- Resident Artists
Jay Hunter Morris -Florestan
Hailed for his rich tone and dramatic charisma across an extraordinary breadth of repertoire, Jay Hunter Morris has established himself as one of today’s most exceptional tenors. He has been a principal artist with companies including the Metropolitan Opera, Los Angeles Opera, Houston Grand Opera, San Francisco Opera and Seattle Opera, and maintains an international career throughout Europe as well as Asia and Australia.
Mr. Morris was first drawn into the spotlight in 1995, when he created the role of Tony in Terrence McNally’s play Master Class at the Philadelphia Theatre Company. He continued in the role at the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles, at the Kennedy Center in Washington, and finally on Broadway, where he was nominated for an Outer Critics Circle Award for Outstanding Debut of an Actor.
Jay Hunter Morris begins the 2008-2009 season at Los Angeles Opera, under the baton of Placido Domingo, with a revival of the role of Marky, the role he created last season in the world premiere of The Fly (Howard Shore) at Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris. He then goes to Portland Opera where he appears as Florestan in Fidelio, followed by performances at Atlanta Opera as Erik in Der Fliegende Hollander. He appears with Alabama Symphony to sing Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony before he continues to Seattle Opera to work on the role of Siegfried in both Siegfried and Götterdämmerung.
Performances last season include the title role in Samson and Delilah at Nashville Opera, Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 with the Seattle Symphony Orchestra, Cavaradossi in Tosca in Birmingham, Alabama, and Steva in Jenufa for Opera Monte Carlo, finishing the season on a high note with The Fly in Paris.
Mr. Morris made his debut at The Metropolitan Opera during the 2006-07 season as Steva, which he also sang at Dallas Opera. He was heard as Canio in Pagliacci with Atlanta Opera, a role he also performed with Houston Grand Opera. He has sung the role of Walther in Tannhäuser with Tokyo Opera Nomori, as Dimitri in Boris Godunov and as the Drum Major in Wozzeck with San Diego Opera. Mr. Morris appeared with Seattle Opera as Erik in Der Fliegende Hollander, which he performed with Arizona Opera and Opera Australia. Mr. Morris drew great praise for his performance of Pinkerton in Madama Butterfly at Opera Australia, and won equal acclaim for performances of Manon Lescaut with Seattle Opera in 2005.
Other engagements that have garnered recognition for Mr. Morris include his Don José in Carmen at Minnesota Opera, Walther in Die Meistersinge von Nürnberg with San Francisco Opera and Frankfurt Opera. He has been seen at L’Operá de Nice as the Drum Major and as Bacchus in Ariadne auf Naxos, which he has also sung for Dallas Opera.
One of the hallmarks of Mr. Morris’ career is his participation in some of the most noted new work in contemporary opera. He began the 2005-2006 season as Captain James Nolan in the world premiere of John Adams’ Doctor Atomic at San Francisco Opera, a role he reprised with the Netherlands Opera the following season. Mr. Morris also created the role of Unferth in the world premiere of Elliott Goldenthal and Julie Taymor’s Grendel, a performance he repeated in the 2006 Lincoln Center Festival. With San Francisco Opera, he sang Father Grenville in the world premiere of Jake Heggie’s Dead Man Walking, and Mitch in André Previn’s A Streetcar Named Desire. He was also heard in the American premiere of Messiaen’s St. François d’Assise at San Francisco Opera.
Mr. Morris’s repertoire also extends to roles such as Britten’s Peter Grimes, Tichon in Kat’a Kabanova, which he sang with San Diego Opera, Sam Polk in Susannah by Carlisle Floyd and Narraboth in Salome, both with Philadephia Opera. With Opera National du Rhin in Strasbourg, he sang the role of Jenik in The Bartered Bride. He has distinguished himself as an interpreter of rarely performed repertoire, singing Lykov in Rimsky-Korsakov’s The Tsar’s Bride, the Duke of Parma in Busoni’s Doktor Faust at San Francisco Opera, and Anatol in Samuel Barber’s Vanessa at Seattle Opera.
Jay Hunter Morris is also active on the concert stage, where his accomplishments include Verdi’s Requiem with the Cathedral Choral Society in Washington, D.C., Britten’s War Requiem under the baton of the late Richard Bradshaw, excerpts from Lohengrin and Die Walküre in a gala concert for L’Opéra de Nice, and Janácek’s The Diary of One Who Vanished in San Francisco.