Upcoming 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." Read more press reactions here.
In 2016-17 Gaines returned to Opera Philadelphia for TURANDOT (Pong) and also to Opera Colorado for LA FANCIULLA DEL WEST (Trin). He completed a recording project with Lyric Fest of selected works by composer Daron Hagen, and returned to Resonance Works Pittsburgh for FALSTAFF (Caius), made his debuts with Virginia Opera (Pong/TURANDOT), Hawaii Opera Theater (The Servants/LES CONTES D'HOFFMANN), Off the Hook Arts (excerpts from a new opera by Bruce Adolphe), the Charlotte Symphony (tenor soloist/MESSIAH), and The Crypt Sessions for CREE IN THE CRYPT, a preview of excerpts from the world premiere of ELIZABETH CREE. He also returned to Ars Lyrica Houston as a featured guest artist for BACHANALIA, a New Year's Eve Gala Concert.
For the 2015-16 season, Gaines was a featured soloist on two programs with the Brooklyn Art Song Society (an October concert celebrating Ned Rorem at Bargemusic, and a March program of works by Benjamin Britten, including THE HOLY SONNETS OF JOHN DONNE); other solo appearances included performances of Mozart's REQUIEM with Colorado Pro Musica and CARMINA BURANA with the Fargo-Moorhead Symphony, and concert appearances with both the Colorado Bach Ensemble. In December, Gaines performed Kaspar in AMAHL AND THE NIGHT VISITORS with Central City Opera. He returned to Utah Opera, closing their 2015-16 season in as both Basilio and Curzio in LE NOZZE DI FIGARO. Returning to Opera Philadelphia in May, he helped create the role of Dan Leno in the first workshop of ELIZABETH CREE, a new opera being developed by composer Kevin Puts and librettist Mark Campbell, and based on the novel "The Trial of Elizabeth Cree" by Peter Ackroyd.
In 2014-15 Gaines returned to Central City Opera's 2014 Festival for both LE NOZZE DI FIGARO (Basilio) and DEAD MAN WALKING (Howard Boucher). He also appeared again at Utah Opera, where he performed Goro in MADAMA BUTTERFLY (Opera News wrote that "Character actor/singer Joseph Gaines was compelling as the wily marriage broker Goro.) He returned to The Erie Chamber Orchestra as Monostatos in DIE ZAUBERFLOETE, and had company debuts with both Opera Colorado (DIE ZAUBERFLOETE) and Opera Las Vegas (MADAMA BUTTERFLY). He also performed roles in OSCAR with Opera Philadelphia, a co-commission and co-production of The Santa Fe Opera, marking both the work’s East Coast premiere and the premiere of the revised edition, as well. Other engagements included multiple performances of Handel's MESSIAH, a recital and master class at West Texas A&M University, as well as reprising works of Daron Hagen in a concert with the Brooklyn Art Song Society.
The years 2008-2013 were marked by a wide array of operatic and concert performances, including several debuts and return engagements. A past apprentice artist with Central City Opera, he returned in 2010 as a guest artist for the first time to perform Goro in MADAMA BUTTERFLY; the Denver Post described Gaines as "well-cast as Goro, the creepy and conniving marriage broker." Other concert performances included Mozart's Coronation Mass and the Mozart Requiem, Stravinksy's Pulcinella, and Monteverdi's 1610 Vespers, performed in its 400th anniversary year. Gaines returned to The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra to perform in THE RAKE'S PROGRESS (Sellem), Edo de Waart conducting; to Indianapolis Opera (Scaramuccio in ARIADNE AUF NAXOS), and reprised Handel's Messiah with the Saint Thomas Choir of Men and Boys (Gaines is the featured soloist on St. Thomas's 2007 recording of the same piece).
Notable debuts during this time included Pittsburgh Opera (Caius in FALSTAFF); Opera Philadelphia (Monostatos in THE MAGIC FLUTE); Chatham Baroque (featured soloist in “A Continental Christmas”); The Erie Chamber Orchestra (Britten’s “Serenade, for Tenor, Horn, and Strings”); Apollo’s Fire (THE MAGIC FLUTE); and New York's Teatro Grattacielo (Cicillo in Ermanno Wolf-Ferrari's I GIOIELLI DELLA MADONNA), which also marked Gaines’ Lincoln Center Debut.
A favorite guest artist of Pittsburgh Opera, further performances with the company have included LE NOZZE DI FIGARO (Opera News wrote "in the double assignment of Basilio/Curzio, Joseph Gaines's bright tenor cut through the crowd"), Pong in Giacomo Puccini's masterpiece TURANDOT, Pedrillo in Mozart's ABDUCTION FROM THE SERAGLIO, and Goro in MADAMA BUTTERFLY.
Gaines returned to Teatro Grattacielo for their double-bill of IL RE and I COMPAGNACCI, again at Lincoln Center. He also returned to Houston for a recording project with the Grammy ®-nominated ensemble Ars Lyrica for the label Sono Luminus. A Winner of the 2011 Pittsburgh Concert Society Competition, he was presented in a winner’s concert with pianist Glenn Lewis.
For the 2013-2014 season, company and role debuts included: Opera Omnia, as Iro in Monteverdi's RETURN OF ULYSSES at New York's Baryshnikov Arts Center; Resonance Works, Pittsburgh's newest site-specific opera, concert and chamber music ensemble, presenting Verdi's MACBETH (as Malcolm); The Erie Philharmonic (Carmina Burana/tenor soloist); The Philadelphia Orchestra, presenting a concert version of SALOME (Gaines performed the 3rd Jew) in collaboration with Opera Philadelphia; and Utah Opera, where he reprised Pong in the Doucet/Barbe production of TURANDOT, premiered at Pittsburgh Opera in 2011. He also joined the artist roster of The Metropolitan Opera, covering Caius in Verdi's FALSTAFF from 2013 into 2014.
Gaines returned to Opera Theater of Pittsburgh's SummerFest to sing the Four Servants in Offenbach's THE TALES OF HOFFMANN, as well as Belfiore in Mozart's THE SECRET GARDENER. In Spring 2014 he rejoined Philadelphia's Lyric Fest for a concert of new works celebrating American Women Poets in song, and also joined a cast of distinguished alumni, students, and faculty of The University of Houston's Moores School of Music for a concert gala performance of CANDIDE in the title role.
ABOUT JOSEPH GAINES
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" (The Minneapolis Star-Tribune).
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.
Joseph Gaines is a Founding Board Member of Resonance Works | Pittsburgh,
and currently serves on the company's Advisory Board.