John Cheek basbaryton
One of the most accomplished singers of our time, John Cheek continually meets with high acclaim for his artistic productions. Since his initial debut, he appeared at the Metropolitan Opera in more than 360 performances; his roles include the title role in Le nozze di Figaro(at Lincoln Center and on tour in Japan), Leporello in Don Giovanni, Publio in La clemenza di Tito and Don Alfonso in Cosi Fan Tutte, as well as Colline in La Boheme and Alvise in La Gioconda. Mr. Cheek performed these roles with James Levine conducting.
At the New York City Opera he sang three title roles in one season: Boito’s Mefistofele, Verdi’s Attila, and the world premiere of Jay Reise’s Rasputin. In the following season, he sang the title role in a new production of Don Giovanni.
Mr. Cheek’s numerous performances in the 2009-2010 season included his long awaited debut at the Santa Fe Opera for the world premiere of Lew Spratlan ‘s Pulitzer Prize-winning opera Life is a Dream. Also scheduled is Handel’s Creation with both the Flint Symphony Orchestra and the Mineria Orchestra of Mexico City, Klingsor in Parsifal with the Krakow Philharmonic, and his return to the Metropolitan Opera. In the spring of 2009 he appeared in the role of the Water Sprite in Dvorak’s Rusalka with the Boston Lyric Opera. Mr. Cheek also took the title role of the protagonist in Elijah performed with the Charlemagne Orchestra in Brussels.
Recent operatic roles include King Mark in Tristan und Isolde with the Florentine Opera in Milwaukee, Mephistopheles in Berlioz’s La Damnation de Faust with the National Orchestra of Taiwan, and Osmin in The Abduction from the Seraglio and Baron Ochs in Der Rosenkavalier with the Vancouver Opera and Florentine Opera. At the Metropolitan Opera his roles have included Count Rostov in War and Peace and The Speaker in Die Zauberflöte. He sang the title role in The Flying Dutchman with the Florentine Opera, Houston Grand Opera, and Columbus Opera as well as the Four Villains in Les Contes d’Hoffmann for the opera companies of Pittsburgh, Connecticut, Cincinnati, and Greensboro. At the Boston Lyric Opera he sang Prince Gremin in Eugene Onegin, and Baron Scarpia in Tosca with the Raleigh N.C. Opera. In the fall of 2005 he performed the role of General Boum in Offenbach’s La Grande Duchesse de Gerolstein with the Los Angeles Opera in a season-opening new production directed by Garry Marshall. Recently he sang the role of Rocco in Beethoven’s Fidelio with Opera Vancouver.
Mr. Cheek is historically active in oratorio performance, appearing with all the major orchestras in North America. He participated in the Cincinnati May and Ravinia Festivals for 15 seasons. Other festival appearances include with Blossom, Mann Center, Lanaudiere, Tanglewood, Saratoga, Bard, Mostly Mozart, and Marlboro, among others.
His versatility reflects a repertoire encompassing an enormous variety of music, ranging from the Baroque era to many world premieres by composers such as Sir Michael Tippett, Ned Rorem, and David Diamond. Mr. Cheek created the role of Lawyer Royal in Stephen Paulus’s Summer, and the title role in Romeo Cascarino’s William Penn at the Academy of Music in Philadelphia.
IIn Europe he sung with the Paris Opera, L’Orchestre de Paris, Opera de Nice, Bregenzer Festspiel, the Zurich Tonhalle Orchestra, Theatre Royal de la Monnaie in Brussels, and the Finnish National Opera, as well as the Berlin Philharmonic, Saltzburg Festival, the Bachakademie of Stuttgart, the London Promenade Concerts, the BBC Symphony, and the Stockholm Royal Philharmonic.
Mr. Cheek again joined forces with conductor James Levine in four notable recitals in New York and Chicago.
His many recordings include The Rake’s Progress (Nick Shadow) conducted by Robert Craft, Handel’s Messiah (RCA), Dvorak’s Stabat Mater with the New Jersey Symphony, Handel’s last opera Deidameia (Albany), and Haydn’s Creation, Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, and Boito’sMefistofele: Prologue with Robert Shaw and the Atlanta Symphony.
Mr. Cheek resides in the Berkshires with his wife Lee.