DEC 2020

John's 2020/2021 season brings major house debuts for the rising young tenor. Season highlights include a return to Pensacola Opera for Ralph Rackstraw in HMS Pinafore , along with debuts with the Utah Opera in Pirates of Penzance as Frederic and with the Berkshire Opera Festival in Glory Denied as Younger Thompson. This season also features concerts with Gulfshore Opera, and his Carnegie Hall debut as tenor soloist in Handel's Messiah. He will also continue his collaboration with Emmy-nominated PBS TV classical-crossover pianist Marina Arsenijevic, and be releasing new studio recordings to all streaming services.


January 25, 2020

Glory Denied, a heartbreaking story of the Vietnam War and its aftermath

"John Riesen as the Younger Jim went the distance to portray the fear, humiliation, and pain of the soldier’s harrowing nine-year ordeal. Opera is a great medium for showing people in emotional extremis, and Riesen knows how to deliver vocally that kind of tenor heartbreak."

- DC Theatre Scene

January 17, 2020

BWW Review: GLORY DENIED at Urban Arias

"Tenor John Riesen as the younger Jim Thompson, easily goes from the lyricism of a father who hung onto the mail from his family in his pocket when he was captured, including a misshapen paper star cut out by one of his children, to the dark tonelessness of a man kept in a tiger cage who creates the blueprint of a house in his mind to try to stay sane"

- Broadway World

January 18, 2020

Songs of love and war in UrbanArias’ brilliant ‘Glory Denied’

"John Riesen’s substantial tenor remains strong through all the scenes in which he appears as Younger Thompson: from being kicked on the ground by his jailer to seeing the jungle for the first time at the end of the war with wonder and joy. . . "

- DC Metro Theater Arts


November 16, 2019

OPERA NEWS: Sweeney Todd at MOT

" Tenor John Riesen’s short, colorful appearance as Pirelli was both musically and dramatically satisfying.."

- Opera News

November 19, 2019

MOT’s ‘Sweeney Todd’ breaks ground on beloved classic

"Other characters are utterly remarkable here, such as John Riesen’s Pirelli, at turns bright and funny and downright sinister, with a stunning tenor"

- Encore Michigan


June 2, 2019

"Cendrillon" enjoys great laughs, glorious singing. 

"As the pensive Prince Charming, John Riesen scored his finest impressions in his sensitive soft singing... In their Big Duet Ohse and Riesen gave the grateful audience the Big Operatic Gift of thrilling all­outclimaxes. It was the stuff of fairy tales." 

-Addison County Independant


April 3, 2019

Gulfshore Opera's 'Traviata' solid musically and dramatically

"John Riesen has opera's Emotional Boy, Alfredo, firmly in hand. He is desperately in love and his heart is on his sleeve for the entire opera. Riesen and Valdes partner beautifully, and Riesen is note-perfect and powerful in his solos, an impressive tenor with dramatics to match. He gains power as the performance continues until his icy public confrontation with his lost love at her friend's soirée."

-Naples Daily News


November 28, 2018

Des Moines: Glory, Glory Hallelujah

"John Riesen’s 'Younger Thompson' held the stage with a vibrant, focused tenor, and an impassioned performance of complete commitment and coltish deportment. Mr. Riesen bolted about the stage, flailed at his captors’ abuse, repeatedly flung himself on the floor, and managed to do all of this while singing with secure abandon."

- Opera Today

November 28, 2018

True Impact: DMMO's Glory Denied

"Younger Thompson, the prisoner of war, was a physically grueling role, and John Riesen portrayed the character with heartfelt sincerity. . ."


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