Baritone

American baritone Stephen Gaertner has performed extensively across North America and Europe in such diverse roles as Riccardo in I Puritani, Enrico in Lucia di Lammermoor, the title roles in Nabucco, Macbeth and Rigoletto, Di Luna in Il Trovatore, Germont in La Traviata, Paolo in Simon Boccanegra, Chorèbe in Les Troyens, Escamillo in Carmen, Amonasro in Aida, Iago in Otello, Alfio in Cavalleria Rusticana, Tonio and Silvio in Pagliacci, Marcello in La Bohème, Scarpia in Tosca, Sharpless in Madama Butterfly, Lanceotto in Francesca da Rimini, the title role in Gianni Schicchi, and Balstrode in Peter Grimes. Recent career highlights have included appearances as Macbeth at the Savonlinna Opera Festival, Opernfestspiele Heidenheim and Opéra de Dijon; Germont in La Traviata with Cedar Rapids Opera Theatre; Amonasro in Aida with Teatro San Carlo, Naples; Iago in Otello with Teatro de la Ópera, San Juan; Rigoletto with Opera Grand Rapids; Riccardo in I Puritani with Teatro Verdi Trieste; and Scarpia in Tosca and the title role in Nabucco with Sarasota Opera.

Mr. Gaertner made his Metropolitan Opera debut in 2007 as Enrico in Lucia di Lammermoor. His other roles at the Met have included Melot in Tristan und Isolde, Chorèbe in Les Troyens and Paolo in Simon Boccanegra (a performance available on Sony Classical HD DVD), in addition to covers of several major Verdi baritone roles: Carlo in Ernani, Di Luna in Il Trovatore and Germont in La Traviata. He has also covered the role of Rigoletto with Los Angeles Opera. Gaertner made his European debut at the Opéra Royal de Wallonie in Liège in 2010, as Escamillo in Carmen.

Gaertner has also been a frequent performer of opera in concert. He appeared with Teatro Grattacielo at Alice Tully Hall in New York City as Cristiano in Zandonai’s I Cavalieri di Ekebù and as Cascart in Leoncavallo’s Zazà (the latter under the baton of the late Alfredo Silipigni). He also made several appearances with Opera Orchestra of New York at Carnegie Hall: as Sonora in La Fanciulla del West, Abayaldos in Donizetti’s Dom Sébastien, and Frank in Puccini’s Edgar, all under the baton of founder and music director Eve Queler. He has also sung Macbeth in concert with the Südwestdeutsche Philharmonie Konstanz and Carlo in La Forza del Destino in concert with New Amsterdam Opera in New York City. He made a stunning U.K. debut in 2015 at London’s Barbican Hall as Cascart in Zazà in concert with Opera Rara and Maurizio Benini conducting the BBC Symphony Orchestra, garnering high praise from the exigent London press. He also appeared in 2021 at London’s Cadogan Hall as Tamar in Leoncavallo’s Zingari in concert with Opera Rara and Carlo Rizzi conducting the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. These two Opera Rara appearances resulted in studio recordings, both released commercially to critical acclaim; the Zingari recording earned a nomination for the 2023 International Classical Music Awards (ICMA) in the Opera category.

Additional concert appearances have included Britten’s War Requiem at Catholic University in Washington, D.C. and Brahms’ Ein Deutsches Requiem at Carnegie Hall with the New England Symphonic Ensemble. Mr. Gaertner has also been the recipient of awards from the Licia Albanese-Puccini Foundation, Opera Index Inc. and the Oratorio Society of New York.

Hailed as a “gifted and fiercely committed baritone whose voice is spacious and reverberant,” (Opera News) Robert Wesley Mason (he/they) has established themselves as one of today’s most versatile performers, employing “his mighty baritone to stunning effect, using interpretive phrasing and nuanced delivery” (Albany Times Union). 

An acclaimed interpreter of contemporary works as well as the inherited repertoire, Wes has performed more than 50 unique operatic roles. Highlights include Hannah Before in As One with Pensacola Opera, Eugene Opera, and the Lyric Opera of Kansas City, Jan Nyman in Breaking the Waves with West Edge Opera, Stanley Kowalski in A Streetcar Named Desire with Kentucky Opera, Father Flynn in Doubt with Union Avenue Opera, Jonathan in Siren Song with Hawaii Opera TheatreDax/Larry in the world premiere of Paterson and Cote’s Three Way with Nashville Opera and American Opera Project, Charlie in Three Decembers and Ping in Turandot with Nashville Opera, the title role in Hamlet with Fort Worth Opera, the title role in Guillaume Tell with the Southern Illinois Music Festival, Reinaldo Arenas in the world premiere of Martín and Koch’s Before Night Falls with Fort Worth Opera, Belcore in L’elisir d’amore with Gulfshore Opera, Masetto in Don Giovanni with Opera Philadelphia and Opera Naples, Achilla in Giulio Cesare with Opera Roanoke, Escamillo in Carmen with Fargo-Moorhead Opera, Escamillo in La Tragédie de Carmen with Syracuse Opera, Marcello in La bohème with Hawaii Opera TheatreFort Worth Opera, and Norwalk Symphony, Schaunard in La bohème with the Crested Butte Music Festival, Zurga in Les pêcheurs de perles with Opera Delaware and Baltimore Concert Opera, the baritone soloist in Broadway Extravaganza with Opera Hong Kong, Sciarrone in Tosca with Dallas Opera, and Morales in Carmen with the Glimmerglass Festival and Michigan Opera Theater

Recently, Wes returned to Michigan Opera Theatre to perform the role of Figaro in Ragnar Kjartansson’s performance piece Bliss, a continuous 12-hour singing marathon based on Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro. In 2020, Wes made his Off-Broadway debut as Wotan/Gunther/Hagen in On Site Opera’s production of Das Barbecü. Other noted stage performances include Billy Bigelow in Carousel with Union Avenue Opera and Utah Festival Opera Musical Theater, Curly in Oklahoma! with Maryland Live Arts and UFOMT, Bishop Myriel in Les Misérables with UFOMT, Frank Butler (u/s) in Annie Get Your Gun with the Glimmerglass Festival, and a staged version of Elvis Costello’s The Juliet Letters at the Signature Theatre in Arlington, Virginia with Urban Arias. During the 2022-2023 season, they will return to Pensacola Opera to perform the role of Billy Bigelow in Carousel.

A passionate advocate for new works, Wes has enjoyed working with such composers as Laura Kaminsky, Luna Pearl Woolf, Missy Mazzoli, Stephen Schwartz, Jimmy Roberts, Jake Heggie, Jonathan Dove, Ricky Ian Gordon, Jorge Martín, Conrad Cummings, Robert Paterson, Glen Roven, Mark Adamo, Clint Borzoni, and Robert Maggio.

Mason has been featured on the world premiere cast recordings of Three Way as Dax/Larry with Naxos and Before Night Falls as Reinaldo Arenas with Albany Records. Wes was also a recipient of a Career Development Award from the Sullivan Foundation, a finalist in the Opera Index Competition, an Encouragement Award Winner in the Loren L. Zachary Society Competition, a Regional Winner in the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions (MONCA), an Encouragement Award Winner at the District Level of the MONCA, three-time nominee for the Sarah Tucker Study Grant, and the recipient of the Earl V. Moore Award for Outstanding Contribution to the School of Music, Theater, and Dance at the University of Michigan. Wes is a graduate of the prestigious Academy of Vocal Arts in Philadelphia and received a Bachelor’s in Voice Performance from the University of Michigan.

An El Paso, Texas native, Mexican-American Baritone Luis Alejandro Orozco has been praised for his “voluminous baritone and beautiful legato.”

Mr. Orozco’s 2023-2024 season begins with Opera Omaha, singing Malatesta in Don Pasquale and also joining them as an Artist in Residence for a series of community engagement projects. He then returns to Nashville Opera for one of his signature roles, Riolobo in Florencia en el Amazonas, and appears with Madison Opera as Maximilian in Candide. Last season, the baritone returned to The Metropolitan Opera as a Flemish Deputy in Don Carlos. He also joined Nashville Opera, singing Marcello in La bohèmeGulfshore Opera as the title role in Don Giovanni, and Wichita Grand Opera as Figaro in Il barbiere di Siviglia.

Luis Orozco made his Metropolitan Opera debut in the 2021-2022 season, singing the Prime Minister in their English version of Cendrillon. He also curated and sang in a Hispanic Heritage Concert with Fort Worth Opera, followed by his debut with Virginia Opera as Marcello in a one-act version of La bohème. He then returned to Opéra de Lyon to remount Maria de Buenos Aires on their mainstage, singing El Payador, joined Intermountain Opera as the Count in Le nozze di Figaro, and appeared with Minnesota Opera in a gala concert.

Recently Mr. Orozco made his Swiss debut as Riolobo in Florencia en el Amazonas with Theater St. Gallen, performed Escamillo in Carmen with Pensacola Opera, and joined the Nuits de Fourvière Festival to sing El Payador in collaboration with Opéra de Lyon, appeared in recital with Opera Saratoga, and collaborated with More Than Musical to create a filmed production of La bohème, singing Marcello. In the summer of 2021 he joined Opera Maine as Belcore in L’elisir d’amore and the St. Croix Valley Opera for their Opera on the River concert. 

Appearing regularly with symphonies and in recital, his recent concert engagements include the Carmina Burana with the Wichita Symphony Orchestra, Handel’s Messiah with the Las Vegas Philharmonic, and he has toured across Russia in a concert honoring Leonard Bernstein. 

Previous seasons have included performances of Figaro in Il barbiere di Siviglia with Florentine Opera and Syracuse Opera; Sharpless in Madama Butterfly with Opera Santa Barbara; Escamillo in Carmen with Detroit Opera (formerly Michigan Opera Theater), and Syracuse Opera; Zurga in Pearl Fishers with Opera in Williamsburg; Mercutio in Roméo et Juliette with Lyric Opera Baltimore, Opera Grand Rapids, and Austin Lyric Opera; Belcore in L’elisir d’amore with Opera Santa Barbara; Riolobo in Florencia en el Amazonas with Washington National Opera, San Diego Opera, Pensacola Opera, and Arizona Opera; Hannah before in As One with Anchorage Opera and Urban Arias; Silvio in Pagliacci with Opera Roanoke; Taddeo in L’italiana in Algeri with Opera Santa Barbara; Perichaud in La Rondine with Opera Theater of St. Louis;  the title role in Don Giovanni with Opera Naples and Opera Western Reserve, and Marcello in La bohéme with Kentucky Opera, Opera Santa Barbara, and Anchorage Opera.

Luis Orozco is known as the leading interpreter in the United States for the role of El Payador in Piazzolla’s Maria de Buenos Aires, a role which he has performed at Florida Grand Opera, Cincinnati Opera, the Aspen Music Festival, Arizona Opera, Nashville Opera, Fort Worth Opera, New Orleans Opera, Mill City Summer Opera, and Anchorage Opera.

Overseas, Orozco has performed the role of Papageno in Mozart’s Magic Flute with The Seoul International Opera Festival in South Korea, and the title role in Rossini’s Il Signor Bruschino with the CCM Spoleto Festival. Orozco was a part of the Kennedy Center World Stages Festival in the premiere staged reading of Fallujah by composer Tobin Stokes in 2013.

Known for his riveting dramatic portrayals and the power and beauty of his voice, American baritone Morgan Smith has been entrusted to create 16 roles in world premieres, including Starbuck in Jake Heggie’s widely celebrated Moby-Dick. Mr. Smith has also earned universal praise for performances in traditional repertoire, notably Escamillo (Carmen), the title role of Don Giovanni, Sharpless (Madama Butterfly), Count Alamaviva (Le nozze di Figaro), Four Villains (Les contes d’Hoffmann), and the title role of Eugene Onegin.

Most recently, Morgan’s work as Richard in Kevin Puts’ The Hours has been heard in workshops with Cincinnati Opera (2021) and The Metropolitan Opera (2022), as well as a cover assignment with the Philadelphia Orchestra (2022).

Prior to the impact of COVID, Morgan began the 2019/20 season fresh from two highly successful role debuts with Cincinnati Opera: Musiklehrer (Ariadne auf Naxos), and Earl Mann in the widely anticipated and greatly acclaimed premiere of Scott Davenport Richards’ and David Cote’s Blind Injustice. He revisited the role of Eugene Onegin with Livermore Valley Opera before appearing in Seattle as soloist in Mozart’s Requiem with the Seattle Symphony. Later that season, Morgan debuted with the Atlanta Symphony as soloist in Ralph Vaughan Williams’ Serenade to Music, and J. S. Bach’s Cantata 29.

Recent successes include Scarpia in Tosca with National Taiwan Symphony Orchestra, Herman in Ben Moore’s Enemies, a Love Story with Kentucky Opera, Paul Jobs in The (R)Evolution of Steve Jobs with Seattle Opera, Tadeusz in Weinberg’s The Passenger with Israeli Opera, Joseph De Rocher in Dead Man Walking with Welsh National Opera, his title role debut of Eugene Onegin at Lyric Opera Kansas City, Sharpless in Madama Butterfly at Kentucky Opera and Opéra de Montréal; the reprise of his critically acclaimed Starbuck at Dallas Opera and LA Opera, Marcello in La bohème with Oper Leipzig and San Diego Opera. Mr. Smith performed Don Giovanni with Arizona OperaAustin Opera, and Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. He received rave reviews for his riveting portrayal of Joseph De Rocher in Dead Man Walking at Kentucky Opera and Opera on the Avalon in 2017.

Other performances of note included Escamillo in Carmen at Vancouver OperaPittsburgh Opera and Fort Worth Opera and Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony with Seattle Symphony. He joined the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus at Davies Hall to revive the role of Manfred in Jake Heggie’s poignant For a Look or a Touch (another role he created). Mr. Smith starred as Aaron in the world premiere of Ricky Ian Gordon’s Morning Star at Cincinnati Opera, for which he won outstanding reviews. He sang Adam Brant in Mourning Becomes Electra at Florida Grand Opera; Tadeusz in The Passenger in the US premiere of David Pountney’s production at both Houston Grand Opera and Lincoln Center Festival; and Fritz in Die tote Stadt at Dallas Opera. Mr. Smith was honored to sing the role of Lieutenant Audebert in Silent Night in Fort Worth Opera’s presentation of Kevin Puts’ Pulitzer Prize winning opera.

Smith made his European guest artist debut at the Berliner Staatsoper in 2011, performing Marcello in La bohème. Fully fluent in German, Mr. Smith joined Oper Leipzig in 2009 as a resident artist. Over the following four years he sang Figaro in Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Billy in The Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny, Papageno in Die Zauberflöte, Dr. Falke in Die Fledermaus, Leandre in The Love for Three Oranges, Whitelaw Savory in One Touch of Venus, Marcello in La bohème, and Guglielmo in Così fan tutte

A regular on the concert stage, Mr. Smith made his Dallas Symphony debut in Bach’s St. Matthew Passion under the baton of Jaap van Zweden, and debuted with the San Antonio Symphony for the North American premiere of Vier Präludien und Ernste Gesänge, Detlef Glanert’s orchestral adaptation of the beloved cycle by Brahms. Other concert repertoire includes Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony; the Requiems of Brahms, Fauré, Mozart and Duruflé; the Mass in C Minor of Mozart, Mass in G Minor and Serenade to Music of Vaughan Williams; Bach’s B Minor Mass, numerous Cantatas, and Weihnachts Oratorium; Handel’s Messiah and L’Allegro, il Penseroso ed il Moderato; and Haydn’s The Creation and Lord Nelson Mass.

Morgan has collaborated with prolific conductors such as Jaap van Zweden, Donald Runnicles, Itzhak Perlman, James Conlon, Ulf Schirmer, Christopher Allen, Robert Spano, Markus Stenz, Jacques LaCombe, Andreas Stöhr, Gerard Schwarz, Matthew Halls, Patrick Summers, Eduardo Mueller, Andrés Orozco-Estrada, Sebastian Lang-Lessing, Joseph Colaneri, George Manahan, Ramón Tebar, Jack Everly, Joseph Mechavich, James Meena, Emmanuel Villaume, Ken Masur, John DeMain, Ari Pelto, and Antony Walker.