Joseph Gaines, Tenor, is a highly versatile and increasingly sought-after operatic and concert artist. His stage experience includes roles from MADAMA BUTTERFLY, THE MAGIC FLUTE, FALSTAFF, LE NOZZE DI FIGARO, L’INCORONAZIONE DI POPPEA, ORPHEUS IN THE UNDERWORLD, I PAGLIACCI, ABDUCTION FROM THE SERAGLIO, THE DANGEROUS LIAISONS, EURIDICE, THE BALLAD OF BABY DOE, ARIADNE AUF NAXOS, and EUGENE ONEGIN, among others.
Praised for his beautifully-sung and well-acted interpretations of character roles, Gaines has been described as “such an exuberant performer you couldn’t help but smile” (The Minneapolis Star-Tribune). Opera News raved about several of his performances, including Indianapolis Opera’s productions of FALSTAFF (“the sweet-voiced Bardolfo of Joseph Gaines could have been singing Fenton”) and THE MAGIC FLUTE (“Gaines sang Monostatos’s music beautifully while cavorting about the stage”). Opera Today enthusiastically received his Glimmerglass Opera debut as Mercury in ORPHEUS IN THE UNDERWORLD: (“Joyce Castle (Public Opinion) and Jake Gardner (Jupiter) performed with skill and comic nuance, sang well, and comported themselves like the seasoned pros that they are. They were matched by a wonderfully fey, wonderfully sung Mercury from tenor Joseph Gaines, who by the way, also gave a lovely Young Artist’s recital at week’s end”). His 2008 return to Glimmerglass Opera in Wagner’s DAS LIEBESVERBOT was described variously as “impressive” (The New York Times), “entertaining” (The Wall Street Journal), and “blessedly cliché-free” (Opera Today).
Also a favorite of critics and audiences on the concert stage, he has been a featured soloist with some of the finest American orchestras, including The Detroit Symphony, The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, and a number of chamber and baroque ensembles throughout the United States. His concert repertoire includes works of Mozart, Britten, Handel, Bach, Rameau, Scarlatti, Schoenberg, Stravinsky, as well as contemporary works. His performances have been broadcast domestically and internationally by NPR and Public Radio International, most recently with live excerpts of Allessandro Scarlatti’s music on Houston Public Radio, and Handel’s Ode for Saint Cecilia’s Day, performed with the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra and broadcast by Minnesota Public Radio.
For a busy 2009-10 Season, Gaines returned to The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra to perform in THE RAKE’S PROGRESS (Sellem) with Edo de Waart conducting, Indianapolis Opera (Scaramuccio in ARIADNE AUF NAXOS), and reprised Handel’s Messiah with New York’s famed St. Thomas Church Fifth Avenue (Gaines is the featured soloist on St. Thomas’s 2007 recording of the same piece). An apprentice artist with Central City Opera in 2006, he returned in 2010 as a guest artist 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, Britten’s Serenade for Tenor, Horn and Strings and Monteverdi’s 1610 Vespers, performed in this its 400th anniversary year. Notable debuts included two productions with Pittsburgh Opera (Caius in FALSTAFF, and of LE NOZZE DI FIGARO, Opera News wrote “in the double assignment of Basilio/Curzio, Joseph Gaines’s bright tenor cut through the crowd”), and New York’s Teatro Grattacielo (Cicillo in Ermanno Wolf-Ferrari’s I GIOIELLI DELLA MADONNA), which also marked Gaines’ Lincoln Center Debut.
In 2011, he returned to Pittsburgh Opera as Pong in Giacomo Puccini’s masterpiece TURANDOT. Other engagements included Ars Lyrica Houston, the Pittsburgh Concert Chorale, recitals with the Pittsburgh Song Collaborative, and appeared again with Teatro Grattacielo for their double-bill of IL RE and I COMPAGNACCI at Lincoln Center.
Engagements in 2011-12 include Rachmaninoff’s Vespers with the Pittsburgh Concert Chorale, THE MAGIC FLUTE with Apollo’s Fire, a recital with the Pittsburgh Song Collaborative, a recording project with the Grammy ®-nominated ensemble Ars Lyrica Houston for the label Sono Luminus, a Winner’s Concert with the Pittsburgh Concert Society, and he will close Pittsburgh Opera’s season as Pedrillo in Mozart’s ABDUCTION FROM THE SERAGLIO.
His 2012-2013 season will include MADAMA BUTTERFLY (Goro) with Pittsburgh Opera, marking his fifth production with the company; Maximillian in CANDIDE with Opera Theater of Pittsburgh’s inaugural SummerFest season; concerts with the Pittsburgh Song Collaborative, and Philadelphia-based Lyric Fest; and his company debut in THE MAGIC FLUTE (Monostatos) with Opera Company of Philadelphia.
Joseph Gaines’ commercially available recordings include “Handel’s Messiah — The Mozart Orchestrations” (The Choir of Men and Boys of Saint Thomas Church Fifth Avenue, John Scott, conductor); and Ars Lyrica Houston’s recording of the music of Alessandro Scarlatti, distributed by NAXOS Records.
Among his recent awards and grants are The Pittsburgh Concert Society (Winner, Major Auditions, 2011), The Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council (Recipient, Artist Opportunity Grant, 2011), and The Charles A. Lynam Voice Competition (Finalist, 2010). Others include: The Sullivan Foundation; The Rotary Foundation; The Jensen Foundation; The Anna Sosenko Assist Trust; and Central City Opera’s McGlone Award for Outstanding Young Artist.
Gaines studied singing with Joseph Evans at the University of Houston, and with Christina Wartenberg at the Hochschule für Musik und Theater in Leipzig, Germany. He now studies with Leyna Gabriele in New York, and is represented by John Miller of Pinnacle Arts Management. A native of Houston, Texas, Gaines currently resides in Pittsburgh.