The American baritone Mel Ulrich was born in Aibonito, Puerto Rico, and received his Bachelor of Music and Bachelor of Arts Degrees from the University of Washington in Seattle as well as an Artist Diploma from Oberlin Conservatory. He is one of the 1999 winners of the prestigious ARIA Award, a 1999 winner of a Richard Tucker Career Grant, and a 1999 Opera Index Award winner. Other awards include the Opéra Comique de Paris award in the 1998 International Belvedere Competition in Vienna, the 1996 Gaetano Merola Award, a 1997 Kurt Herbert Adler Award, and the Sullivan Award in 1997. It was Figaro in Il barbiere di Siviglia at New York City Opera which marked his New York début in 1998, and he was asked to return the following season for Papageno in Die Zauberflöte and Schaunard in La bohème. Some of his earlier débuts include the Opera Theatre of St Louis as Zurga in The Pearl Fishers, Orlando Opera as Valentin in Faust, and the Opéra Français de New York singing the rôle of L'Ami in Milhaud's Le pauvre Matelot. He has also been heard as Ottone in L'incoronazione di Poppea, and Ferdinand in Prokofiev's Betrothal in a Monastery, under the baton of Valery Gergiev, at San Francisco Opera, in the title rôle in Don Giovanni for Festival Opera, and as Piedmont Opera's Danilo in The Merry Widow. He made his European début in 1998 singing Tarquinius in Britten's The Rape of Lucretia at the Vienna Kammeroper. His busy career has since taken him to leading opera houses throughout the United States and Europe in a wide range of parts. At the Metropolitan Opera in New York he has sung rôles including Schaunard in La Bohème, Marullo in Rigoletto, Cascada in The Merry Widow, and Silvano in Un ballo in maschera. His comprehensive operatic repertoire ranges from Mozart to Bloch, Schreker, Zemlinsky and contemporary composers. In 2004 he received a GRAMMY® Award Nomination for the Naxos recording of Ed Thomas's Desire under the Elms (8.669001-02). The 2003-2004 season also brought his Washington National Opera début as Stanley in Previn's A Streetcar Named Desire, while his earlier appearance at Cologne Opera in the title rôle of Spohr's Faust is further testimony to the adventurousness of his repertoire.