Heralded by the New York Times for “musical taste, honest execution of Handelian ornaments and bel canto filigree, and a solid voice,” William Guanbo Su is a 2019 Metropolitan Opera Laffont Competition Grand Finals winner.
In the 2023-24 season, he returns to the Metropolitan Opera as the Speaker in the company’s beloved English presentation of The Magic Flute as well as to Houston Grand Opera as the Bonze in Madama Butterfly. He makes company debuts with Seattle Opera as Basilio in Il barbiere di Siviglia, Santa Fe Opera as Masetto in Don Giovanni, and Utah Opera as Colline in La bohème. On the concert stage, he joins the American Symphony Orchestra as Simon in Handel’s Judas Maccabeus. Coming seasons see his company debuts with the Staatsoper Hamburg and Dallas Opera. Last season he sang his first performances of the Speaker in The Magic Flute in a return to the Metropolitan Opera as well as made further role debuts as Blitch in Susannah with Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, Colline in La bohème with Boston Lyric Opera, Alidoro in La Cenerentola with Opera Maine, and Bonze in Madama Butterfly at the Grand Tetons Music Festival. He also returned to Austin Opera as Basilio in Il barbiere di Siviglia.
His other recent performances include his Metropolitan Opera debut as the Jailer in Tosca as well as both Angelotti and the Jailer in the same title with Austin Opera. At the Aspen Music Festival, he sang his first performances of Sarastro in Die Zauberflöte, Basilio in Il barbiere di Siviglia, and Garibaldo in Rodelinda.
He is a former member of the prestigious Studio of the Houston Grand Opera at which he sang Zuniga in Carmen, the First Officer in Dialogues des Carmélites, Second Armed Man in Die Zauberflöte—while also being responsible for Sarastro, Mandarin in Turandot—while also being responsible for Timur, and the Duke of Verona in Roméo et Juliette. He also sang the Usher in Rigoletto, but his scheduled performances of Sparafucile were cancelled by the COVID-19 pandemic. While a participant in the Académie Vocal Residence at the Festival d’Aix-en-Provence, he sang the Demon in Pergolesi’s Li prodigi della divina grazia nella conversione e more di San Guglielmo Duca di Aquitaina with Les Talent Lyriques.
As an ambassador for Opera for Peace, he sang Verdi’s “O tu Palermo” from I vespri siciliani for that organization’s digital concert celebrating World Opera Day 2020. He is a former Gerdine Young Artist of the Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, at which he sang Count Ceprano in Rigoletto and covered Figaro in Le nozze di Figaro. He joined Lyric Opera of Chicago’s Lyric Unlimited for its production of Perla’s An American Dream. While at The Juilliard School, he sang the Commendatore in Don Giovanni and Pluton in Hippolyte et Aricie.
His performances of Handel’s Messiah with the Portland Baroque Orchestra and Beethoven’s Mass in C in the 2019-20 season were also cancelled due to the pandemic. He made his Carnegie Hall debut with the Cecilia Chorus of New York singing Bach’s Christmas Oratorio and returned to the stage a year later for Handel’s Messiah with the same organization.
In addition to winning the Metropolitan Opera Laffont Competition Grand Finals, Mr. Su won second prize in the Eleanor McCollum Competition at Houston Grand Opera. He won first prize in the Liederkranz Foundation’s Song/Lieder Competition in 2017 and, in 2018, received third prize in the Gerda Lissner Opera Competition. He received his Master of Music degree from The Juilliard School and his Bachelor of Music Degree from the Manhattan School of Music. He completed further studies at the Franz Schubert Institute in Austria.