Keith Jameson, tenor, a native of South Carolina, returned to The Metropolitan Opera as Bardolfo in Falstaff during the 2018-19 season. He recently made his San Francisco Opera debut as Uncle Billy in It’s A Wonderful Life (Heggie/Scheer), and sang JB Williams in the world premier of the one-man opera Why Is Eartha Kitt Trying to Kill Me?: A Love Story (Smith/Johnston) with Urban Arias in Washington, DC. He made his Opera di Roma debut in 2018 as the Novice in the acclaimed Deborah Warner production of Billy Budd.
He returned to Lyric Opera of Chicago for Pong in Turandot; and as Gherardo in Gianni Schicchi and the Tea Pot/Little Old Man/Frog in L’Enfant et les Sortileges in Tokyo and Kyoto with the Seiji Ozawa Music Academy (Ongaku-Juku). He debuted in 2017 at the Teatro Massimo in Palermo, Sicily as Flute/Thisbe in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. During the 2016-17 season, he sang Sancho Panza in Man of La Mancha at Utah Opera and Triquet in Eugene Onegin at Lyric Opera of Chicago. He sang Ali in Zemire et Azor and Harry Druggist in The Cradle Will Rock (Live cd recording) with Opera Saratoga. He was seen at the Hollywood Bowl as Spoletta in Tosca with the Los Angeles Philharmonic and Maestro Gustavo Dudamel, and as the tenor soloist in Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 with Brevard Music Center and Maestro Keith Lockhart. Keith also debuted in with Washington National Opera at the Kennedy Center singing Basilio in Le nozze di Figaro.
He began the 2015-2016 season at Lyric Opera of Chicago, as Basilio in a new production of Le nozze di Figaro. He also returned to The Dallas Opera and sang Yab the Elf in the world premier of Becoming Santa Claus by Mark Adamo. He made his debut with Houston Grand Opera in Le nozze di Figaro and as the Gamekeeper in Rusalka, and with Pittsburgh Opera as Sellem in The Rake’s Progress. Keith also returned to Los Angeles Opera as Goro in Madama Butterfly.
He sang the title role of Candide with Opera di Firenze, Maggio Musicale Fiorentino (production by Francesco Micheli, conducted by John Axelrod) in 2015, and with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra (production by Garnett Bruce, conducted by Marin Alsop). Keith made his debut with Central City Opera as Sancho Panza in Man of La Mancha. He performed Alméric in Tchaikovsky’s Iolanta (seen “Live from the Met Opera” in HD in movie theaters worldwide), and Remendado in Carmen at the Metropolitan Opera. Keith sang Bardolfo in Falstaff at the Saito Kinen Festival in Matsumoto, Japan, conducted by Fabio Luisi, and he debuted with the Orquestra Sinfônica do Estado de São Paulo, Brasil, as Candide, conducted by Marin Alsop. Keith created the role of Henry Snibblesworth in the world premier of The Classical Style: An Opera (of sorts) by Steven Stucky and Jeremy Denk at the Ojai Music Festival, CA, and in Berkeley, CA, and at Zankel Hall in NYC. He returned to Los Angeles Opera for the Novice in Billy Budd, and returned to Lyric Opera of Chicago as Monsieur Taupe in Capriccio, and made his debut with Seattle Opera as the Four Servants in Offenbach’s Les Contes d’Hoffmann. He sang Bardolfo in Robert Carsen’s new production of Falstaff at the Metropolitan Opera, conducted by James Levine, and seen “Live from The Met in HD” movie theaters around the world. Keith also sang a workshop of a new one-man opera entitled Why Is Eartha Kitt Trying to Kill Me? by Jeffrey Dennis Smith and David Johnston at le Poisson Rouge in NYC, as part of the Opera America New Works Forum, and presented by American Lyric Theatre.
Keith has sung the Novice in Billy Budd at the Metropolitan Opera, and Osman in Handel’s Almira with NYC’s operamission in the North American premiere staging of the entire opera at the historic Gershwin Hotel. He performed Sancho Panza with Greenwood Community Theatre in his hometown of Greenwood, SC in June 2012. He sang Grandpa Joe in The Golden Ticket with Atlanta Opera, which was released on CD in 2012. During the 2011-2012 season, he was the tenor soloist in Haydn’s The Creation with Boston Baroque and as Nicolas in Britten’s Saint Nicolas with the Greenville Chorale in SC, and made his debut with Arizona Opera as Goro in Madama Butterfly. During 2010-2011, he was heard as the Simpleton in Boris Godunov with Dallas Opera, Sky Masterson in Guys and Dolls with the Greenwood Community Theatre and as Triquet in Eugene Onegin with Los Angeles Opera. In the summer of 2011, he debuted with the New York Philharmonic as the Mosquito and Schoolmaster in the critically acclaimed production of The Cunning Little Vixen.
During the 2010 season, Keith sang Remendado in Bizet’s Carmen during the “Live from the Metropolitan Opera” HD Broadcast in movie theaters worldwide, which was subsequently released on DVD. He had previously sung Gherardo in Gianni Schicchi at the Met, and made his debut there in 2007’s War and Peace. He sang Flute/Thisbe in A Midsummer Night’s Dream with Lyric Opera of Chicago, Azor in André Grétry’s Beauty and the Beast with the Greenwood Music Festival (SC premiere), Goro in Madama Butterfly and Clarìn in the world premiere of Lewis Spratlan’s Life is a Dream with The Santa Fe Opera, as well as covering the title role of Albert Herring. During the previous season, he sang Goro in the acclaimed Robert Wilson production with LA Opera, and sang Beppe in I Pagliacci with Lyric Opera of Chicago. He also debuted with Opera Boston as Vašek in The Bartered Bride, and as Don Curzio in Le nozze di Figaro with Dallas Opera.
He made his debut at the English National Opera in London as Nanki-Poo in Jonathan Miller’s production of The Mikado, and his debut with Opera Royal de Wallonie in Liege, Belgium as Peter Quint in The Turn of the Screw. He debuted at Lyric Opera of Chicago as Triquet in Eugene Onegin, and returned there recently for his role debut as Basilio in Le nozze di Figaro. He has sung the role of Candide at New York City Opera, joined by a cast that included Anna Christy as Cunegonde, John Cullum (TV’s Northern Exposure) as Pangloss, and Judy Kaye (Broadway’s Mamma Mia and Souvenir!) as the Old Lady. He performed 14 roles with NYCO over six consecutive years, including Oronte in Handel’s Alcina (production by Francesca Zambello), Nanki-Poo in The Mikado (production by Jonathan Miller), Tobias Ragg in Sweeney Todd (production by Hal Prince), Attalo in Rossini’s Ermione, Goro in Madama Butterfly (in New York, and in Tokyo and Nagoya on the 2005 NYCO Japan Tour),Gastone in La Traviata, Ugone in Handel’s Flavio, Anfinomo in Monteverdi’s Il Ritorno d’Ulisse in Patria, Count Albert in Die tote Stadt, Spoletta in Tosca, Remendado in Carmen, and Monostatos in The Magic Flute.
With The Santa Fe Opera, he has sung the roles of The Novice in Billy Budd, Bardolfo in Falstaff, Bob Boles in Peter Grimes, John Withers in Paul Moravec’s The Letter (world premiere), the Dean of the Faculty in Cendrillon, Remendado, and Scaramuccio in Ariadne auf Naxos. He sang Pong in Turandot with The Santa Fe Opera, Ft. Worth Opera Festival and Atlanta Opera. He sang Valletto in L’Incoranazione di Poppea and Pietro in the North American premiere of Schreker’s Die Gezeichneten with LA Opera. He performed Pedrillo in The Abduction from the Seraglio and Flavio in Norma with Opera Memphis; Goro, Monostatos, and Little Bat in Susannah with Indianapolis Opera, Beppe at the Bardavon Opera House in Poughkeepsie, NY, Almaviva in The Barber of Seville with South Carolina’s Newberry Opera, and Acis in Acis and Galatea with New York’s Fiammetta Ensemble. He sang Tamino in The Magic Flute with Utah Festival Opera, and performed Monostatos with Madison Opera. He sang the Lecturer in Argento’s A Water Bird Talk with Musica Nova in Rochester, NY.
A gifted interpreter of Gilbert & Sullivan, he has performed Nanki-Poo, Frederic in The Pirates of Penzance, Hilarion in Princess Ida, and Fairfax in The Yeomen of the Guard, all with the New York Gilbert and Sullivan Players, in New York’s Symphony Space and City Center, Wolf Trap’s Filene Center, and Lake Placid’s Performing Arts Center. He also sang Ralph in H.M.S. Pinafore with Chattanooga Opera.
He performed the roles of Bretschneider and Army Chaplain in Kurka’s The Good Soldier Schweik at Glimmerglass Opera in 2003, and also toured with the Glimmerglass Opera Young Artists in Torke’s Strawberry Fields, as part of Central Park, in 2000. He toured with The Santa Fe Opera Young Artist Program singing Rafael and Perico in Serrano’s La Dolorosa in 1998.
He made his Carnegie Hall debut in 2004 as tenor soloist in Beethoven’s Mass in C and Schubert’s Mass in G with Mid-America Productions, and returned in 2005 to sing the tenor soloist in Mozart’s Coronation Mass. He was the tenor soloist in Handel’s Messiah with Boston Baroque (2004, 2005, 2008, 2010, and 2011) and the Phoenix Symphony (1999 and 2000), and in Bach’s B-minor Mass with the Berkshire Bach Society at Ozawa Hall at Tanglewood in 2004. He was tenor soloist in Britten’s Saint Nicolas, Mozart’s Requiem and Coronation Mass with the Greenville Chorale in South Carolina. He has also sung with the Carmel Bach Festival as a Virginia Best Adams Voice Fellow, the Brevard Music Center, Opera Theatre of Rochester, NY, Currents in Richmond, VA, and the Youngstown Symphony Orchestra, OH.
He was a 1999 award recipient of the prestigious Sullivan Foundation, and a winner of the Anna MacKay Scholarship from The Santa Fe Opera. He received his Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance from Furman University, and his Master of Music in Conducting and his Doctorate of Musical Arts in Vocal Performance and Literature, both from the Eastman School of Music.
He was also the Founder and Director of the Greenwood Music Festival in Greenwood, SC, 2007-2011. There he sang Michael in a staged production of the musical I Do! I Do! The weekend music festival featured a staged production of an opera or musical, chamber music concerts, recitals, classic films, and a sacred music concert and/or cabaret evenings, in addition to commissioned artwork from local artists. The Festival sponsored a “Cabaret Evening” fund-raiser, and in the fall of 2010 presented the world premiere of the children’s opera Mooch the Messy by Marcus DeLoach (Keith sang the role of Mooch and Marcus was Mooch’s Father), in celebration of the Grand Opening of the new Greenwood County Library. The Greenwood Music Festival’s final season, it’s fifth anniversary season in May, 2011, had the theme “Roman Holiday”, and featured Broadway star baritone Nat Chandler, soprano Siân Davies, Ensemble Radieuse, Emerald Brass, Atlanta’s Peachtree Symphonic Winds, and showings of Roman Holiday and Spartacus.
Keith is the composer of the children’s opera Petunia, based on the book by Roger Duvoisin. It was premiered by FBN Productions’ Opera for Kids! in Aiken, SC, in January 2014, and toured across SC, NC, and GA, where it was seen by over 11,000 children and adults. Petunia was featured in FBN’s 2015 Tour. He is now completing a Christmas-themed “community” opera, and another children’s opera, in addition to chamber works. His Uptown Market Fanfare and Serenade, written for the GreenWood Winds, Emerald Brass and timpani, premiered at the Grand Opening of the Uptown Market in Greenwood, SC, in April, 2016.
He can be heard on the recordings of Haydn’s The Creation and Lord Nelson Mass, both with Boston Baroque, on the Opera America Songbook on a song by Conrad Cummings, and on the Five Borough Songbook. Keith can also be seen on the dvds of Carmen (production by Richard Eyre, conducted by Yannick Nézet-Séguin), Falstaff (production by Robert Carsen, conducted by James Levine), both from the Metropolitan Opera, and the world premiere of Becoming Santa Claus by Mark Adamo (production by Paul Curran, conducted by Emmanuel Villaume) produced by The Dallas Opera. Keith can be heard as Grandpa Joe in the recording of The Golden Ticket by Peter Ash, produced by the Atlanta Opera.
His upcoming engagements include his return to Japan for Triquet in Eugene Onegin at the Sejii Ozawa Matsumoto Festival, and four roles in Handel’s Saul with Houston Grand Opera. He also sings Basilio in Le nozze di Figaro with The Metropolitan Opera in 2020 and returns to Houston as the First Jew in Salome. In addition to his upcoming opera performances, Keith will record his first solo cd featuring new song cycles by Conrad Cummings, Peter Ash, Glen Roven, and Sayo Kosugi in the fall of 2019. Keith lives in New York City.