Opera is a beautiful medium, but it's never so beautiful as when it bridges social and cultural divisions through empathetic and effective story telling; what I call “Opera with a Conscience” and it’s what drives me as an artist.  Beyond opera, I enjoy singing, playing and combining bluegrass, country, rock, folk, blues with what I've learned in the classical realm with friends, family and colleagues. When I’m not on the stage, I’m spending time with my wife and our two four-legged companions.

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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 in 2018 with Teatro Real and the Barbican. In praise of his De Rocher, Opera News wrote, “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”. Michael’s triumphant debut as de Rocher in Spain and the United Kingdom quickly launched him into leading roles in several additional international opera companies, including the title role in Nixon in China and Thoas in Iphigénie en Tauride with Staatsoper Stuttgart, Sweeney Todd with the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra, an acclaimed debut as Bluebeard in an innovative production by Theater of Sound (UK), Dead Man Walking with New Israeli Opera, and Beck in Everest with the Barbican*.  

As a Company Player at The Atlanta Opera during the 2020-2022 seasons, Mr. Mayes performed The Emperor Overall in Der Kaiser von Atlantis, Escamillio in The Threepenny Carmen, and Older Thompson in the digital production of Glory Denied. Other digital projects include the cinematic premiere of the dramatic song cycle UNKNOWN by Shawn Okpebholo and Marcus Amaker with UrbanArias. Additional 2021-2022 highlights include von Trapp in My Favorite Things with Houston Grand Opera,  Scarpia in Tosca with Lyric Opera of Kansas City, and his reprisal of Captain von Trapp in The Sound of Music with The Glimmerglass Festival.

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