Kevin Ray is praised by Opera News for his “commendable style” and abilities with “subtle coloristic nuance.”
This season, he returns to the Metropolitan Opera for their production of Simon Boccanegra, and joins Indiana University for a special bicentennial production of Parsifal, covering the title role. Last season, he made his Metropolitan Opera debut as the Messenger in Aida, and also joined the company for their productions of The Girl of the Golden West and Das Rheingold. He also recently sang his first performances of King Charles VII in Tchaikovsky’s The Maid of Orleans with Odyssey Opera, the Prince in Rusalka with Arizona Opera, Erik in The Flying Dutchman with Estonian National Opera, and Bacchus in Ariadne auf Naxos with Berkshire Opera Festival. Mr. Ray made his Los Angeles Philharmonic debut singing Beethoven’s Choral Fantasy under the baton of Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla, joined the Phoenix Symphony for Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9, the Florida Orchestra for Rachmaninov’s The Bells, the Midcoast Symphony Orchestra for Verdi’s Requiem, and was a resident artist at the Ravinia Festival Steans Music Institute.
The tenor recently returned to Houston Grand Opera to sing performances of the company’s new commission of Iain Bell’s one-man opera, A Christmas Carol in addition to returning to the company for Roderigo in Otello, Beadle Bamford in Sweeney Todd, and both the First Armed Man and Second Priest in The Magic Flute. He is an alumnus of the Houston Grand Opera Studio and his previous roles with the company include Eisenstein in Die Fledermaus, the Third SS Officer in Weinberg’s The Passenger, Melot in Tristan und Isolde, and the Messenger in Aida, in addition to being responsible for responsible for both Froh and Loge in Das Rheingold as well as Don José in Carmen. He also sang the Defendant in a special performance of Gilbert and Sullivan’s Trial by Jury presented by the company at the Harris County Courthouse and scenes of Heggie’s Moby-Dick and Carmen in concert.
Mr. Ray’s other recent engagements include his first performances of the title role of Peter Grimes with Chautauqua Opera; Bacchus in Ariadne auf Naxos presented by his alma mater, the Curtis Institute of Music, in association with Opera Philadelphia and the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts; as well as Don José in Carmen with Wolf Trap Opera and the Lyrique-en-Mer/Festival de Belle-Île. While a Santa Fe Apprentice Artist, he created the role of the Second Clubman in the world premiere of Moravec’s The Letter. Also with the company, he sang the role of the Poet in Menotti’s The Last Savage, covered the Drum Major in Wozzeck, and performed scenes of the title role of Idomeneo. On the concert stage, Mr. Ray has joined the Philadelphia Orchestra, Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra, and the Sunriver Music Festival for Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9. He has also sung Verdi’s Requiem with the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra, Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis with the Peoria Symphony Orchestra and has appeared in numerous concerts with the Opera Orchestra of New York.
He is a 2016 second prize winner in the Wagner division of the Gerda Lisnner Foundation’s International Vocal Competition and a 2015 winner of the William Matheus Sullivan Musical Foundation Award. The tenor was one of eight finalists in Seattle Opera’s 2014 International Wagner Competition. He is a 2012 Grand Finalist of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions as well as a three-time district winner of the competition in previous years. He has also received second prize from the Gerda Lissner International Vocal Competition and third prize in the Wagner division of the Liederkranz Comeptition. Additionally, he is a two-time recipient of study grants from the Wagner Society of New York.
The Cornwall, New York, native earned his Master of Music from the Curtis Institute of Music, at which his roles included Don José in La tragédie de Carmen, the Schoolmaster in The Cunning Little Vixen, and Toni Reichsmann in The Elegy for Young Lovers. He is also a former participant in the Merola Opera Program of San Francisco Opera, where he sang scenes of Jenik in The Bartered Bride. He received his Bachelor of Music degree from the Oberlin College Conservatory of Music and completed further studies at the Accademia Rossiniana in Pesaro and the Mozarteum Sommerakademie in Salzburg.