Meet The Performers

Visiting Artist

Sean Panikkar

Sean Panikkar quickly is becoming known for his “surpassing musicality and passion, commanding self confidence and gorgeous expression.” The American artist of Sri Lankan heritage made his Metropolitan Opera debut in the 2007-08 season under the baton of James Levine as Edmondo in Manon Lescaut (commercially available on DVD on EMI), and his European operatic debut as Gomatz in Mozart’s Zaïde at the Aix-en-Provence Festival in a production directed by Peter Sellars and conducted by Louis Langrée (commercially available on DVD on Opus Arte).

During the present season, the tenor makes an Opera Boston debut in the title role of Berlioz’ Béatrice et Bénédict, a Glimmerglass Festival debut as The Leader in Kurt Weill’s Lost in the Stars, and a San Diego Opera debut as Narraboth in Salome.   In return engagements, Mr. Pannikar sings Nadir in Les pêcheurs de perles for Pittsburgh Opera, Ismaele in Nabucco with Washington National Opera under Music Director Philippe Auguin, as well as Narraboth for New Orleans Opera.

Sean Panikkar’s 2010-11 season included debuts in Salome both at Washington National Opera in the company’s new Francesca Zambello production and at the Saito Kinen Festival in performances conducted by Omer Meir Wellber.  He brought his acclaimed portrayal of Prince Tamino in Die Zauberflöte both to New Orleans Opera for his company debut and to the Minnesota Orchestra for a debut there in performances with Music Director Osmo Vänskä.  Mr. Panikkar debuted at Santa Fe Opera as Kodanda in a new production of Menotti’s rarely produced The Last Savage directed by Ned Canty and conducted by George Manahan.  He returned both to Pittsburgh Opera as Chevalier de la Force in Dialogues of the Carmelites and to the Metropolitan Opera as Tybalt in Roméo et Juliette sharing the stage with Hei-Kyung Hong and Piotr Beczala under the baton of Plácido Domingo.  His concert work included performances of Mendelssohn’s Elijah with Michael Christie and the Phoenix Symphony, Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony with Raymond Leppard and the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, as well as a solo recital presented by Pro Musica Detroit.

Sean Panikkar made a Dallas Opera debut as Cassio in a new production of Otello, conducted by Graeme Jenkins and directed by Tim Albery, to open the Winspear Opera House at the Dallas Center for the Performing Arts.  During the 2009-10 season he also debuted at Atlanta Opera as Tamino in Die Zauberflöte and returned to the Opera Theatre of Saint Louis as Lensky inEugene Onegin conducted by David Agler.  He bowed as Brighella in Ariadne auf Naxos under the baton of Kirill Petrenko at the Metropolitan Opera and made a Carnegie Hall debut in Ricky Ian Gordon’s The Grapes of Wrath with the American Symphony Orchestra.  Concert highlights include Tchaikovsky’s Duet from Romeo and Juliet with the Los Angeles Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl, Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony with Alasdair Neale at the Sun Valley Summer Symphony, and a New York City recital debut under the auspices of the George London Foundation.

Highlights of recent seasons include Roméo et Juliette under the baton of Plácido Domingo as well as Lucia di Lammermoor conducted by Marco Armiliato at the Metropolitan Opera, La Traviata at Arizona Opera, Salome with the Vancouver Opera, The Ghosts of Versailles at Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, and, at San Francisco Opera, performances in The Queen of Spades, Le Pauvre Matelot, The Maid of Orleans, Manon Lescaut, Tristan und Isolde, Fidelio, Norma, and Die Zauberflöte.  

On the concert stage, the artist has performed Beethoven's Ninth Symphony with the San Francisco Symphony Youth Orchestra, Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde (in the chamber arrangement by Arnold Schoenberg) with the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra at the Ojai Festival, and Die Zauberflöte with Leonard Slatkin at The Hollywood Bowl.  He also has joined Esa-Pekka Salonen, Peter Sellars, and the Los Angeles Philharmonic for The Tristan Project in Los Angeles and at Lincoln Center.

Sean Panikkar has been honored by the George London Foundation with the 2007 Robert Jacobson Memorial Award and a 2009 George London Award; he also is a First Prize winner of the 2010 Gerda Lissner International Vocal Competition, and second place winner in the 2009 International Hans Gabor Belvedere Singing Competition.  He is a former member of the San Francisco Opera Adler Fellowship Program, Pittsburgh Opera Center, Central City Opera Studio Artist program, and Seagle Music Colony.   He holds Master’s and Bachelor degrees in Voice Performance from the University of Michigan.

Please note: Biographies on the CSO website are based on the information that was most recently provided to the CSO by the artists or their representatives. More current information may be available on the artists' own websites or those of their representatives.