Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Michael Mayes returns to signature role in Dead Man Walking


Michael Mayes in Dead Man Walking
February 25, 2012 was a life-changing day for barihunk Michael Mayes. It's the day that he first took the stage as Joseph de Rocher in Jake Heggie's Dead Man Walking at the Tulsa Opera. His performance as the accused killer was so riveting that word shot around the opera world about his intense performance. Most importantly, composer Jake Heggie was also impressed by Mayes. He recently told Colorado Public Radio, "I've seen Mike Mayes sing Joe a few times and I can tell you nobody in the entire world has ever done it better or with more authority."
I've seen Mike Mayes sing Joe a few times and I can tell you nobody in the entire world has ever done it better or with more authority. - See more at: http://www.cpr.org/news/story/five-questions-dead-man-walking-composer-jake-heggie#sthash.1emJ4cfn.dpuf
I've seen Mike Mayes sing Joe a few times and I can tell you nobody in the entire world has ever done it better or with more authority. - See more at: http://www.cpr.org/news/story/five-questions-dead-man-walking-composer-jake-heggie#sthash.1emJ4cfn.dpuf
I've seen Mike Mayes sing Joe a few times and I can tell you nobody in the entire world has ever done it better or with more authority. - See more at: http://www.cpr.org/news/story/five-questions-dead-man-walking-composer-jake-heggie#sthash.1emJ4cfn.dpuf

Our readers also took notice, as the photo that we ran of Mayes after he'd buffed up for the role instantly became one of our most viewed pictures. The role itself takes enormous physical stamina and baritones have been known to go to great lengths to get in shape, as the opera includes an aria that's sung while doing pushups. Etienne Dupuis went so far as hiring two trainers when he sang the role at the Opera de Montreal.

Mayes is now back singing what's become his signature role at both the Madison Opera and Central City Opera. The production will be performed in Madison on April 25 and 27, and then in Central City from July 5-25.

Michael Mayes with Erik Larson (and Pete)
Mayes first appeared in the opera not as the main character, but as a motorcycle cop at the Fort Worth Opera Festival in the 2008-09 season. We couldn't help but wonder if the Madison cast has a future de Rocher in it, as Erik Larsen has been cast in the role of the motorcycle cop. Larson made waves when he busted out of his pants and posted it on Twitter (which we, of course, reposted on Barihunks).

After his two runs of Dead Man Walking, Mayes continues with his commitment to contemporary opera. He'll be performing in Ethan Gans-Morse's The Canticle of the Black Madonna, a new opera premiering in Portland, Oregon on September 5, 2014. Set in coastal Louisiana amidst the devastation of the 2010 Gulf Oil Spill, it tells the story of a fictional soldier returning from Afghanistan to his wife. Together, they face the challenges of his Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and her struggles to maintain the family business. 

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