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With a “powerful” voice and an “arresting stage presence”, baritone Michael Mayes enjoys a busy operatic career in both traditional and contemporary operatic roles with theaters throughout the United States and Europe. He is well known for his critically acclaimed portrayal of Joseph De Rocher in Jake Heggie’s Dead Man Walking with multiple US theaters including Washington National Opera and made his debut in that same role with Teatro Real and the Barbican. Of his De Rocher, Opera News hailed “Michael Mayes, in his sixth production of the opera, embodied the conflicted character of Joseph De Rocher with an almost eerie intensity. . . this was a consummate performance, powerfully sung and acted”. Other Jake Heggie operas Mayes has performed include Manfred in Out of the Darkness with Music of Remembrance, Charlie in Three Decembers with UrbanArias, and the world premiere of Great Scott with Dallas Opera and San Diego Opera. Mr. Mayes is known for his portrayals in other contemporary operas including Older Thompson in Glory Denied with Nashville Opera, Opera Memphis, and Fort Worth Opera, Lawrence in The Wreckers with Bard SummerScape, Adam in The Canticle of the Black Madonna with Anima Mundi Productions, Kinesias in Mark Adamo’s Lysistrata with Fort Worth Opera, Adam in Baden-Baden 1927 with Gotham Chamber Opera, and Edward Gaines in Margaret Garner opposite mezzo-soprano Denyce Graves with the Opera Company of Philadelphia and Opera Carolina.


Mr. Mayes moved into more dramatic repertoire in the 2017-2018 season, including Conte di Luna in Il trovatore with Central City Opera. Additionally, he joined Teatro Real in Madrid and the Barbican in London for Dead Man Walking, Beth Morrison Projects for REV23, Lyric Opera of Kansas City as Doug in Everest, Pittsburgh Opera as Starbuck in Moby Dick, and Atlanta Opera as Sweeney Todd. The 2018-2019 season included Sharpless in Madama Butterfly with Pittsburgh Opera, Alfio/Tonio in Cavalleria rusticana/Pagliacci with Madison Opera, Older Thomson in  Glory Denied  and  Wozzeck  with Des Moines Metro Opera, Conte di Luna in Il trovatore in his Seattle Opera debut, a reprise of his Dead Man Walking with Atlanta Opera, and the title role in Nixon in China in his debut with Staatsoper Stuttgart. His 2019-2020 season sees him as Tonio in Pagliacci with Boston Lyric Opera, Sweeney Todd with the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra, Dead Man Walking with New Israeli Opera, Thoas in Iphigénie en Tauride with Staatsoper Stuttgart, Rigoletto with Nashville Opera, and Beck in Everest with the Barbican.

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Michael Mayes


"In his role debut as Rigoletto, baritone Michael Mayes expressed by turns raging power, gentle lyricism, and bleak pleading. Limping about with a hunchback and withered arm, his physical dexterity captured the look of Rigoletto’s damaged character with a chilling vivi...


"The success of this precarious balance act is primarily due to the production of the show's two central characters: Sweeney Todd and his hostess, Mrs. Lovett - who make "the worst pies in London".

The American baritone Michael Mayes, who sings Sweeney Todd, not only...


“With only a week's notice, baritone Michael Mayes replaced an ailing Brian Mulligan, and he made you feel as if he's been singing this difficult role all his young life. Both gruff and tender, with commanding power, he became the snarky jester putting down his betters...


"Baritone Michael Mayes made a conniving Tonio, the circus performer who longs to possess Nedda for himself. With a rich tone that easily cut through the orchestral accompaniment, Mayes conveyed the character’s fall into jealousy and vengeance. As Taddeo in the Interme...


"THERE WERE SURPRISES on July 14 with Kristine McIntyre’s emotionally shattering mounting of Alban Berg’s seminal twelve-tone masterpiece Wozzeck.  . . Baritone Michael Mayes created a magnificently rendered portrait of the bedeviled protagonist that was heart-wrenchin...

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