“My goal in every performance, from a street corner to a vaunted stage, is to change someone's mind about what ‘opera’ means.” Baritone Samuel James Dewese is forging a path as an evocative artist in the US and beyond. His love of changing perceptions and pushing limits has led him to successful collaborations in creating and performing new works, specifically seeking creators who live on the margins, outside of the expected canon.
A graduate of University of Illinois and the Royal College of Music, London, it was Samuel’s undergraduate teacher who pushed him forward in his training. When he was ready to change his major after a difficult freshman year performance, his teacher did not allow him to quit and Samuel was able to find the enjoyment in putting in the hard work to rebound. That support and encouragement convinced Samuel to continue his studies and find joy in singing for an audience.
Samuel’s most recent engagements include Marcello in La Boheme, Father in Hansel and Gretel, and Astrophel in The Arcadians. His oratorio and concert performances include Portsmouth Festival Orchestra, Highgate Choral Society, and Illinois Wind Symphony, among others. Samuel’s performances in new works include the title role in the world premiere of John Henry (McCarthy) with Tête à Tête in London and The Perfect Opera (Davis) with Virtually Opera at the Edinburgh International Fringe. In competition, Samuel has twice been named a district winner in the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions (St. Louis), captured second prize in the James Toland International Competition, and was a grand finalist in the Hariclea Darclée Competition.
During the pandemic, Samuel began a performance project, On Your Street, which brings him and a bluetooth speaker to front porches, back decks, and street corners in and around Chicago. He’s looking forward to collaborating with additional singers in Spring 2021 to responsibly perform small ensembles at a safe distance from each other and our audiences. He is also currently developing a lecture recital series in collaboration with an art gallery in Chicago to choose (and premiere) vocal works inspired by art in the performance space. While he’s dreaming of future projects, one of Samuel’s dreams is to “commission and present a new song cycle about one of my heroes, Barack Obama, to the man himself.”
Stay connected with Samuel at www.samueljamesdewese.com and learn more about his work.