Grammy Winner Mark S. Doss performs solo recital at New York’s Baruch Performing Arts Center, May 16th

Global opera star returns to America with recital concert dates announced for New York, New Jersey, Maryland, and Connecticut; follows on lauded performance in Tosca

New York, New York – April 17, 2018 Q: Who is Mark Steven Doss? Is he… John the Baptist or Méphistophélès? Performing spirituals or Baroque Oratorio? From West Point or the seminary? Preaching from a pulpit or inspiring audiences from the stages of the world’s most prestigious opera houses? The right voice or the wrong voice? The right ethnic background or the wrong one?

Embodying these dualities during his lifetime, Mr. Doss has successfully woven the contrasts together into a celebrated operatic career spanning three decades. Performing nearly 100 stage roles to date with 60-plus major opera companies worldwide, his talents have taken the North American bass baritone from New York City Opera and Chicago Lyric to La Scala and London’s Covent Garden. Now local audiences will have the opportunity to hear the international opera star’s powerful voice in a special series of performances.

Grammy Award winner, former Metropolitan Opera Finalist Winner, 1st Prize Winner of the International Verdi Competition and recipient of the National Institute for Music Theatre’s George London Opera Prize, opera star Mark S. Doss returns to New York City to perform a solo recital at the Baruch Performing Arts Center on May 16, 2018 at 7:30 p.m. Mr. Doss will be joined for the performance by Russian pianist, Artist of the Moscow Philharmonic Society, and winner of the 2016 New York Concert Artists Worldwide Debut Audition, Vyacheslav Gryaznov. Both are artists-in-residence at The Drozdoff Society.

“Mr. Doss found a compelling ministry when he answered the call to sing; I have not often found such a perfect marriage of voice, bearing, acting of the highest order, intelligence, humility, musicianship, integrity, and generosity of spirit in one performer,” said Natasha Cherny, Founder of The Drozdoff Society.

Part of The Drozdoff Society’s Impromptu! Classical Music Recital Series, Mr. Doss’ program will include both classical and contemporary repertoire, encompassing five languages and genres and several musical epochs. The New York performance is in the first leg of Mr. Doss’ four-state solo recital series with the society from May 13th through to 22nd, with engagements in New Haven, CT, Stamford, CT, Baltimore, MD, and Red Bank, NJ (additional details are provided below).

Recent acclaim for Scarpia performance in Tosca

Celebrated by critics and audiences for his signature performances as Méphistophélès in Faust, Amonasro in Aida, and the title roles in Verdi’s Macbeth and The Flying Dutchman, Mr. Doss has received universal praise for his recent portrayal as the villainous Baron Scarpia in Puccini’s Tosca with the Welsh National Opera (WNO) this past winter-spring. Of note:

“As for Scarpia, American Mark S Doss was quite brilliant in the role – which is undoubtedly one of the greatest in opera. A strong punchy baritone, he chewed up the stage with an elegant but menacing flamboyance – at times fastidious, at times revelling in his forthcoming conquest – not to mention a suitably louche silk morning coat. He was overall the best Scarpia I have seen performed live, mixing beauty with brutality.”
– Will Frampton, Bournemouth Daily Echo, Friday, March 23, 2018

“Mark S Doss, however, is spot-on as Scarpia, avarice and evil wrapped up in swagger, menace and dangerous charm.”
– Rebecca Franks, The Times of London, February 13, 2018

“Mark S Doss’s Scarpia achieves more by means of a dark solid core to his tone and a manner that combines some of the suavity and sadism required for this iconic operatic villain.”
– George Hall, The Stage, February 13, 2018

Media and industry recognition

In recent years, Mr. Doss’ performances and storied career have earned him significant media attention. TV appearances include ABC, NBC, FOX, KPBS, CBC Television, CBC News Toronto, Rogers, and OMNI, as well as an array of print and radio interviews (The Chicago Sun-Times, The National Post, The Toronto Star, NPR-KUSC Los Angeles, WUSF Tampa, and Radio Canada International, amongst others).

Mr. Doss is also a recipient of the prestigious Entertainment Award from Planet Africa, recognizing his achievements both as an artist and for being a positive role model for youth, both in Canada and the United States. Appreciative of his tremendous success, Mr. Doss always finds time to share with the communities in which he lives and works, presenting master classes and teaching apprentice artists. He also donates his time and talents to fundraising concerts for churches and opera companies.

Recital dates, locations

Mr. Doss performs at the Baruch Performing Arts Center on May 16, 2018 at 7:30 p.m. ET, in the Rosalyn and Irwin Engelman Recital Hall, 55 Lexington Avenue, New York City. Tickets are available at the box office, online or by calling 212-352-3101.

Other scheduled performances in Mr. Doss’ four-state solo recital series with The Drozdoff Society (May 13-22, 2018) include:

• First Presbyterian (“Fish”) Church of Stamford and PROJECT MUSIC in Stamford, Connecticut (May 13 and May 22);
• Baltimore Symphony Orchestra’s OrchKids in Baltimore, Maryland (May 14 and 15);
• Lyric Hall Theater and the Truman School in New Haven, Connecticut (May 17 and 21); and
• Classical Music at St. Thomas Episcopal Church in Red Bank, New Jersey (May 19, 2018).

Please call 347-224-7577 for information about the announced recitals.

You can connect with Mark S. Doss through his Facebook fan page (http://www.facebook.com/home.php#!/pages/Mark-S-Doss/78423203990), watch his YouTube channel (https://www.youtube.com/user/marksdoss) and follow him @marksdoss on Twitter (http://twitter.com/marksdoss).

ABOUT MARK S. DOSS:
Mark S. Doss (www.marksdoss.com) is a celebrated bass-baritone whose accomplishments include a Grammy Award for his work on the recording of Semele (Handel), and numerous engagements with the famous Teatro alla Scala in Milan, Italy. Mr. Doss began his musical studies to aid in his ambitions to become a Catholic priest, but instead found opera to be his true calling. He has since emerged as one of the opera world’s leading singers, performing nearly 100 stage roles to date with more than 60 major opera companies around the globe.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION AND INTERVIEW REQUESTS:

Adam Bello
Publicity office for Mark S. Doss
+ 1 (416) 489-0092
media@marksdoss.com
www.marksdoss.com

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION ABOUT THE DROZDOFF SOCIETY

Natasha O. Cherny
Founder, Co-President
The Drozdoff Society
+1 (347) 224-7577
natasha@vladimirdrozdoff.com
www.vladimirdrozdoff.com

Opera star Mark S. Doss debuts with Welsh National Opera in Puccini’s Tosca

Grammy winner reprises Scarpia in WNO staging of Puccini’s iconic opera

Cardiff, Wales – February 8, 2018 – International opera star Mark S. Doss is proud to announce his debut with the Welsh National Opera (WNO) as Scarpia in Giacomo Puccini’s Tosca. The 16-performance run starts February 9, 2018, at the WNO resident opera house, the Wales Millennium Centre in Cardiff, followed by performances in other UK cities.

“The Welsh National Opera has a reputation for staging energetic, adventurous interpretations of classic operas, and Tosca will be no exception,” says Mr. Doss, a Grammy Award winning bass-baritone. “Puccini’s Tosca is as relevant today as ever, with its dynamics of politics and passion, of power and corruption, of selfishness and self-sacrifice. Playing the role of Scarpia, an arrogant, unscrupulous lawman, is a delve into some of the worst traits of the human condition, which I intend to portray without reservation.”

Considered one of opera’s most powerful and iconic works since it was first staged in 1900, Tosca, set in Rome 1800, tells a social-political tale revolving around Floria Tosca, a fast-tempered diva. Mr. Doss takes on Baron Scarpia, a sadistic chief of police, quick to abuse his power and make unwanted sexual advances to Floria when seeking his help and mercy for her lover (Cavaradossi) and a political fugitive (Cesare Angelotti).

Insights from Mr. Doss on Puccini’s Tosca and his upcoming stage work with the WNO can be found in a soon to be released video interview.

Past acclaim for Scarpia performance

Celebrated by critics and audiences alike for his signature performances as Méphistophélès in Faust and the title roles in Giuseppe Verdi’s Macbeth and The Flying Dutchman, as well as Amonasro in Verdi’s Aida, Mr. Doss reprises Scarpia, building on his past renditions, such as Oper Frankfurt’s staging of Tosca, a five-performance run conducted by Steven Mercurio.

While lesser known to some admirers of Mr. Doss’ career, his interpretation of Scarpia has garnered considerable praise. In a review from Boston Lyric Opera’s production of Tosca (with conductor Stephen Lord and Maria Spacagna in the lead role), critic Richard Dyer wrote in The Boston Globe (excerpts):

There was one outstanding performance, by Mark S. Doss as Scarpia … Doss has made his career in bass roles – he was Mephisto in last year’s “Faust” – but he commands the top range for Scarpia; with resonant, wide-open tones he sang every note of a part that is often barked. Subtle he wasn’t, but Scarpia isn’t a notably subtle character. Doss also has the physique and imagination to dramatize the element of sexual appetite and danger….”

Subsequently, Mr. Doss took on the role with the Cleveland Opera under the direction of legendary conductor and composer Anton Coppola, cousin of film director Francis Ford Coppola. Recounting work during that production, Mr. Doss said Coppola, the distinguished maestro, then 81, encouraged him to take every opportunity to perform Scarpia.

“The maestro expressed to me at the curtain call of our dress rehearsal: “You should make this YOUR ROLE!,” Mr. Doss says. “Following the ensuing performance, he again commented at the final curtain, saying: “This IS your role!”

Noteworthy mentors, education for role

A number of industry figures have mentored Mr. Doss in playing Scarpia. He studied the role at Indiana University under both Walter Cassel, famed for his Scarpia performance at the MET, and basso opera singer Nicola Rossi-Lemeni in workshop sessions. Both performers had been stage partners with the late Maria Callas, considered by many to be the most famous Tosca.

In preparation for his first career performance in Tosca, Mr. Doss turned to other career supporters for their insights about other Scarpia performers and their techniques, which led him to reach out to Chicago’s Monastero Family. Known for their support of the Windy City’s performing arts scene and its up-and-coming artists, the family and their famed Monastero’s Ristorante initiated the Bel Canto Foundation and its annual competition which ran for many years, with Mr. Doss being one of its Grand Prize winners. Visiting with Salvatore Monastero, he provided Mr. Doss with insights about Tito Gobbi, famous for his stage work as Scarpia, when the two had worked together on another of the foundation’s initiatives.

“Salvy was the videographer of a Bel Canto seminar in Busseto, Italy, where Tito Gobbi was giving instruction, teaching alongside Verdi tenor, the late Carlo Bergonzi, one of my formative instructors, and Renata Tebaldi, another renowned Tosca,” Mr. Doss says. “He showed me the raw recording sessions, which, together with his insights, gave me perspective on the dramatic aspects of Tito’s Scarpia, including posture and bearing.”

Tosca dates, locations

Performance dates announced for the WNO production of Tosca include Cardiff (February 9, 11 (matinee); 16, 21, & 23); Birmingham (March 8); Southampton (March 22 & 23), Plymouth (March 29 & 30), Milton Keynes (April 4 & 6); Bristol (April 11 & 13) and Llandudno (April 18 & 20, 2018).

Recent and upcoming performances

Mr. Doss’ debut with the WNO in Puccini’s Tosca follows on his recent return to London’s prestigious Royal Opera House (Covent Garden) as Alfio in Pietro Mascagni’s Cavalleria rusticana.

During Tosca’s run with the Welsh National Opera, Mr. Doss will also take on the role of Amfortas in Wagner’s Parsifal with Opera Poznan (Poznan, Poland) in March and, following his time with the WNO, he will be on stage in the Drozdoff Society’s Recital Series (Connecticut, New York, New Jersey) in May and as Cadmus in Hans Werner Henze’s Die Bassariden at Sala Sinfonica (Madrid, Spain) in June. In October, he will take to the stage of the Dallas Opera in The Flying Dutchman, an original production by the Canadian Opera Company.

Additional details about the performances can be found at www.marksdoss.com in the upcoming events section.

Media and industry recognition

In recent years, Mr. Doss’ performances and storied career have earned him significant media attention. TV appearances include ABC, NBC, FOX, KPBS, CBC’s George Stroumboulopoulos Tonight, CBC Toronto, Rogers TV, and OMNI, as well as an array of print and radio interviews (The Chicago Sun-Times, The National Post, The Toronto Star, NPR-KUSC Los Angeles, WUSF Tampa, and Radio Canada International, amongst others).

In addition to his Grammy, Mr. Doss is a recipient of the prestigious Entertainment Award from Planet Africa, recognizing his achievements both as an artist and for being a positive role model for youth, both in Canada and in the United States.

You can connect with Mark S. Doss through his Facebook fan page (http://www.facebook.com/home.php#!/pages/Mark-S-Doss/78423203990), watch his YouTube channel (https://www.youtube.com/user/marksdoss) and follow him @marksdoss on Twitter (http://twitter.com/marksdoss).

ABOUT MARK S. DOSS:
Mark S. Doss (www.marksdoss.com) is a celebrated bass-baritone whose accomplishments include a Grammy Award for his work on the recording of Semele (Handel), and numerous engagements with the famous Teatro alla Scala in Milan, Italy. Mr. Doss began his musical studies to aid in his ambitions to become a Catholic priest, but instead found opera to be his true calling. He has since emerged as one of the opera world’s leading singers, performing nearly 100 stage roles to date with more than 60 major opera companies around the globe.

FURTHER INFORMATION AND INTERVIEW REQUESTS:

Adam Bello
Publicity office for Mark S. Doss
+ 1 (416) 489-0092
media@marksdoss.com
www.marksdoss.com

Grammy winner Mark S. Doss returns to London’s Royal Opera House in Mascagni’s Cavalleria rusticana

Bass-baritone opera star portrays Alfio in Italian classic at Covent Garden

Casper, Wyoming – October 4, 2017 – Starting this November, international opera star Mark S. Doss will once again grace the stage of London’s prestigious Royal Opera House (Covent Garden) as Alfio in Pietro Mascagni’s Cavalleria rusticana (dates: November 29, and December 2, 6, 9, 12, 15, 19 and 22, 2017).

“I am honored and excited to return to London’s Covent Garden and perform in The Royal Opera’s Olivier Award-winning production of Mascagni’s operatic classic,” says Mr. Doss, a Grammy Award winning bass-baritone. “It remains one of the finest embodiments of the Verismo genre, in which the stage focuses on the real lives of real people.”

Reprising Alfio with new energy, vigor

Acclaimed by critics and audiences for his signature performances as Méphistophélès in Faust and the title roles in Verdi’s Macbeth and The Flying Dutchman, Mr. Doss portrays Alfio, the flamboyant, whip snapping town carter in Cavalleria rusticana (“Rustic Chivalry”), a late 19-century opera performed in one act, set in a Sicilian village during Easter. Reprising this stage role for the first time since the 2013 production at Seville’s Teatro de la Maestranza, Mr. Doss says his time away from the jovial character has provided him with fresh perspective to once again take on the part.

“I relish the opportunity to reinterpret Alfio,” Mr. Doss says. “My array of stage work over the last few years has helped me find new vigor and emotional highs for the character. In many respects, Alfio is a driven, larger-than-life figure with bravado to match. I look forward to singing the more gratifying, longer lines of Alfio’s role. The top notes of the aria, the abrupt change in tempo midway through, and the cracking of the whip during the singing will be extremely exciting for all to hear.”

A bittersweet connection

The forthcoming performances of Cavalleria rusticana will also be bittersweet for Mr. Doss. The run will follow in the days after the close of Chicago’s famed Monastero’s Ristorante this November, serving its last patrons after 55 years. Known for their support of the Windy City’s performing arts scene and its up-and-coming artists, the Monastero Family’s restaurant is where Mr. Doss first sang Alfio’s aria “Il cavallo scalpita” (“The horse pawing the ground”) at a dining engagement during his time with Lyric Opera of Chicago. He says Alfio’s aria and his other spotlight performances made over the years at Monastero’s allowed him to try out parts from new roles in front of restaurant patrons, which many times included esteemed colleagues and supporters of the arts.

Mr. Doss added that his association with the Monastero Family has been highlighted by his entry into their Bel Canto Foundation Competition for opera singers in 1985, becoming that year’s grand prize winner. The prize included a trip to Busseto, Italy, and the opportunity to study with noted Verdi tenor, the late Carlo Bergonzi. He then went on to the International Verdi Competition the following year, subsequently winning first prize.

“For over half-a-century, Monastero’s has been a place for Chicagoans to dine and listen to great singing. I am immensely appreciative for the opportunities they gave me to grow as a performer,” Mr. Doss says. “I am proud to be among the grand prize winners of their Bel Canto Foundation, but even more proud to be part of the Monastero Family’s legacy of nurturing and grooming young singers for the opera world.”

Upcoming concert performances

Before taking to the stage in London, Mr. Doss will be the featured artist in performances with the Wyoming Symphony Orchestra in Casper, Wyoming (October 7, 2017) and the Bozeman Symphony Orchestra in Bozeman, Montana (October 28-29, 2017). Both concerts will include an array of arias, alongside song selections from folk, stage and screen genres, with Mr. Doss performing the works of Verdi, Puccini, Mozart, Mussorgsky, Boito, Ravel, and Copland, amongst others. Additional details about the performances can be found at www.marksdoss.com in the upcoming events section.

Media and industry recognition

In recent years, Mr. Doss’ performances and storied career have earned him significant media attention. TV appearances include ABC, NBC, FOX, KPBS, CBC’s George Stroumboulopoulos Tonight, CBC Toronto, Rogers TV, and OMNI, as well as an array of print and radio interviews (The Chicago Sun-Times, The National Post, The Toronto Star, NPR-KUSC Los Angeles, WUSF Tampa, and Radio Canada International, amongst others).

In addition to his Grammy, Mr. Doss is a recipient of the prestigious Entertainment Award from Planet Africa, recognizing his achievements both as an artist and for being a positive role model for youth, both in Canada and in the United States.

You can connect with Mark S. Doss through his Facebook fan page (http://www.facebook.com/home.php#!/pages/Mark-S-Doss/78423203990), watch his YouTube channel (https://www.youtube.com/user/marksdoss) and follow him @marksdoss on Twitter (http://twitter.com/marksdoss).

ABOUT MARK S. DOSS:

Mark S. Doss (www.marksdoss.com) is a celebrated bass-baritone whose accomplishments include a Grammy Award for his work on the recording of Semele (Handel), and numerous engagements with the famous Teatro alla Scala in Milan, Italy. Mr. Doss began his musical studies to aid in his ambitions to become a Catholic priest, but instead found opera to be his true calling. He has since emerged as one of the opera world’s leading singers, performing nearly 100 stage roles to date with more than 60 major opera companies around the globe.

FURTHER INFORMATION AND INTERVIEW REQUESTS:

Adam Bello

Publicity office for Mark S. Doss

+ 1 (416) 489-0092

media@marksdoss.com

www.marksdoss.com

Mark S. Doss speaks to CBC’s Radio Canada International: Diversity on stage good for all

Dear Friends,

It’s hard to believe we’ll soon be in March, when I will be doing a semi-staged production in Mallorca de Palma, Spain of Richard Strauss’ Salome, singing Jochanaan (John the Baptist)  on March 10 and 13, 2016.  Performing this role always brings to mind my early days in the Catholic seminary and my debut of the role at Milan’s Teatro alla Scala back in 2007.  I am now singing the role better than ever, but to take a glimpse back, please do watch an excerpt of my Jochanaan performance with the Florentine Opera, approximately one year after my debut of the role at La Scala.

In preparing for Salome, I am also reminded of some 11 years ago when, at the French Open in Paris, I was fortunate enough to meet a favorite son of Mallorca, the great tennis champion Rafa Nadal.  It was actually his grandfather (also named Rafael Nadal) who was instrumental as a choral and orchestral conductor in putting together the Teatre Principal de Palma, now celebrating its 30th anniversary.

Mark S Doss as Jochanaan in Richard Strauss' Salome
Mark S. Doss will be on-stage as Jochanaan in Strauss’ Salome,
March 10 and 13, 2016, in Mallorca de Palma, Spain

Though not to get ahead of myself, you are probably aware that February is Black History Month in Canada and in the United States.  It provides an opportunity for all of us to learn more about the history, struggles, and contributions made by those of predominantly African descent.

Two singers, Paul Robeson and Todd Duncan, come to mind as I prepare selections closely identified with them in my upcoming fundraising recitals.  Moreover, it is poignant to reflect that DreamWorks’ casting had not too long ago given me top consideration to play the role of Todd Duncan (whom I met once) in the shelved film on the life of George Gershwin, directed by Steven Spielberg.  Being a four-letter athlete in high school (the same high school attended by Jessie Owens – the subject of the movie RACE, which is now in theaters) reminds me of the connection between athletic competition and operatic singing, as even Paul Robeson was a noted college athlete.

Earlier this month I was interviewed by Lynn Desjardins of Radio Canada International, a division of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC), about the issues of race and diversity in the world of opera.

In addition to discussing the experiences in my profession, I was asked about my views on related topics in the performing arts, including the racial controversy with the upcoming Academy Awards.

To hear or read my interview with RCI, click here or follow the story link below:

Diversity on stage good for all: opera star Mark S. Doss

February 5, 2016

Racism “is a barrier. It’s a difficulty. It’s something that has to be broken down. And, once it’s broken down, it’s much more beneficial to all of society,” says Mark S. Doss, a Grammy-award-winning opera singer based in Toronto. Doss has performed 90 different roles with more than 60 opera houses around the world. Opera singer Mark S. Doss says some operas lend themselves to ‘updating’ and more diversity in…

Read More

You may also find the piece in the Black History Month section of RCI’s web site (click here).

I also invite you to explore some of my past interviews on the subjects of race and diversity. Of note:

George Stroumboulopoulos Tonight (CBC.ca):
MY DEFINING MOMENT: Mark S. Doss

When Mark was a young man going through the arduous process of auditioning and trying to start his career, he was told he was “just the wrong colour.

Arts Alive (KUSC FM, Los Angeles):
Symphony of Brotherhood Concert 

Dennis Bartel talks to bass-baritone Mark S. Doss about the Symphony of Brotherhood concert, commemorating the 50th Anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech.

Sway Magazine:
Opera’s Changing Face

Excerpt: “Now, things go up and down in waves,”  [says] Doss, explaining diversity trends in opera. “There will be an open era, and then sometimes they’ll close things off.”

While discussing the challenges for achieving greater inclusion in the performing arts is important, I would like to highlight some of the opportunities I have encountered for fostering it, especially since calling Toronto home.

I am proud to have become involved with ArsMusica, Canada’s Ethnocultural Music and Opera Company (arsmusica.ca). Showcasing a spectrum of cultural backgrounds with both fully staged operas and local concert performances, I look forward to new projects with them in the coming months.

Further, I am grateful for the reception I have received from the Planet Africa Group, who have created television, print media and other initiatives to tell the stories of those of African descent from Canada and abroad, and their continued interest in following my career. I was honoured to receive Planet Africa’s Entertainment Award in 2011 in connection to my accomplishments in the performing arts, as well as serving as a positive role model for youth in both the US and Canada. Held, in Toronto, the Planet Africa Awards program also provided me with an opportunity to be introduced to a wide array of Afro-Canadian and African-American professionals, to celebrate with the other award recipients, learning about their leadership and excellence in their respective fields. I am glad to continue being a part of this elite circle, and connecting with my peers from the arts.

Lastly, achieving greater diversity on the performance stage is also the product of education.  For example, when I mentor youth in apprentice programs or present master classes, many of the stories I share with them give me the ability to demonstrate how diversity can be a source of strength, bringing out essential nuances in the interpretation of the roles they perform.

This is equally true when I work with Buchanan Park Opera Club (bpoc.ca) in Hamilton, Ontario, which gives children early opera education and performance training opportunities, as I can show the students more than just technique.  I can help them look at traditional opera roles in different ways, allowing these youngsters to more easily see themselves and others in the iconic parts they are trying to play.

I encourage you to connect with me through my Facebook fan pageGoogle+, and follow me @marksdoss on Twitter.

Best regards,

Mark S. Doss

FURTHER INFORMATION AND INTERVIEW REQUESTS:
Adam Bello
Publicity office for Mark S. Doss
+ 1 (416) 489-0092
media@marksdoss.com
www.marksdoss.com

The continuing journey of Grammy Award winner Mark S. Doss through the works of Giuseppe Verdi. Next stops: Japan (July) and Italy (October)

Mark S. Doss triumphs in Ottawa with Verdi’s Requiem, with performances in Hyogo and Turin next in the bass-baritone’s journey through the great works of Italy’s legendary composer

As the weather heats up, so too does my schedule, beginning with my run at the Hyogo Performing Arts Center in Hyogo, Japan, playing Giorgio Germont in Giuseppe Verdi’s La Traviata, with performances from July 14th to the 25th.

A springtime triumph in the Canadian capital

Before discussing my stage work for the second half of 2015, let me say that Ottawa’s Messa da Requiem marked an end to a period of several years since I had sung Verdi’s masterpiece, having previously performed it in Cleveland, Chicago and Paris.  On this occasion, I shared the stage with some amazingly talented soloists, the Ottawa Symphony Orchestra (OSO) and the Ottawa Choral Society (OCS), all being expertly led by conductor Jordan de Souza.
My debut at the National Arts Centre was the grand finale of the OSO’s 50th anniversary season, as well as the lead-up to the 75th season for the OCS.  I was extremely honored to be part of this cultural milestone in Canada’s capital city.  Ottawa is becoming an international hub of classical and operatic performance, and I look forward to performing there again in the near future.
I was pleased that the Requiem was well received by audiences and critics alike, with the Ottawa Citizen’s review, stating in part:
“And stentorian bass-baritone Mark Steven Doss gave the most sensitive and attentive interpretation of the text of the quartet.”
Additionally, I was gratified to receive the following review fromWolfgangstonic.com:
“Bass-baritone Mark Steven Doss sang with the darkness of tone that went well with the gravitas of the text.  The power of his Confutatis was most impressive.” 
In leading up to the spring performance of Verdi’s Requiem, I shared with many of you the influence this great Italian composer has had on me, even before I first appeared on the operatic stage.  If you would like to learn more about the impact that Giuseppe Verdi’s works have had on shaping my vocation, I invite you to read “Verdi’s enduring role in my career,” found in the April 27th posting about the Messa da Requiem on my web site.

 

Hyogo Poster for La Traviata in July 2015
A promotional poster for July’s La Traviata performance in Hyogo

 

Summertime in Japan with La Traviata

As noted earlier, I am entering the second leg of my current journey through the works of Verdi with La Traviata in Hyogo, singing the role of Germont. These performances also coincide with another special celebration – the 10th anniversary of Hyogo Performing Arts Center. The center itself houses an incredibly beautiful theater, which can only enhance the power and vocal presence needed for playing Germont – the classic Verdi baritone role.

As we start performances, I definitely find Germont to be more comfortable than when I began studying him several months ago with the help of Chicago Lyric’s former chorus master, Giulio Farario, and William Hicks, formerly on the MET’s coaching staff. While parts of the role are complex, I find elements from my role preparation master class to be extremely helpful. This includes using solfeggio, putting key words and emotions down on paper, and continuing to develop a pattern sheet for the role throughout the  run of  rehearsals and performances.

This production of La Traviata comes at a time of reflection for the Performing Arts Center and the residents of Hyogo. It has been 20 years since the great earthquake of 1995 that destroyed the Hyogo jurisdiction, taking some 6,400 victims. Maestro Yutaka Sado, the artistic director and principal conductor of the arts center, believes strongly in the healing power of the performing arts, even in the midst of disastrous situations. With this frame of mind, I hope that our performances, in some small way, will help to ease the pain of Hyogo’s collective soul.

Into the splendor of fall with Aida in Italy

Following an upcoming recording session, where I will sing the role of the giant in the children’s opera entitled “The Selfish Giant” (composer Stephen Collantti), I will then venture to Turin, Italy for my third leg of this wonderful “voyage of Verdi.” I will be singing the role of Amonasro in Aida with Gianandrea Noseda (Musical America’s 2015 “Conductor of the Year”) at the Teatro Regio, with performances from Oct 14th to the 25th.  This final Verdi stop will give me close to 70 performances as the Ethiopian King, and it will be my 9th role with the Teatro Regio. This will break a tie of eight roles I have sung with another important Italian opera house, the Teatro alla Scala in Milan.

Please stay tuned for more news about my musical travels as I further delve into Verdi’s celebrated body of work.

I encourage you to connect with me through my Facebook fan page, Google+, and follow me @marksdoss on Twitter.

Thoughts from Grammy Award winner Mark S. Doss on performing the works of Giuseppe Verdi

Noteworthy performances in Ottawa, Hyogo and Turin are the next steps in a ongoing journey through the works of this legendary composer.

Greetings. I hope you are enjoying the spring weather. With things warming up this month, I will be performing on April 27, 2015 as the bass-baritone soloist in Giuseppe Verdi’s Messa da Requiem at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa – with the Ottawa Symphony Orchestra and Ottawa Choral Society.

It will be a special occasion of “firsts and lasts.” For as the evening marks my debut at the Centre, it will also be the grand finale of the Ottawa Symphony Orchestra’s 50th anniversary season.  I am honored to be part of this cultural milestone on Canadian soil.

Verdi’s enduring role in my career (the untold story)

The Requiem performance in Ottawa will mark my 30th year of singing Verdi’s masterpiece, with previous noteworthy performances in Cleveland, Chicago and Paris.

While I relish each and every part or role set before me, I have a special twinkle in my eye when it comes to performing Verdi’s compositions.  Verdi’s influence was poignant, even before I sang my first note on the opera stage.

Giuseppe Verdi
Giuseppe Verdi

During high school, I was hired as a super – a non-singing part – in Aida. This early exposure to Verdi helped stir my interest in opera and the Italian language. As I proceeded with my studies for the Catholic priesthood I gained a greater appreciation for Italian through Latin, which was required study in the seminary.  My increased fascination with both languages led me to independent studies in Latin etymology (word origins) that helped me bring Verdi’s operatic Italian words to life, as well as hymnology, providing further insight into the hymns Verdi used, such as the Dies Irae (Day of Wrath), in his Requiem.

When I later embarked upon an operatic career, my passion and proficiency for performing Verdi’s works grew.  I won a District MET competition with one of the five required arias being “Di Provenza,” Germont’s aria from Verdi’s La Traviata. With arias from Verdi’s Don Carloand I Vespri Siciliani, I won the Bel Canto Foundation of Chicago’s Grand Prize, which included a trip to Busseto, Italy, where I studied with noted Verdi tenor, the late Carlo Bergonzi. A few months later I returned to Busseto to compete in the International Verdi Competition, where I subsequently won 1st Prize.

 

Mark S. Doss Bass Baritone with Carlo Bergonzi
Mark S. Doss with noted Verdi tenor, the late Carlo Bergonzi.

The rest, as they say, is history, but what a history it has been in interpreting the works of this legendary composer. Verdi assured my smooth transition from bass to bass-baritone by performing:
• The aria “Come dal ciel precipita” from Verdi’s Macbeth on the stage of the Metropolitan Opera as a MET Finalist Winner.
• The bass role of Sparafucile in Verdi’s Rigoletto in the PBS series “Live from Lincoln Center,” hosted by Beverly Sills.
• Verdi’s Requiem with elite members of the Cleveland Orchestra under the direction of Robert Shaw (the chorus director for the 1951 recording of the Requiem, conducted by Arturo Toscanini – whom Verdi admired as being a conductor interested in interpreting his music as he wrote it).
• A one-time role debut as Ramphis in Cleveland Opera’s production of Aida.  It would be another seven years before I debuted the role of Amonasro (Aida) with the Minnesota Opera – now a signature role.
• The title role in Verdi’s Attila and Silva in his Ernani, which were hugely successful performances with Washington Concert Opera.
• Zaccaria (the prophet) in Verdi’s Nabucco, which was a great success with both Cincinnati Opera and Oper Frankfurt.
• Amonasro in Aida at London’s Covent Garden (2003), La Scala (July 2009) – my Verdi debut with that internationally renowned opera house (adding to the seven other roles I have already done there), and the Vienna State Opera (2011).

With the Requiem in Ottawa during the warmth of spring, led by the incredibly musical Jordan de Souza, the next step will take me through the intense heat of summer at the Hyogo Performing Arts Center in Japan, playing the protective father in the personage of Giorgio Germont in La Traviata (Jun. 14 – Jul. 27, 2015).  Then I will march into the splendor of fall with Amonasro at the Teatro Regio in Turin (Sep. 10 – Oct. 25, 2015). This final Verdi stop will give me close to 70 performances as Amonasro in Aida, and it will be my 9th role with the Teatro Regio.

The July performances of La Traviata will again have me collaborating with the extremely talented conductor with whom I worked twice at Turin’s Teatro Regio, Maestro Yutaka Sado.  He referred to me, concerning the prospect of my working with him at the Performing Arts Center in Hyogo, Japan, “…as the most impressive singer in the productions he worked [on] recently in Turin – Peter Grimes and Carmen.”

The October run of Aida will be conducted by Gianandrea Noseda, Musical America’s “Conductor of the Year” for 2015.  We previously collaborated in the highly acclaimed run of Salome at the Teatro Regio in 2008, after which he emphatically said, “We must do other projects together,” and true to his word he conducted my debut of the title role in The Flying Dutchman at the Regio in 2012. I expect our collaboration in Aida will be of the same calibre.

It is with these kind of collaborations that unforgettable stage performances are created.  Just as we remember those magical MGM musicals of the 1940s with their classic on-screen pairings of Astaire and Kelly, Garland and Rooney, Astaire and Rogers, Eddy and McDonald, and Lanza and Grayson, it is that same kind of electricity between great talents performing in operas and oratorios that excites audiences and brings them back time and time again.

In Ottawa, Hyogo and Turin, we will soon see what happens when great performers bring forth their wealth of experience and talent, and work for the chemistry of the moment to take those elements to another level. It is truly in these occasions when collaborators can create magical moments on stage that no single operatic star can achieve by him or herself.  I hope you can join me and my fellow performers in these great cities and experience the magic of these Verdi masterworks.

I encourage you to connect with me through my Facebook fan pageGoogle+, and follow me @marksdoss on Twitter.

Warmest regards,

Mark S. Doss

P.S. The Ottawa Requiem performance is dedicated to the memory of tenor Carlo Bergonzi, and to Br. Hugh Henderson, C.PP.S, an amazing mentor and friend.

Grammy winner Mark S. Doss returns to Chicago for Do-It-Yourself Messiah

Bass soloist to assist with Messiah fundraising efforts as goodwill ambassador

Chicago, Illinois – November 25, 2014 – Grammy Award winner and international opera star Mark S. Doss is returning to Chicago as the bass soloist in Handel’s Do-It-Yourself Messiah. Celebrating its 39th annual performance, Messiah will take place on Sunday, December 21, 2014 at 3:00 p.m. and Monday, December 22, 2014 at 7:00 p.m. at the Harris Theater in Millennium Park.

“It is my great honor to once again perform Handel’s masterpiece in Chicago. I am immensely proud to be working with the Do-It-Yourself Messiah and its organizers, the International Music Foundation (IMF), whose tireless efforts have transformed the annual performance into a cherished Chicago holiday tradition that touches the hearts and minds of so many people,” said Mark S. Doss. “Year-after-year, the Do-It-Yourself Messiah is a perfect way to celebrate the Christmas season. I look forward to sharing the stage in front of a huge chorus-audience, both with other world-class soloists, as well as an incredibly talented orchestra of local and amateur musicians.”

Doss will also serve as a Messiah goodwill ambassador to assist the IMF with fundraising efforts to support the annual production. Starting in November, he will meet with organizations in Chicago’s performing arts community to discuss ways they can support the Do-It-Yourself Messiah, as well as seek new opportunities to work with the event’s organizers in the coming years. Those interested in scheduling a meeting with Mr. Doss may send a request to media@marksdoss.com.

Ann Murray, Executive Director for the IMF, is equally excited about Doss becoming a goodwill representative for the Do-It-Yourself Messiah.

“Mark is the ideal candidate for this undertaking,” Murray said. “He has become a great favorite with the audience over the past 10 years, and brings a level of commitment to Messiah‘s ongoing success that never ceases to amaze me. He has always gone the extra mile to help build visibility and profile for the event.”

Murray continued, “Mark’s willingness to take up the cause aligns with the spirit of the Do-It-Yourself Messiah – a joyful experience that generates great energy, excitement, goodwill, and community participation. It is an aspect of city life during the holiday season that makes Chicago a special place, and shows why the event’s reputation has spread throughout the country.”

A celebrated bass-baritone, Doss has delighted Chicago audiences with his performances for more than a quarter century. After studying at Indiana University with Walter Cassel and Nicola Rossi-Lemeni, and serving as an apprentice with the Santa Fe Opera, he became a member of what was then known as Chicago’s Lyric Opera Center for American Artists. Since then, he has performed in 10 seasons at Lyric, most notably singing the roles of Hercules in Alceste, Cinque in Amistad, and Escamillo in Carmen. Doss has also performed with the Chicago Symphony in the title role of Anthony Davis’ opera X (The Life and Times of Malcolm X), and with the Grant Park Concerts (today known as the Grant Park Music Festival). In addition, Doss is proud to be a past Grand Prize Winner of the Bel Canto Foundation of Chicago, headed by the Monastero family. The prize included a trip to Busseto, Italy, where he studied with noted Verdi tenor, Carlo Bergonzi. While an unexpected cover contract with the Metropolitan Opera shortened his stay in Busetto, the Bel Canto Foundation was able to fund his return to Busseto to compete in the International Verdi Competition, where he subsequently won 1st Prize.

In recent years, Doss’ performances and storied career have earned him significant media attention. This has included TV appearances on ABC, NBC, FOX, CBC’s George Stroumboulopoulos Tonight and Toronto News at Six, Rogers TV, and OMNI, as well as an array of print and radio interviews.

Tickets for the Do-It-Yourself Messiah are available at www.harristheaterchicago.org or by calling 312-334-7777.

You can connect with me through my Facebook fan pageGoogle+, and follow me @marksdoss on Twitter.

ABOUT THE DO-IT-YOURSELF MESSIAH:

Originally intended as an Easter oratorio, Handel’s Messiah tells the story of Jesus’ birth, crucifixion and resurrection.  Over the years, however, it has become more popularly associated with Christmas.  The “do-it-yourself” idea was born at a small church in rural England more than 40 years ago and was first staged in Chicago in 1976.  Audience members are seated according to voice range (soprano, alto, tenor, bass) and sing with a full orchestra and four soloists.

The Do-It-Yourself Messiah is organized by the International Music Foundation (http://www.imfchicago.org), which provides music performances and music education – free of charge – for people of all ages and degrees of musical awareness, so they might experience how music enriches their lives.

Grammy winner Mark S. Doss returns to Chicago for Do-It-Yourself Messiah and performs as soloist in Beethoven’s 9th Symphony in Princeton, New Jersey

Chicago, Illinois – December 5, 2013 – Grammy Award winner, Mark S. Doss, returns to one of Chicago’s favorite holiday traditions as the bass soloist for Handel’s Do-It-Yourself Messiah. Celebrating its 38th annual performance, Messiah will take place on Thursday, December 19, 2013 and Friday, December 20, 2013 at 7 p.m. at the Harris Theater in Millennium Park.

“I am honored to return to Chicago for the magnificent Do-It-Yourself Messiah,” said Mark S. Doss. “I look forward to sharing the stage in front of a huge chorus/audience, with other world-class soloists and a very talented orchestra of local and amateur musicians. This holiday tradition for Chicago is extremely meaningful to me and has become the perfect way to celebrate the holidays, year-after-year.”

Doss has spent more than a quarter century delighting Chicago audiences throughout his career. After studying at Indiana University with Walter Cassel and Nicola Rossi-Lemeni, he became an apprentice artist with the Santa Fe Opera, which led to him becoming a member of what was formerly known as Chicago’s Lyric Opera Center for American Artists. He has also performed in 10 seasons at Lyric, most notably singing the roles of Hercules in Alceste, Cinque in Amistad, and Escamillo in Carmen. In addition to past performances of Messiah, Mr. Doss was also featured with the Chicago Symphony in the title role of Anthony Davis’ opera X (The Life and Times of Malcolm X).

Following his performance in Chicago, Doss will kick-off the New Year as the bass-baritone soloist to celebrate the 100th Birthday of William H. Scheide, an incredible musician, philanthropist and humanitarian. The concert takes place in the Richardson Auditorium in Alexander Hall at Princeton University in Princeton, New Jersey on January 25, 2014 at 7:30 p.m. It features works by Bach, Brahms, Scheide and Beethoven’s 9th Symphony to benefit Westminster Choir College. This concert will be recorded and the Beethoven will be released by Naxos on the Westminster Choir label. Doss last sang the bass-baritone soloist in Beethoven’s masterpiece with the Interlochen Academy in Interlochen, Michigan, and before that with Bobby MacFerrin conducting the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra.

After his American stint, Doss will return to Europe to perform in Eine Florentinische Tragodie in Turin, Italy in March, as well as performing in the World Premiere of Shell Shock by Nicholas Lens in Brussels, Belgium in October and November of 2014.

Doss has received significant media attention in connection to his recent performances, making guest TV appearances on ABC, NBC, FOX, CBC’s George Stroumboulopoulos Tonight and Toronto News at Six, Rogers TV, and OMNI.

Tickets for the Do-It-Yourself Messiah are available at www.harristheaterchicago.org or by calling 312-334-7777. For tickets to the 100th birthday celebration of William H. Scheide, please call 609-258-9220.

You can connect with me through my Facebook fan pageGoogle+, and follow me @marksdoss on Twitter.

ABOUT THE DO-IT-YOURSELF MESSIAH:

Originally intended as an Easter oratorio, Handel’s Messiah tells the story of Jesus’ birth and life. Over the years, however, it has become more popularly associated with Christmas. The “do-it-yourself” idea was born at a small church in rural England more than 30 years ago and was first staged in Chicago in 1976. Audience members are seated according to voice range (soprano, alto, tenor, bass) and sing with a full orchestra and four soloists.

ABOUT BEETHOVEN’S 9th SYMPHONY:

The Symphony No. 9 in D minor, Op. 125 (sometimes known simply as “the Choral”), is the final complete symphony of Ludwig van Beethoven (1770–1827). Completed in 1824, the symphony is one of the best-known works of the repertoire of classical music. Among critics, it is almost universally considered to be among Beethoven’s greatest works, and is considered by some to be the greatest piece of music ever written.

Reflections from Grammy Award winner Mark S. Doss as Amonasro in Aida in Seville and the Four Villains in The Tales of Hoffmann in Tokyo

I am extremely excited to be back at the Teatro de la Maestranza in Seville, Spain. I am starring as Amonasro in Aida, with performances on October 25, 28, 31; and November 3, 6 and 9, 2013. Amonasro is the second most performed role of my career (Escamillo in Carmen being the first). This production marks my second engagement with the company after successfully performing the roles of Alfio in Cavalleria Rusticana and Premysl in Sarka in double-bill performances earlier this year. With Amonasro, a part I have already sung many times before, the fabulous acoustics and my wonderful colleagues will be that much more appreciated.

Reflections on Amonasro, the Ethiopian King

The role of Amonasro, for me, is about the Ethiopian King’s love for his country, and his refusal to be ruled by an enemy who will disrespect that country and its people. He is sometimes played as a villain, but I believe he is far from that. Everything Amonasro tells Aida concerning the atrocities the Egyptian enemy has done to their people is factual. He knows that Aida loves Radames, and that he is in love with her, yet Amonasro hopes to use that connection to advance his higher concern of keeping his people (including Aida) free from tyranny.

I have often thought back to the great performers who have taken the stage in Aida. George London was an immensely powerful Amonasro, and I was presented with the Opera Prize named after him by possibly the most famous Aida of all time, Leontyne Price. Both have been role models for me with their impeccable vocalism. After receiving the prize it was recounted to me that Ms. Price used these words in her description of me: “He is the real item.” I am also indebted to Rakefet Hak (now at UCLA, formerly on the Met staff and with LA Opera) for her musical insights and allowing me to delve deeper into the role of Amonasro.

While I have always been immensely proud to perform as the Ethiopian King, the role has held even greater personal meaning after I received Planet Africa’s Entertainment Award in 2011, recognizing me a positive role model for youths, and a person whose roots stem from the African continent. This will be the third time I will perform Amonasro since receiving this humbling award.

Thoughts on The Tales of Hoffmann

Two days after returning from Seville, I will fly to Tokyo to begin rehearsing the Four Villains from The Tales of Hoffmann by Jacques Offenbach, which will be presented at The New National Theatre on November 28; and December 1, 4, 7 and 10, 2013. I am greatly looking forward to the challenge and opportunity to sing in Japan for the first time. This will be my second rendering of the villains after successfully presenting them with Michigan Opera Theatre back in 2001.

The pompous Lindorf begins the opera with his sneering asides toward Hoffmann and they are deliciously venomous and very much like a devilish Méphistophélès. Next, the fully crazed Coppélius makes his entrance with his numerous eyes for using in robotic women, quickly seeking revenge when he is not given full credit for his inventions. Then follows what is possibly the most sinister of the villains in the form of Dr. Miracle. He is the doctor who shows up pretending to offer cures for the sickened Antonia, while really savoring the way he is going to destroy her, giving others false hope for her recovery. If Lindorf is Méphisto, then Dr. Miracle would be Lucifer. Finally, the sorcerer Dappertutto arrives, who with his wonderful “diamond aria” conjures up the forces that will confound Hoffmann. Dappertutto is very much the “warlock type” who reminds me of the character of Nicholas Blair who was on in the original Dark Shadows soap opera. He is evil, through-and-through.

The production in Tokyo will be conducted by Frederic Chaslin who also conducted the 2011 edition of Faust that I performed in Santa Fe. This particular production of The Tales of Hoffmann will include some of the most powerful and beautiful music one can imagine for all four of the villains.

My renditions were greatly helped by the preparation I received from William Hicks (coach at the Metropolitan Opera), Audrey Saint-Gil, and Giulio Favario (former chorus master at the Lyric Opera of Chicago).

You can connect with me through my Facebook fan pageGoogle+, and follow me @marksdoss on Twitter.

Grammy Award winner Mark S. Doss returns to San Diego Opera in Aida

San Diego, California – April 8, 2013 – Mark S. Doss, international opera singer and Grammy Award winner, is returning to the San Diego Opera as Amonasro in Giuseppe Verdi’s Aida on April 20, 23, 26 and 28, 2013. This is his sixth role with the San Diego Opera since 1991.

“Amonasro is one of my signature roles, which I began performing over 15 years ago,” says Doss. “Aida is a compelling love story with tragic consequences. With each performance, I endeavor to delve deeper and deeper into the musical, dramatic and linguistic complexities of the role, aided by pure emotional expression and the numerous inflections I can command with my voice. I am particularly excited about doing this role for the first time with maestro Daniele Callegari, whom I admire a great deal.”

The bass-baritone’s spirited interpretation of Amonasro, the Ethiopian King, continues to bring him to the stage of many leading opera houses, including the Vienna State Opera, Teatro alla Scala and Covent Garden’s Royal Opera House in London. He most recently performed in the role before American audiences at Opera Tampa (April 2012), building upon past Stateside appearances in Pittsburgh, Houston and Minnesota during his illustrious career. Doss has also garnered praise by critics for his work as Amonasro, with the San Francisco Sentinel noting his “…strong and authoritative bass-baritone voice” and Opera News calling his portrayal “compelling.”

This is Doss’ second production of Aida since receiving Planet Africa’s Entertainment Award in 2011 for his accomplishments in the performing arts and being a positive role model for youths. Playing the Ethiopian King truly makes performing the role very poignant considering it’s an African-based opera.

Doss arrives in sunny San Diego after completing a successful run of Wagner’s The Flying Dutchman in Bologna, Italy. The opening night of the Dutchman was telecast on RAI 5 some five days later and will soon be released on DVD. His Dutchman role generated rave reviews – notably Francesco Lora of Il Corriere Musicale wrote, “Not only in the monologue, you can admire the leadership of Mark S. Doss, a voice with exceptional resonance, rich harmonics, masculine burnished tone and emphasis as authoritative as to evoke the terrible god Wotan.”

The Grammy winning opera singer will soon reprise the role of Amonasro in the Teatro de la Maestranza’s run of Aida in Seville, Spain (October/November 2013), followed by performances as The Four Villains in Offenbach’s The Tales of Hoffmann in Tokyo, Japan (November/December 2013).

Doss has received significant media coverage in connection to his recent performances, making guest TV appearances on ABC, NBC, FOX, CBC’s George Stroumboulopoulos Tonight and Toronto News at Six, Rogers TV, and OMNI.

You can connect with me through my Facebook fan pageGoogle+, and follow me @marksdoss on Twitter.