Eric Owens (born July 11, 1970) is an American operatic bass-baritone. He has performed both in new works and reinterpreted classic repertoire. In 1996 he won the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions.
Opera is a form of theatre in which music has a leading role and the parts are taken by singers, but is distinct from musical theater. Such a "work" is typically a collaboration between a composer and a librettist and incorporates a number of the performing arts, such as acting, scenery, costume, and sometimes dance or ballet. The performance is typically given in an opera house, accompanied by an orchestra or smaller musical ensemble, which since the early 19th century has been led by a conductor.
A bass-baritone is a high-lying bass or low-lying "classical" baritone voice type which shares certain qualities with the true baritone voice. The term arose in the late 19th century to describe the particular type of voice required to sing three Wagnerian roles: the Dutchman in Der fliegende Holländer, Wotan/Der Wanderer in the Ring Cycle and Hans Sachs in Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg. Wagner labelled these roles as Hoher Bass —see fach for more details.
The Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions is an annual singing competition sponsored by the Metropolitan Opera. Established in 1954, its purpose is to discover, assist, promote, and develop young opera singers. The competition is held in four stages: Districts, Regional, Semi-Final, and Final competitions. Each stage is judged by a panel of representatives from the Metropolitan Opera. There are a total of 14 regional competitions within the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico, and 42 district competitions within each region. Winners from the district competition compete in Regionals, and then the winners of regionals are awarded a trip to New York City where they compete on the stage of the Metropolitan Opera in the National Semi-Final Competition. Approximately 10 semi-finalists are chosen to compete in the final competition; the five winners are awarded a grand prize of $15,000 each, and the remaining finalists receive $5,000.
Born in Philadelphia, Owens began studying the piano at the age of 6 at the Settlement Music School. In junior high school his interest shifted to the oboe and he began studying the oboe at the Settlement Music School with English-horn player Louis Rosenblatt of the Philadelphia Orchestra. He later continued his oboe studies with Laura Ahlbeck, a second oboe in the Metropolitan Opera orchestra, while attending Central High School in Philadelphia. During his senior year at Central High, he entered the pre-college program at Temple University's Boyer College of Music and Dance where he began studying singing seriously with George Massey. He matriculated to Temple as a Freshman in 1989 and earned a Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance from the school in 1993. He then entered the graduate voice program at the Curtis Institute in Philadelphia where he became a pupil of voice teacher Armen Boyajian.
Philadelphia, known colloquially as Philly, is the largest city in the U.S. state and Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and the sixth-most populous U.S. city, with a 2018 census-estimated population of 1,584,138. Since 1854, the city has had the same geographic boundaries as Philadelphia County, the most populous county in Pennsylvania and the urban core of the eighth-largest U.S. metropolitan statistical area, with over 6 million residents as of 2017. Philadelphia is also the economic and cultural anchor of the greater Delaware Valley, located along the lower Delaware and Schuylkill Rivers, within the Northeast megalopolis. The Delaware Valley's population of 7.2 million ranks it as the eighth-largest combined statistical area in the United States.
Settlement Music School is a community music school with branches in and around Philadelphia. Founded in 1908 by two young women, Jeannette Selig Frank and Blanche Wolf Kohn, it is the largest community school of the arts in the United States offering 10,000 weekly services at six branches in Pennsylvania and New Jersey to thousands of people of all abilities, ages, races and financial means. Its six branches are in South, West and Northeast Philadelphia, Germantown, Willow Grove, Pennsylvania, and Camden, New Jersey. Settlement Music School offers programs in music and dance. Settlement awards nearly $2 million a year in financial aid. It is the largest employer of musicians in the region, with over 200 faculty members; since its founding, its faculty has included current and former members of the Philadelphia Orchestra. Among its alumni are Albert Einstein, Michael and Kevin Bacon, Stanley Clarke, Chubby Checker, Wallace Roney, Joey DeFrancesco, Christian McBride, former Philadelphia Mayor Frank Rizzo and Kevin Eubanks, as well as members of many symphony orchestras across the United States and around the world.
The Oboe is a type of double reed woodwind instrument. Oboes are usually made of wood, but may also be made of synthetic materials, such as plastic or resin. The most common oboe plays in the treble or soprano range. A soprano oboe measures roughly 65 cm long, with metal keys, a conical bore and a flared bell. Sound is produced by blowing into the reed at a sufficient air pressure, causing it to vibrate with the air column. The distinctive tone is versatile and has been described as "bright". When the word oboe is used alone, it is generally taken to mean the treble instrument rather than other instruments of the family, such as the bass oboe, the cor anglais, or oboe d'amore
After graduating with a master's degree from Curtis, Owens joined the young artist program at the Houston Grand Opera where he made his debut as Ramfis in Aida . Since then his career has taken him to many of the most important opera houses in the world, including the San Francisco Opera (debut as Lodovico in Otello ), the Royal Opera, Covent Garden (debut as Oroveso in Norma ), the Los Angeles Opera (debut as Ferrando in Il Trovatore ), and the Metropolitan Opera (debut as General Leslie Groves in Doctor Atomic ). He has also sung parts in several world premieres, including creating the title roles of General Leslie Groves in the world premiere of John Adams' Doctor Atomic at the San Francisco Opera in 2005; Grendel in Elliot Goldenthal’s opera of the same name in the world premiere at the Los Angeles Opera in 2006; and later the same year as the Storyteller in the world premiere of Adams' A Flowering Tree at Peter Sellars’ New Crowned Hope Festival in Vienna. A Flowering Tree recorded with the London Symphony Orchestra on the Nonesuch label is available on CD.
Houston Grand Opera (HGO), located in Houston, Texas, was founded in 1955 by German-born impresario Walter Herbert and Houstonians Elva Lobit, Edward Bing, and Charles Cockrell. HGO's inaugural season featured two performances of two operas, Salome and Madama Butterfly. David Gockley succeeded Walter Herbert as general director in 1972 and remained in the post until accepting the general directorship at San Francisco Opera in 2005.
Aida is an opera in four acts by Giuseppe Verdi to an Italian libretto by Antonio Ghislanzoni. Set in the Old Kingdom of Egypt, it was commissioned by Cairo's Khedivial Opera House and had its première there on 24 December 1871, in a performance conducted by Giovanni Bottesini. Today the work holds a central place in the operatic canon, receiving performances every year around the world; at New York's Metropolitan Opera alone, Aida has been sung more than 1,100 times since 1886. Ghislanzoni's scheme follows a scenario often attributed to the French Egyptologist Auguste Mariette, but Verdi biographer Mary Jane Phillips-Matz argues that the source is actually Temistocle Solera.
San Francisco Opera (SFO) is an American opera company founded in 1923 by Gaetano Merola (1881–1953) based in San Francisco, California.
In September 2010 Owens played Alberich in the Met's new production of Wagner’s Ring Cycle.He is featured in the CD "Great Strauss Scenes," released on July 27, 2010. Owens sang the role of Porgy in Gershwin's Porgy and Bess with Lyric Opera of Chicago in the 2014-2015 season.
In German heroic legend, Alberich is a dwarf. He features most prominently in the poems Nibelungenlied and Ortnit. He also features in the Old Norse collection of German legends called the Thidreksaga under the name Alfrikr. His name means "ruler of supernatural beings (elves)", and is equivalent to Old French Auberon.
Wilhelm Richard Wagner was a German composer, theatre director, polemicist, and conductor who is chiefly known for his operas. Unlike most opera composers, Wagner wrote both the libretto and the music for each of his stage works. Initially establishing his reputation as a composer of works in the romantic vein of Carl Maria von Weber and Giacomo Meyerbeer, Wagner revolutionised opera through his concept of the Gesamtkunstwerk, by which he sought to synthesise the poetic, visual, musical and dramatic arts, with music subsidiary to drama. He described this vision in a series of essays published between 1849 and 1852. Wagner realised these ideas most fully in the first half of the four-opera cycle Der Ring des Nibelungen.
Der Ring des Nibelungen, WWV 86, is a cycle of four German-language epic music dramas composed by Richard Wagner. The works are based loosely on characters from the Norse sagas and the Nibelungenlied. The composer termed the cycle a "Bühnenfestspiel", structured in three days preceded by a Vorabend. It is often referred to as the Ring Cycle, Wagner's Ring, or simply The Ring.
John Coolidge Adams is an American composer, clarinetist, and conductor of classical music and opera, with strong roots in minimalism.
Renée Lynn Fleming is an American soprano, known for performances in opera, concerts, recordings, theater, film, and at major public occasions. Fleming has a full lyric soprano voice. She has performed coloratura, lyric, and lighter spinto soprano operatic roles in Italian, German, French, Czech, and Russian, aside from her native English. She has also sung and recorded lieder, chansons, jazz, musical theatre, and indie rock. She speaks fluent German and French, along with limited Italian. Her signature roles include Countess Almaviva in Mozart's Le nozze di Figaro, Desdemona in Verdi's Otello, Violetta in Verdi's La traviata, the title role in Dvořák's Rusalka, the title role in Massenet's Manon, the title role in Massenet's Thaïs, the title role in Richard Strauss's Arabella, the Marschallin in Der Rosenkavalier, and the Countess in Capriccio.
Adele Addison is an African-American lyric soprano who was a figure in the classical music world during the 1950s and 1960s. Although she did appear in several operas, Addison spent most of her career performing in recital and concert. Her performances spanned a wide array of literature from the Baroque period to contemporary compositions. She is best remembered today as the singing voice for Bess in the 1959 movie, Porgy and Bess. Known for her polished and fluent tone, Addison made a desirable Baroque vocal artist. She can be heard on numerous recordings, of which her Baroque performances are perhaps her best work. Many of her recordings were made with the New York Philharmonic under the baton of Leonard Bernstein.
Doctor Atomic is an opera by the contemporary American composer John Adams, with libretto by Peter Sellars. It premiered at the San Francisco Opera on October 1, 2005. The work focuses on the great stress and anxiety experienced by those at Los Alamos while the test of the first atomic bomb was being prepared. In 2007, a documentary was made about the creation of the opera, titled Wonders Are Many.
Sir Willard Wentworth White, OM, CBE is a Jamaican-born British operatic bass baritone.
Florence Quivar is an American operatic mezzo-soprano who is considered to be "one of the most prominent singers of her generation." She has variously been described as having a "rich, earthy sound and communicative presence" as "always reliable" and as "a distinguished singer, with a warm, rich voice and a dignified performing presence." From 1977-1997 she was a regular performer at the Metropolitan Opera where she gave more than 100 performances.
Harolyn Blackwell is an American lyric coloratura soprano who has performed in many of the world's finest opera houses, concert halls, and theaters in operas, oratorios, recitals, and Broadway musicals. Initially known for her work within musical theater during the early 1980s, Blackwell moved into the field of opera and by 1987 had established herself as an artist within the soubrette repertoire in many major opera houses both in the United States and in Europe. Feeling that she was being "type cast" into one particular kind of role, Blackwell strove to establish herself within the lyric coloratura repertoire beginning in the mid-1990s. With the aid of such companies as Seattle Opera, Blackwell successfully made this move and is now an interpreter of such roles as Lucia in Donizetti's Lucia di Lammermoor and Olympia in Offenbach's Les contes d'Hoffman. She has also periodically returned to musical theater performances throughout her career in staged productions, concert work, and recitals. Blackwell is known for her interpretations and recordings of the works of Leonard Bernstein.
Katherine Ciesinski is an American mezzo-soprano, stage director, and voice professor.
Jessica Rivera is an American soprano of Peruvian-American ancestry. She is a 1996 graduate of Pepperdine University, and earned her Master of Music degree in 1998 from the University of Southern California's Flora L. Thornton School of Music. Rivera's early work included singing in the chorus of Los Angeles Opera.
Mark Grey is an American Classical music composer, sound designer and sound engineer. He has been commissioned by The National Opera of Belgium La Monnaie de Munt Opera to write an evening length grand opera to premiere during the spring of 2019 in Brussels. The subject of the opera will be Mary Shelley's Frankenstein – to commemorate the novel's 200 year anniversary. Co-producers to be announced. Libretto by Júlia Canosa i Serra and stage direction by Àlex Ollé.
Joyce DiDonato is an American operatic lyric-coloratura mezzo-soprano notable for her interpretations of the works of Handel, Mozart, and Rossini.
Richard Cross is an American bass-baritone who had an active international opera career from the late 1950s through the 1990s. Possessing a rich and warm voice, Cross sang a broad repertoire that encompassed works from a wide variety of musical periods and styles. He currently teaches on the voice faculties of the Yale School of Music, the Juilliard School, and the State University of New York at Stony Brook.
Angel Blue, born Angel Joy Blue, is an American operatic soprano and classical crossover artist. Blue's voice has been recognized for its shining and agile upper register, "smoky" middle register, beautiful timbre, and her ability to switch from a classical to contemporary sound. She has performed internationally and won numerous awards such as Operalia and Miss Hollywood. Plácido Domingo has described Angel as “the next Leontyne Price”.
Margaret Harshaw was an American opera singer and voice teacher who sang for 22 consecutive seasons at the Metropolitan Opera from November 1942 to March 1964. She began her career as a mezzo-soprano in the early 1930s but then began performing roles from the soprano repertoire in 1950. She sang a total of 39 roles in 25 works at the Met and was heard in 40 of the Metropolitan Opera radio broadcasts. She was also active as a guest artist with major opera houses in Europe and North and South America.
Alyson Cambridge is an American operatic soprano. In addition to opera, she sings classical song, jazz, and American songbook and popular song. She is also known for her work as a model, actress and host.
Jay Hunter Morris is an American operatic tenor. He is best known internationally for the role of Siegfried in the Metropolitan Opera's 2011–12 series of Wagner's Ring Cycle, performances of which were cinecast and radio broadcast live worldwide, aired on U.S. television, and released on DVD.
Thomas Grant Glenn is a Canadian opera singer.
Brian Jagde is an American operatic tenor. He has performed roles at leading opera houses throughout the world, including the San Francisco Opera, The Metropolitan Opera, the Royal Opera House, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Houston Grand Opera, Santa Fe Opera, Deutsche Oper Berlin, Teatro Massimo, and the Teatro di San Carlo.
Andrea Velis was an American operatic tenor who had a lengthy association with the Metropolitan Opera that spanned 33 seasons. Considered a highly skilled character actor, he excelled in supporting roles, often to great comedic effect. His voice is preserved on several recordings made for Live from the Metropolitan Opera and the Metropolitan Opera radio broadcasts.
Anthony Roth Costanzo is an American countertenor, actor, and producer who has led performances at opera companies around the world. Beginning his career in musical theatre at the age of 11, he has since been featured at the Metropolitan Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, San Francisco Opera, English National Opera, Los Angeles Opera, and Glyndebourne Opera Festival, as well as in concert with the New York Philharmonic, Berlin Philharmonic, San Francisco Symphony, London Symphony Orchestra, Cleveland Orchestra, and National Symphony Orchestra. In 2012, he won first place at Plácido Domingo's international opera competition Operalia and, in 2009, was a Grand Finals Winner of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions. As an actor, he has performed in several films, including the Merchant Ivory film A Soldier's Daughter Never Cries, for which he was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award. As a producer and curator, he has created shows for National Sawdust, Opera Philadelphia, the Philharmonia Baroque, Princeton University, WQXR, The State Theater in Salzburg, MasterVoices, and Kabuki-za Tokyo. Costanzo is a graduate of Princeton University, where he has returned to teach, and he received his master's degree from the Manhattan School of Music.
Facebook, Inc. is an American online social media and social networking service company based in Menlo Park, California. It was founded by Mark Zuckerberg, along with fellow Harvard College students and roommates Eduardo Saverin, Andrew McCollum, Dustin Moskovitz and Chris Hughes. It is considered one of the Big Four technology companies along with Amazon, Apple, and Google.
National Public Radio is an American privately and publicly funded non-profit membership media organization based in Washington, D.C. NPR differs from other non-profit membership media organizations, such as AP, in that it was established by an act of Congress and most of its member stations are owned by government entities. It serves as a national syndicator to a network of over 1,000 public radio stations in the United States.