In the 2016-2017 season, baritone Jonathan Hays will be heard on the stage of National Sawdust in Brooklyn, NY in the production An die fernen Geliebten: Monodramas by Beethoven and Jeremy Gill, he will join the Harrisburg Symphony for performances of Gabriel Fauré’s Requiem in D minor, and perform in recital with pianist Rachelle Jonck at Dickinson College in Carlisle, PA, where he is a member of the voice faculty. Recently, Mr. Hays has been heard as Reverend Gruffydd in the world premiere production of How Green Was My Valley by Roger Ames and Elizabeth Bassine at the Central City Opera, as the Narrator in the world premiere of Martin Bresnick’s and J.D. McClatchy’s My Friend’s Story at the International Festival of Arts and Ideas at Yale University, and in a performance of excerpts from World Enough and Time by Robert Pound and Carol Ann Johnston at the Phillips Museum of Art in Lancaster, PA.
Renowned as an interpreter of contemporary music, Hays has been involved in the creation and performance of many new operas and song cycles. He essayed the role of Shadow Grendel in Julie Taymor and Eliot Goldenthal’s Grendel for a co-production with the Los Angeles Opera and Lincoln Center Festival, he originated the role of Isaiah Berlin in Mel Marvin and Jonathan Levi’s Guest from the Future for Bard’s Summerscape Festival, and he was a Texas Ranger in the world premiere production of Jean-Michel Damase’s Ochelata’s Wedding for the OK Mozart Festival. In recital, he has performed The Wound Dresser by John Adams with pianist Jennifer Blyth at Dickinson College, Helian by Jeremy Gill with the composer at the piano for Music with a View (NYC), Delaware County Community College, and Susquehanna University, and the world premiere of Robert Pound’s Muldoon and Heaney songs for the Stellfox Foundation. In 2011, Hays was presented with the Big Easy Foundation’s award for Best Performance of New Classical Music for his duet recital with soprano JeAnne Moniz Swinley, An Unquiet Spirit: Madams, Madmen, and Other Unsavory Characters.
An artist with a growing discography, Hays recorded Robert Pound’s Stellfox songs in August of 2016 for release on compact disc. 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. In a review of the recording for Fanfare Magazine, Peter Burwasser said, “Jonathan Hays conveys the words, not just the music, with intelligence and careful diction, not to mention a splendidly lush baritone.” Hays’s Avery Fisher Hall performance of Henry Cowell’s Atlantis with the American Symphony Orchestra is available on iTunes and emusic.com.
No stranger to the standard repertory, 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. Of this Caramoor performance, Paul Griffiths of The New York Times wrote, ‘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’.
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, Harrisburg Symphony, and the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, among many others. He holds opera degrees from the Yale School of Music (M.M.) and the Hartt School of Music (B.M.), and he serves on the voice faculty of Dickinson College as Visiting Instructor in Voice for 2015-2017. He has previously taught on the faculties of Susquehanna University and Brooklyn College and Conservatory of Music.
Suggested Operatic Repertoire
|Bizet||The Pearl Fishers||Zurga|
|Britten||Billy Budd||Billy Budd|
|Gounod||Romeo et Juliette||Mercutio|
|Mozart||Cosí fan tutte||Guglielmo|
|Mozart||Don Giovanni||Don Giovanni|
|Mozart||Le nozze di Figaro||Count Almaviva|
|Rossini||La gazza ladra||Fernando|
|Rossini||L'italiana in Algeri||Taddeo|
|Strauss, R.||Aradne auf Naxos||Harlekin|
|Tchaikovsky||Eugene Onegin||Eugene Onegin|
Bard SummerScape – Cheryomushki
“Lauren Skuce and Jonathan Hays were graceful and vivid in the romantic leads”
– The New Yorker, September 6, 2004
Louisiana Philharmonic – Carmina Burana
“Baritone Jonathan Hays sang of the revitalized earth in a gentle, warm voice that echoed the text about a warming sun. In the ‘Tavern’ section, he executed with calm assurance passages that challenged his full range… Singing unaccompanied as ‘I am the abbot,’ his voice was full and confident.”
– The Times-Picayune, October 2002
Cape Town Opera – Don Giovanni
“A young cast for Don Giovanni, headed by the dashing 28-year-old American baritone Jonathan Hays as the lecherous Don – brought a fresh vitality to a revival of the 10-year old production… Hays, with his steely jaw and glinting eye was a real ladies’ man, a charmer who could also be brutally callous.”
– Opera Now, January/February 2001
Cape Town Opera – Le nozze di Figaro
“Jonathan Hays was a suitably self-absorbed creature, a youngish aristocrat not yet outgrown a pampered background. He has a lovely baritone, nicely placed and warmly resonant but capable of taut edginess, as in the declamatory third act Vedro Mentre.”
– Cape Times, April 13, 1999
“American Jonathan Hays as Count Almaviva gave a strong and many-faceted performance. His singing and acting grew more imposing as the opera progressed. His beautiful voice is well-honed and his singing reflects intelligence and musicality.”
– Die Burger, April 10, 1999
Yale Opera – Albert Herring
“Commendable diction from a fine voice also distinguished baritone Jonathan Hays’ strong performance as the reticent but complaisant vicar, another well-studied and complete realization of a difficult role and in marked contrast to Hays’ previous bravura performances at Yale.”
– New Haven Register, March 3, 1996