During the weekend of September 12 and 13, 2015, the San Francisco Opera will present its first ever production of “Sweeny Todd” with baritone Brian Mulligan playing the title role of the psychotic barber. This comes twelve years after he made his professional debut with the Metropolitan Opera in “Die Frau ohne Schatten.” Since then he has performed in operas through the U.S, Canada and Europe including the Canadian Opera House, the English National Opera, the Los Angeles Opera, Opernhaus Zurich and many more. He has become one of the most highly acclaimed baritones in opera.
Brian was born in Endicott, New York to Irish immigrant parents making him a dual citizen of the U.S. and Ireland. In 2008, he was named one of the top one hundred Irish Americans by the Irish American Magazine. Brian takes pride in his Irish heritage but he says it has had little influence on his singing career. In high school he began singing in school musicals and was encouraged by his teacher Gloria Richardson to take vocal lessons. While still in high school, he began to take lessons from Todd Greer of the Tri-Cities Opera in Binghamton, New York. Todd introduced Brian to opera music, and it was at this time that Brian decided to become an opera singer. After graduating high school, Brian enrolled in the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York. Then he attended Yale University where he performed the roll of Valentin in Gounod’s “Faust,” and he also attended Juilliard where he continued his vocal training and took acting classes.
Over the years, Brian has played numerous roles including Enrico in “Lucia di Lammermoor,” Richard Nixon in “Nixon in China,” and Hamlet in “Hamlet.” His upcoming role as Sweeny Todd is a role that he has been looking forward to doing for a long time. In an interview in 2012, Brian was asked what musical role he would like to play and the first one he stated was Sondheim’s Sweeny Todd. This weekend, he will fulfill his wish.