Parlando: The COC Blog

8/9/2013

Artist Basics: Eric Owens

What he's doing with us: American bass-baritone Eric Owens makes his COC debut in Peter Sellars' contemporary take on Handel's Hercules. Eric previously performed the role for the premiere of this new COC and Lyric Opera of Chicago co-production in 2011 to enthusiastic reviews, and is reuniting with the full cast at the COC this spring. 

Where you might have seen him: Equally at home on the operatic stage and in recital, Eric is particularly well-known to Met Live in HD audiences for his performance as the scene-stealing Alberich in the Metropolitan Opera’s latest Ring Cycle. He is also a popular choice with composers looking to create new, contemporary operas! In addition to the acclaim Eric received for his performance of the title character in the world premiere of Elliot Goldenthal’s Grendel, composer John Adams created both the roles of General Leslie Groves in Doctor Atomic and The Storyteller in A Flowering Tree for Eric.

His background: Would you believe that this world-famous bass-baritone was almost a pianist, or an oboist instead? In his final year of high school, Eric switched his musical focus to vocal studies and went on to earn a bachelor of music in vocal performance from Temple University. He continued his studies in the graduate program at the Curtis Institute of Music and joined the young artist program at the Houston Grand Opera.

Interviews and profiles: NPR Music wrote about Eric just before the Met's production of Das Rheingold premiered in 2010; the New York Times interviewed Eric about his roles as villains and about his career trajectory; Eric opened up to the Los Angeles Times when he was performing as Sharpless in Madama Butterfly at LA Opera; and he received great praise from the Wall Street Journal for his performance in a recital last year. 

What's next for Eric: In the fall of 2013, Eric performs as Alberich in Deutsche Oper Berlin's productions of Das Rheingold and Götterdämmerung, he returns to the Metropolitan Opera in the winter to perform as Sarastro in Julie Taymor's production of The Magic Flute and takes up the role of Vodnik in Rusalka at the Lyric Opera of Chicago just before joining us in Toronto for Hercules.

You can follow Eric on Twitter @EricOwensSinger, on Facebook, or on his website.

Watch Eric perform one of the most memorable arias from Le nozze di Figaro below. 

Photos: (top)Eric Owens; (middle) Eric Owens as Hercules in the Canadian Opera Company/Lyric Opera of Chicago (LOC) co-production of Hercules, 2011, LOC. Photo credits: (top) Dario Acosta; (middle) Dan Rest. 

Posted by Danielle D'Ornellas / in Hercules / comments (0) / permalink


Sara Fulgoni in the COC production of Bluebeard's Castle. Photo: Michael Cooper © 2001