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American bass-baritone Michael Sumuel, hailed as having “vocals [that] are smooth and ingratiating” (Daily Camera) returns to Houston Grand Opera in the 2016/17 as Belcore in L’elisir d’Amore, conducted by Patrick Summers and Masetto in Don Giovanni at San Francisco Opera, conducted by Marc Minkowski. Additional appearances include a role and house debut as Alidoro in La Cenerentola at Norwegian National Opera. Concert engagements include debuts with the Cleveland Symphony as Pilatus in Bach’s St. John Passion, conducted by Franz Welser-Möst, Mozart’s Requiem with the Phoenix Symphony and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 with the American Classical Orchestra at David Geffen Hall at Lincoln Center in New York City. In the 2015/16 season, Michael Sumuel returned to San Francisco Opera as Escamillo in Calixto Bieto’s staging of Carmen, and returned to Glyndebourne Festival Opera for Theseus in Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream.  He joined North Carolina Opera for Sharpless in Madama Butterfly and Opera Southwest as Selim in Il Turco in Italia.  On the concert stage, Mr. Sumuel made his debut with the Netherlands

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American bass-baritone Michael Sumuel, hailed as having “vocals [that] are smooth and ingratiating” (Daily Camera) returns to Houston Grand Opera in the 2016/17 as Belcore in L’elisir d’Amore, conducted by Patrick Summers and Masetto in Don Giovanni at San Francisco Opera, conducted by Marc Minkowski. Additional appearances include a role and house debut as Alidoro in La Cenerentola at Norwegian National Opera. Concert engagements include debuts with the Cleveland Symphony as Pilatus in Bach’s St. John Passion, conducted by Franz Welser-Möst, Mozart’s Requiem with the Phoenix Symphony and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 with the American Classical Orchestra at David Geffen Hall at Lincoln Center in New York City.

In the 2015/16 season, Michael Sumuel returned to San Francisco Opera as Escamillo in Calixto Bieto’s staging of Carmen, and returned to Glyndebourne Festival Opera for Theseus in Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream.  He joined North Carolina Opera for Sharpless in Madama Butterfly and Opera Southwest as Selim in Il Turco in Italia.  On the concert stage, Mr. Sumuel made his debut with the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic in Mozart’s Mass in c minor and joined the University Musical Society in Ann Arbor and Mercury Houston for Handel’s Messiah.

Highlights of the 2014/15 season included his debut at the Lyric Opera of Chicago as Masetto in a new production by Robert Falls, conducted by Sir Andrew Davis. He made returns to Houston Grand Opera as Papageno in The Magic Flute, and to Glyndebourne Festival Opera as Junius in Britten’s The Rape of Lucretia.  On the concert stage, he returned to Mercury Houston to sing a series of Bach cantatas, the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis for Handel’s Messiah, and the Santa Barbara Symphony for selected scenes from Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess.

Previous seasons have included a successful San Francisco Opera debut as Tom in the world premiere of Christopher Theofanidis’ Heart of a Soldier opposite baritone Thomas Hampson in a Francesca Zambello production conducted by Patrick Summers in which his “strong and convincing portrayal was the most affecting and convincing of the evening.”  He later returned to perform Elviro in Handel's Xerxes, alongside David Daniels and Susan Graham. On the stage of Houston Grand Opera he has performed the roles of Frank in Strauss' Die Fledermaus, Masetto and Schaunard in John Caird’s new production of La Bohéme, a role that also served as his European debut with Glyndebourne Festival Opera, and was seen in an HGOco commission River of Light, by Jack Perla, portraying the role of Burton.  He made his role debut as Figaro in Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro with Dayton Opera and reprised the role for his company debut with Central City Opera.

Notable concert appearances include Messiah with Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, Houston Symphony, Louisiana Philharmonic and San Francisco Symphonywhere he later returned to perform Copland’s Old American Songs. He also appeared in a program called "Around the World" for a New Year's Eve concert with the Dayton Philharmonic. He has made multiple appearances with Mercury Houston including a project called "Napoleon and the Battle of Nations,” and performed excerpts from Rameau's Les Amants trahis and Thétis. He has also appeared with Da Camera of Houston for a program of Brahms and Schönberg lieder in a multi-media project called “In the Garden of Dreams”. 

While a Studio Artist with Houston Grand Opera, Mr. Sumuel appeared as Sharpless in performances of Puccini’s Madama Butterfly, the Motorcycle Cop in Dead Man Walking starring Joyce DiDonato (now available on compact disc), Antonio in Le Nozze di Figaro, and the Lackey in Richard Strauss’s Ariadne auf Naxos. He also sang Dr. Dulcamara in performances of L’elisir d’amore, Third Noble in Lohengrin, Sciarrone in Tosca and Narumoff in Tchaikovsky’s Pique Dame. Other operatic roles include Leporello in Don Giovanni and the title role in Gianni Schicchi.

Mr. Sumuel’s competition accolades include being awarded a 2015 Richard Tucker Career Grant, 2012 MONC Finalist and a winner of the 2009 Dallas Opera Guild Vocal Competition. He is an alumnus of the Merola Opera Program at San Francisco Opera Center and the Filene Young Artist program at Wolf Trap Opera. At Wolf Trap Opera, he performed the roles of Selim, Theseus in Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Lelio in Wolf-Ferrari’s Le donne curiose and was seen in recital with pianist Steven BlierHe holds degrees from both Columbus State University and Rice University and is a student of Stephen King.

 

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Reviews

"Bass-baritone Michael Sumuel plays the title character with near-reckless, unabated exuberance. His three arias, each iconic in its own way, seem remarkably fresh in Sumuel's interpretation, particularly the show-stopping jealousy number "Aprite un po'quegli occhi" in Act IV. His vocals are smooth and ingratiating, imbuing the character with the humanity he needs."

Daily Camera

"The standout among them was bass-baritone Michael Sumuel, who brought luminous tone and theatrical presence to the roles of a Rhodesian barkeep and a Vietnam medic."

San Francisco Chronicle

"Most notable was bass-baritone Michael Sumuel in his San Francisco Opera debut, whose strong and convincing portrayal was the most affecting and convincing of the evening."

California Literary Review