Tenor Cornelius Johnson’s voice
has been described as “expressive and soaring” (The Post Standard). He has performed in operas, musicals, concerts, and recitals throughout the United States and abroad. His operatic performances have included leading roles in Carmen, La Bohéme, The Magic Flute, Djamileh, Don Pasquale, The Merry Widow, and Porgy and Bess He has performed with Chautauqua Opera, Connecticut Opera, Chamber Opera Chicago, Elgin Opera, Lake George Opera Festival, Opera Memphis, Lyric Opera of Chicago “Opera In The Neighborhoods”, Opera Theatre of St. Louis, South Shore Opera Company of Chicago, Shreveport Opera, Teatro Real in Madrid, and the Ravinia Music Festival. Mr. Johnson made his professional operatic debut as Peter the Honeyman in Houston Grand Opera’s production of Porgy and Bess. This international tour graced the stages of the Opera Bastille in Paris, La Scala in Milan, and the Bunkamura Theater, with the Tokyo Philharmonic. He has also since performed this role with the Sydney Symphony (Sydney, Australia), the Jacksonville Symphony and Toledo Opera.
Cornelius’ concert appearances include performances in Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony with the Allegro Chorale and Orchestra, Handel’s Messiah, Mozart’s Requiem, and Puccini’s Messa di Gloria with the Elmhurst Choral Union. Handel’s Messiah with Indiana University South Bend Chorus and Orchestra, Chicago Chamber Orchestra; and the Michigan City Community Orchestra. He has also performed Mozart’s Missa Brevis with the Racine Symphony Orchestra and Haydn’s Heilig-Messe (Mass in Bb) and Robert Ray’s Gospel Mass with Harper College Festival Chorus and Orchestra.
A versatile artist, Cornelius has delighted audiences across the country in several recital and concert performances including those at Atlanta’s Symphony Center, the Smithsonian Institute in Washington D.C, the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, New York City the Yale University Art Museum, Yachats Music Festival, Morehouse College, and churches throughout the United States. A Chicago native, he has performed at Chicago’s Millennium Park on several occasions, most notably showcased in an afternoon of arias and duets on the opening weekend of the Jay Pritzker Pavilion. He has also performed for several chapters of Lyric Opera of Chicago, in Preston Bradley Hall at the Chicago Cultural Center and at the Ravinia Music Festival
A proponent of new works, Cornelius has performed in a number of new operas by living composers, including portraying the role of Major Pond in the Poet, by Steven Allen, and William Still in Harriet Tubman: When I Crossed That Line to Freedom, by Nkeiru Okoye.
In addition to a busy performance schedule, Mr. Johnson is Associate Professor of Music in the City Colleges of Chicago and the former Artistic Director of The South Shore Opera Company of Chicago. A native of Chicago, Mr. Johnson received his Bachelor of Arts Degree from Morehouse College, Master of Music Degree from Northwestern University.