Mikhail Petrenko


One of the most sought after basses in the world, Mikhail Petrenko's vocal and acting talents are vast. He has collaborated with conductors of the highest calibre such as; Valery Gergiev, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Pierre Boulez, Yannick Nezet Seguin, Charles Dutoit, Myung Whun Chung, Sir Simon Rattle, Daniel Harding and Vladimir Jurowski, to name but a few.

Mikhail was born in St Petersburg and graduated from the St Petersburg State Rimsky-Korsakov Conservatoire in the class of Professor Minzhilkiev. He was awarded diplomas at the III International Rimsky-Korsakov Competition for Young Opera Singers (St Petersburg, 1998) and the 1st Elena Obraztsova Competition for Young Opera Singers. He became a finalist and diploma-winner at the Maria Callas New Verdi Voices Competition in Parma in 2000. Mikhail features on the recently released recording of Rachmaninov's The Bells with the Berliner Symphoniker conducted by Simon Rattle and released on Warner Classics. 

Previous careers highlights have included both the title role in a new production of Duke Bluebeard's Castle and Prince Galitsky Prince Igor at the MET, Gounod's Faust with the Netherlands Opera and Grand Inquisitor Don Carlo for the Verbier Festival.

Engagements this season and beyond include Le nozze di Figaro at the MET, Bluebeard’s Castle with the Cleveland Orchestra, Damnation de Faust with the Tokyo Symphony Orchestra, Shostakovich 13 with the Berliner Philarmoniker, Simon Boccanegra with La Scala performed at the Bolshoi, Tristan and Isolde at the Hamburgische Staatsoper and a return to the Met for Romeo et Juliet, Salome and Il Barbiere di Siviglia.

[This is for information only and should not be reproduced. Please contact Sophie Robertson for an updated biography and performance schedule]

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News & Features



BEETHOVEN Fidelio (Rocco)
BERLIOZ Romeo et Juliet (Frère Laurent)
BORODIN Prince Igor (Prince Galitsky)
DONIZETTI L'elisir d'amore (Dulcamara)
MOZART Die Zauberflöte (Sarastro)
MOZART Don Giovanni (Leporello/Don Giovanni)
MOZART Le nozze di Figaro (Figaro)
MUSSORGSKY Boris Godunov (Boris/Pimen/Varlaam)
ROSSINI Il Barbiere di Siviglia (Basilio)
TCHAIKOVSKY Eugene Onegin (Gremin)
VERDI Don Carlo (Filippo)
WAGNER Die Walküre (Hunding)
WAGNER Götterdämmerung (Hagen)


BACH B Minor Mass
BEETHOVEN Symphony No.9
BEETHIVEN Missa Solemnis
DVORAK Stabat Mater
JANACEK Glagolitic Mass
MOZART Requiem
MOZART Coronation Mass
MUSSORGSKY Songs and Dances of Death
ROSSINI Petite Messe Solennelle
ROSSINI Stabat Mater
SHOSTAKOVICH Symphonies No. 13 & No. 14
SHOSTAKOVICH Suite on verses of Michelangelo
VERDI Requiem

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Click here to read Jennifer Melick interview Mikhail for Opera News as he takes on Prince Galitsky in the Met's new Prince Igor.

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Bluebeard's Castle

Severance Hall

"The main attractions, of course, were the singers. Not just any artists will do in "Bluebeard," but bass Mikhail Petrenko and soprano Katarina Dalayman were every bit up to the task, boasting not only the requisite fluency in Hungarian but also ample, mellifluous voices, chemistry, and comfort in choreography that had them crawling, jogging and even dancing lightly around the stage." Zachary Lewis, Cleveland.com, 8 April 2016


Le Nozze di Figaro

Metropolitan Opera

"The opera is known as The Marriage of Figaro, and the current revival of Richard Eyre’s heavy-handed, busy-busy production of 2014 features a nice, dapper baritone in the title role: Mikhail Petrenko". Martin Bernheimer, Financial Times, 28 February 2016
"As Figaro, Mikhail Petrenko delivered a far more relaxed performance as Figaro...During the famed Act 4 aria, "Aprite un po'quegli occhi," he darkened his voice and added a snarl to the consonants, the anger and bitterness coming through passionately." David Salazar, Latin Post, 11 March 2016


The Bells

St David's Hall

"...three fine soloists...Mikhail Petrenko, the...deep bass lent a final dark authenticity to the whole". Rian Evans, The Guardian, 4 October 2015
"The best was served at the end in “Mournful Iron Bells” where...there was Mikhail Petrenko’s sonorous bass - a voice so cavernous you could walk through it". David Truslove, Bach Track, 4 October 2015


Rachmaninov Song Recital

De Doelen

"Zodra de bas inzette, bracht hij de luisteraar in een wereld van vocale perfectie. Zijn grote spanningsbogen, emotionele frasering en robuuste stem overtuigden gedurende zijn hele optreden. Daarbij creëerde hij met zijn enorme présence en zijn interactie met het publiek een intieme sfeer in de Jurriaanse Zaal van De Doelen in Rotterdam".

To read the full review, please see the Opera Magazine website. David Pinedo, Opera Magazine, 18 September 2015


Bluebeard's Castle

Metropolitan Opera

In Bartok’s grim two-character “Bluebeard’s Castle,” drawn from a blood-streaked fairy tale, the spouse-murdering title character indulges his curious wife Judith’s desire to see every room in his haunt. No good comes of it. But performances by German soprano Nadja Michael, as Judith, and Russian bass Mikhail Petrenko as her Bluebeard are very good.

Joe Dziemianowicz, New York Daily News, 30 January 2015
'Gergiev made it brood with primitive pain, and the protagonists, Nadja Michael (German) and Mikhail Petrenko (Russian), exuded extrovert passion, misery and menace, as needed.' Martin Bernheimer, Financial Times, 1 February 2015, 4 Stars
Mikhail Petrenko is really scary as Bluebeard and sings the role with great confidence. Wilborn Hampton, Huffington Post, 30 January 2015
'Bartòk’s profoundly pessimistic Bluebeard’s Castle is a portrait of a sado-masochistic relationship far more disturbingly intense and erotic than anything E L James has punily imagined. Trelinski presents it in the context of a nightmare landscape of illusions and visions, haunted by the compelling presences of Nadja Michael and Mikhail Petrenko.' Rupert Christiansen, The Telegraph, 15 February 2015



Hippodrome Theatre, Birmingham

They were led by Hagen who stood on a level above them, with Mikhail Petrenko proving tremendous at commanding and manipulating everyone around him. Sam Smith, Music OMH, 13 Nov 2014


Boris Godunov

Barbican Centre

There were phenomenal performances from both Mikhail Kazakov, in the title role, and Mikhail Petrenko as his unlikely nemesis, the monk Pimen. Petrenko sang Pimen quite beautifully, with gravelly depth and glorious lyricism.
(4 stars) David Karlin, Bachtrack, 4 Nov 2014



Netherlands Opera

Also essaying his role for the first time is the accomplished Russian bass Mikhail Petrenko as Méphistophélès, whose cavalier initial words, “Me voici!,” forecast a verbally dexterous performance that is backed by a firm voice.

George Loomis, New York Times, 13 May 2014
Lascio per ultimo il Mefistofele di Mikhail Petrenko, il quale crea un personaggio di statura gigantesca. Il basso russo si dimostra cantante di vaglia e interprete dal carisma magnetico: il suo Mefistofele è di volta in volta arguto e volgare, arrogante e mellifluo, rozzo e aristocratico e non si può che rimanerne conquistati (in fondo, fra tutti è proprio questo il personaggio meno stereotipato e forse più umano della vicenda) tanto che, come direbbe Eduardo, alla sua uscita al proscenio se ne cade o’ teatro.

Edoardo Saccenti, Opera Click, 22 May 2014


Prince Igor

Metropolitan Opera

Mikhail Petrenko staggered lustily as nasty Galitsky Martin Bernheimer, Financial Times, 9 Feb 2014
Igor has entrusted his wife and his city to the care of his brother-in-law, Prince Galitsky, a coarse cad, who schemes to take power while Igor is captive. The feisty Russian bass Mikhail Petrenko is a sneering, prickly Galitsky, exhorting his followers into frenzied drunken revels that jibe with the pummeling rhythms of the music. Anthony Tommasini, New York Times, 7 Feb 2014
[...compared to a cast that was otherwise filled with full-bodied red-wine voices.]

One of those voices belonged to Mikhail Petrenko, playing Igor’s brother-in-law Galitsky. He delivered his signature aria with vocal ease, but brought in a little grease and grit as he proclaimed he would live for the moment and engage in whatever debauchery he could drum up.

Eric C Simpson, New York Classical Review, 7 Feb 2014
'Mikhail Petrenko’s snarling Galitzky rather outshone Stefan Kocán’s hoarse turn as Khan Konchak.' James Jorden, New York Observer, 2nd October 2014
From the Mariinsky Theater came tenor Sergei Semishkur, as a clear-voiced Vladimir, and bass Mikhail Petrenko, who sang and played the lascivious, cynical, power-hungry Prince Galitsky to the hilt.  Raymond Stults, The Moscow Times, 20 Feb 2014


BBC Proms, Gotterdamerung

Royal Albert Hall

He was a presence, though, and manifested his evil intent through grotesque distortions of key words, stretching and curling vowels into malevolent snarls. Edward Seckerson, The Arts Desk, 29 July 2013
Anna Samuil’s Gutrune loved the hero in admiring, cheer-leader terms, although one felt she might have responded as easily to the sleazy charm of Siegfried’s nemesis Hagen, sung with testosterone-rich gruffness by Mikhail Petrenko. Rick Jones, The Independent, 29 July 2013
Less vocally weighty than the traditional Hagen, Mikhail Petrenko nevertheless conveyed the super-subtle malevolence of Alberich's son George Hall, The Guardian, 29 July 2013


Boris Godunov

Metropolitan Opera, New York

For vocal beauty, top honours go to Mikhal Petrenko who was a marvelous Pimen, the wise monk who chronicled all that unfolded before him. He has a gorgeous deep, dark rolling bass. He also has excellent technique and fine dramatic skills. This is the third role I have seen him assume in New York and he is superb in everything he does. I look forward, one day, to hearing him as Boris... Concerto.net, November 2010


The Bells

San Francisco Symphony Orchestra

Petrenko reminded us of why we love Russian Basses. When that rich, reverberating tone rises from the depths, then pours forth to fill the auditorium, it is difficult not to feel a certain thrill. Bay Area Reporter, November 2009



Swedish Radio Orchestra/Harding

Even more impressive was Michail Petrenko, the possessor of a magnificent bass voice but first and foremost he was restrained and responsive to the text, singing Confutatis with lyrical warmth... Göran Forsling, musicweb international



Metropolitan Opera, New York

...Aside from Gagnidze, the other star of the evening was Mikhail Petrenko as Sparafucile, the knife-wielding assassin. When last seen in New York in November, he sang the part of the cook in a concert performance of Prokofiev's 'The Love for Three Oranges' conducted by Valery Gergiev. In that performance, Petrenko's deadly weapon was not a knife but a giant ladel! Here he was evil incarnate, with his gleaming bass voice seemingly rising out of the depths of his soul... Concerto.net, February 2009




The Bells
Symphonic Dances

Rundfunkchor Berlin
Berliner Philharmoniker
Simon Rattle, Conductor

Luba Orgonasova, Soprano
Dmytro Popov, Tenor
Mikhail Petrenko, Bass

Warner Classics



Valery Gergiev conductor
Mariinsky Orchestra
Anja Kampe Sieglinde
Jonas Kaufmann Siegmund
René Pape Wotan
Nina Stemme Brünnhilde
Mikhail Petrenko Hunding
Ekaterina Gubanova Fricka

Mariinsky Label


Mozart's Don Giovanni

Kasper Holten, Director
Christopher Maltman
Mikhail Petrenko 
Elizabeth Futral
Maria Bengtsson
Katija Dragojevic

Axiom Films


Eugene Onegin 

Eugene Onegin: Bo Skovhus
Tatyana: Krassimira Stoyanova
Lensky: Andrei Dunaev
Prince Gremin: Mikhail Petrenko
Olga: Elena Maximova
Larina: Olga Savona
Filipyevna: Nina Romanova
A Company Commander: Peter Arink
Zaretsky: Roger Smeets
Triquet: Guy de Mey

Conductor: Mariss Jansons
Director: Stefan Herheim
Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra Amsterdam
Chorus of De Nederlandse Opera
Opus Arte


Romeo Et Juliette
Yannick Nezet-Seguin, conductor
Mikhail Petrenko
Russel Braun
Cora Burggraaf
Falk Struckmann
Mozarteum Orchester Salzburg
Salzburg Festival 2009

Deutsche Grammophon