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Music Pages

Canadian tenor Ben Heppner retires from the stage

28 April 2014

Ben Heppner
Ben Heppner(Photo: Kristin Hoebermann)

The Canadian tenor Ben Heppner has announced his retirement from singing, telling fans via a message on his website that 'I've decided the time has come for a new era in my life'.

The 58-year-old singer is best known for his Wagner roles, including Lohengrin, Siegfried, Tristan and Walther in Die Meisteringer von Nürnburg, but has also championed major roles from the French and Italian repertoire such as Berlioz's Aeneas and Verdi's Otello. In 2010 he played Captain Ahab in the triumphant world premiere of Jake Heggie's Moby-Dick, and went on to repeat this success in San Francisco, San Diego and Calgary. Other major opera houses at which Heppner has been a regular visitor include Covent Garden, La Scala, Vienna State Opera, Bavarian State Opera, Paris Opera and the Lyric Opera of Chicago.

Heppner paid tribute to 'the countless people who inspired me, supported me and encouraged me to embark on a fantastic journey over the past 35 years'. He explained, however, that he has 'been experiencing a little bit of unreliability in my voice - and that causes some anxieties - [so] I decided it was time.'

Heppner has recorded widely and is currently signed as an exclusive artist with Deutsche Grammophon. His DG discography includes DVDs of Tristan und Isolde, Die Meisteringer von Nürnburg and Beethoven's Fidelio from the Metropolitan Opera.

A big personality away from the stage as well as on it, Heppner became a radio broadcaster with Canada's CBC network last year, taking on the job of presenting the long-running programme Saturday Afternoon at the Opera as well a his own new show Backstage With Ben Heppner.

Alongside his broadcasting roles, Heppner plan to continue hosting masterclasses, coaching singers for roles and appearing on voice competition juries.

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