John Lindsey blazes a trail across the opera world

John Lindsey promotional photo

John Lindsey

American tenor John Lindsey, instructor of music at Colorado State University’s School of Music, Theatre, and Dance, has been noted for his “clarion tone” and “blazing tenor” by Opera News.

Lindsey recently brought that “clarion tone” to bear in his performance of Monostatos with Des Moines Metro Opera’s production of Die Zauberflöte. Des Moines Metro Opera celebrated its 50th year of operation with two limited special performances of The Magic Flute, on March 5-6, at the Des Moines Performing Arts Civic Center in collaboration with the Des Moines Symphony.

Lindsey first worked with the Des Moines Metro Opera as a young artist in 2015, covering the lead roles of Dick Johnson in La Fanciulla del West and Steva in Jenufa.

The Des Moines program, which brought the production into a modern collaborative context, was enhanced with projection pieces for its limited run. “It’s a very specific skill-set because the singers have to interact in quite a precise way with the projected backdrop back drop that forms each scene,” Lindsey said.

Cast as Monostatos, Lindsey’s house debut involved the added challenge of an extensive makeup application.

The first time Lindsey did this production was with the Minnesota Opera in 2014, which required a clay mold of his entire head in order to manufacture the prosthetics. That production required a two-hour makeup application.

“Getting used to singing in all of it definitely took some time,” said Lindsey.

John Lindsey as Monstatos Promotional Photo
John Lindsey Monstatos Promotional Photo

View a timeline of Lindsey's makeup application by makeup artist Amanda Clark.

Lindsey, who will make an additional house debut as Monostatos at Opéra de Montréal for the 2021-2022 season, attended CSU as an undergraduate and returned to teach.

Dr. Tiffany Blake, director of the Ralph Opera Program at CSU, during her first year as a CSU faculty member, enjoyed working with Lindsey when he was in his final year of undergraduate work. “It’s really interesting to see him come full circle from student to faculty member. The fact that he is an actively performing singer at the national and international level gives our students the opportunity to talk with him about his experiences and the field’s ins and outs. I think the fact that he was a student at CSU as an undergraduate, also gives our students something to aspire to, knowing that the experience they’re having is so similar to the one that he had,” Dr. Blake said.

“I’m hoping to encourage students in their vocal, artistic, and personal endeavors in the way I was encouraged. It isn’t every day that you find a vocal program that is challenging and rigorous while simultaneously being nurturing and supportive,” Lindsey said.

After completing his degree at CSU, Lindsey completed an M.M. and was accepted to the Minnesota Opera Young Artist Program. As a managed singer, Lindsey gained a lot of exciting work. He created roles in the Pulitzer-winning world opera premiere of Silent Night and operatic adaptations of popular fiction with The Manchurian Candidate and The Shining.

Between his time in school, professional training, and on the performance circuit, he has sung lead roles in more mainstream opera productions like Carmen, Das Rheingold, and Rusalka.



“CSU is where my love of singing was initially fostered and cared for, and the foundational training I received here is one of the biggest reasons I’ve had such a wonderful career,” Lindsey said. “This is a special place to be.”

Lindsey’s tenor is now “blazing” a trail across the opera world, wowing audiences and bringing the benefit of experience home to CSU Opera students.