Lingua disponibile: ingleseWith a charismatic stage presence and varied specialties in American opera, bel canto, and Mozart, baritone Keith Phares has become a consistent presence on the U.S. opera scene. He has appeared in several important world premieres. Phares was born around 1975 and attended high school in New Jersey, where he played the trumpet in his high school pit orchestra. To impress two girls, he auditioned for the New Jersey All-Shore Chorus and scored well in the auditions. However, he stuck with the trumpet until his family's move to Hilton Head, South Carolina, where he found that the school was too small to have an orchestra for its musicals, but male singers were in demand. Phares auditioned and won the lead in South Pacific. He attended the University of Richmond in Virginia, starting as a psychology major but switching to singing after landing a part in a summer stock production of the musical The Secret Garden. Phares graduated in 1996 and went on for a master's degree at the New England Conservatory of Music. He rounded off his education with additional studies at the Juilliard Opera Center, the Aspen Music Festival, and the Music Academy of the West. Among his teachers were W. Stephen Smith, Marilyn Horne, and Steven Blier. Phares was a national winner of the 1998 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions and a finalist in the Houston Grand Opera Eleanor McCollum Competition in 1999. Phares made his debut at the Opera Theatre of Saint Louis in 1999 in Paul Schoenfield's opera The Merchant and the Pauper, and he was quickly tabbed by the company for further roles, including Pip in Dominick Argento's Miss Havisham's Fire (2001) and Charles Lindbergh in Cary John Franklin's Loss of Eden (2002). He gave important world premieres in the lead role of Robert Aldridge's Elmer Gantry at the Nashville Opera (2007) and as Charlie in Jake Heggie's Last Acts (Three Decembers) at the Houston Grand Opera in 2008. He has appeared with many top American opera companies, including the Metropolitan Opera, Los Angeles Opera, and Washington National Opera. Phares has also made concert appearances with leading orchestras, such as the New York Philharmonic, San Francisco Symphony, and Los Angeles Philharmonic. In 2016, Phares was part of another Aldridge world premiere, Sister Carrie, at the Florentine Opera in Milwaukee. He returned to that company the following year for the premiere of Prince of Players, a new opera by Carlisle Floyd. Prince of Players was issued by the Reference Recordings label in 2020. Both Aldridge operas and Heggie's Last Acts (Three Decembers) were also recorded live and issued in album form. Phares has appeared on other albums, including Susan Kander: Five Movements for My Father (2007) and An AIDS Quilt Songbook: Sing for Hope (2014). He is on the voice faculty at Bowling Green State University in Ohio.
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