Bejun Mehta (born June 29, 1968) is an American countertenor who performs in operas, recitals, and concerts. He records for Harmonia Mundi.Mehta was born June 29, 1968 in Laurinburg, North Carolina, and grew up in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
His father, Dady Mehta, a pianist born in Shanghai, China of Indian parents, is a cousin of conductor Zubin Mehta. His father was professor of piano at Eastern Michigan University. His mother, Martha Ritchey Mehta of Altoona, Pennsylvania, was a soprano and journalist who worked in the development office of the University of Michigan Museum of Art, and she was Mehta's first voice teacher.
His brother, Navroj Mehta, is a violinist, and the artistic director of the Ventura Music Festival.From the ages of nine through fifteen, Mehta was a celebrated solo boy soprano in concerts and recordings.
Of his CD for the Delos label in 1983 (Bejun DE 3019), Leonard Bernstein was moved to comment "It is hard to believe the richness and maturity of musical understanding in this adolescent boy." He was also honored by the magazine Stereo Review as the Debut Recording Artist of the Year.
After his voice changed, Mehta devoted his musical energies to the cello, both as a soloist and orchestral player, studying with Aldo Parisot at Yale University. Mehta graduated from Yale University with an honors degree in German literature.
Concurrently he completed an internship at Delos, where he had recorded as a boy. This led to his working with many great artists as an independent recording producer for labels such as Sony/CBS, BMG/RCA, Deutsche Grammophon, and Delos.
His production of Janos Starker’s final recording of Bach’s Cello Suites (BMG/RCA 61436) won the 1997 Grammy Award for Best Instrumental Soloist Performance (without orchestra).Mehta had attempted for several years to sing as a baritone, without much success.
He became intrigued with idea that he might actually be a countertenor, after reading a 1997 New Yorker profile of the countertenor David Daniels, whose early experiences seemed to mirror his own. He began to experiment with singing in this range, and quickly discovered and developed his powerful and flexible countertenor voice, his natural range for singing.
In 1998, Marilyn Horne, who had known of his boy soprano work, offered him sponsorship through her Marilyn Horne Foundation, an organization which works to develop new talent and preserve the art of song recital.
He made his operatic debut as a countertenor that same year, cast as Armindo in a New York City Opera production of Partenope by Handel. Two months later he substituted for none other than David Daniels when the latter fell ill on an international concert tour.
Mehta's career took off. Mehta is now one of the most sought-after countertenors of his generation.Mehta has appeared in leading roles in the most prestigious opera houses. These include Covent Garden, Bayerische Staatsoper, Opéra National de Paris, Théâtre du Châtelet, La Scala, Theater an der Wien, Berliner Staatsoper, Théatre de la Monnaie, Netherlands Opera, Barcelona Liceu, Teatro Real in Madrid, Metropolitan Opera, Chicago Lyric Opera, Los Angeles Opera, San Francisco Opera, and New York City Opera.
He has performed at the festivals of Salzburg, Glyndebourne, Edinburgh, Aix-en-Provence, and Verbier, and at the London BBC Proms.Mehta's major operatic roles include, among many others: Orlando in Orlando, Tamerlano in Tamerlano, Giulio Cesare in Giulio Cesare, Bertarido in Rodelinda, Orfeo in Orfeo ed Euridice, Telemaco in Telemaco, Oberon in A Midsummer Night's Dream, Farnace in Mitridate, Didymus in Theodora, Hamor in Jephtha, Cyrus in Belshazzar, Arsamenes in Xerxes, Andronico in Tamerlano, Radamisto in Radamisto, Riccardo Primo in Riccardo Primo, Arsace in Partenope, Masha in Eötvös's Three Sisters, Ottone in Agrippina, and Emone in Antigone.
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