American baritone Jonathan Hays performs modern and standard operatic and concert repertoire both in the US and internationally. His singing has been called “strong, lucid, direct and bang on the note” (The New York Times).
In 2023, Mr. Hays will perform hits of Rodgers and Hammerstein musicals in the Colorado Springs Philharmonic’s production of “Some Enchanted Evening”, reprise the role of Father in a workshop production of Rima Fand’s Precipice with the American Opera Project, and return to Central City Opera as Harrison Howell in Kiss Me Kate. Over the past few seasons, Mr. Hays portrayed Signor Nacarelli in Central City Opera’s production of The Light in the Piazza, debuted with the Piedmont Opera as Giorgio Talbot in Maria Stuarda, returned to Syracuse Opera as Dr. Pangloss in Candide, sang the Brahms Liebesliederwaltzer with Market Square Concerts in Harrisburg, PA, and performed the monodrama Truth and Reconciliation (Mel Marvin/Jonathan Levi) with American Opera Project at Opera America. His recording of Robert Pound’s song cycle Orbit of the Soul (Roven Records/Naxos USA) about the imprisonment of Oscar Wilde, was released by Roven Records and Naxos USA in October of 2018. Colin Clarke of Fanfare Magazine wrote of the recording: “The present performance with baritone seems to hold a particular pathos. Perhaps that is due to Jonathan Hays’s superb interpretation: Technical aspects such as diction and pitching are so superbly managed that one’s attention is fully focused on Pound’s narrative. This is a positively revelatory release” (Mar/Apr 2019).
Recently, Mr. Hays has been heard as Donald in Billy Budd with Central City Opera, Sir Joseph Porter in HMS Pinafore and Maximilian in Candide with Anchorage Opera, Denis Krude in Crude Capital with Beth Morrison Projects, Jonathan Jeremiah Peachum in Threepenny Opera at Syracuse Opera, the Narrator in the world premiere of My Friend's Story at the International Festival of Arts and Ideas, and as the protagonist in the monodrama An die fernen Geliebten at National Sawdust. He performed with pianist Jeremy Gill at the Museo Chiossione in Genoa, Italy with the Bogliasco Foundation and Associazione Culturale Pasquale Anfossi, as the baritone soloist in Gabriel Fauré’s Requiem in D minor with the Harrisburg Symphony, and with pianist David Friend at the Hartt School on the James Sellars Memorial Concert.
Highlights of previous seasons include the role of Shadow Grendel in the world premiere of Grendel in a co-production with Los Angeles Opera and the Lincoln Center Festival, and the title role of Isaiah Berlin in Guest from the Future at the Summerscape Festival. Hays has been hailed by Opera Magazine for his “commanding authority” and “sheer vocal excellence” in the Mozart repertoire. He has sung Don Giovanni with Cape Town Opera, Bel Canto at Caramoor, Syracuse Opera, and Chattanooga Opera; Count Almaviva in Le nozze di Figaro with Greensboro Opera, Cape Town Opera, Bel Canto at Caramoor, Opera Roanoke, and the Acadiana Symphony Orchestra; Papageno in Die Zauberflöte with Portland Opera, Central City Opera, and Connecticut Opera; and Guglielmo in Così fan tutte with Bel Canto at Caramoor, Eugene Opera, Yale Opera, and the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra.
Other notable performances include Achilla in Giulio Cesare with Washington National Opera, Belcore in L’elisir d’amore with Opera de la Colombia, Taddeo in L’Italiana in Algeri with Central City Opera, Don Fernando in Fidelio and Mercutio in Roméo et Juliette with the Connecticut Grand Opera and Orchestra, Donner in Das Rheingold with the Eos Orchestra, and Fenice in Deidamia and Fernando in La gazza ladra for Bel Canto at Caramoor.
Mr. Hays has performed in concert with the Orchestra of St. Luke's, American Symphony Orchestra, Toronto Symphony, Colorado Symphony, Boston Musica Viva, Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra, Alabama Symphony, New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, and the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, among many others. His recording of Jeremy Gill’s Helian for Albany Records ranked fourth on Philadelphia City Paper’s list of Top 10 Classical Albums of 2011. Peter Burwasser of Fanfare Magazine wrote of the disc: “Jonathan Hays conveys the words, not just the music, with intelligence and careful diction, not to mention a splendidly lush baritone.” Also in 2011, Hays was presented with the Big Easy Foundation’s award for Best Performance of New Classical Music for his recital An Unquiet Spirit. His performance of Henry Cowell’s Atlantis with the American Symphony Orchestra is available on iTunes and emusic.com. He holds opera degrees from the Yale School of Music (M.M.) and the Hartt School of Music (B.M.). He is on the Voice Faculties of Colorado College and the University of Colorado Colorado Springs, and he has served on the voice faculties of The Hartt School (Music Theatre), Dickinson College, Susquehanna University, and Brooklyn College and Conservatory of Music.
Central City Opera
Central City Opera
An die fernen Geliebten
"My Friend’s Story"
"The Glass Hammer: Scenes from Childhood Kept Against Forgetting"
THE OPERA NEWS
"The music is well served by its performers. Both tenor William Ferguson and baritone Jonathan Hays have pleasingly colorful voices, with a fine expressive sense. They also harmonize warmly in the duets. In short, this recording will have great appeal to listeners who cherish contemporary art song."
"Baritone Jonathan Hays opens the show as Voltaire, the storyteller, who reveals the context for the convoluted tale to follow. He is double cast as philosopher Dr. Pangloss—donning and removing a wig as he slides effortlessly from one character to another through the two-act operetta. Hays once again earns accolades for clever comic timing—as when he’s caught behind the bushes with the servant girl, or when he insists, even as death and disease surround him, that all is as it should be. His perfect articulation and rich tone are especially suited to poet Richard Wilbur’s tricky lyrics on “Dear Boy,” when Pangloss rationalizes even the horrors of having caught an STD."
"The present performance with baritone seems to hold a particular pathos. Perhaps that is due to Jonathan Hays’s superb interpretation: Technical aspects such as diction and pitching are so superbly managed that one’s attention is fully focused on Pound’s narrative. This is a positively revelatory release."
"Jonathan Hays conveys the words, not just the music, with intelligence and careful diction, not to mention a splendidly lush baritone."
CLASSICAL VOICE OF NORTH CAROLINA
"The singer is crucial here, not merely for beauty of voice and clarity of text, but for the individualization of the characters. Here, the experienced opera singer Jonathan Hays confidently supplied everything that was necessary for success. His full, mellow baritone ranged from the softest half voice to the grandest thundering outburst, while his acting of the bellowing father, the admonishing mother, the elderly grandmother, and the innocent kid brother was detailed and nuanced."
"Our favorite was Papageno the bird catcher in a coat that appeared to be molting. Jonathan Hays performed the part like a fumbling Hugh Grant --- endearing and adorable -- so that when he turned his spy glass on the audience in search of girl friend material, women were actually primping."