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The Atlanta Opera Announces New Artistic Advisory Council: Jamie Barton, Kevin Burdette, Michael Mayes and Morris Robinson

The Atlanta Opera is delighted to announce its new Artistic Advisory Council. Comprising Jamie Barton, Kevin Burdette, Michael Mayes and Morris Robinson – four stars of American opera who share close personal ties to the company and its home – the council is uniquely qualified to help The Atlanta Opera continue to expand its offerings, engage its local community, and raise its profile on the international stage.

The council is the latest new initiative from Carl W. Knobloch, Jr. General & Artistic Director Tomer Zvulun, recently hailed as the “innovative risk-taker … bringing change to The Atlanta Opera” (Opera News). He explains:

“In putting together our Artistic Advisory Council, we set out to find a select, exclusive group of international opera stars, each of whom has a special relationship with The Atlanta Opera. The team we have assembled represents some of the busiest, most beloved artists in the field. They have a strong connection to the city of Atlanta, to the company, and to me personally. Some of them view the company as their home company and have a personal stake in its success. We will be working together on figuring out how we can continue to develop this company, enhance its reach, increase its diversity and promote awareness of the fact that we are building the major international opera company that Atlanta deserves.”

About the council members

Superstar mezzo-soprano Jamie Barton, whose honors include the Beverly Sills Artist Award, Richard Tucker Award and first prize at the BBC Cardiff Singer of the World Competition, “invites comparison not so much with her contemporaries as with mid-20th century greats” (The Guardian). A Georgia native, last season she made her role debut as Sister Helen Prejean in The Atlanta Opera’s celebrated Southeast premiere of Dead Man Walking. About serving on the company’s new council, she comments:

“As a Georgia native who has lived here for over three decades, and as someone who truly believes that opera is an art form that can touch the lives of people from all walks of life, I’m thrilled to take part in The Atlanta Opera’s Artistic Advisory Council. I have seen the company grow by leaps and bounds in the last several years, and I am delighted to serve on a council whose presence and knowledge will help support that forward momentum.”

Also featured in Dead Man Walking, and as the Pirate King in The Atlanta Opera’s 2016 presentation of The Pirates of Penzance, was bass Kevin Burdette. Dubbed “the Robin Williams of opera” (New York Times), he serves on the faculty of The Atlanta Opera Studio, the company’s first young artist program, and may be heard on the Metropolitan Opera’s Grammy- and Diapason d’Or-winning Deutsche Grammophon recording of The Tempest.

Baritone Michael Mayes, for whom “the word powerful cannot be overused” (Huffington Post), is a firm local favorite. Having headlined Atlanta’s recent hit productions of both Dead Man Walking and Sweeney Todd, he returns to the house this season for Glory Denied. Marking his co-directorial debut, this sees him not only revisit his definitive portrayal of the opera’s protagonist, but also collaborate with director Zvulun on creating The Atlanta Opera’s original new production.

Rounding out the council is Atlanta native Morris Robinson, whose “bass is so deep and assured it’s as if a vibration goes through the audience every time he opens his mouth” (Globe and Mail, Canada). In The Atlanta Opera’s upcoming staging of Porgy and Bess, he looks forward to singing the male lead, which was previously the vehicle for his acclaimed debut at La Scala. Also a familiar face at the Metropolitan Opera, he is starring at the house as Sarastro in The Magic Flute over the holidays.

To download high-resolution photos of the four council members, click here.

About The Atlanta Opera

The Atlanta Opera’s mission is to build the major international opera company that Atlanta deserves, while reimagining what the art form can be. Founded in 1979, The Atlanta Opera celebrates its 40th anniversary this season. The company works with world-renowned singers, conductors, directors, and designers who seek to enhance the art form. Under the leadership of internationally recognized stage director and Carl W. Knobloch, Jr. General & Artistic Director Tomer Zvulun, The Atlanta Opera expanded from three to four mainstage productions at Cobb Energy Centre and launched the acclaimed Discoveries series. In recent years, the company has been named among the “Best of 2015” by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, has been nominated for a 2016 International Opera Award, and has won ArtsATL’s 2019 Luminary Award for Community Engagement in recognition of its successful Veterans Program in partnership with the Home Depot Foundation. In addition, The Atlanta Opera was featured in a 2018 Harvard Business School case study about successful organizational growth, and Zvulun was invited to present a TEDx Talk at Emory University entitled “The Ambidextrous Opera Company, or Opera in the Age of iPhones.”

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© 21C Media Group, December 2019

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