“As Rigoletto, baritone Michael Mayes, also in his first BLO performance, caught the full range of the character’s jocularity as well as the dark anger and sorrowful depths of his tragic downfall. His amber-toned “Cortigiani” the jester’s pleading to the Duke’s courtiers, made for a pitiable and poignant moment, and Mayes’ singing in the final scene was heart-breaking.” – Boston Classical Review
With a ”powerful” voice and an “arresting stage presence”, baritone Michael Mayes is known for his consummate portrayals of iconic characters in the operatic repertoire. Originally from Conroe, Texas, Michael has performed with opera companies across the United States including Cincinnati Opera, Palm Beach Opera, Kentucky Opera, Des Moines Metro Opera, Arizona Opera, Central City Opera, Michigan Opera Theater, and Fort Worth Opera. In the 2012-2013 season, Mr. Mayes reprised his critically acclaimed Joseph De Rocher for Eugene Opera. Additionally he appeared with UrbanArias in Photo-Op, sang 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, and returned to Ft. Worth Opera as Elder Thompson in the critically acclaimed world premiere of Glory Denied. Mr. Mayes will sing his first Rigoletto in 2013-2014 season in his Boston Lyric Opera debut. Additionally, he debuts with the Gotham Chamber Opera in Baden-Baden 1927, with Madison Opera in Dead Man Walking, and with Pensacola Opera as Escamillo in Carmen. He will also tackle the role of Joseph De Rocher once again in his return to Central City Opera in the summer of 2014.
The 2011-2012 season saw Mr. Mayes’ greatest challenge to date on the operatic stage as he performed with Tulsa Opera in his role debut of Joseph De Rocher in Dead Man Walking. Additionally, Mr. Mayes returned to Kentucky Opera as Escamillo in Carmen, Shreveport Opera as Danilo in The Merry Widow, Fort Worth Opera as Kinesias in Lysistrata, and debuted with Nashville Opera as Silvio in Pagliacci. He returned to Des Moines Metro Opera in the summer of 2012 in the title role in Don Giovanni. Engagements for 2010-2011 included Valentin in Faust with Opera Birmingham, Marcello in La bohème with Eugene Opera and Des Moines Metro Opera, Silvio in Pagliacci with Kentucky Opera, the title role in Don Giovanni 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, performed Conte Almaviva in Le nozze di Figaro with Des Moines Metro Opera, the title role in Il barbiere di Siviglia for Sugar Creek Opera, and Marcello in La bohème with Duluth Festival Opera, Shreveport Opera, and New Brittain Symphony. He also sang Orff’s Carmina Burana with the Oklahoma Ballet and San Antonio Symphony, and Guglielmo in Così fan tutte with Arizona Opera. In the 2008-2009 season, Mr. Mayes sang the title role in Don Giovanni with Connecticut Opera, Marcello in La bohème with Skylight Opera Theater, Conte di Luna in Il trovatore with Eugene Opera, and Morales in Carmen and Motorcycle Cop in Dead Man Walking with Fort Worth Opera.
Engagements for 2007-2008 included Dandini in La cenerentola with Connecticut Opera, Lancelot in Augusta Opera’s Camelot, Top in The Tender Land with the Charleston Symphony Orchestra, Marcello in La bohème with Opera on the James, Mercutio in Roméo et Juliette with PORTOpera, and Peter in Opera Company of Philadelphia’s production of Hänsel und Gretel. In an extension of his involvement with the development of Margaret Garner, a new opera by Richard Danielpour, Mr. Mayes performed with The Opera Company of Philadelphia the role of Edward Gaines opposite Mezzo-soprano Denyce Graves, which he also performed at Opera Carolina with Ms. Graves to critical acclaim.
A graduate of the University of North Texas, Mr. Mayes has appeared internationally in conjunction with La Fenice in Castel-Franco Veneto, Italy. Mr. Mayes’ honors include 3rd place winner at the Metropolitan National Council 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.