Andrew Wilkowske – when singing a “virile, sturdy Marcello” or a “garrulous yet endearing” Papageno- displays an engaging combination of musical talent and masterful stage presence. Wilkowske, whose voice has been described as “nimble,” with an “impressively open top,” is one of the most versatile performers on the stage today. A gifted actor as well as singer, Wilkowske’s Papageno in The Magic Flute “stole the show” according to the Washington Post, and was a “lusty-voiced fellow,” according to Opera News.
Recent engagements have included Papageno in Barrie Kosky’s acclaimed production of Die Zauberflöte, and Dulcamara in L’elisir d’amore with Minnesota Opera; Ponchel in Silent Night with Lyric Opera of Kansas City; Figaro in Paisiello’s Il barbiere di Siviglia with On Site Opera in NYC; and Baron Zeta in The Merry Widow with Boston Lyric Opera. Current engagements include Ponchel in a new production of Silent Night with Atlanta Opera; Lucy with UrbanArias; and Bartolo in Il barbiere di Siviglia with Florentine Opera.
Notable engagements have included Ponchel in the world premiere of Silent Night with Minnesota Opera, reprised with both Opera Philadelphia and Cincinnati Opera; Emperor Overall in The Emperor of Atlantis with Chicago Opera Theatre and Boston Lyric Opera; the Vicar in Albert Herring with Florentine Opera; Guglielmo in Così fan tutte with Intermountain Opera Bozeman; the world premiere of The Rivals with Skylight Opera; Belcore in L’Elisir d’amore with Utah Opera; Figaro in Il barbiere di Siviglia with Opera on the James; Bummerli in The Chocolate Soldier with Bard Summerscape; returns to Glimmerglass Opera as La Rocca in Un giorno di Regno; and to Minnesota Opera as Dandini in La cenerentola, and Sharpless in Madama Butterfly; and Carmina Burana with the Minnesota Orchestra, under the baton of Osmo Vänksä.
Widely known for his expertise in modern repertoire, Wilkowske premiered Our Basic Nature, a solo New Music Theater piece by John Glover and Kelley Rourke with American Opera Projects and Nautilus Music Theater. As Noah in the Minnesota Opera world premiere cast of The Grapes of Wrath in 2007, he was featured on Garrison Keillor’s “A Prairie Home Companion” radio show, and on the complete recording of the opera available on P.S. Classics. He also reprised the role of Noah with the Collegiate Chorale at Carnegie Hall. In addition, he recently covered the role of Casanova in Minnesota Opera’s 25th Anniversary production of Dominick Argento’s Casanova’s Homecoming, sang the role of Geppetto in Jonathan Dove’s The Adventures of Pinocchio, and Henry Kissinger in Nixon in China with Minnesota Opera; and sang in performances of the North American premiere of Howard Shore’s The Fly at Los Angeles Opera, conducted by Placido Domingo.
Other engagements have included Figaro in both Il barbiere di Siviglia and Le nozze di Figaro with Skylight Opera; and Le nozze di Figaro with Green Mountain Opera Festival (under the baton of Jacques Lacombe), Ash Lawn Opera, and the Acadiana Symphony. Wilkowske’s experiences are documented in his award-winning “A Year of Figaro” blog.
Active on the musical theatre stage, Wilkowske’s performance in Jacques Brel is Alive and Well and Living in Paris was called “chilling” and “deeply moving” by the St. Paul Pioneer Press, and his performance in the world premiere of Sleeping Beauty with the Ensemble Theatre of Cincinnati earned him a nomination for a Cincinnati Entertainment Award.
Wilkowske has participated in the Merola Opera Program, Glimmerglass Opera’s Young American Artist Program and the Minnesota Opera Resident Artist Program. He is a graduate of the University of Cincinnati, College-Conservatory of Music (CCM) and the University of Minnesota Duluth.
As Papageno Die Zauberflöte
The Grapes of Wrath, Minnesota Opera
“…and baritone Andrew Wilkowske is moving as retarded son Noah, whose suicide by drowning is expanded from the novel to conclude Act Two.”
– Opera Today, February 13, 2007
“Perhaps the most evocative sequence of the evening arrives at the end of the second act, when Noah (Andrew Wilkowske) drowns himself. Korie writes a heartbreaking lyric, and Wilkowske is lifted into the air behind a projection as he dies; in that moment, Meek steps into a spotlight to sing a final lullaby to her son. Dry eyes are in short supply.”
– Variety, February 16, 2007
Hansel und Gretel, Skylight Opera Theatre
“Andrew Wilkowske brings a strong, warm, controlled sound to the role of the children’s father”
– Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, September 23, 2006
Tosca, Los Angeles Opera
“Sciarrone and Spoletta were dramatically portrayed by Joseph Frank and resident artist Andrew Wilkowske”
– Opera Japonica, January 2006
Madama Butterfly, Los Angeles Opera
“…and Andrew Wilkowske as Prince Yamadori rounded out the extremely accomplished ensemble cast”
– Opera Online, January 21, 2006
Excerpts from Die Zauberflote, Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra
“The Whimsy comes with Papageno (Andrew Wilkowske, who commanded both the music and the stage…”
– Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, November 4, 2006
Pirates of Penzance, Eugene Opera
“Andrew Wilkowske played the “very model of a modern Major-General” who knows calculus and ancient history but not “elemental strategy.” His patter song to this effect was a marvel of singing, breath control, humor and pronunciation.”
– Eugene Register-Guard, January 3, 2007
Nixon in China, Minnesota Opera
“And Andrew Wilkowske, though he looked more like Al Franken than Henry Kissinger, got ample fun out of the work’s only real comic character.”
– Minneapolis Star Tribune, May 16, 2005
Jacques Brel is Alive and Well and Living in Paris, North Star Opera
“Alas, on the ballads, only one performer truly taps into the interwoven idealism and cynicism that made Brel such an original: Andrew Wilkowske. The former Minnesota Opera resident artist delivers a chilling “Alone” and makes the sad farewell to love, “Fanette,” the most deeply moving song in the show. But his comfort level with the material even stands out in the faster full-cast numbers: While others work hard to sell the songs, Wilkowske’s strong voice and onstage ease prove far more magnetic.”
– St. Paul Pioneer Press, December 18, 2004
Die Zauberflote, Virginia Opera
“Wilkowske’s garrulous yet endearing Papageno stole the show. Whether humming with a padlocked mouth or singing with mate Papagena, Wilkowske was comically charming.”
– The Washington Post, November 25, 2003
The Merry Widow, Minnesota Opera
“…At the head of the line of standout performers were Matt Boehler and Andrew Wilkowske, as Njegus and Zeta, respectively. The two played off one another hilariously, and both sang with pleasing and hearty good humor.”
– Opera News, February 2003 Reviews