With a “powerful” voice and an “arresting stage presence”, baritone Michael Mayes is known for his consummate portrayals of modern operatic masterpieces as well as iconic characters in the standard operatic repertoire. Originally from Cut and Shoot, Texas, Mayes has performed with opera companies across the United States including Washington National Opera, Dallas Opera, Nashville Opera, Boston Lyric Opera, Des Moines Metro Opera, Central City Opera, New Orleans Opera, Michigan Opera Theater, and Fort Worth Opera.
The 2015-2016 season included his debut with Dallas Opera and San Diego Opera in the world premiere of Jake Heggie’s Great Scott, Jack Rance in Opera Omaha’s La fanciulla del West, Manfred in Heggie’s Out of the Darkness with Music of Remembrance, Scarpia in Tosca with Central City Opera, and Dead Man Walking with New Orleans Opera. In the 2016-2017 season, Mr. Mayes will make his debut with Washington National Opera in his celebrated role of Joseph De Rocher in Dead Man Walking in addition taking his De Rocher to Pensacola Opera and appearing with Boston Lyric Opera as Escamillo in Carmen, Nashville Opera as Older Thompson in Glory Denied, and returning to Dallas Opera as Doug in Everest.
Future seasons include debuts with Lyric Opera Kansas City and the Teatro Real in Madrid, where he’ll reprise his role of Joseph De Rocher alongside operatic superstar, Joyce di Donato. Also, he’ll return to Central City Opera, Atlanta Opera and San Diego Opera and make his debut in 2018 at BBC Symphony at The Barbican and Teatro Real.
Engagements for the 2014-2015 season included Charlie in Jake Heggie’s Three Decembers with UrbanArias, Eisenstein in Die Fledermaus with Syracuse Opera, a return to Michigan Opera Theater for his role debut as Sharpless in Madama Butterfly, Escamillo in La Tragédie de Carmen with Opera Delaware, Marcello in La bohème with Pensacola Opera, a reprise of his acclaimed Joseph De Rocher with Opera Parallèle in San Francisco, Older Thompson in Glory Denied with Opera Memphis, and Lawrence in The Wreckers with Bard SummerScape.
In the past few seasons, Mr. Mayes has made many important role and company debuts. In the 2011-2012 season Mr. Mayes debuted the role of Joseph De Rocher in Dead Man Walking in a performance described by The Tulsa World as “an experience those who saw it will never forget”, and has since sung the role with Madison Opera, Central City Opera, and Eugene Opera. In 2014, he debuted the role of Rigoletto with Boston Lyric Opera to great critical acclaim. Additionally, he debuted with the Gotham Chamber Opera in Baden-Baden 1927, created the role of Adam in The Canticle of the Black Madonna with Anima Mundi Productions, joined UrbanArias for Photo-Op, returned to Ft. Worth Opera as Elder Thompson in Glory Denied and Kinesias in Lysistrata. Mr. Mayes has also performed Eisenstein in Die Fledermaus for Opera on the James, Figaro in Il barbiere di Siviglia with Pensacola Opera, Don Giovanni with the Green Mountain Opera Festival, Des Moines Metro Opera, and Shreveport Opera, Silvio in Pagliacci with Kentucky Opera and Nashville Opera, Valentin in Faust with Opera Birmingham, Marcello in La bohème with Eugene Opera and Des Moines Metro Opera, Escamillo in Carmen with Kentucky Opera, Danilo in Merry Widow with Shreveport Opera, and Papageno in Die Zauberflöte with Michigan Opera Theater.
Mr. Mayes joined the roster of the Metropolitan Opera in the 2009-2010 season for their production of Gianni Schicchi. Other career highlights include the title role in Don Giovanni and Dandini in La cenerentola with Connecticut Opera, Conte Almaviva in Le nozze di Figaro with Des Moines Metro Opera, the title role in Il barbiere di Siviglia for Sugar Creek Opera, Orff’s Carmina Burana with the Oklahoma Ballet and San Antonio Symphony, Guglielmo in Così fan tutte with Arizona Opera, Marcello in La bohème with Duluth Festival Opera, Shreveport Opera, New Brittain Symphony, Skylight Opera Theater, and Opera on the James, Conte di Luna in Il trovatore with Eugene Opera, Lancelot in Augusta Opera’s Camelot, Top in The Tender Land with the Charleston Symphony Orchestra, Mercutio in Roméo et Juliette with PORTOpera, and Peter in Opera Company of Philadelphia’s production of Hänsel und Gretel. Mr. Mayes performed Edward Gaines in Margaret Garner opposite Mezzo-soprano Denyce Graves with The Opera Company of Philadelphia and Opera Carolina to critical acclaim. A graduate of the University of North Texas, Mr. Mayes’ honors include 3rd place winner at the Metropolitan National Council Regional Auditions in Chicago, the Entergy Young Texas Artist Competition Vocalist Award, John Alexander Award, the John Moriarty Award, and an advanced division winner at the Anton Guadagno Vocal Competition.