CHRISTOPHER SWANSON, conductor and lyric tenor, is the music director and co-founder of the Summer Garden Opera. He is thrilled to present great opera to this extraordinary community since 2010 and delights in bringing the country’s top performers to Farmville.
A lyric tenor, Swanson has performed throughout North America and Europe. Some of his favorite operatic roles include Tamino in Die Zauberflöte, Nemorino in L’elisir d’amore, Ferrando in Così fan tutte, Tom Rakewell in The Rake’s Progress and Peter Quint in Benjamin Britten’s Turn of the Screw. His recital performances have been heard across the United States, Italy and the United Kingdom. He specializes in romantic German Lieder, chansons of Gabriel Fauré and the songs of Benjamin Britten. Swanson has also dazzled audiences with his wide-ranging concert repertoire. In a recent performance of Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana with the Roanoke Symphony Orchestra, a reviewer noted that the role’s “near-impossible tessitura [was] ably conquered by Swanson.”
Swanson was the conductor and music director of the Lynchburg Symphony Orchestra for four years (2014-18) and is the music director at Johns Memorial Episcopal Church. Swanson has been music director for such productions at Longwood University as Berlin to Broadway, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Little Shop of Horrors, and The Rocky Horror Picture Show (in which he also performed the role of Riff-Raff). In the spring of 2020 he will be the music director and conductor for Chicago. Swanson is a Professor of Music at Longwood University. He received degrees in music from Michigan State University and University of Tennessee, Knoxville and his doctorate from Florida State University.
A native of Michigan, Swanson has been teaching, conducting and singing in Virginia since moving here in 2003. He lives in Farmville with his wife Melanie and their children: Breanna, Grace, Ellie, Abigail, Charles and Vienna Jewell.
This is Mr. Swanson’s second production with the Summer Garden Opera as conductor.