Stephen West American bassbaritone
In a long and distinguished career, bass-baritone Stephen West has appeared with many of the finest opera companies in the world, including the Metropolitan Opera, the Bayreuth, Salzburg and Santa Fe Festivals, Opéra National de Paris, Deutsche Staatsoper Berlin, Teatro Carlo Felice and Teatro Regio, the Lyric Opera of Chicago, New York City Opera and the San Francisco, Seattle, Washington and Dallas operas, among many others. He has performed with leading symphony orchestras such as the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Boston, Atlanta, and Montreal symphonies, and the Philadelphia and Cleveland orchestras in venues such as Carnegie Hall, Tanglewood and the Hollywood Bowl. He has also collaborated with many world-famous conductors, including James Levine, Riccardo Muti, Sir Andrew Davis, Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos, Sir Charles MacKerras, Julius Rudel, Michael Gielen, and Richard Bonynge.
A true “singing actor,” Mr. West triumphs in roles such as Boito’s Mefistofele and Gounod’s Méphistophélès, and as the heroes of Verdi. He is an exponent of contemporary music, and excels in the repertoire of Wagner. His Seattle Opera portrayal of Hans Sachs in Die Meistersinger inspired Bryan Magee of London’s Daily Telegraph to write, “He covered himself with glory. At the end the entire audience rose spontaneously in a standing ovation. I suspect it was one of those special nights of which I shall find myself saying on future occasions: ‘I was there.'”
In the 2014-15 season Stephen West sang the title role in Britten’s Noye’s Fludde with Opera Grand Rapids. Other recent engagements include Sir Humphrey Davenaut in Marschner’s Der Vampyr with New Orleans Opera, soloist in Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 with Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra, Timur in Turandot in a semi-staged production with Toledo Opera, and Mahler’s Symphony No. 8 with the Grand Rapids Symphony. Recent successes include reprising the role of Mephistopheles in Dusapin’s Faustus, the Last Night at the Concertgebouw; his reprise of the role of Dr. Schön in Lulu for both Teatro Alla Scala in Milan, and Wiener Festwochen; performing as soloist in Mahler’s Das klagende Lied with Orquesta Sinfónica de Minería; Dr. Schön and Jack the Ripper in Lulu with Opéra de Lyon; Candy in Of Mice and Men with Forth Worth Opera; returning to the Metropolitan Opera to reprise Monterone in Rigoletto; and singing the role of Mephistopheles in the American premiere of Pascal Dusapin’s Faustus, the Last Night for Spoleto Festival USA and then later with Philharmonie Essen.
Additional highlights include his return to the Metropolitan Opera as Heinrich in Lohengrin and as Zuniga inCarmen, and to New York City Opera as Braxton and Sherrin in The Mines of Sulfur. He also performed Der Wanderer in Siegfried and his first Wotan in Das Rheingold with the Palacio de Belles Artes in Mexico City, the title role in a concert performance of Attila with Chorus Pro Musica, and Horace in Blitzstein’s Regina at Bard’s Summerscape Festival.
Over the course of many seasons with the Metropolitan Opera he has sung the Commendatore in Don Giovanni, the Animal Trainer and Athlete in Lulu, Dr. Kolenáty in The Makropoulos Affair, Fafner in Das Rheingold, and inDer Rosenkavalier with the company on tour in Japan. With New York City Opera he has performed as Ezra Mannon in Mourning Becomes Electra, the title role in Attila, Leporello in Don Giovanni, Andrew Borden in Lizzie Borden, the title role in Boito’s Mefistofele, and Sparafucile in Rigoletto. With Lyric Opera of Chicago, Mr. West has sung Claggart and Flint in Billy Budd, Peter in Hänsel und Gretel, John Quincy Adams in the world premiere of Anthony Davis’ Amistad and Dr. Kolenáty in The Makropoulos Affair. With Opera Colorado he has sung Hans Sachs in Die Meistersinger, Figaro in Le nozze di Figaro, Don Alfonso in Così fan tutte, the title role in Gianni Schicchi, and Baron Ochs in Der Rosenkavalier.
Mr. West’s international opera credits include Claggart in Billy Budd with Teatro Regio di Torino; the Animal Trainer and Athlete in Lulu with Opéra Bastille in Paris, the Salzburg Festival and the Deutsche Staatsoper Berlin; Dr. Schön in Lulu with the Deutsche Staatsoper Berlin and with the Opéra Bastille; Heinrich in Lohengrin in a return to the Bayreuth Festival; the title role in Boito’s Mefistofele with the Bayerische Rundfunk; and Kaspar in Der Freischütz with the Deutsche Staatsoper Berlin. Mr. West made his Bayreuth Festival debut as Heinrich inLohengrin conducted by Antonio Pappano.
Other operatic highlights include Scarpia in Tosca with Cleveland Opera and Seattle Opera; Don Fernando inFidelio with Dallas Opera; Méphistophélès in Gounod’s Faust with Opera Ontario and the Baltimore Opera; the Comte des Grieux in Manon with the Dallas Opera; Mars in Henze’s Venus und Adonis and Monterone inRigoletto, both with Santa Fe Opera; and the Forester in The Cunning Little Vixen with the Washington Opera.
In concert Mr. West has sung Timur in Turandot, the title role in Boito’s Mefistofele and Rossini’s Stabat Mater, all with the Columbus Symphony Orchestra; Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra; the Mozart Requiem and Coronation Mass with Voices of Ascension at Alice Tully Hall; and Tiresias in Stravinsky’sOedipus Rex with the Cleveland Orchestra, conducted by Christoph von Dohnányi. Mr. West made his Boston Symphony Orchestra debut singing the role of Uncle Sarvaor in Manuel de Falla’s La vida breve. He was featured as soloist in Mahler’s Symphony No. 8 in the 75th Anniversary Gala Concerts at the Hollywood Bowl.
Stephen West has received many awards, including the 1995 New York City Opera Kolozsvar Award, a grant from the Rockefeller Foundation, two National Awards from the Metropolitan Opera, and two prizes from the Seventh Tchaikovsky International Competition in Moscow. Mr. West has studied extensively with world-renowned basses Hans Hotter and Jerome Hines. He holds the position of Artist/Professor of Music in Voice in the School of Music, Theater and Dance at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor.