Hailed by Opera News as “strikingly imaginative”, and the New York Times for his “appealing clarity and emotional heft”, Evan Hughes, the California-born Bass-Baritone, is one of the rising stars of his generation.
In Opera, concert, chamber music, and 21st century music, he is making his mark in some of the world's leading opera houses and concert halls, including; Carnegie Hall, The Metropolitan Opera, the Hollywood Bowl, Walt Disney Concert Hall, and Paris’ Philharmonie. He has been a soloist with the New York Philharmonic, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Met Chamber Ensemble, Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, Ensemble Intercontemporain, and many others.
Mr. Hughes’ 2019-2020 season begins with a debut at Zürich Opera in a new production of Handel’s Belshazzar in the role of Gobrias. In Berlin, he will continue his collaboration with the Komische Oper as Nick Shadow in a new production of Stravinsky’s “The Rake’s Progress”, as well as reprising the roles of Leporello in Don Giovanni, Somnus in Semele, and Papageno in Die Zauberflöte, which he recently debuted at the Mostly Mozart Festival in Lincoln Center, under the baton of Louis Langrée. On the concert stage, he will be soloist in Haydn’s “Lord Nelson Mass” with the Hamburg Staatsorchester, under Kent Nagano at the Elbphilharmonie, and in Beethoven’s Mass in C minor with the BBC Philharmonic, dir. Omer Meier Wellber.
In his 2018-2019 season, Mr. Hughes revisited his critically acclaimed interpretation of the Protector in George Benjamin’s ‘Written on Skin’ with the Mahler Chamber Orchestra at Berlin’s Philharmonie and Hamburg’s Elbphilharmonie. He performed the German premiere of Benjamin’s subsequent work “Lessons in Love and Violence” in the role of King at Staatsoper Hamburg, to critical acclaim. He sang Theseus in Robert Carsen’s classic production of Britten’s ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ in his Opera Philadelphia Debut and in Russia, he sang Astolfo in Vivaldi’s Orlando Furioso with the Moscow Chamber Orchestra at Moscow’s Tchaikovsky Concert Hall. He was seen in the title role in Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro in his San Diego Opera debut, and reprised Johannes Erath’s production at the Semperoper Dresden. In recital, he performed in collaboration with Brazilian pianist Helio Vida in the concert series ‘Les Grands Interprètes’ in Toulouse, France and in Beirut, Lebanon.
Recent international engagements included a return to the Komische Oper Berlin as Somnus in Händel’s ‘Semele’ (directed by Barrie Kosky), after making his debut there the previous season as Leporello in Herbert Fritsch’s production of Don Giovanni.
Mr. Hughes created the role of Nick Shadow II in Simon McBurney’s production of Stravinsky’s ‘The Rake’s Progress’ with the Festival d’Aix-en-Provence, reprised at the Dutch National Opera. While at the festival d’Aix, Mr. Hughes was awarded the HSBC Laureate Prize and presented in their summer recital series at Hôtel Maynier d’Oppède. On tour with the Festival, Mr. Hughes sang Theseus in Britten’s ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ at the Beijing Music Festival. In the United States, Mr. Hughes’ interpretation of the title role in ‘Le Nozze di Figaro’ with Boston Lyric Opera won him recognition as well as his bass solos in Händel’s ‘Messiah’ with the Cincinnati Symphony.
As a soloist with Semperoper Dresden for five seasons, Mr. Hughes has built a rich repertoire including: Mozart’s Figaro in ‘Le Nozze di Figaro’; Leporello and Masetto in ‘Don Giovanni’; and both Guglielmo and Don Alfonso in ‘Così Fan Tutte’. He sang Händel’s Zoroastro in ‘Orlando’ and Achilla in ‘Giulio Cesare’; Puccini’s Schaunard in ‘La Bohème’, and Angelotti in ‘Tosca’; Emma Becker in Ronnefeld’s ‘Nachtausgabe’, Narbal in a new production of Berlioz’ ‘Les Troyens’, and many others.
As a committed interpreter of new compositions, Mr. Hughes has focused particularly on the works of Elliott Carter and Matthias Pintscher. He premiered many of Carter’s last vocal works including performances with James Levine and the Met Chamber Ensemble at Carnegie Hall and at the Tanglewood music festival.
In 2010, Hughes collaborated with the Grammy Award-winning Southwest Chamber Music in the largest cultural exchange in history between the United States and Vietnam (the Ascending Dragon Music Festival). The festival celebrated 1,000 years since the founding of the City of Hanoi.
Matthias Pintscher’s ‘Songs from Solomon’s Garden’ brought Mr. Hughes around the world under the baton of the composer (Los Angeles Philharmonic, BBC SSO, Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra), culminating in a recording of the work with Paris’ Ensemble Intercontemporain for Alpha Classics. Mr. Hughes performed Canadian composer Jay Schwartz’ work ‘M’ with the New York Philharmonic at their Biennial at MOMA, then at the Cologne Philharmonie and Paris Philharmonie with Ensemble Intercontemporain. Also with Southwest Chamber Music, Mr. Hughes recorded Mexican composer Gabriella Ortiz’ ‘Rio Bravo’. In the American premiere at the Tanglewood Festival, Mr. Hughes scored a personal triumph as the Protector in George Benjamin’s ‘Written on Skin’.
Other notable engagements include Don Basilio in ‘Il Barbiere di Siviglia’ at Teatro Petruzzelli, and bass soloist in Beethoven’s ‘9th symphony’, both under Lorin Maazel; Starveling in ‘A midsummer Night’s Dream’ at the Metropolitan Opera, Zuniga in ‘Carmen’, and Don Fernando in ‘Fidelio’ at the Santa Fe Opera, and Oroe in ‘Semiramide’ with the Washington Concert Opera. Mr. Hughes sang Don Alfonso in ‘Così Fan Tutte’ in Stephen Wadsworth’s production, under Alan Gilbert, and sang in recital in collaboration with soprano, Dawn Upshaw at Carnegie Hall.
Mr. Hughes earned a Bachelor of Arts in music from UCLA, a Masters in music from the Curtis Institute of music, and participated in festivals including Tanglewood, Ravinia, Internationale Meistersinger Akademie, L’Académie du Festival d’Aix-en-Provence, Marlboro Music, and the Music Academy of the West, where he was the winner of the Marilyn Horne Foundation Vocal Competition. Mr. Hughes was a member of the Lindemann Young artist development program at the Metropolitan Opera from 2010-2013. Other notable prizes include being the regional winner of the Met National Council competition’ 1st place prize at the Gerda Lissner Foundation Competition; Mr. Hughes was also prize winner at the Lorin. L. Zachary Competition.