MICHAEL DOUGLAS JONES
Michael, who made his New York City Opera debut in Madama Butterfly, has sung Sarastro in Die Zauberflöte in Victoria, BC; Anchorage, and Sarasota; Sparafucile in Rigoletto for El Paso Opera and Anchorage; the Doktor in Wozzeck,at the Banff Centre and with Le Nouvel Ensemble Moderne in Montreal; Rocco in Fidelio with the operas of Sarasota and Anchorage, the Florida Philharmonic (semi-staged), and the San Antonio Symphony; Colline in La Bohème for the operas of Florentine, El Paso, and Memphis; Timur in Turandot,, the Commendatore in Don Giovanni, and Noye in Noye’s Fludde. Concert appearances have included Stravinsky’s L’histoire du Soldat, Kagel’s Fürst Igor, Stravinsky and Schoenberg’s Ode to Napoleon.
Michael made his international debut in Sweden, singing the lead role of Director in Kafka‘s Chimp by Welsh composer, John Metcalf. The production was sung in Swedish, preceded by the world premiere at Banff Music Centre for the Arts and sung in English. He reprised this role in a unique remounting of the opera by Quantum Theatre in Pittsburgh in February 2004 with the Pittsburgh Zoo as the venue. Chosen by Metcalf for continued collaboration, Michael starred in the 2005 premiere of The Love of a Chair as man’s best friend, a dog, in Montreal with performances continuing in Wales and England and produced under an agreement between the governments of Quebec and the United Kingdom. Michael developed his role of the Dog over a 3 year period in collaboration with the composer, librettist and stage director through improvisations in creative workshops.
Michael maintains a very active performing career as well as a teaching career. In 2005, Michael added Executive/Artistic Director to his titles when he formed a non-profit company, Companion Star, to produce new music-theater works for the stage. Based on the idea of collaboration between artists and composers to create original works that challenge the boundaries of traditional opera and music-theater, the philosophy behind the company comes from his years of collaboration with composers on new works and in particular his work at the Banff Centre. The company’s first season includes two works in progress: Moo, Squeal & Scratch: in the garden of shadows, a piece based on the ancient poetry of Persia and For the Living and the Dead, a Swedish project involving 25 artists from around the world in a bilingual piece based on the poetry of Tomas Tranströmer.
On the faculty of New York University in the Music and Music Professions Department, he taught voice, and was Music Director and Vocal Coach for an innovative new “rap” opera, Odin, in Spring 2006. The work, which was performed in the Fred Lowe Theatre, was praised in the New York Times as “an amazing example of what is possible in the world of new opera.” Michael has been a coach in the Banff Centre’s “Voice through body and movement” workshop with international artist, Richard Armstrong, and served as a voice instructor and guest lecturer at the Banff Centre for their young artist training program entitled “Opera as Theatre”. He is also on the faculty for the Adult Chamber Workshop program at SUNY, Stony Brook.
As a performer, Michael won the prestigious Jessie award for “outstanding performance by an actor in a leading role” for his creation of the Marquis in 120 Songs for the Marquis de Sade (Hannan) in the world premiere co-produced by Modern Baroque Opera and Vancouver New Music. Highly regarded for his appearances in works of the 20th and 21st centuries, his engagements in other world premieres include Westergaard’s The Tempest as Caliban, for Opera Festival of New Jersey, and Star Catalogues (Underhill) in the leading role of Tycho Brahe for Vancouver New Music. Other performances include Der Kaiser von Atlantis (Ullman) for the Goethe Institute, and a workshop of The Found Manuscript of the Saragosse by Jose Evangelista for Chants Libres of Canada. Long a favorite at the Banff Centre, his appearances there include the Rogue in an adaptation of Dostoevsky’s The Idiot and Arthur in Peter Maxwell Davies The Lighthouse with the latter reprised with the Opera Festival of New Jersey.
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