Eric Owens

July 11, 1970 - Philadelphie


Eric Owens has a unique reputation as an esteemed interpreter of classic works and a champion of new music. Equally at home in orchestral, recital, and operatic repertoire, Mr. Owens brings his  powerful poise, expansive voice, and instinctiveacting faculties to stages around the world.

Eric Owens launches the 2016-17 season with his role debut as Wotan in David Pountney’s new production  of Wagner’s Das Rheingold at the Lyric Opera of Chicago. He will sing a trio of operas at the Metropolitan Opera that include the MET premiere of Kaijo Saariaho’s L’amour de Loin, a new production of Rusalkaunder Sir Mark Elder, and  a revival of Idomeneo conducted by James  Levine. Other  highlights  include  recitals  with  Susanna  Phillips at Carnegie  Hall and Lawrence Brownlee at Lyric Opera of Chicago, a gala celebrating the Metropolitan Opera’s 50th anniversary at Lincoln Center, and for the third time he joins the Chicago Symphony’s Negaunee Music  Instituteto present  an interactive  recital  for  incarcerated  youth  with  Riccardo  Muti and Joyce DiDonato. Mr. Owens rounds out his season singing Rimsky-Korsakov’s Le Coq d’Or at Santa Fe Opera.

The 2015-2016 season featured Mr. Owens inseveral collaborations with the New York Philharmonic as the Mary and James G. Wallach Artist-in-Residence, including a tribute to legendary African-American singers  and  their  legacy  titled In Their Footsteps,  a  concert of Strauss selections and excerpts from Act 3 of Wagner’s Die Walküre conducted by Alan Gilbert, and a festive concert celebrating the holiday season. Other orchestral engagements during the season included performances  of Bruckner’s Te Deum with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra under Riccardo Muti, Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 with the St. Louis Symphony, as well as with Osmo Vänskä and the Minnesota Orchestra, Ravel’s L'enfant et les sortilèges with Esa-Pekka Salonen and the Bayerischer Rundfunk, Brahms’ Ein deutsches Requiem with the  Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, and Dvořák’s Stabat  Materwith Franz Welser-Möst  and  the  Cleveland Orchestra. He also joined Music of the Baroque as  Simon in  concert performances of Handel’s Judas Maccabaeus.

Operatic highlights of his 2015-16 season included his return to the Metropolitan Opera as Orest in a new production of Elektra by legendary director Patrice Chéreau, conducted by Esa-Pekka Salonen, which was broadcast on the Emmy and Peabody Award-winning Live in HDseries. He also hosted the Metropolitan Opera’s Live in HD broadcast of Otello. He returned to Washington National Opera as Stephen Kumalo in Kurt Weill’s Lost in the Stars. At the Kennedy Centerin Washington, DC, he performed an  evening of jazz standards featuring the music of Billy Eckstine and Johnny Hartman, and he will also appear in  recital under the  auspices  of the Oberlin College and Conservatory, Troy Chromatic Concerts, and the Curtis Institute of Music.

Mr. Owens began his  2014-2015 season  with  the  Berlin  Philharmonic  in  Bach’s St. Matthew Passion conducted by Sir Simon Rattle and directed by Peter Sellars,with staged performances at the Lucerne Festival, BBC Proms, and New York’s Park Avenue Armory as part of Lincoln Center’s White Light Festival. He returned to Lyric Opera of Chicago, where he is a Community Ambassador, for performances of Gershwin’sPorgy and Bess.Mr. Owens also made his role debuts as the title role in Der fliegende Holländer with Washington National Opera, King Philip II in Don Carlo at Opera Philadelphia, and the title role in Macbeth at the Glimmerglass Festival, where he returned as an Artist-in-Residence.

Symphonic highlights of Mr. Owens’ recent seasons included performances of Verdi’s Requiem with the New York Philharmonic  conducted  by  Alan  Gilbert  and  the  Toronto  Symphony Orchestra conducted by Sir Andrew Davis, Ravel’s L'enfant et les  sortilèges with  the Swedish Radio Symphony and Chicago Symphony Orchestra, both under the baton of Esa-Pekka Salonen, and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra conducted by Riccardo Muti. He also  performed  a  duo  recital  with  soprano Susanna  Phillips  under  the  auspices of the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society.

Mr. Owens  has created an uncommon niche for   himself in the ever-growing body of contemporary opera works through his determined  tackling of new and challenging roles. He received great critical  acclaim for portraying the title role in the  world premiere of Elliot Goldenthal’s Grendel with the Los Angeles Opera, and again at the Lincoln Center Festival, in a production directed and designed by Julie Taymor. Mr. Owens  also enjoys a close association with  John  Adams, for whom he performed the role of General Leslie Groves in the world premiere of Doctor  Atomic at  the San  Francisco Opera, and  of  the Storyteller in the world premiere of A Flowering Tree at Peter Sellars’s New Crowned Hope Festival in Vienna and later with the Los  Angeles Philharmonic. Doctor  Atomic was later recorded and received  the 2012 Grammy for Best Opera Recording. Mr. Owens made his Boston Symphony Orchestra debut under the baton of David Robertson in Adam’s El Niño.

Mr. Owens’s career operatic highlights include Alberich in the Metropolitan Opera’s Ring cycle directed by Robert Lepage; his San Francisco Opera debut in Otello conducted by Donald Runnicles; his Royal Opera, Covent Garden debut in Norma; Vodnik in Rusalka at Lyric Opera of Chicago; the title role in Handel’s Hercules with  the Canadian Opera  Company; Aida at Houston Grand Opera; Rigoletto,  Il Trovatore,  and La  Bohème at  Los  Angeles  opera; Die Zauberflöte for  his  Paris  Opera (Bastille) debut; and Ariodante and L’Incoronazione di Poppea at  the  English  National Opera. He sang Collatinus in a  highly-acclaimed Christopher Alden production of Britten’s The  Rape  of  Lucretia at Glimmerglass  Opera. A former member of the Houston  Grand  Opera  Studio,  Mr. Owens  has  sung  Sarastro,  Mephistopheles  in Faust,  Frère Laurent, and  Aristotle Onassis in  the  world  premiere  of Jackie O (available  on  the  Argo  label) with that company. Mr. Owens is featured on two Telarc recordings with the Atlanta Symphony: Mozart’s Requiem and scenes from Strauss’ Elektra and Die Frau ohne Schatten, both conducted by Donald Runnicles. He is featured on the Nonesuch Records release of A Flowering Tree.

Mr.Owens  has  been  recognized  with  multiple  honors,  including  the Musical America’s 2017 “Vocalist of the Year” award, 2003 Marian Anderson Award, a 1999 ARIA award, second prize in  the Plácido Domingo Operalia Competition,  the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, and the Luciano Pavarotti International Voice Competition.

A native  of  Philadelphia, Mr. Owens began his musical training as a pianist at the age of six, followed by formal oboe study  at  age  eleven  under  Lloyd  Shorter of the Delaware Symphony and Louis Rosenblatt of the  Philadelphia Orchestra. He studied voice while  an undergraduate at TempleUniversity, and then as a graduate student at the Curtis Institute of Music. He currently studies with Armen Boyajian. He serves on the Board of Trustees of both the National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts and Astral Artistic Services.