From: Odessa, Texas. LA Opera: Jesus in St. Matthew Passion (2022, debut); Sharpless in Madama Butterfly (2024).
In the 2023/24 season, American bass-baritone Michael Sumuel, lauded as having “vocals that are smooth and ingratiating” (Daily Camera), will sing Reginald in a new production of X: The Life and Times of Malcolm X at the Metropolitan Opera, Sharpless in Madama Butterfly with Houston Grand Opera and the Forester in The Cunning Little Vixen at Detroit Opera. A busy concert artist, Mr. Sumuel joins Jaap van Zweden and the New York Philharmonic for Mozart’s Requiem, Jonathan Cohen for Handel’s Messiah with the San Francisco Symphony, Les Violons du Roy in Québec for Bach’s Christmas Oratorio, also with Jonathan Cohen, Jane Glover and Music of the Baroque for Mozart’s Requiem and Bach’s Magnificat, Bernard Labadie and the Seattle Symphony for Bach’s Passion According to St. John, the National Symphony Orchestra for the Fauré Requiem and Washington National Cathedral as Jesus in St. Matthew Passion.
In the 2022/23 season, Mr. Sumuel returned to the Metropolitan Opera, singing Belcore in L’Elisir d’Amore. Other debuts included Elviro in Xerxes with Detroit Opera, and Figaro in The Marriage of FIgaro with Pittsburgh Opera. In concert, Mr. Sumuel performed Mozart’s Requiem with the Cincinnati Symphony and James Conlon, Bach cantatas BWV 61 and 140 with the Handel and Haydn Society in Boston, opened Washington Concert Opera’s season performing in a gala with soprano Tamara Wilson, and returned to Mercury Houston for Handel’s Messiah. Finally, with Pacific Chorale, Mr. Sumuel took part in a European tour, performing in Haydn’s Lord Nelson Mass and Florence Price’s Abraham Lincoln Walks at Midnight.
In the 2021/22 season, Mr. Sumuel made his debut as Jesus and the bass soloist in Bach’s St. Matthew Passion with LA Opera, a semi-staged production conducted by James Conlon with choreography by the Hamburg Ballet, Figaro in The Marriage of Figaro with Seattle Opera, Escamillo in Carmen for his debut with the Santa Fe Opera, a concert of arias to open the Dallas Opera season, the King in Massenet’s Cendrillon with the Metropolitan Opera, Leporello in Don Giovanni with Opera San Antonio and Escamillo with Chicago Opera Theater. In concert, Mr. Sumuel returned to the Los Angeles Philharmonic at Walt Disney Concert Hall to sing Mozart’s Mass in C minor with Zubin Mehta, Bach’s Easter Oratorio with Music of the Baroque and Mozart’s Requiem with the Orchestra of St. Luke’s.
Highlights of past opera seasons have included the Lyric Opera of Chicago as Masetto in a new production of Don Giovanni, conducted by Sir Andrew Davis, the San Francisco Opera to perform the title role in a new production of The Marriage of Figaro, Tom in the world premiere of Christopher Theofanidis’ Heart of a Soldier, Escamillo in Calixto Bieito’s production, Masetto, conducted by Marc Minkowski, and Elviro in Handel’s Xerxes. At Houston Grand Opera, he has performed Belcore in L’Elisir d’Amore, Papageno in The Magic Flute, Frank in Die Fledermaus, Masetto, Sharpless, Marcello and Schaunard in La Bohème. With Glyndebourne Festival Opera, he performed Sharpless, Junius in The Rape of Lucretia, Schaunard and Theseus in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. At Norwegian National Opera and Ballet, he performed Alidoro (La Cenerentola) and Escamillo, Figaro in The Marriage of Figaro with Dayton Opera, later reprising the role for his company debut with Central City Opera and Leporello in Don Giovanni for his debut with Seattle Opera.
An in demand concert artist, previous work has included Messiah with San Francisco Symphony, Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, Houston Symphony, the United States Naval Academy, New Jersey Symphony, Phoenix Symphony and University Musical Society in Ann Arbor. He has performed Mozart’s Mass in C minor with Cleveland Orchestra, the Orchestra of St. Lukes, and the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Seattle Symphony, American Classical Orchestra in David Geffen Hall at Lincoln Center, and the Oklahoma City Philharmonic. Other repertoire includes Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis (Grant Park Music Festival), Mozart’s Requiem (North Carolina Symphony), Haydn’s Theresienmesse (Grant Park Music Festival), and Puccini’s Messa di Gloria (San Diego Symphony).
Mr. Sumuel’s competition accolades include being awarded a Richard Tucker Career Grant, Metropolitan Opera National Council audition Grand Finalist and a winner of the Dallas Opera Guild Vocal Competition. A Texas native, he is an alumnus of the Houston Grand Opera Studio, Merola Opera Program at San Francisco Opera and the Filene Young Artist program at Wolf Trap Opera.