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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 recent seasons, adding Il Conte di Luna in Il trovatore with Central City Opera. Other recent projects include Dead Man Walking with Teatro Real in Madrid and the Barbican in London, REV23 with Beth Morrison Projects, Doug in Everest with Lyric Opera of Kansas City, Starbuck in Moby Dick and Sharpless in Madama Butterfly with Pittsburgh Opera, Sweeney Todd with Atlanta Opera, Alfio/Tonio in Cavalleria rusticana/Pagliacci with Madison Opera, Older Thompson 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 included Tonio in Pagliacci with Boston Lyric Opera, Rigoletto with Houston Grand 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*, Older Thompson in Glory Denied with Atlanta Opera*, and Beck in Everest with the Barbican*. The 2020-2021 season sees Mayes as an artist in residence with The Atlanta Opera, where he sings the Emperor Overall in Der Kaiser von Atlantis, and as Daddy in Taking Up Serpents with Chicago Opera Theater.

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Michael Mayes