Martin Bakari
Praised by Opera News as a "vocally charismatic" performer with a "golden tenor", Martin Bakari continues to distinguish himself as a dynamic artist in a wide array of musical and theatrical genres.
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Stratagem Artists, New York, NY
Justin Werner

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Stratagem Artists, New York, NY
Justin Werner
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Martin Bakari

Praised by Opera News as a "vocally charismatic" performer with a "golden tenor", Martin Bakari continues to distinguish himself as a dynamic artist in a wide array of musical and theatrical genres. A 2018 George London Competition award winner, Mr. Bakari’s 2022-23 season included Charlie Parker in Charlie Parker's Yardbird at New Orleans Opera and Dayton Opera, Frederic in The Pirates of Penzance at Virginia Opera, the tenor soloist in the premiere of Paul Moravec’s A Nation of Others at Carnegie Hall with Oratorio Society of New York, Messiah with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, Pong in Turandot at Opera Colorado, Jalil/Wakil/Guard in A Thousand Splendid Suns at Seattle Opera, Carmina Burana with Symphony San Jose, a concert of arias and songs with the Harlem Chamber Players, and recitals of Paul Laurence Dunbar songs with Seattle Opera and German Lieder with Byron Schenkman at Seattle’s Benaroya Hall. In the 2023-24 season, Mr. Bakari sings Mime in Das Rheingold at Seattle Opera, Messiah at Carnegie Hall with Oratorio Society of New York, Frederic in The Pirates of Penzance at Kentucky Opera, Charlie Parker in Yardbird at Indianapolis Opera, the tenor soloist in Kodály’s Psalmus Hungaricus with Grant Park Music Festival, and Dr. Caius in Falstaff and Wilson (cover) in the premiere of Jake Heggie’s Intelligence at Houston Grand Opera.

Other recent engagements include Charlie Parker in Yardbird at Pittsburgh Opera, Atlanta Opera, and Arizona Opera, Carmina Burana at Carnegie Hall with the Cecilia Chorus of New York, Prince Claus in Mark Adamo’s Becoming Santa Claus with Chicago Opera Theater, Count Almaviva in The Barber of Seville with Intermountain Opera Bozeman, Goro in Madama Butterfly at Dallas Opera, a United Kingdom recital tour with Mirror Visions Ensemble, Don Basilio in Le nozze di Figaro at Seattle Opera and Japan’s Seiji Ozawa Matsumoto Festival, The Cartography Project with the Kennedy Center and Washington National Opera, Ferrando in Cosí fan tutte at Syracuse Opera, Triquet in Eugene Onegin at Seattle Opera, Mingo in Porgy & Bess at Atlanta Opera, Peter the Honeyman in Porgy & Bess at Seattle Opera and Fort Worth Opera, Tamino in The Magic Flute at Opéra Louisiane, Beppe in Pagliacci with Raylynmor Opera, Philip Glass’ In the Penal Colony and a double bill of David Lang’s The Difficulty of Crossing a Field and The Little Match Girl Passion at Portland Opera, La traviata and Le nozze di Figaro at Cincinnati Opera, The Summer King at Pittsburgh Opera and Michigan Opera Theatre, Murasaki’s Moon and Morning Star with On Site Opera, The Long Walk at Utah Opera and Pittsburgh Opera, The Source with LA Opera and Beth Morrison Projects, and Ellen Reid’s dreams of the new world with PROTOTYPE Festival and Trinity Wall Street. Mr. Bakari also premiered and recorded Grigory Smirnov's song cycle Dowson Songs (Naxos) which was featured by Opera News as a "Critic's Choice" recording.

Since 2016, Mr. Bakari has joined NY Harlem Productions for tours of Porgy & Bess as both Sportin' Life and Mingo, which have marked his German debuts at Semperoper Dresden, Staatsoper Hamburg, Deutsches Theater München, Alte Oper Frankfurt, and the Kölner Philharmonie, his Israeli debuts in Haifa and Tel Aviv, and his Italian debut at Bari's Teatro Petruzzelli.

As an Emerging Artist at Virginia Opera from 2014 to 2016, Mr. Bakari sang in productions of HMS Pinafore, Salome, Orpheus in the Underworld, La bohème, Roméo et Juliette, and Der fliegende Holländer. Other 2016 performances included Roméo et Juliette at Opera Carolina, Carmina Burana with the New Hampshire Philharmonic, and Le nozze di Figaro, Daniel Catán's Il postino, and Philip Glass' The Witches of Venice at Opera Saratoga.

Other notable new music credits include the leading tenor roles of Wissam in Tobin Stokes' Fallujah at the Kennedy Center, Hazel Motes in the premiere of Anthony Gatto's Wise Blood with Walker Art Center (New Focus Recordings), Marcellus in James Dashow’s Archimedes (Neuma Records), and Lorenzo in William Bolcom's Lucrezia, Grivet in Tobias Picker's Thérèse Raquin, Katz in Stephen Paulus' The Postman Always Rings Twice, and a national tour of Wynton Marsalis' Abyssinian Mass (Blue Engine Records/Sony).

Chosen by James Levine to sing in a Tanglewood production of Ariadne auf Naxos, Mr. Bakari spent two summers as a Tanglewood Fellow during which he also sang John Harbison's Full Moon in March and Milhaud's L'Enlèvement d'Europe and L'Abandon d'Ariane directed by Mark Morris. Of his performance in Full Moon in March, The New York Times wrote, "Bakari mastered completely the high-tension and occasionally melodic vocal writing".

In addition to the George London Competition, Mr. Bakari has received major awards from the Palm Beach Opera Vocal Competition, Orpheus Vocal Competition, Tanglewood, the Juilliard School, and Boston University. He has since been engaged by Palm Beach Opera and has also appeared with Madison Opera, Opera North, Eugene Opera, Opera Ebony, Little Opera Theatre of NY, Pine Mountain Music Festival, and Brooklyn Art Song Society.

Mr. Bakari is an alumnus of the master's degree program at Juilliard, the B.M. and Opera Institute programs at Boston University, and the study-abroad program at London's Royal College of Music. In addition to the numerous opera and musical theatre roles he performed while in Boston, he was an active concert soloist with performances including Elijah at Symphony Hall and a solo concert of Italian arias with the Salem Philharmonic Orchestra. A Filipino-African American, Mr. Bakari is featured as the cover story of FilAm Magazine’s June 2022 issue.

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