News

Breaking the Waves: An interview with Sara LeMesh and Robert Wesley Mason

Photo by Cory Weaver

Photo by Cory Weaver

August 2019- “The baritone called the opera ‘a step forward for the art form.’ A professional singer from the age of 16, Mason has made a career in American opera working with living composers preparing new work for world premieres. Although he finds Breaking the Waves offers ‘beautiful vocal lines requiring a high level of technique and strong diction, what makes the opera different is the dramatic scenarios.’”

Read the full interview here: https://www.repeatperformances.org/west-edge-operas-breaking-the-waves-an-interview-with-sara-lemesh-and-robert-wesley-mason


Breaking the Waves
West Edge Opera Opera Festival

AUGUST 2019- We are getting close to the West Edge Opera 2019 season opening! Check out some behind the scene shots of rehearsals and a breakdown of Breaking the Waves from director Mark Streshinsky. Tickets: https://www.westedgeopera.org/2019/tickets


Elvis Costello’s The Juliet Letters with Urban Arias

Photo by C. Stanley Photography

Photo by C. Stanley Photography


Workshop of Heather Christian’s
Oratorio for Living Things with Ars Nova

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JUNE 2019- Wes joined the workshop team for composer Heather Christian’s Oratorio for Living Things with Ars Nova directed by Lee Sunday Evans. Oratorio for Living Things was one of 11 works that received a grant from the Frank Young Fund for New Musicals (formerly known as the National Fund for New Musicals) through The National Alliance for Musical Theatre (NAMT).


As One with Eugene Opera

(c) Ari Denison

(c) Ari Denison

May 2019 Wes spent this month with Eugene Opera in his second appearance as Hannah Before in the award winning, critically acclaimed opera theatre work As One. Between rehearsals, he joined the original creative team of Laura Kaminski, Kimberly Reed, and Mark Campbell along with panelists Oblio Stroyman, the Executive Director of TRANS*ponder, undergraduate UO student Lilly Bonasera, and Keturah Stickann, stage director, and Andrew Bisantz, conductor for a Panel Discussion On Transgender Representation in Media and Art moderated by Bethany Grace Howe, PhD student at the University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communication. The show will perform Friday May 17th and Sunday May 19th at the Hult Center for the Performing Arts in Eugene, Oregon. Please consider a donation to TRANS*ponder in support of the trans/gender diverse community in Eugene. For more press, check out the links below:
Eugene Opera’s ‘As One’ a journey of transition for a transgender woman
As One Tells Trans Woman's Story Through Opera
Raising Queer Voices


Carmen approaches opening weekend

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April 2019 Promotions are underway for Carmen as the team at Fargo-Moorhead Opera approaches opening night for their 50th Anniversary Season headliner. Below you’ll find a radio interview with cast members in addition to some features in In-Forum.
FM-Opera’s Carmen (Praire Public Radio Interview)
FM-Opera Prepares to “transform’ audiences with performance of Carmen
FM-Opera Shows Feminist Side of Carmen


Carmen rehearsals begin with
Fargo-Moorhead Opera

March 2019 Wes began rehearsals with Fargo-Moorhead Opera this week as Escamillo in Carmen. The show is conducted by Eric Weimer (Chicago Lyric Opera) and directed by stage director and stunt artist Maria Todaro. The cast includes Hilary Ginther as Carmen, Josh Kohl as Don José, and Lara Ciekiewicz as Micaela. The show will run April 12-13th at Festival Concert Hall, NDSU in Fargo. Check out the preview of the act III knife fight with Don José (Tenor, Josh Kohl). Choreography by Maria Todaro.


Radio interview with the
Fargo-Moorhead Opera Three Decembers Team

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February 2019 “Jake Heggie, he's my Puccini, he's my Verdi." The other day Wes sat down with General Director David Hamilton, cast mate Lucy Thrasher (Maddy), director Austin Regan, and conductor Cody Martin, to discuss and promote the upcoming run of Three Decembers with Fargo-Moorhead Opera! Click here for the two part interview: Part 1 Part 2.


Wes joins Three Decembers cast in Fargo

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JANUARY 2019 Wes will be heading to Fargo, North Dakota to reprise the role of Charlie in Heggie and Scheer’s Three Decembers with Fargo-Moorhead Opera this February. The cast includes Jennifer Anne Nash as Bea and Lucy Thrasher as Madeline Mitchell. Austin Regan is set to direct with musical direction by Cody Martin. Performances are 2/15 and 2/17 at Weld Hall, MSUM. Read more here.


Three Decembers interview in
Nashville Opera Magazine

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NOVEMBER 2018 “One of my favorite moments is a duet that takes place between Charlie and his sister Bea on the Golden Gate Bridge. Jake Heggie’s writing captures the brisk thrill of the wind dancing across your face and through your hair. It’s magic.” -Robert Wesley Mason

Read the full interview here.


All Dressed Up… in PLAYBILL

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SEPTEMBER 2018 “Directed by Hannah Ryan (Hamilton), the cast will feature NaTasha Yvette Williams (Waitress) as Joan Wilkes, Jordan Barrow (The Tempest) as her son Dez, Sean Allan Krill (Jagged Little Pill) as Jacky, Robert Wesley Mason (The Consul) as Amish farmer Amos, Caitlin Houlahan (Waitress) as Rebecca, Amos' rebellious daughter, Bianca Leigh (Transamerica) as Barbie, Liz Larsen (Beautiful) as Bonnie, DeMone (Miss Saigon) as Mr. Sapper, and Nehal Joshi (Gettin’ the Band Back Together) and Lori Hammel (Mamma Mia!) in multiple roles.

All Dressed Up and Nowhere to Go has music and lyrics by Jimmy Roberts and a book by Catherine Filloux and John Daggett, with additional lyrics by Daggett.

In the new musical, Joan Wilkes must sell The Big Dipper Inn, her offbeat and debt-ridden motel in Buffalo, known for its singing hostess and rich family history. But when a monster blizzard maroons a group of Amish folks and a busload of cross-dressers on her doorstep, possibilities abound.”

Read more here.


All Dressed Up… Industry Reading


Times Union Preview of THE CONSUL AT OPERA SARATOGA

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JULY 2018 "After making his exit in the opening scene, baritone Robert Wesley Mason — aka John — sits on the side. He watches as his castmates rehearse the next one, set in the consulate and filled with people trapped in a dehumanizing stranglehold of red tape.

Talking at the break, he fights back tears. 'God, this week — you know?,' he says, eyes welling. 'You see everything on the news, with families ripped apart.' He shakes his head. Hard to escape the parallels with the U.S.-Mexican border. 'It's been on our minds the whole time. Everything. Obviously. But this, today — it's just an energy.'

Read more from the Times Union preview of the Opera Saratoga production of Menotti's The Consul here.


Carnegie Hall Debut

Matt Madison Clark Photography

Matt Madison Clark Photography

MARCH 2018 "The works to be performed are In Real Life (text by David Cote), Batter's Box, (text by Kenny Berkowitz and Bridget Meeds) and Crossing the Hudson (text by Mark Campbell), and three world premieres: Night Songs (settings of poems by W. H. Auden, Michael Collier, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Dana Gioia, and Ted Kooser), CAPTCHA (premiere of a version for mezzo soprano and piano), and Spring Songs (settings of poems by Edna St. Vincent Millay, Richard Wilbur, Ann Stanford, William Carlos Williams, and Sara Teasdale).

The program's performers are Marnie Breckenridge, soprano; Blythe Gaissert, mezzo-soprano; Alok Kumar, tenor; Robert Wesley Mason, baritone; David Neal, bass-baritone; Geoffrey Burleson, piano; and Blair McMillen, piano."

Read more here.


Last Moment of Clarity wraps filming in Virginia

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FEBRUARY 2018 Wes recently wrapped filming in Virginia for his role in the upcoming thriller Last Moment of Clarity:

"The story centers on a man played by Zach Avery who witnesses the murder of his fiancée, portrayed by Weaving, in Brooklyn and flees to Paris to forget. Three years later, he finds himself a paranoid drifter, until one day at a Parisian cinema, he spots an actress who, to his mind, looks uncannily like his dead ex-love. He returns to Los Angeles, reconnects with his old friend (Chaikin), and together they try to avoid the Albanian mafia while uncovering the truth about his fiancée."

The cast includes Samara Weaving, Carly Chaikin, Brian Cox, Udo Kier, Pasha Lychnikoff, Hal Ozsan, and Zach Avery.

You can read more about the film here in Variety.


AS ONE opens this week in Kansas City

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JANUARY 2018 "The Lyric Opera of Kansas City will present “As One,” a contemporary chamber opera this weekend that follows the journey of a boy growing up and becoming a woman named Hannah.

But pretty much everyone involved in the production agrees: This tale transcends transgender issues and offers something for anyone who has struggled with issues of identity. And that, they all point out, is pretty much everyone."
Continue reading the feature here.


THREE WAY cast recording now available!

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NOVEMBER 2017 "An Il trittico for the Tinder generation, THREE WAY is a new opera on the present and future of sex and love with music by Robert Paterson (The Whole Truth) and a libretto by David Cote (The Scarlet Ibis). In three playful one-acts, average heroes explore the worlds of android lovers, BDSM and multiple partners in their searches for the emotional connections that are ever-elusive in today s romantic world. Featuring Nashville Opera, conducted by Dean Williamson. Original cast recording." 

Available here:
American Modern Recordings
Amazon
iTunes


ADULTHOOD makes festival rounds and wins award!

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SEPTEMBER 2017 Adulthood, the newest series from writer-director-actor Rob Alicea in which Wes lends vocals as an anonymous dating guru, has been making the festival rounds this past fall from the New York Latino Film Festival to the YoFiFest and more! Recently, Adulthood won best short at this year's Freehold Film Festival!

"An anonymous dating guru. A single dad. A struggling musician. And a slacker in love with his paid escort. Four best friends living in Astoria, Queens band together to take on man's greatest challenge: their thirties."


All Dressed Up and Nowhere to Go
Staged reading

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SEPTEMBER 2017 Wes recently joined Broadway veterans Bradley Dean, DeMone Seraphin, Joan Barber and Julie Benko, along with Aneesh Sheth, Jennifer Fouché and Ronald Peet for a new musical reading of All Dressed Up And Nowhere To Go. Music and Lyrics by Jimmy Roberts (I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change), with additional Lyrics by John Daggett and Book by Catherine Filloux. The reading was directed by Hannah Ryan (Hamilton).


Wes talks Carousel with the St. Louis Post-Dispatch

John Lamb

John Lamb

AUGUST 2017 Wes recently sat down with Sarah Bryan Miller of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch to discuss the upcoming Union Avenue Opera production of Carousel. Read the full interview here

"I think it’s more important than ever to be doing pieces like this today, because we’re in a time when we really need to be teaching each other, to be open to empathy. ‘Carousel’ is all about empathy and vulnerability."


SIX DEGREES OF MURDER
second season appearance airs 

JULY 2017 This past week Wes appeared on Investigation Discovery's second season of Six Degrees of Murder as Robert Lewis. Be sure to check local listings for future reruns.


Three Way cast album recording
at ocean way studios

JUNE 2017 On June 21st, 2017 the Kickstarter campaign for the cast album of Robert Paterson and David Cote's Three Way was fully funded and the team went straight into the studio to get started. Recording took place at the world famous Ocean Way Studios, with Grammy® Award-winning "Producer of the Year" Blanton Alsaugh behind the board, and Dean Williamson conducting. The album will be released on the American Modern Recordings (AMR) label, and distributed by NAXOS later this year.


Wrapped first supporting television role

MARCH 2017 Wes wrapped filming for his first supporting television role! Watch out soon for season 2 of Six Degrees of Murder on Investigation Discovery.


Oklahoma! in Annapolis!

FEBRUARY 2017 Wes joins Maryland Live Arts for a concert version of Oklahoma! and his third career run as Curly McClain. Here is a brief preview from dress rehearsal.


THREE WAY IS A HIT

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JANUARY 2017 The reviews are rolling in for Paterson and Cote's Three Way at Nashville Opera and the show was met with a standing ovation and roars from its opening night crowd!

Schmopera says Wes Mason possesses a "powerful, expressive baritone," while The Tennessean reports that "Wes Mason brings a nice everyman quality to Dax, the software technician."

You can read more here:
In Review: Three Way
Nashville premieres intriguing 'Three Way'


Behind the scenes of The Companion

JANUARY 2017 Check out the newest rehearsal footage from act I of Three Way with Nashville Public Television's Arts Break: "Three Way is making its world premiere with the Nashville Opera at TPAC's Polk Theatre, January 27 thru 29th. Three Way is composed of three comedic one act operas, The Companion, Safe Word and Masquerade. The one acts hang together cohesively, exploring the themes of sex, love, loneliness and connection in our modern technological age."


DOUBT NAMED A HIGHLIGHT OF 2016 FOR ST. LOUIS

DECEMBER 2016 "Union Avenue Opera has grown steadily over the years — and steadily more adventurous. August’s production of 'Doubt,' by composer Douglas J. Cuomo and librettist John Patrick Shanley, was an example of that. It boasted the great Christine Brewer as Sister Aloysius (the role she created in Minnesota Opera’s original production), the amazing young mezzo-soprano Melody Wilson as Mrs. Miller, mezzo Elise Quagliata as Sister James and baritone Wes Mason as Father Flynn. Company director Scott Schoonover conducted; Tim Ocel was the director." -St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Press Quotes

Mazzoli and Vavrek’s
Breaking the Waves

Photo by Cory Weaver

Photo by Cory Weaver

West Edge Opera
“As Jan, baritone Robert Wesley Mason gave a gleaming, vocally burly performance that burst with life even as he spent most of the opera confined to a hospital bed.”
-The San Francisco Chronicle


Elvis Costello’s
The Juliet Letters

Photo by C. Stanley Photography

Photo by C. Stanley Photography

Urban Arias
“Robert Wesley Mason has a metallic ping in his sound that he uses to great effect straddling vocal styles. Hailing from Norfolk, Virginia, he can pull out a drawl like twang and convince us he might be someone on the circuit playing country rock then turn around and nail it as a “serious” baritone. "
-DC Theatre Scene


Escamillo in Carmen

Photo by John Borge

Photo by John Borge

Fargo-Moorhead Opera
“Fittingly, the only match for … Carmen is Robert Wesley Mason’s Escamillo, the bullfighter Carmen drops Don Jose for. It’s easy to see why. Mason owns the stage every time he’s on it, charismatic and magnetic and a joy to watch and hear…it’s hard to match Mason’s bravura when given the iconic ‘Toreador Song.’”
-InForum


Charlie iN Three Decembers

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Fargo-Moorhead Opera
”Madeline may crave the spotlight, but the roles of the children steal the show. As Charlie, Robert Wesley Mason delivers an impassioned response to Madeline’s careless Christmas letter in the first act and the baritone’s aria is a heartbreaker. It’s no surprise to see that he played the role last year for Nashville Opera.”
-Inforum


Charlie in Three Decembers

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Nashville Opera
“…a strong and bright instrument, well expressed…”
-Music City Review


John Sorel in The Consul

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Saratoga Opera
"As husband John, Robert Wesley Mason deploys his mighty baritone to stunning effect, using interpretive phrasing and nuanced delivery to build a character of confidence and passion who made a smart choice in a dedicated spouse."
-Albany Times Union


Hannah Before in As One

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Lyric Opera of Kansas City
"Mason impressed me with his direction of lines, especially when in the rich lower portions of his range. The few moments when he sang with extreme power were stunning, including his defiant declaration against John Donne with 'I am an island!' 
-KC Metropolis


Billy Bigelow in Carousel

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Union Avenue Opera
"Baritone Wes Mason looked good and sang well as Billy, bringing complexity, charm, solid vocal technique and washboard abs to the role; it's easy to see why both the mill girls and his employer, Mrs. Mullin, would fall for him, and he gave a masterfully nuanced account of Billy's Soliloquy."
-St. Louis-Dispatch


Dax/Larry in Three Way

Image by Jason Lee Denton

Image by Jason Lee Denton

American Opera Projects
"…particularly solid were the deeper-voiced cast members, with mezzo-soprano Bonet and baritone Mason both giving resonant, high-point renderings in their roles. (As Larry in act three, the latter turned up the pathos for his tortured impotence aria. “I could take that magic pill but I’d rather use my will,” indeed.)"
-Parterre Box


Curly in Oklahoma!

Live Arts Maryland
"You hear Mason’s voice before you see him. A powerful, smooth voice that hits all the right notes in all the right places. Mason nailed the dialect throughout then show never missing a beat, all that and he looked great in chaps! Not an easy task. He is a very handsome young man using his dynamic personality to win the love of Katie Dixon who plays Laurey." -MD Theatre Guide


Marcello in La bohème

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Hawaii Opera Theatre
“Mason’s virile baritone paired equally well with Caballero’s soprano, which made them especially simpatico friends."
-Honolulu Star Advertiser


Father Flynn in Doubt

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Union Avenue Opera
Wes Mason is perfectly cast as Father Flynn. He's handsome and he brings a beautiful, expressive baritone voice to the role. Mason fills the priest with energy and a convincing sincerity. "
-Broadway World


Aquilla Quick-Manning in
The Execution of Mrs. Cotton

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Spit&Vigor at the IRT Theatre
“...the proverbial tortured artistic soul cleverly disguised in a rough-around-the-edges masculine façade. He casts a metaphorical spell over Elva, enchanting her with his music, as many bad-boy musicians tend to do." -Theatre Is Easy


BelCore in L’elisir d’amore

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Gulfshore Opera
"He sails confidently through a tricky paean to army life as he tempts Nemorino to join, dangling the 20-scudi bonus Nemorino needs to buy more elixir." -Naples Daily News


Ping in Turandot

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Nashville Opera
"...brought the voices and physical humor required ...ridiculously funny." -Nashville Arts Magazine


Billy Bigelow in Carousel

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Utah Festival Opera and Musical Theater
As Billy Bigelow, Wes Mason has a robust, sharp-edged voice perfect for the role." -Deseret News


Hamlet

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Fort Worth Opera
“Wes Mason has the vocal and dramatic chops for the eponymous hero. Virile, handsome, energetic, he played Hamlet as more madcap than melancholic. This was a performance to remember.” -Opera News


Jonathan in Siren Song

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Hawaii Opera Theatre
“Baritone Wes Mason, as Jonathan/Brian the con man, was charming and sly, despicable and believable."
-Honolulu Star-Advertiser


Stanley Kowalski in
A Streetcar Named Desire

Kentucky Opera
"Mason’s resonant baritone conveys the uncontrolled physicality with which Stanley faces his world." -ArtsLouisville.com


Curly in Oklahoma!

Utah Festival Opera and Musical Theater
"When baritone Wes Mason opened Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Oklahoma! singing, 'There’s a bright golden haze on the meadow,' somewhere in the heavens, Gordon McRae must have fallen off his horse. Mason’s incomparable vocals and endearing characterization stoked but didn’t dominate the gifted cast."  -The Salt Lake Tribune


Masetto in Don Giovanni

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Opera Philadelphia
"Baritone Wes Mason conveyed the right level of jealousy and vocal prowess as Masetto." -Culture Vulture


Achilla in Giulio Cesare

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Opera Roanoke
"Wes Mason revealed the many shades of his finely-wrought baritone." -Vissi d'arte


Escamillo in
The Tragedy of Carmen

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Syracuse Opera
”Wes Mason as the toreador, Escamillo showed excellent control and flexibility in ‘Votre toast, je peux vous le render.’”
-Syracuse.com


Marcello in La bohème

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Fort Worth Opera
"The vocal standout for me is Mason's Marcello, with a gorgeous baritone..." -Dallas Morning News


Reinaldo in Before Night Falls

Fort Worth Opera
"A gifted and fiercely committed young baritone whose voice is spacious and reverberant.” -Opera News