Biography

publicity-04Kenneth Overton is lauded for blending his opulent baritone with magnetic and varied portrayals that seemingly “emanate from deep within body and soul.”

Heralded by the BBC for his “exceptional voice,” Kenneth made his New York City Opera mainstage debut in 2012 as Doctor Grenvil in Verdi’s La Traviata. That season, Kenneth also made an acclaimed debut in the world premiere of David Ott’s The Widow’s Lantern at Pensacola Opera, whereby he was immediately re-engaged to star as Joe in Showboat. 2012–13 included debuts with New Jersey Symphony (Bruckner Te Deum) and Tacoma Symphony Orchestra (Verdi concert).

In collaboration with pianist Kevin Miller, Kenneth released his first solo CD in the fall of 2013.  Been In De Storm So Long:  Songs My Fathers Taught Me, is his homage to the spiritual tradition that has been formative in his artistic life.  In step with this legacy, Kenneth is also co-founder and artistic director of Opera Noire of New York, a performing arts organization created to empower African-American artists to reach their full creative potential in a creative supportive environment.

Career highlights include Kenneth’s San Francisco Opera debut as Lawyer Frazier with in Porgy and Bess and Germont (La Traviata) with Sacramento Opera and Boheme Opera (NJ).  As a leading baritone, Kenneth has sung with Opera Memphis, Nashville Opera, Connecticut Opera, Chattanooga Symphony and Opera, Boheme Opera of NJ, Houston Ebony Opera Guild, Opera Delaware, Sacramento Opera and Opera Carolina. His roles with these companies include Papageno (Die Zauberflöte), Sharpless (Madama Butterfly), Leporello (Don Giovanni), Schaunard (La bohème), Ping (Turandot) as well as Angelotti (Tosca), Bello and Sid (La Fancuilla del West).

Porgy_and_Bess_Porgy_LexingtonKenneth’s interpretation of the title role in Porgy and Bess has been acclaimed as “breathtaking.” He made his international debut at Deutsche Oper Berlin in the critically-acclaimed production from South Africa’s Cape Town Opera. Kenneth portrayed Porgy with Opera Theatre of Pittsburgh, Opera Memphis, Opera Carolina, Lexington Opera Society, the Lithuanian State Symphony Orchestra, the Paducha Symphony and on tour throughout the British Isles. As Jake in Porgy and Bess, he performed at Stadttheater Klagenfurt and Princeton Opera Festival. In 2014, he debuts with Opera de Montreal and the Royal Danish Opera as Porgy.

Kenneth is widely recognized for his concert work, having performed with Phoenix Symphony, Norwalk Symphony,  Montclair State University, New Jersey’s Cathedral Basilica, Duluth Superior Symphony, Annapolis Symphony Orchestra, Yonkers Philharmonic, Oratorio Society of New Jersey, Summit Chorale Festival (NJ), New York City Opera’s Schomberg Series, Sarasota Symphony, San Antonio Symphony and Richmond Symphony.  His concert and oratorio repertoire includes Handel’s Messiah, Verdi’s Requiem, Vaughn Williams’ A Sea Symphony, Beethoven’s 9th Symphony, Schubert’s Mass in A-flat, Haydn’s Creation and Vaughan Williams’ Five Mystical Songs. Kenneth is also featured in the American Spiritual Ensemble as a soloist for annual performances in the USA and international tours of Spain, Ecuador and France.

Kenneth has a passion for both musical theater and new works, and he made his Broadway debut in Baz Luhrman’s La Bohème. He was featured in City Center Encores’ production and recording of Romberg’s The New Moon, and sang the role of Stephen Kumalo in Lost in the Stars with Skylark Opera. His Carnegie Hall debut was as the baritone soloist in Come Follow Me by Jackson Berkey with the Westfield Symphony Orchestra (Mid-America Productions). Kenneth has also excelled in diverse contemporary works including performances of Corps of Discovery by Michael Ching at Opera Festival of New Jersey; Six Characters in Search of An Author by Hugo Weisgall; and The Gilded Cage by Kioulaphides with Nexus Arts (NY).

Kenneth is a winner of the Liederkranz Competition, Connecticut Opera Guild Competition, Rosa Ponselle Competition (Meriden, CT) and a national winner of the Leontyne Price Vocal Competition.

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