Canadian bass Phillip Ens made his operatic debut in 1985 with the Manitoba Opera, followed by appearances with the opera companies of Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary, National Arts Center in Ottawa, and Montreal in such roles as Sarastro in Die Zauberflöte, Sparafucile in Rigoletto, Don Basilio in Il Barbiere di Siviglia, and Frere Laurence in Romeo et Juliette. He made his Canadian Opera Company debut in 1991 as Don Fernando in Fidelio, followed by his debut in the United States with the Philadelphia Orchestra as Colline in La Boheme and by appearances as Sparafucile with the opera companies of Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, and Denver and as Ramfis in Aida in Austin.
From 1993-1997, Mr. Ens was principal bass with the Staatsoper Stuttgart, performing numerous roles including Sparafucile, the Eremit in Die Freischütz, Sarastro, Banquo in Macbeth, Pimen in Boris Godunov, and Fafner and Hunding in their new production of the Ring Cycle. Other European credits during this period include the role of Ramfis in Robert Wilson’s new production of Aida with La Monnaie in Brussels, where he also performed the role of Gremin in Eugene Onegin, Sarastro with Staatsoper Hamburg and Staatsoper Berlin, Colline at the Bayerische Staatsoper, Padre Guardiano in La Forza del Destino for the Deutsche Oper Berlin, Commendatore in Don Giovanni at the English National Opera, Claggart in Billy Budd for the Welsh National Opera, and Hunding in Die Walküre with Teatro Real de Madrid.
Mr. Ens has sung with major orchestras and festivals throughout the world, including appearances with the BBC orchestra, the Proms series in London, the Edinburgh and Salzburg Festivals, and the Accademia di Santa Cecilia in Rome.
In the past decade Mr. Ens has made a number of important operatic debuts including his Metropolitan Opera debut as Hunding under the baton of James Levine, under whose direction he returned for two new productions as Commendatore and Wurm in Luisa Miller, as well as Tiresias in Oedipus Rex with Gergiev. He also debuted at the Paris Bastille as Commendatore; at the Royal Opera House-Covent Garden as Fafner in their new Ring Cycle, a production in which he also sang the role of Wurm; at the Chicago Lyric Opera as Hunding; and at the San Francisco Opera as Basilio and Claggart; and the Bayerische Staatsoper and the Houston Grand Opera as Claggart.
Recent engagements include role debuts as Arkel in Pelleas et Melisande with Theater an der Wien and Fiesco in Simone Boccanegra with the Canadian Opera Company. This season, Mr. Ens returned to Munich as Il Commendatore in a new production of Don Giovanni and also to the Met as Jorg in Stiffelio. He will next be heard as Claggart in Glyndebourne’s first ever production of Billy Budd.