Award winning tenor, Dennis McNeil was 1993 National Winner of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions. As a leading tenor at the New York City Opera he was awarded the Richard F. Gold Career Award for his portrayal as ‘Mark’ in their New York Stage Premiere of Michael Tippet’s A Midsummer Marriage. He also holds first place awards from the Southern California Opera Guild and the Victor Fuchs Memorial Competition and was a recipient of the Emily Baratelli Memorial Award from the New York Opera Index. He is a Sullivan Grant Recipient as well as a recipient of a Rex Foundation Grant from the Grateful Dead.
Referring to past performances, New York Newsday said, “Dennis McNeil sang in a high sweet tenor voice, clarion in the forte passages, subtly nuanced in florid coloratura.” The London Times said, “Dennis McNeil had ease and warmth of voice;…gorgeously swooning and heat drunk.” Dramalogue said, “McNeil has a glorious tenor voice…thankfully he knows what to do with a ballad.”
Dennis is a highly sought after performer in the corporate and concert world having performed for the AT&T Board of Directors, New York Life Insurance Company, the Kemper Insurance Open, Aon Insurance Company, and Hearst Corporation to name only a few. He performed for President George W. Bush’s first Inauguration for nearly 7500 guests at three VIP inaugural dinners and he was personally invited to sing at the Kennedy Space Center Memorial for the Space Shuttle Columbia and crew. An international recording artist, Dennis has released seven CDs, Center Stage, It’s Christmas!, Requests, Celtic Fire, The Spirit of Christmas, Forever Irish, and Ave Maria.
Well known for his versatility as a performer, Mr. McNeil is equally happy on the Broadway stage, the Opera stage, in front of a symphony as a soloist, or singing Irish Folk Music. He has performed with many of the major opera companies in the U.S. including the Met, New York City Opera, San Francisco Opera, New Orleans Opera, and Los Angeles Opera. On the Musical Theater stage he has sung the role of Mr. Snow in Carousel more than 140 times in four productions. He had the honor of singing Nikos to Broadway legend, John Raitt’s Zorba. He also sang in a national tour with lyricist, Sammy Cahn in the smash hit musical Words and Music! and has toured and performed with legendary composer and conductor, Lalo Schifrin.
In opera, Mr. McNeil has sung the role of Don Jose in Carmen more than seventy times. Other roles to his credit include, Pinkerton in Madama Butterfly, Tamino in the Magic Flute, Rudolfo in La Boheme and Alfredo in La Traviata. He has been featured on the Hour of Power and the KTLA Morning News in Los Angeles as well as other broadcasts. He has gained national recognition as one of the world’s top interpreters of Irish music. He has entertained five United States Presidents and other Heads of State, he sings the National Anthem annually for many major sport teams including the Dodgers, Lakers, Giants, Clippers, and Kings. He sang at both the funeral and Dodger Stadium Memorial for famed LA Times sportswriter, Jim Murray and even performed for 14,000 fans at Irvine Meadows Amphitheater with Bruce Hornsby and members of the Grateful Dead at the Further Festival.
Born and raised in Los Angeles, CA attending Miraleste High School and graduating from Loyola High School, Dennis received degrees in Economics and Music from U.C. Davis. It was at Davis that he found music, joining the University Chorus on a dare in 1980. In addition to the chorus he sang in a rock band, playing guitar and harmonica; ran the UC Davis Vocal Jazz Ensemble, promoted rock concerts such as the Grateful Dead, Beach Boys, and Santana, performed recitals, and conducted a full concert with chorus and orchestra for his Senior Project. Upon graduation in 1983, McNeil spent the year of 1984 working for Los Angeles Olympic Organizing Committee. He served first as Production Coordinator then Rehearsal Production Supervisor for the Opening and Closing Ceremonies. He put together 300 break-dancers, the 1000-voice Olympic Honor Choir, and was in charge of the rehearsals of up to 4500 performers at one time. He worked with Peter Ueberoth, Tommy Walker, David Wolper, Etta James, and Lionel Ritchie.
Returning to his performing career, McNeil studied at the Institute for the American Musical at the Los Angeles Music Center and attended the Merola Opera Program of the San Francisco Opera. He made his LA Opera debut in 1988, San Francisco in 1990, and New York City Opera in 1992. He sang in two National tours of Carmen with both the New York City Opera National Company and San Francisco Opera’s Western Opera Theater.
Also active in his community, Dennis has served on the Board of Directors of the UC Davis “Cal Aggie” Alumni Association, the Advisory Board of the Celtic Arts Education Foundation, an advisory Committee for the Los Angeles Blind Childrens Center, the Manhattan Beach 10K Committee, and an Advisory Board for Catholic Charities Los Angeles Metro Region. A forth generation Californian, Mr. McNeil resides near the beach in Southern California with his wife, Cindy and their daughters, Tessa, Julia, and Maura.