Critically acclaimed for his theatrical versatility and powerful yet refined vocalism, baritone John Hancock made his Metropolitan Opera debut as le Gendarme in Les Mamelles de Tirésias under the baton of James Levine. He has since appeared in a dozen roles with the company, including: Count Almaviva in Le Nozze di Figaro, Falke in Die Fledermaus, Albert in Werther, Brétigny in Manon, Capulet in Roméo et Juliette, Astley in Prokofiev’s The Gambler and both Marcello and Schaunard in La Bohème. With San Francisco Opera, he has sung the roles of Sharpless in Madama Butterfly, Yeletsky in Queen of Spades, and Lescaut in Manon Lescaut.
A gifted interpreter of contemporary opera, Hancock has created leading roles in several world premieres, notably: Lowell Liebermann’s The Picture of Dorian Gray at Opéra de Monte Carlo; Stephen Paulus’s Heloise and Abelard as an alumni artist at the Juilliard School; and Central Park, a trilogy of American operas, at Glimmerglass Opera (also broadcast on PBS Great Performances). Of his performance in the American premiere of Pascal Dusapin’s Faustus, the Last Night at Spoleto USA, The New York Times wrote, “John Hancock was particularly strong in the title role, seizing every opportunity to soar.”
In 2017, Hancock makes his debut at Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires as Faninal in Der Rosenkavalier. He also joins forces with the Hartford Symphony Orchestra for performances of Vaughan Williams's Five Mystical Songs. 2016 career highlights included debuts with Boston Lyric Opera as Albert in Werther, and with Nashville Opera as Don Alfonso in Così fan tutte, as well as performances in the Metropolitan Opera's production of Salome. Other recent debuts are with Opera Colorado as Sharpless in Madama Butterfly, and with the Royal Flemish Philharmonic under Edo de Waart in Elgar’s Dream of Gerontius, which was recorded for CD release on the Pentatone Classics label. Joining Central City Opera as Mr. Webb in Ned Rorem’s masterpiece Our Town, “John Hancock not only had a towering physical presence, but had a voice to match: a mellifluous, responsive baritone that rang out soundly in the house.” – Opera Today. At Spoleto USA, he assumed the title role in the American premiere of Philip Glass’ Kepler, in which “Hancock sang the title role with an appealing suppleness, admirable clarity and a necessary but never overstated touch of melancholy.” –New York Times. In 2011, Hancock sang the title role in Falstaff in a widely acclaimed new production by Patrice Caurier and Moshe Leiser at Angers Nantes Opera and Opéra de Rennes in France.
Other notable performances include Ramiro in l’Heure espagnole with Seiji Ozawa’s Veroza Opera Japan, the title role in Eugene Onegin at Opera Ireland, and John Buchanan in Lee Hoiby’s Summer and Smoke at Central City Opera. He has sung leading roles with companies including Washington National Opera, New Israeli Opera, Opéra du Rhin, Theater des Champs-Elysées, Portland Opera and Cincinnati Opera.
A powerful presence on the concert stage, John Hancock made his Carnegie Hall debut in Carmina Burana with the Orchestra of St. Luke’s and the Collegiate Chorale. He received acclaim for his performances with the American Symphony Orchestra at Carnegie Hall of Schoeck’s tour de force for baritone and orchestra, Lebendig begraben, and with the Radio Kamer Filharmonie at Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw reprising the title role in Faustus, the Last Night. His concert repertoire includes Mahler’s Eighth Symphony, Des Knaben Wunderhorn and Kindertotenlieder; Zemlinksy’s Lyric Symphony; Schoeck’s Nachhall; Fauré’s Requiem; and Gounod’s Mors et Vita.
In 2012, Albany Records released Little Heaven, a CD recording of songs of Lowell Liebermann featuring soprano Brenda Rae and Mr. Hancock in the composer’s Appalachian Liebeslieder. Mr. Hancock’s discography also includes Les Mamelles de Tirésias with the Metropolitan Opera and James Levine, Lully’s Armide under the baton of Philippe Herreweghe, and Torke’s Strawberry Fields. His performances of Stravinsky’s Abraham and Isaac, Sibelius’s Kullervo, Zemlinsky’s Lyric Symphony and Schoeck’s Nachhall with Leon Botstein and the American Symphony Orchestra are available on iTunes and amazon.com.
Mr. Hancock is a graduate of the Juilliard Opera Center, where he was winner of the Richard F. Gold Grant presented by the Shoshana Foundation. He is the grateful recipient of grants and prizes from the Metropolitan Opera National Council, the Loren L. Zachary Society, and the Sullivan Foundation. Since 2012, he has served as an adjudicator for the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions.