Langan was born in New York on April 1, 1955. He studied voice with Margaret Harshaw at Indiana University School of Music. He went on to win auditions with the Metropolitan Opera, San Francisco Opera, and Opera America. In 1983, Langan won the Richard Tucker Music Foundation Grant Award.
According to Langan, it was seeing The Beatles perform on TV in 1964 on The Ed Sullivan Show that made him want to pursue a career in opera. Years later, in an April 2017 interview with LA Opus, Langan recalled telling the story during a rehearsal break at Carnegie Hall to Paul McCartney, who laughed and replied: "[That's the first time] The Beatles inspired someone to go into opera!"
Sponsored by Elisabeth Schwarzkopf and Walter Legge, Langan gave his first recital at Wigmore Hall in 1979. He gave his New York City recital debut at Carnegie Hall on April 4, 1984. The New York Times wrote: "Mr. Langan, a true basso in the classic sense of the word, is of an all-but-vanished breed."
In a 2017 interview for Broadway World, Langan recalls when he was a sophomore at New England Conservatory in 1974 and met opera singer Maria Callas, who told him: "I will give you one piece of advice. People will tell you constantly how to sing. Make it louder, softer, faster, slower." She then placed her hand over his heart and said: "Always remain true to this when you sing no matter what they tell you!"
Langan has performed with opera singers and conductors including Luciano Pavarotti, Plácido Domingo, Marilyn Horne, Sherrill Milnes and Seiji Ozawa, and has gained the reputation of achieving one of the longest and most productive singing careers on the opera stage in the last couple decades.
He became the first leading artist ever to achieve 300 performances with the San Francisco Opera in the company's 88-year history; and 19 productions with the San Diego Opera. Over all, Langan has performed in over 80 roles throughout 1300-plus performances, in 38 years.
Langan's portrayals and performances have been received with great acclaim by critics and audiences alike.
The magazine Opera wrote that Langan's delivery of Mozart's "La vendetta" from The Marriage of Figaro under the direction of Nikolaus Harnoncourt (the recording of which was nominated for a Grammy Award on the Teldec label) was "absolutely revelatory ... with a vocal sheen that [has] never heard before."
David Laviska of musicalcriticism.com wrote of Langan's performance of Friar Laurence in Gounod's Roméo et Juliette that he delivered it all in a "vibrant, ringing tone, polished phrasing, incisive diction, and convincing, unfussy acting" package.
|1994||Turandot||Timur||San Francisco Opera, live performance||Arthaus Music|
|1990||Orlando furioso||Astolfo||San Francisco Opera, live performance||Arthaus Music|
|1981||Aida||King of Egypt||San Francisco Opera, live performance||Kultur|
|1981||Samson et Dalila||Un vieillard hébreu||San Francisco Opera, live performance||Kultur|
|1994||The Marriage of Figaro||Antonio||Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra; Nikolaus Harnoncourt, conductor||Teldec|
|1998||Emmeline||Henry Mosher||Santa Fe Opera; George Manahan, conductor||Albany Records|
- Williams Macy, Laura (January 1, 2008). Grove Book of Opera Singers. Oxford University Press. p. 265. ISBN 9780195337655.
- Metropolitan Opera. National Council Winners. Retrieved 10 January 2018.
- Miner, Erica (April 12, 2017). "Kevin Langan on Operatic Idols and Vocal Longevity". LA Opus. Retrieved January 8, 2018.
- "Kevin Langan, bass (N.Y. recital debut)". New York. April 9, 1984. p. 93. Retrieved January 8, 2018.
- Paige, Tim (April 8, 1984). "Music: Debuts in Review; Three Pianists, a Bass And a String Quartet Perform in Recitals". The New York Times. Retrieved January 8, 2018.
- Miner, Erica (April 3, 2017). "Kevin Langan on Operatic Idols and Vocal Longevity". broadwayworld.com. Retrieved January 7, 2017.
- Alexander, Peter (July 3, 2013). "Life in opera: Couple celebrates 30 years in the business". Boulder Weekly. Retrieved January 8, 2017.
- On and Off the Record: A Memoir of Walter Legge by Elisabeth Schwarzkopf (1982)[page needed]
- "Kevin Langan – Reviews". musicalworld.com. Retrieved January 6, 2018.