| Opera News

Title role in Rigoletto at Houston Grand Opera

“Ryan McKinny, who played Rigoletto, is one of the finest singers of his generation. The dark but burnished resonance of his bass-baritone made each iteration of the curse motif (“Quel vecchio maledivami!”) something to savor, and the high-ranging parts added an intensity and crucial vulnerability to the role.”

Gregory Barnett, Opera News

“During Friday’s opening performance, Ryan McKinny’s deep, resonant tones and bursts of power made Rigoletto’s inner darkness hit home without theatrical gimmicks. Despite being a bass-baritone, McKinny reinforced Rigoletto’s fury by singing the notes, unwritten by Verdi, that high baritones usually add; their punch got the message across. When Rigoletto faced tormenting courtiers, McKinny’s acid-tinged delivery demonstrated how words were Rigoletto’s weapon of choice. But when Rigoletto was with Gilda, McKinny sang with a breadth and sonorousness that revealed the loving side Rigoletto kept hidden from the world.”

Steven Brown, Houston Chronicle

“Ryan McKinny’s handsome features were skewed into a physically emaciated, lopsided Rigoletto. His voice, however, was healthy and eased through the role’s demands. His singing in German and English repertoire at HGO has given us an appreciation of his growing vocal stature, but in smaller roles. Like Alexyuk’s turn in the spotlight, McKinny made the most out of his, and the duo made a touching father-daughter pairing.”


“He fully inhabits his take on character that he creates and is he believable every second. Even at this nascent place in his career, his resonant voice and nuanced expression gives us a fully formed and unique interpretation of the role. How he will sing it 10 years from now is eagerly anticipated. As an actor, he does the some of the best work of anyone working within the static staging.”

Gregory Sullivan Issacs, Theater Jones

“Taking on the role of Rigoletto for the first time, Ryan McKinny is the absolute best part of this production. He deftly uses his powerful and deeply resonating bass-baritone instrument to sing with fervor and unrestrained emotionality. Every note released from his body held the attention of the audience and his rendition of “Cortigiani, vil razza dannata” in Act II left the audience breathless. Moreover, his performance was nuanced, allowing the audience to see how deeply he cares for his daughter, how others perceive her, and his desire to right every wrongdoing she suffers.”

David Clarke, Broadway World