Christopher James

Christopher James Ray
Christopher James Ray is a conductor with a diverse background in both traditional and contemporary operatic works. He is currently Resident Conductor at Opera San José and an assistant with the San Francisco Symphony.
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Christopher James Ray

American conductor Christopher James Ray has been praised by Opera News as one who “leads with clarity and sensitivity” and by the Boston Music Intelligencer for his “excellent conducting.” A musician well versed in traditional operas as well as twentieth and twenty-first century works, Ray has held positions with the Bayreuth Festival, where he worked on productions of Der Fliegende Holländer, Lohengrin, Götterdämmerung, Tristan und Isolde, Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, and Parsifal; and with Opera San José, where he spent three seasons as resident conductor, leading works like Hansel & Gretel, Carmen, and West Side Story. In the 2022-23 season, Ray makes his debut with the Las Cruces Symphony and returns to the San Francisco Symphony where he will work with Philippe Jordan, Robin Ticciati and Rafael Payare.  Ray served as assistant to American composer Carlisle Floyd and has remained a sought-after interpreter of his late mentor’s works.  Ray is a founding member of the Carlisle Floyd Centennial Project and performs alongside mezzo-soprano Susanne Mentzer on Letter to the World, an album of Floyd’s songs on GPR Records. Ray has also enjoyed success on screen, recently conducting Jake Heggie and Gene Scheer’s Three Decembers for Opera San José, which was later shown on the channels of Houston Grand Opera, Arizona Opera,  and Fort Worth Opera. He has since conducted the work for Berkshire Opera Festival, about which Seen and Heard International wrote, "Christopher James Ray made Heggie's score pop with energy and throb with emotion." Ray’s other recent filmed productions with Opera San José include a recital of Schumann’s Dichterliebe and Tom Cipullo’s The Husbands. Ray also assisted Esa-Pekka Salonen in San Francisco Symphony’s 2022 concert film of Stravinsky’s The Soldier’s Tale.  Ray made his professional debut in his home state conducting the Mississippi Opera and has since been a part of productions with the Festival Napa Valley, Salzburg State Theater, Sarasota Opera, New York City Opera, and the Memphis, California and Lima Symphonies.

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