Kenneth Shaw, voice
American bass-baritone Kenneth Shaw, who has been hailed for his "strong, impassioned and lyrical" voice (Opera News), has established himself as one of America's most talented and versatile artists. He has performed with opera companies throughout North America to critical acclaim. He has sung over 70 leading roles in over 50 operas, as well as concerts and recitals across America, Southeast Asia, Brazil, Canada and the United Kingdom.
Though teaching aspiring professional singers is now his primary focus, Mr. Shaw’s singing remains in demand. He continues to add new roles and new companies to his long list of accomplishments - most recently, Friar Lawrence in the uniformly lauded 2019 Cincinnati Opera production of Romeo et Juliette.
In 2017-18, after joining Tulsa’s Signature Symphony for Shostakovich’s The Execution of Stepan Razin, and the Kentucky Symphony in another role debut as Timur in Turandot, Kenneth Shaw essayed his first Wotan in Das Rheingold with Pittsburg Festival Opera, garnering rave reviews. Earlier in 2017, Mr. Shaw had both a role and company debut as Old Doctor in Samuel Barber’s Vanessa with Toledo Opera, and returned to Dayton Opera for an astonishing 16th production - this time, as Secret Policeman in The Consul, again garnering top notices. Mr. Shaw is distinguished as the artist with the most performances in Dayton Opera history, having sung Leporello in Don Giovanni, Abimelech in Samson et Dalila, Gideon March in Little Women, Monterone in Rigoletto, Angelotti in Tosca, twice as King in Aida, as well as Sprecher in Die Zauberflöte, Don Pizzaro in Fidelio, Frank in Die Fledermaus, Baron Duphol in La Traviata and Don Basilio in Il barbiere di Siviglia.
Since winning New York City Opera's Richard F. Gold Award as Debut Artist of the Year, Kenneth Shaw sang many roles with this company, including Escamillo in Carmen, the title role in Don Giovanni, Sharpless in Madama Butterfly, Enrico in Lucia di Lammermoor, Count Almaviva in Le nozze di Figaro, Marcello in La bohème, Silvio in I Pagliacci, and Germont in La traviata with the company on tour in Taiwan.
In addition to New York City Opera, Cincinnati Opera, Kentucky Opera, New Orleans Opera and Opera Memphis also figure prominently in Kenneth Shaw’s career.
For New Orleans Opera, Kenneth Shaw has appeared as Wolfram in Tannhäuser, Escamillo in Carmen, Sharpless in Madama Butterfly, and Count Almaviva in Le nozze di Figaro. With Opera Memphis he has sung Rodrigo in Don Carlo, Valentin in Faust, and the title role in The Mikado. With Kentucky Opera his roles have included Jochanaan in Salome, Sarastro in Die Zauberflöte, and the title role in the world premiere of The Stone Man. With the Greater Miami Opera (Florida Grand) he has sung Scarpia in Tosca, a role he has also performed on tour with New York City Opera National Company. He has appeared as Zurga in Les Pêcheurs de perles with the Cleveland Opera, Pizarro in Fidelio with Opera Columbus, John Proctor in The Crucible with the Chautauqua Opera, Figaro in Le nozze di Figaro with Tri-Cities Opera, and Blitch in Susannah at Converse College in performances telecast on PBS.
He has also appeared as Don Basilio with Opera Columbus, Lyric Opera of Waco, Nevada Opera, and Shreveport Opera. He has appeared as Monterone in Rigoletto with Cincinnati Opera, Don Alfonso in Così fan tutte with Opera North, Zaccaria in Nabucco with Utah Festival Opera, Sam in Un ballo in maschera and Colline in La bohème with Atlanta Opera. He has also sung Colline with Opera Columbus and Opera Birmingham.
Kenneth Shaw's many orchestral engagements have included performances in Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 with the Louisville Orchestra, Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra and the Cincinnati Symphony. He has sung Handel's Messiah with the Baton Rouge Symphony and the Syracuse Symphony, Brahms' Requiem with the Columbus Symphony under conductor Christian Badea, and Beethoven's Missa Solemnis with the Memphis Symphony Orchestra. He has sung Verdi’s Requiem with the CCM Philharmonia and Springfield Symphony.
Kenneth Shaw can be heard in the role of the Mill Foreman in Janácek's Jenufa on the BIS label, recorded live with the Opera Orchestra of New York. He can also be heard as Bass Soloist in Mozart’s Requiem with the Atlanta Opera Orchestra on ACA Digital.
Mr. Shaw has been a prize winner in both Liederkranz Foundation Competitions for Voice and for Wagnerian Voice. He took the first prize in the New York Opera Index Competition, and was subsequently one of sixteen young American singers selected by Opera News to "Keep Your Eye On."
As a recitalist, Mr. Shaw has collaborated with such fine artists as Donna Loewy, Kenneth Griffiths and Marie-France LeFebvre. With Ms. Loewy, he premiered two of the Shakespeare Songs by Glen Roven.
Kenneth Shaw has taught theater in the Memphis, TN public school system, and has maintained a private voice studio throughout his singing career.
In 1996, he joined the voice faculty of the Petrie School of Music at Converse College in Spartanburg, SC, and served as Artistic Director of Converse Opera Theater. In 1999, Kenneth Shaw joined the distinguished voice faculty of the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music where he serves as Professor of Voice and Co-Artistic Director with his talented colleague, Amy Johnson, of Opera d’arte, the CCM Undergraduate Opera. Kenneth Shaw’s students regularly appear in young artist programs and in opera houses including the Metropolitan Opera, Seattle Opera, Santa Fe Opera, Deutche Oper Berlin, Zurich and Cologne, among many others, and in leading roles on Broadway, as well as taking university voice and choral positions around the country.
An accomplished stage director, set designer and producer, Kenneth Shaw has directed productions of Don Pasquale, Amahl and the Night Visitors, The Medium, Le Nozze di Figaro, Dialogues of the Carmelites, La Traviata, Susannah, La Canterina, Little Red Riding Hood, Hansel and Gretel, Dido and Aeneas, L’Egisto, L’enfant et les sortileges, The Cunning Little Vixen, Serse, Gianni Schicchi Orpheus in the Underworld, Alcina, Albert Herring and Die Zauberflöte, with Opera Company of Mid-Michigan, Kentucky Opera, Ithaca Opera, and the opera programs at Converse College, William Penn College and The Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music.