In each role [William Still and John], his voice is expressive and soaring
The Post Standard, Syracuse, NY







Tenor, Cornelius Johnson, quickly gained attention as an artist in opera, concert, and as a recitalist.  His performances have been described as “refreshing, sparkling, and exciting” as well as “expressive and soaring.”

During the 2007-2008 season Mr. Johnson made his debut with Chamber Opera Chicago in a Menotti Tribute Concert, was the singing voice for Scott Joplin in the radio play entitled “ Joplin” which aired on WFMT radio, and returned to the Chicago Cultural Center Summer Opera in the rarely heard work, Djamileh, by Bizet.

In recent past seasons Mr. Johnson has performed at the National Concert Hall in Dublin, Ireland, at the National Association of Negro Musicians in Las Vegas, Nevada, Handel’s Messiah with the Chicago Chamber Orchestra, and as Sportin’ Life in Porgy and Bess at the Norris Performing Arts Center in St. Charles, IL.  He has also been seen at Chicago’s Millennium Park as a part of “Sondheim in the Park”, and Gospel Fest at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion.  Mr. Johnson made his debut with the Racine Symphony Orchestra in Mozart’s Missa Brevis, K 220, and made his debut at the Ravinia Music Festival as Don Jose in Carmen with Opera Theatre North.

Other operatic highlights have included Tamino in The Magic Flute with Lyric Opera of Chicago’s Center for American Artists Opera In The Neighborhoods, several roles with Connecticut Opera, Syracuse Opera, Opera Theatre of St. Louis, Chautauqua Opera, the Lake George Opera Festival, Shreveport Opera, Teatro Real, Madrid, and Opera Memphis. Some of Mr. Johnson’s operatic roles have included Tamino in The Magic Flute, Rodolfo in La Boheme, Goro in Madama Butterfly, Spoletta in Tosca, Don Basilio in Le Nozze di Figaro, both Don Jose and El Rememdado in Carmen, Elder Hayes in Susannah, Peter, Mingo and Sportin’ Life in Porgy and Bess, and King Kaspar in Amahl and the Night Visitors.

Mr. Johnson made his professional solo operatic debut, as Peter the Honeyman, in Houston Grand Opera’s production of Porgy and Bess, touring major houses in the United States, as well as the Opera Bastille, in Paris, France, the Teatro alla Scala, in Milan, Italy, and the Bunkamura Theater, with the Tokyo Philharmonic.

On the concert stage he has sung Bach’s Magnificat and Cantata No.4 (Christ lag in Todes Banden), Dubois’ Seven Last Words, Handel’s Messiah, Haydn ‘s Creation and Heilig-Messe (Mass in Bb), Mendelssohns Elijah, Saint-Saens’Christmas Oratorio, Hale Smiths’ Symphonic Spirituals for tenor and orchestra, and Vaughn-Williams’Hodie. He has performed in recital at the Chicago Cultural Center, the Smithsonian Institute, the Yale Museum of Art, Atlanta's Symphony Center (a concert aired on National Public Radio), with the Michigan City Community Orchestra, and the Wheaton Symphony.

Mr. Johnson has also garnered prizes and awards, including being a Regional Finalist in the Mac Allister Competition, the Frank Pandolfi Award from the Connecticut Opera Guild Scholarship Competition, a Scholarship Recipient from the Atlanta Opera, and the Ekstein Performance Grant from Northwestern University.

A native of Chicago, Mr. Johnson received his Master of Music Degree from Northwestern University, and his Bachelor of Arts Degree from Morehouse College.


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