A Baritone of imposing voice and stature, Gregg Baker continues to make an indelible mark on the world of Opera Theater. Since his opera debut at the Metropolitan Opera in 1985, he has performed leading roles at The Vienna Staatsoper, Arena di Verona, Glyndebourne Festival Opera, Hamburg Opera, New Israeli Opera, Stuttgart Opera, Frankfurt Opera, Vancouver Opera, Baden-Baden Opera, Scottish National Opera, Michigan Opera Theatre, Opera Company of Philadelphia, Houston Grand Opera, Greater Miami Opera, Michigan Opera Theatre, and the Berkshire Opera.
The past two seasons held important role debuts for Baker: title roles in Verdi’s Macbeth and Rigoletto. Opera Now said, “As Macbeth, he revealed a real affinity for Verdi, his glowing voice strong and seamless throughout its registers.” And, The Philadelphia Inquirer agreed, “Baker’s commanding voice and presence made him a viable Macbeth in a world that had few.” The Times Union of Albany, New York, honored his Rigoletto, “In the title role of court jester who is and cursed and double cursed, baritone Baker was a commanding powerhouse.” This past season Baker appeared as Macbeth with Memphis Opera opposite Marquita Lister. At the Spoleto Festival USA, he appeared in Armistad as Cinque. This summer he appeared at the Cinncinati Pops and shared the stage with Roberta Laws. This fall he performs on The New Jersey State Opera Gala. He returns to Detroit’s Michigan Opera production of Margaret Garner. Later this coming season he is in San Francisco for their Porgy and Bess production as Crown staged by Francesca Zambello.
A successful veteran of Broadway and a Lawrence Oliver Award nominee, Baker discovered his gift for and love of opera while performing the role of Crown in Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess. The Metropolitan Opera heard his performance in the Radio City Music Hall production and engaged him immediately for their production of the opera. He has since returned to the Metropolitan Opera in the roles of High Priest in Saint-Saëns’ Samson et Dalila, Amonasro in Verdi’s Aida, Escamillo in Bizet’s Carmen, Silvio in Leoncavallo’s I Pagliacci, Donner in Wagner’s Das Rheingold and Belcore in Donizetti’s L’elisir d’Amore.
In addition to his operatic performances, Baker has performed and recorded with leading orchestras and conductors including, the Royal Philharmonic, London Philharmonic, London Symphony Orchestra, New York Philharmonic, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Hollywood Bowl, Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, Danish Symphony, Radio Stuttgart Symphony, James Levine, Simon Rattle, Zubin Mehta, André Previn, Lorin Maazel, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Sir Roger Norrington, Jesus Luis Cobos, Daniel Oren, Eric Kunzel and the late Anton Guadagno and Robert Shaw. Baker has worked with the renowned stage directors Otto Schenk, the late Pierre Ponelle, Nathaniel Merrill, and Franco Zeffirelli.
Other career highlights include a Grammy Award nomination in 1986, numerous engagements with the Opera Company of Philadelphia where he has won their public’s heart and is hailed as “the opera crowd’s favorite deep voice,” and repeat appearances in Europe, particularly with Arena di Verona. Recent highlights from 2009-2012 included a new production of Parsifal under Maestro Honeck in Stuttgart; a new production of Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny in Toulouse, France; Rumor, a new original opera by Cristian Jost in Belgium, as well as debuts with Opéra de Lyon and the Boston Symphony Orchestra. Upcoming engagements include Parsifal in Santiago, Chile, and a new production of Tosca in Belgium.