in Verdi’s « Il Trovatore », Count Rodolpho in Bellini’s « La Sonnambula », Jack Wallace in Puccini’s « La Fanciulla del West », Publio in Mozart’s « La Clemenza di Tito », Pistola (reprised) in Verdi’s « Falstaff ». He was also invited by l’Orchestre du Capitole and Michel Plasson to open the Carcassone Festival as Bass Soloist in the Verdi « Requiem » teamed with French Stars Michel Command, Nadine Denize & Alain Vanzo.

The summer of 1990 brought special praise as Henry was one of nine artists selected in consultation with impresarios, critics and agents for the Metropolitan Opera News’ ninth annual « Keep Your Eye On…. » list of the most promissing new names, faces and voices on the opera lyric today.

His Nevada Opera debut was « Hailed » as the High Priest Ramphis in Verdi’s « Aida » and his Leporello in Mozart’s « Don Giovanni was called « Perfection » by the critics. Henry has since been heard there as Padre Guardiano in Verdi’s « La Forza del Destino », Escamillo in Bizet’s « Carmen », Banquo in Verdi’s « Macbeth », Abimelech in Saint-Saëns « Samson & Dalilah », and as Bass Soloist in Verdi’s « Requiem » (with Dolora Zajick, Pricilla Baskerville & Tony DiPaolo) under the baton of Nevada Opera Founder, director and conductor Ted Puffer.

The Wolf Trap Opera featured Henry in three different productions, two of which were in Rossini’s coloratura bass roles ; Mustafa in « L’Italiana in Algeri » and Lord Sidney in « Il Viaggio a Reims, the third as Figaro in Mozart’s « Le Nozze di Figaro » all three interpretations won the publics and critics hearts alike. This was quickly followed by Opening Night at the Lyric Opera of Chicago as Elmiro in Rossini’s « Otello » (with Chris Merritt, Rockwell Blake, Bruce Ford & Leila Cuberli) conducted by Donato Renzetti. These performances by Henry inspired some critics to make comparisons with the finest Rossian specialists of this generation.

National and international attention came Henry’s way in 1992 when he performed along side Marilyn Horne, Chris Merritt, & Samuel Ramey in the Live From Lincoln Centers national telecast of Rossini’s « Bicentenial Birthday Gala » which was also recorded live by EMI (laser disc, video and cd) and distributed world wide. This was followed in France by a national telecast with Luciano Pavarotti and Aprile Millo in « Un Ballo in Maschera »for the L’Opera de Paris (production by Nicolas Joël) with Henry in the role of Count Horne.

Other debuts include ; Pistola in Verdi’s « Falstaff with L’Opéra de Lausanne (Switzerland), Banquo in Verdi’s « Macbeth » with L’Opéra de Montpellier (France), Don Magnifico in Rossini’s « La Cenerentola »(with Vivica Genaux) at the Minnesota Opera, Mustafa in « The Italian Girl »(with Della Jones & Charles Workman) for London’s English National Opera, Colline in « La Boheme » (directed by Dona D. Vaughn) with the Portland Opera(Maine), Sparafucile in Verdi’s « Rigoletto and Zuniga in Bizet’s « Carmen » for the Theatre Antique de Sanxay(France), Bass Soloist in Donizetti’s « Messa di Gloria e Credo » with the Orchestre Symphonique Amadeus Pro Musica(France) and Bass Soloist in Verdi’s Requiem with the Haifa Symphony(Israel)

He has worked with Robert Altman, Jean-Claude Auvray, Giuliano Chazalettes, Howard Davies,
Bruce Donel, Sonja Frisell, Frank Galati, Jacques Gervais, Pet Halmen, Nicolas Joël, Herbert Kellner, Charles Kondek, Matthew Lata, Yuri Ljubimov, Carlo Maestrini, Lofti Mansouri, Fabrizio Melano, Pier Luigi Pizzi, David Pountney, Harold Prince, François Rochaix, Leonard Slatkin, Mattia Testi, Beppe De Tomasi, Dona D. Vaughn, Robert Wilson……as well as other talented stage directors.

Orchestra conductors he has worked with include Maurizio Arena, Bruno Bartoletti, Gary Bertini, Richard Bradshaw, Richard Buckley, Bruno Campanella, Myung Wung Chung, James Conlon, Dennis Russell Davies, John Fiore, Friedrich Haider, Bruce Hangan, Emmanuel Joël, Christopher Keene, Friedemann Layer, Sir Charles Mackerras, George Manahan, Steven Mercurio, Roger Norrington, Antonio Pappano, Michael Plasson, Donato Renzetti,
Julius Rudel, Christian Saumon, Lee Schaenen, Stanley Sperber, Eric Sprogis, Michael Tilson-Thomas, Ramond Valentin….


As stage director Henry made his official directing debut with the Nevada Opera’s production of « L’Italiana in Algeri » by Rossini. He was invited by company director Ted Puffer to direct the production and sing the leading bass role of Mustafa. This was a tour-de-force undertaking but teamed with such artists as Joyce Campana, Monica Harte, David Rice, and conducted by Ted Puffer this proved to be very promissing debut. Henry’s other directing engagements include ; Gluck’s « Orphée & Euridyce », Menotti’s « Le Téléphone », Berlioz’ « The Death of Cleopatra », Rossini’s « Giovanna d’Arco » and Monteverdi’s « Lamento d’Ariana » for the Patchwork Musical Festival in Ligugé(France) as well as for the Château de Galmoisin’s summer festival(France). Puccini’s Suor Angelica was the vehicle for his Norwegian debut (featuring Norwegians, Soprano Kristin Kostopoulos in the title role and Mezzo-Soprano Berit Valberg singing the Princess) in the Bodø Damenkor’s production in Bodø(Norway). Henry made his New York City directing debut with the world premiere of Christian Mcleer’s « G-Train » also singing the role of Steve, this success brought him back for another world premiere « Shot » again performing in the production the role of Jack. Henry has now been invited by Mr. Mcleer to sing as Bass Soloist in his latest creation, « Requiem » to be premiered in New York, March of 2007.

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Since 1993 Henry has been an active participant in the Lyric Arts Cultural Developement of the Poitou-Charentes Region in France. He is the Artistic Director for « De Vive Voix » International Festival of Lyric Arts of Vivonne, and its International Vocal Competition and Master Class series (with such artists as Dolora Zajick, Cynthia Jacoby, Helen Blanic, Dona Vaughn, Thomas Muraco, Lionel Parlier, Ted Puffer……) helping to promote the arts and young professionals in France.

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