Noted by the press for his commanding stage presence, vocal authority, and warm baritone voice, Keith Phares is acclaimed both on the opera and concert stage as one of today’s most versatile artists.
During the 2011-12 season Mr. Phares was heard as Count Almaviva in Le nozze di Figaro with Opera Colorado where the Daily Camera wrote “Baritone Keith Phares has the rakish looks and commanding presence necessary for the lecherous and hypocritical, yet somehow sympathetic, Count Almaviva, and his resonant tone in the Act III revenge aria was another breathtaking moment.” During the previous season, he joined the San Francisco Symphony and Virginia Symphony for Carmina Burana, and Lehigh University Choral Arts for Ein Deutsches Requiem.
Recent seasons include several high profile debuts with the Opera Company of Philadelphia as Haly in L’italiana in Algeri, Glimmerglass Opera where he played Dandini in a new production of La Cenerentola, Houston Grand Opera for their production of the World Premiere of Jake Heggie’s Last Acts, and San Francisco Opera in the Company’s premiere of Jake Heggie’s Three Decembers, singing opposite Frederica von Stade. His performance was praised for his “rich, accurate voice; good looks; and fine acting ability to the part of Charlie, making his performance the highlight of the production.” (San Francisco Classical Voice)
He joined Washington National Opera as Figaro in Il Barbière di Siviglia and as Ned Keene in Peter Grimes, Opera Hamilton as Eisenstein in Die Fledermaus, Portland Opera as Guglielmo in Così fan tutte, and Central City Opera as Charlie in Three Decembers. For his debut with Florentine Opera, he portrayed the title role in Elmer Gantry (the professional commercial recording of which won two GRAMMY Awards), prompting Opera News to write that “Keith Phares's scrupulously rendered Elmer Gantry appears a strong contender for iconographic recognition. Beautifully vocalized and bursting with charismatic smarm (think Burt Lancaster with buttery legato), Phares's achievement will prove a difficult act to follow.”
Operatic highlights of recent seasons include his Metropolitan Opera debut, under the baton of James Levine, in the French triple-bill Parade, performances of The Pilot in the Francesca Zambello production of The Little Prince at New York City Opera and Boston Lyric Opera, and Maurice Bendrix in Jake Heggie’s The End of the Affair with the Lyric Opera of Kansas City and Madison Opera. He sang the title role of Elmer Gantry in a co-production with Nashville Opera and Montclair State University, Kaiser Overall in Ullmann’s Der Kaiser von Atlantis at the Greenwich Music Festival, returned to the stage of the Opera Theatre of Saint Louis in a new production of Martín y Soler’s Una Cosa Rara, performed as Harlequin in Ariadne auf Naxos at the Dallas Opera, Chou-En Lai in Portland Opera’s presentation of Nixon in China, Danilo in The Merry Widow in a return engagement at the Lyric Opera of Kansas City, Masetto in the acclaimed Günter Krämer production of Don Giovanni at the Spoleto Festival USA, and Sebastian in the North American premiere of Thomas Adès’ The Tempest presented by the Santa Fe Opera in a new production by Jonathan Kent and conducted by Alan Gilbert.
Additional credits of note include Billy Budd at Washington National Opera, Sweeney Todd, Il Ritorno d’Ulisse in Patria, and Die tote Stadt all at New York City Opera, Don Pasquale, La Cenerentola, and The Mikado for Arizona Opera, Faust and Cold Sassy Tree with Utah Symphony & Opera, Beatrice and Benedict at Santa Fe Opera, The End of the Affair at Madison Opera, and Così fan tutte, and Il Barbiere di Siviglia at Boston Lyric Opera. With the Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, he has been seen as Charles Lindbergh in Loss of Eden by Cary John Franklin and as Pip in Miss Havisham’s Fire by Dominick Argento.
Concert highlights include Béatrice et Bénèdict with the New York Philharmonic under the baton of Sir Colin Davis, Candide with the San Francisco Symphony and Patrick Summers, Gerald Barry’s The Triumph of Beauty and Deceit with Thomas Adès and the Los Angeles Philharmonic, a program of Rogers and Hammerstein songs with the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra, and Five Movements for My Father in a program of chamber music by Susan Kander at Weill Hall in New York - his performance coinciding with the commercial release of this work on the Loosecans Music label. He also has been honored to be affiliated for many seasons with the Marilyn Horne Foundation, under whose auspices he has appeared in numerous recitals and master classes throughout the United States.
A graduate of the Juilliard Opera Center, he was a national winner of the 1998 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions and a finalist in the 1999 Eleanor McCollum Competition of the Houston Grand Opera. He also has been recognized with a Richard Gaddes Grant from the Opera Theatre of Saint Louis and the 2000 Richard F. Gold Career Grant from the Juilliard School of Music.