“Owens communicates an unusually profound depth of feeling from the stage. Some of it stems from the richness of his instrument: The luxuriant bass timbre that resonates even in his speaking voice is matched by an electrifying upper register. Some of it has to do with his command of text and his understanding of how the words fit with the music, subtleties of expression that are especially evident in his recitals. In addition, for all his imposing physical presence, Owens projects openness, a willingness to be vulnerable, that gives a tragic dimension even to characters from whom you might not expect it, such as Alberich [Wagner’s The Ring]. At the Glimmerglass Festival, his bereft Stephen Kumalo in Lost in the Stars was lyricism laced with raw pain. As yet another unhappy father, the Water Goblin in Rusalka at Lyric Opera of Chicago, he joined menace with sorrow. It’s no surprise that he wants to sing the wounded knight Amfortas of Parsifal someday. ‘I really love his music,’ Owens says. ‘You can feel that glorious pain that he’s going through.’”
Eric Owens, “one of the greatest bass-baritones in the world” (Bloomberg News), 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 instinctive acting faculties to stages around the world.
He 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 Rusalka under 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 Institute to 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.
Watch Eric Owens’ Musical America 2017 Vocalist of the Year video