Praised for his “strong, keening tenor,” “liquid tonal qualities” and “beautiful diction,” Tommy Wazelle is an accomplished opera, oratorio, and musical theater singer and an Emmy-winning television voice actor. A member of AGMA, AEA, and SAG-AFTRA, he has performed leading roles and solos with opera and musical theater companies and orchestras in the United States and abroad, including at Lincoln Center and Carnegie Hall and in Europe, Israel, and the Caribbean. He is also known for the voice role of Pig on the syndicated PBS Kids show Peg+Cat. Originally from Alma, Arkansas, he holds bachelor’s degrees in trumpet performance and music composition as well as a master’s degree in vocal performance from the University of Arkansas. His operatic training includes three summers with the International Vocal Arts Institute, an apprenticeship with Des Moines Metro Opera, and two seasons in Tulsa Opera’s Studio Artists program. He is a Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions Regional Finalist, a National Association of Teachers of Singing Competition Regional Winner, and a recipient of the Gerda Lissner International Vocal Competition Encouragement Award. He is also an active choral freelancer in the New York City area, where he sings a broad range of repertoire with many of the world’s leading vocal ensembles and orchestras. Notable performances include the premiere of the opera p r i s m, winner of the 2019 Pulitzer Prize for Music, with The Choir of Trinity Wall Street; and a Met Gala performance with Madonna. He served on the voice faculty of The Dwight School and the School of Music at 92Y and taught ear-training at 92Y and the University of Arkansas. He taught trumpet for the Alma School District, where he also worked as a substitute band director, and has frequently stepped in as a music director and cantor for church and synagogue choirs, for example directing rehearsals and Shabbat services at Park East Synagogue and cantoring High Holiday services at Temple Beth Am.
As an opera, oratorio and concert soloist, Wazelle debuted at Lincoln Center as Philistine in Handel’s Samson with American Classical Orchestra, and at Carnegie Hall as Ruger Aspeck in a concert performance of Strauss’s opera Feuersnot with American Symphony Orchestra. Other debuts include Israeli Opera as Ferrando in Cosí fan tutte, Bard Summerscape as D’Elbeuf in Le Roi Malgré Lui, Tulsa Opera as Ernesto in Don Pasquale, Nevada Opera as Frederic in Pirates of Penzance, Opera in the Heights as Alfred in Die Fledermaus, Union Avenue Opera as Camille in Die lustige Witwe, and Bronx Opera as Don Ramiro in La Cenerentola. He sang three Israeli premieres with the International Vocal Arts Institute: Martin in The Tender Land, Reverend Parris in The Crucible and the title role in Zemlinsky’s Der Zwerg. He has also appeared with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, Westfield Symphony Orchestra, Haifa Symphony Orchestra, and many others in works such as Handel’s Messiah, Mozart’s Requiem, and Bach’s St Matthew Passion. As a member of AEA, he has performed leading roles in productions such as The Who’s Tommy and Showboat. As a headlining artist on the Italian cruise ship Costa Atlantica, he developed shows featuring his diverse talents in Broadway, pop, jazz and opera.
Wazelle enjoys creating new projects and collaborating with others. He recently raised money for the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund by creating and showcasing a multi-voiced, music-video art piece based on Coldplay’s “Spies.” He served as music coordinator on the shadow puppet operetta Wayang Esther: A Javanese Purimspiel, in collaboration with UConn Puppet Arts and Gamalan Son of Lion. In the world of dance, he collaborated with choreographer Cherylyn Lavagnino and New York City Ballet pianist Cameron Grant in a project at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts entitled Kamila, inspired by the poetry and music of Janáček's song cycle The Diary of One Who Disappeared, which he sang in Czech. He also worked with choreographer Derek Deane and the Tulsa Ballet as a featured vocal soloist in the North American premiere of Strictly Gershwin. With American Opera Projects, he premiered the role of Mr. Bennet in Séance on a Wet Afternoon while working with composer Stephen Schwartz, and he helped develop the role of Paul in Paul's Case, a role that was written specifically for his voice. He conducted and composed for the University of Arkansas New Music Orchestra, an ensemble he formed as a student, and was a founding member, singer, trumpeter and composer/arranger of several professional performing groups, including the Magnificent Seven jazz combo, the rock band Shave-Hock, the eight-member horn band Brother Groove, and the award-winning nine-piece swing band Digby O’Hara. He lives on Manhattan’s Upper West Side with his wife and their two children.