Mayes stunned London audiences as Joseph de Rocher in the UK premiere of Jake Heggie’s opera Dead Man Walking alongside Joyce DiDonato at London’s Barbican Hall. His “searing performance” was hailed by critics as “sensational”, “a revelation”, and “of such stunning strength and complete identification”. Mayes made his European debut at the Teatro Real, Madrid, in staged performances of Dead Man Walking and has performed the role with multiple opera houses, including Washington National Opera.
He is renowned for his outstanding performances in contemporary operas, including the world premiere of Great Scott with Dallas Opera & San Diego Opera; Margaret Garner opposite Denyce Graves with the Opera Company of Philadelphia and Opera Carolina; Out of Darkness; Three Decembers; Glory Denied; The Wreckers, The Canticle of the Black Madonna, Mark Adamo’s Lysistrata, Baden-Baden 1927 and Everest. Performances include Conte di Luna in Il trovatore for Seattle Opera, Starbuck in Moby Dick in Pittsburgh, Dead Man Walking and the title role of Sweeney Todd for Atlanta Opera as well as his first Wozzeck.
Mayes also excels in roles such as Sharpless in Madama Butterfly, Scarpia in Tosca and the title role of Don Giovanni.
The strongest impact is made by the forceful baritone and hulking figure as the condemned man.
(Michael Mayes was) by far the best singer and most convincing actor in the cast…
Wall Street Journal
The vocal standouts were Joyce DiDonato & especially Michael Mayes, sensational.
As Joseph De Rocher, baritone Michael Mayes sang & acted with animalistic ferocity.