Eric Owens (bass-baritone)

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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 artform combining sung text and musical score in a theatrical setting

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.

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Life and career

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. [1]

Philadelphia Largest city in Pennsylvania, United States

Philadelphia, sometimes 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 2017 census-estimated population of 1,580,863. Since 1854, the city has been coterminous with 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.

Oboe musical instrument of the woodwind family

Oboes belong to the classification of double reed woodwind instruments. Oboes are usually made of wood, but there are also oboes made of synthetic materials. 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. [2]

Houston Grand Opera opera company

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.

<i>Aida</i> opera in four acts by Giuseppe Verdi

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 opera company based in San Francisco, United States, performing in the War Memorial Opera House

San Francisco Opera (SFO) is an American opera company, based in San Francisco, California.

In September 2010 Owens played Alberich in the Met's new production of Wagner’s Ring Cycle. [3] 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. [4]

Alberich legendary figure

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.

Richard Wagner German composer

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.

<i>Der Ring des Nibelungen</i> series of four operas by Richard Wagner

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.

Awards

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References

  1. Adam Wasserman (January 2012). "A Lesson in Listening". Opera News . 76 (7).
  2. "amazon". amazon. Retrieved 2012-03-11.
  3. "metopera". Metoperafamily.org. Retrieved 2012-03-11.
  4. Von Rhein, John (18 November 2014). "Lyric Opera revives a 'Porgy' of glory and grit". Chicago Tribune . Retrieved 17 December 2014.
  5. operalia Archived June 7, 2009, at the Wayback Machine .
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