Praised for his “gloriously rich” voice and a stage presence that is “superb in every way,” baritone Michael Mayes enjoys a celebrated operatic career in both traditional and contemporary roles with theaters throughout the United States and Europe.
Previously for ENO: Potter It’s a Wonderful Life
After an explosive international debut as Joseph De Rocher in Jake Heggie’s Dead Man Walking in 2018 with Teatro Real opposite Joyce DiDonato, Mayes quickly established a prominent presence as a leading baritone with multiple engagements in a wide range of roles with important European theaters including Staatsoper Stuttgart, English National Opera, The Barbican, Theatre of Sound, and Bergen National Opera. Now sought after for his mastery of dramatic vocal repertoire, notable recent engagements have included Il Conte di Luna in Il trovatore with Seattle Opera, Central City Opera, and The Glimmerglass Festival; the title role in Wozzeck with Des Moines Metro Opera; an acclaimed debut as Bluebeard in an innovative production by Theater of Sound (UK); and Rigoletto with Houston Grand Opera, Boston Lyric Opera, and Nashville Opera*.
In the 2022-2023 season, Mayes returns to The Atlanta Opera as the title role in the US Premiere of Bluebeard’s Castle, makes his role and company debut as Mr. Potter in It’s a Wonderful Life at English National Opera, sings Alberich in The Dallas Opera’s Das Rheingold, and sings the title role in Saint François d’Assise by Olivier Messiaen at Staatsoper Stuttgart.
Mayes recently debuted the role of Captain Von Trapp in The Sound of Music and reprised his role as Daddy in Taking Up Serpents, both at The Glimmerglass Festival. As a Company Player at The Atlanta Opera during the 2020-2022 seasons, Mr. Mayes performed 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 and Scarpia in Tosca with Lyric Opera of Kansas City.
Mayes remains well known across the globe for his critically acclaimed portrayal of Joseph De Rocher in multiple theaters, including Washington National Opera, New Israeli Opera, The Atlanta Opera, and many others. 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.”
A remarkably versatile artist, Mayes continues to build an impressive resume featuring performances in twenty-first-century operas and standard classics. His relentlessly eclectic repertoire as a riveting singing actor boasts highlights including the title role in Nixon in China and Thoas in Iphigénie en Tauride with Staatsoper Stuttgart, Sweeney Todd with the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra, Dead Man Walking with New Israeli Opera, and Beck in Everest with the Barbican*.
The dual leading roles of Alfio and Tonio in Cavalleria rusticana and Pagliacci have become a hallmark in Mayes’ repertoire, with performances including Madison Opera and Seattle Opera in the double bill and Boston Lyric Opera for I Pagliacci.
Other recent highlights include Everest with Lyric Opera of Kansas City and The Dallas Opera, Starbuck in Moby Dick and Sharpless in Madama Butterfly with Pittsburgh Opera, Sweeney Todd with Atlanta Opera, Older Thompson with Des Moines Metro Opera, Out of Darkness with Music of Remembrance and Great Scott with The Dallas Opera and San Diego Opera, and a reprise of his Dead Man Walking with The Atlanta Opera. Other notable performances include leading roles with Bard SummerScape, Fort Worth Opera, Opera Philadelphia, Opera Carolina, Opera Omaha, Michigan Opera Theatre, and many more.
A native of Cut’n’Shoot, Texas, Michael graduated with a degree in Vocal Performance from the University of North Texas. He currently resides in South Carolina.
* Canceled or postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic
Last updated: 30th December 2022