Onstage: Lawrence Brownlee

After winning the Metropolitan National Auditions in 2001, naysayers warned Lawrence Brownlee that he’d never have a career because of his short stature and his race. Three years later, the sti

After winning the Metropolitan National Auditions in 2001, naysayers warned Lawrence Brownlee that he’d never have a career because of his short stature and his race. 

Three years later, the still-unknown African American tenor appeared in Cincinnati Opera’s production of The Daughter of the Regiment, best known for the killer aria “Ah! Mes Amis!” with nine high C’s. Brownlee made it sound effortless, spinning off octave jumps with crystalline purity and laser-like accuracy. When he finished, a split second of silence verging on disbelief was followed by pandemonium. 

Now one of the world’s most sought-after tenors, Brownlee returns for a solo recital at CCM featuring arias, art songs and spirituals in new arrangements. The New York Times praised Brownlee’s recent New York performance, citing his “agile voice” and “lustrous top notes.” An engaging performer and consummate musician, the Youngstown native says he loves being back in his home state — even if he is a Steelers fan. 

8 p.m. $15; $10 non-UC students; free for UC students. Corbett Auditorium, College-Conservatory of Music, University of Cincinnati campus, 2600 Clifton Ave., Clifton, 513-556-4183, ccm.uc.edu.