Joseph Gaines

Joseph GainesUpcoming engagements for tenor Joseph Gaines in 2017-18 and beyond include his debut with San Diego Opera in a new production of TURANDOT (Pang), MESSIAH soloist with Saint John’s Cathedral, Denver, his return to Utah Opera for MOBY-DICK (singing Flask), and a debut with the Baroque Chamber Orchestra of Colorado. In May 2017, he performed a preview concert of excerpts from Elizabeth Cree for The Crypt Sessions concert series in New York, which included a performance broadcast live to over 100,000 viewers by The New York Times; one reviewer from the evening’s concert described him as possessing a “dangerously honed voice and a diabolical stage presence,” and another wrote that “he is sinuous, physical… Gaines is a tenor who seems to be able to do anything.”
In September 2017, as part of Opera Philadelphia’s inaugural O17 Festival, Gaines created the role of Dan Leno in the world premiere of Elizabeth Cree, the latest collaboration by the Pulitzer Prize-winning duo of composer Kevin Puts and librettist Mark Campbell. Opera News writes, “The brilliantly written part of the melancholy comic Dan Leno—half Sportin’ Life, half Cabaret M.C., with a superimposed Brittenesque tinta—offered a field day to light tenor Joseph Gaines, who met the challenge with vocal skill and superb physicality.” DC Metro Theater Arts says, “Gaines is spectacular as the music-hall comedian, a triple-threat with his acting, dancing and singing.” And per Opera Today, “Threatening to run away with the show, tenor Joseph Gaines is a tour de force as the wiry, wily Dan Leno.” Of his 2013 performances in THE RETURN OF ULYSSES with Opera Omnia, The New York Times wrote, “you had no reason to want to spend so much time with the glutton Irus on his way to his suicide: no reason, that is, apart from the fine singing of Joseph Gaines.” Recognized nationally and internationally as a highly energetic, vibrant, and extremely versatile singer and actor, tenor Joseph Gaines is known for beautifully sung and richly detailed interpretations of a broad spectrum of operatic roles, and has been described as “such an exuberant performer you couldn’t help but smile”. A favorite of a number of opera companies large and small across the United States in recent years, Gaines has been a regular guest artist at Opera Philadelphia, Utah Opera, Pittsburgh Opera, Central City Opera, Indianapolis Opera, and many others. An alumnus of the apprentice training programs at Sarasota Opera, Central City Opera, and Glimmerglass Opera, he joined the artist roster of The Metropolitan Opera for the first time in 2013, covering Caius in Verdi’s FALSTAFF, conducted by James Levine. In 2017, Gaines created the role of Dan Leno in the Opera Philadelphia world premiere of ELIZABETH CREE by Kevin Puts and Mark Campbell, in which he was described variously as a “tour de force” (Opera Today) and a “triple threat” (DC Metro Theater Arts); his performance as Dan Leno was a “star-turn” (BroadwayWorld), “every inch his camped-up real life inspiration” (BachTrack), and had “unexpected gravitas” (Theater Jones).
A voracious musician with a love of repertoire from many distinct styles and periods, he has been a featured soloist with some of the finest American orchestras, including The Philadelphia Orchestra, The Detroit Symphony, The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, and a number of chamber and baroque ensembles throughout the United States and abroad. While he is a favorite on the operatic stage for the character roles of Mozart, Verdi, Puccini, Richard Strauss, and works by contemporary composers, he also possesses a very strong background in historically informed performance; Gaines is a noted interpreter of Monteverdi, Handel, and Scarlatti, and also especially the Evangelist roles of Bach.
His broader concert repertoire spans hundreds of years, from Hildegaard von Bingen forward through Mozart and Mendelssohn, Schumann, and Wolf, to Poulenc, Rorem, Stravinsky, Britten, Bernstein, and contemporary works by Robert Avalon, Theo Morrison, Jake Heggie, and many others.
An avid recitalist, collaborator, and chamber musician, he has performed frequently with The Pittsburgh Song Collaborative, The Erie Chamber Orchestra, and Philadelphia’s Lyric Fest, with whom he presented the world premiere of two song cycles by composer Daron Hagen in recent years.
His commercial recordings (from both Ars Lyrica Houston, and New York’s famed Saint Thomas Choir of Men and Boys) and live performances have been broadcast domestically and internationally by NPR and Public Radio International, most recently with solo excerpts from the St. Thomas Choir’s Messiah: The Mozart Orchestrations, heard nationwide on With Heart And Voice. Joseph Gaines’ commercially available recordings include “Handel’s Messiah — The Mozart Orchestrations” (The Saint Thomas Choir of Men and Boys, John Scott, conductor); two projects with Ars Lyrica Houston, including a recording of the music of Alessandro Scarlatti, distributed by NAXOS Records and a recording of Domenico Scarlatti’s comic intermezzo “La Dirindina,” produced by Sono Luminus records; and a new album of works by composer Daron Hagen with Philadelphia’s Lyric Fest, coming in autumn 2017 from NAXOS Records. Among his awards and grants are:
The Sullivan Foundation; The Rotary Foundation Ambassadorial Fellowship; The Jensen Foundation; The Anna Sosenko Assist Trust; The Pittsburgh Concert Society; The Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council; The Charles A. Lynam Voice Competition; and Central City Opera’s McGlone Award for Outstanding Young Artist.
Gaines studied singing with Joseph Evans at the University of Houston, with Christina Wartenberg at the Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy Hochschule für Musik und Theater in Leipzig, Germany, and with Leyna Gabriele in New York. He is represented worldwide by John Miller of Pinnacle Arts Management in New York.

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