From Handel’s Messiah and Mozart’s Don Giovanni to contemporary works by Britten, Hindemith, and Bloch; from the educational programs of Rob Kapilow to Pops concerts featuring hits from the Great American Songbook, baritone Jonathan Hays exhibits extraordinary breadth of vocal flexibility and interpretive expression.
Engagements in 2010 and 2011 include a return to Avery Fisher Hall in Henry Cowell’s Atlantis with the American Symphony Orchestra, Monteverdi’s Vespro della beata Vergine (1610) with the Dayton Symphony Orchestra, a performance of Romanzen aus L. Tiecks Magelone by Johannes Brahms at Dickinson College, and a chamber music program entitled Kunst macht frei: Pearls of Terezin at Kutztown University, Gettysburg College, and Dickinson College. His performance of Atlantis with the American Symphony Orchestra was released on iTunes in October, and his recording of Jeremy Gill’s song cycle Helian, with the composer at the piano, will be released by Albany Records early in the new year.
Recently, Mr. Hays has been heard as Count Almaviva in Le Nozze di Figaro with the Acadiana Symphony Orchestra; in performances of Rob Kapilow’s whimsical orchestral song cycle And Furthermore They Bite with the Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts in Los Angeles and the Toronto Symphony; at the Summerscape Festival at Bard College for a recital program entitled “From Broadway to Gorky Street”; in performances of Jorge Martín’s tour-de-force work for baritone The Glass Hammer in the cities of Brooklyn, NY, Chapel Hill, NC, and Carlisle, PA, with pianist Craig Ketter; with “Music at Pine Street” in Harrisburg, PA in J.S. Bach’s cantatas for baritone Ich habe genug and Ich will den Kreuzstab gerne tragen; and as the featured performer in a program of American Music with the St. Louis Philharmonic Orchestra.
Renowned as an interpreter of contemporary music, Mr. Hays essayed the role of Shadow Grendel in the world premier of Grendel by Eliot Goldenthal and Julie Taymor with the Los Angeles Opera and Lincoln Center Festival, collaborated with Ned Rorem and New Music New Haven on Mr. Rorem’s Songs of Sadness, originated the role of Isiah Berlin in The Guest from the Future by Mel Marvin and Jonathan Levi at the Summerscape Festival, and performed multiple roles in the OK Mozart Festival’s world premier production of Jean Michel Damase’s Ochelata’s Wedding. He was recently heard with the American Symphony Orchestra at Avery Fisher Hall performing in two operas by Hindemith, Das Nush-Nushi and Mörder, Hoffnung der Frauen, and bowed as Friedrich Bhaer in Mark Adamo’s Little Women with Dayton Opera.
Also acclaimed for his portrayal of roles in the standard repertory, Mr. Hays’ has sung principle roles in Don Giovanni (Don Giovanni), Le Nozze di Figaro (Count, Figaro), Die Zauberflöte (Papageno), Cosi Fan Tutte (Guglielmo), Das Rheingold (Donner), La Boheme (Marcello, Schaunard), L’Elisir d’Amore (Belcore), Giulio Cesare (Achilla), Deidamia (Fenice), L’Italiana in Algeri (Taddeo), La Cenerentola (Dandani), La Gazza Ladra (Fernando), I Pagliacci (Silvio), Fidelio (Fernando), Albert Herring (Sid, Vicar), Béatrice et Bénédict (Somarone), and others, with companies that include The Washington Opera, Central City Opera, The Lyric Opera of Kansas City, The Caramoor Festival, Connecticut Opera, Connecticut Grand Opera and Orchestra, Opera de la Colombia, Cape Town Opera, Syracuse Opera, Greensboro Opera Company, The Oklahoma Mozart Festival, The Utah Festival Opera Company, Eugene Opera, and Yale Opera.
After an acclaimed performance of Rossini’s La Gazza Ladra with the Caramoor Festival and the Orchestra of St. Lukes, Paul Griffiths of The New York Times wrote of his work, ‘…in all his contributions, the nobility of his voice matched the nobility of his bearing and his singing was consistently strong, lucid, direct and bang on the note. His was a magnificent performance’.
A frequent guest of symphony orchestras all over North America, Mr. Hays has performed the solo material in works such as Handel’s Messiah; J.S. Bach’s Magnificat, St. Matthew Passion and B-minor Mass; Avodath Hakodesh by Ernest Bloch; Rob Kapilow’s And Furthermore, They Bite and Polar Express; and Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana, with organizations including The Orchestra of St. Luke's, St. Luke's Chamber Ensemble, The American Symphony Orchestra, Toronto Symphony, Eos Orchestra, Colorado Symphony, Musica Viva, The Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra, The Alabama Symphony, The New Jersey Symphony, and The Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra.
Mr. Hays is currently the Visiting Instructor of Voice at Dickinson College in Carlisle, PA, and he is on the voice faculty of Brooklyn College in Brooklyn, NY.