REVIEWS

Prince of Players, Florentine Opera

"Baritone Keith Phares gave a masterful, engaging performance, both vocally and physically, moving between the male identity of Kynaston and his onstage female characters." Milwaukee Journal Sentinel 10-13-2018

 Le nozze di Figaro, Opera Maine

The role of Count Almaviva, problematic at any time and never more so than in today’s climate, is often portrayed as a typical womanizing scoundrel, with hardly a redeeming feature. Keith Phares brought out all the contradictions of the character while never minimizing his dominance and powerful sense of entitlement. Phares’s baritone was impressive and resonant throughout, ranging from his furious “Vedro, mentr’io sospiro” to his beautifully modulated final plea, “Contessa, perdono,” emphasizing his humanity and at least a sincere intention of reforming." Opera News 10-2018

 “Phares, in fine voice, captured the count’s assured sense of entitlement, which made his more subtle approach to his character’s irritation at being constantly thwarted by Figaro, Susanna, the countess and even the young servant Barbarina, work all the more powerfully.” Portland Press Herald 7-26-2018

Il Pigmalione/Rita, Chicago Opera Theater

"Gasparo was sung by the excellent Keith Phares. Given his pedigree in contemporary opera, it was a pleasure to fully appreciate the velvety beauty of Phares’s fine lyric baritone in something from the bel canto era. His singing was unfailingly attractive and disciplined, and delivered with beautiful legato." Opera News 8-2018

SCARE PAIR: Usher House/Canterville Ghost, Los Angeles Opera

 

Phares as Roderick Usher, with a warm and pliant baritone and sensitive acting, was the only cast member who elicited real compassion in an otherwise rather camp production. ...in The Canterville Ghost...Phares, singing the role of Hiram Otis, handled the comedy as effortlessly as he did the tragedy in Usher House." Seen and Heard International Jun 27, 2018

"Again, the giant video monitor contributed greatly to the piece’s appeal, with highly-colorful depictions of a cemetery, a park, the library of the manor, and the hologram-like room of the ghost. So did the lively acting, from Phares’ portrayal of the American capitalist Hiram Otis for whom consumer goods and litigation can solve any problem (Otis even proposes to charge the ghost rent on his property!) to the two bratty, ghost-busting twin “boys” – mezzo-sopranos Augusta Caso and Hilary Ginther – who torment Sir Simon." Classical Voice North America Jun 26, 2018

"Keith Phares (who played Roderick Usher, Madeline’s twin brother) ably shared the comedic duties as Hiram Otis (the head of the American family)" LA Weekly June 26, 2018

"Keith Phares as Roderick Usher took over the stage and found in Dominic Armstrong's Poe his worthy equal. Canterville Ghost...casting was brilliant throughout...Phares returned to lend a really open-hearted – what we used to call American – quality to Mr Otis." bachtrack.com Jun 25, 2018 

"The character of Roderick, portrayed by Keith Phares, changes from a companionable brother with a disabled sister, to a man who dreams of power with veiled references to Wagner's RING CYCLE. Phares sang with a resonant baritonal sound that contrasted well with Armstrong's tenor. The voices of the two men surrounded the audience with an ocean of sound..."Broadway World Jun 25, 2018 

"Keith Phares made a powerful Roderick in “Usher” and a cocksure Hiram Otis in “Canterville.”" Los Angeles Times Jun 25, 2018

Il Pigmalione/Rita, Chicago Opera Theater

"Phares is more cultivated and cool as Gasparo, neatly balancing out the other two. All three are commendable vocally and handle the complex and rapid-fire trio which comprises the final third section of the opera." spotlightonlake.com Apr 25, 2018

 

"Abreu, Mortellaro, and Phares each have voices with power to enthrall..." picturethispost.com Apr 22, 2018

 

"Unlike the Lyric Opera, there was an ease about the performance and an effortlessness in the performances of the singers. They were powerful but not pompous and seemed to genuinely enjoy what they were doing." buzznews.net Apr 20, 2018

 

"Baritone Keith Phares as first husband Gasparo is well realized. He is suave and completely unaware of either his chauvinism or his callousness. His gloriously smooth singing makes us believe a woman could fall for him, but only at her peril." hpherald.com Apr 18, 2018

 

"Phares’ Gasparo is more of an alpha male to Abreu’s Beppe and his panache brought a different energy to the show." operawire.com Apr 17, 2018

 

"Phares also sings strongly as Gasparo, a strutting and conceited male chauvinist and wife beater who gets his comeuppance with a pie in the face at the end." Chicago Tribune April 15, 2018

 

"In a bit more than two hours Chicago Opera Theater’s enchanted matched set, a Chicago first, delivers an opera lover’s dreams on a golden platter. Thanks to three splendid singers, Donizetti has come full circle in his abundant artistry. Suddenly 2018 feels a lot more bearable." stageandcinema.com Apr 15, 2018

 

"Baritone Keith Phares as Gasparo has a fine robust voice, clear and even from top to bottom, and brings off the swagger and arrogance of a bullying husband in a believable but not too disturbing way."

buzznews.net Apr 15, 2018

Viva Opera!, Florentine Opera

"There she [Rena Harms] was partnered [singing the Nedda/Silvio duet from I Pagliacci] by another of the concert’s outstanding guests, baritone Keith Phares, also dynamic as Carmen’s toreador and then playing tender counterpoint in The Pearl Fishers to tenor John Pickle." urbanmilwaukee.com Mar 19, 2018

 

Sister Carrie (Recording)

"Keith Phares, who created Elmer Gantry, sings Hurstwood with charisma. He radiates hospitality in his rousing first number and shines in a pitiably ironic Act II piece." Opera News Feb 2018

 

"The principal singers - ...baritone Keith Phares (Hurstwood)...set high standards for future casts."

Gramophone Nov 2017

 

SCARE PAIR: Usher House/Canterville Ghost, Center for Contemporary Opera

"Keith Phares tempered Roderick's neurosis with natural warmth and sang with a bright, penetrating baritone..." Opera News Jan 2018

 

"All praise goes to the cast, who gave this material their full commitment. Keith Phares played Roderick Usher sympathetically." New York Concert Review Oct 21, 2017

 

L'élisir d'amore, Boston Midsummer Opera

...Keith Phares’s Belcore, dispatched with vigor, suavity, and charisma to burn Boston Globe Jul 31, 2017

 

“...Belcore, masterfully sung by baritone Keith Phares...chewing scenery with a robust, ringing tone.”

Boston Music Intelligencer Jul 29, 2017

The Trial, Opera Theatre of Saint Louis

“Baritone, Keith Phares, as the Lawyer Huld, sang in clean lines with tidy pitch, summoning frightening authority when needed.”  Opera News Sept 2017

 

“Keith Phares seemed to be having a field day with the triple challenges of the Magistrate, Assistant, and the bedridden (or is he?) Lawyer Huld. Mr. Phares’ fluid baritone is warm and ingratiating, and it has adopted a pleasing patina over the years”. Opera Today Jun 25, 2017

 

Keith Phares makes Huld, the lawyer, the epitome of legalistic power and obfuscation.

KDHX.com Jun 6, 2017

 

“Baritone Keith Phares brought his clear voice and strong stage presence to bear most notably as Lawyer Huld.” St. Louis Post-Dispatch Jun 5, 2017

 

Werther, Manitoba Opera

Keith Phares as Charlotte's husband, Albert, has a tone and presence that really suit the role.

CBC NEWS May 4, 2017

“Albert, performed by American baritone Keith Phares is solid and true, besotted with his wife, with his resonant voice clearly projecting while providing steady ballast to Werther’s eloquent arias.”

Winnipeg Free Press May 1, 2017

Three Decembers, Hawaii Opera Theatre

“Phares, through body language alone, conveyed Charlie as alternately exasperated with, then sympathetic, then protective of his mother as the story unfolds over a 30-year span...I simply have not heard singing so uniformly excellent, so authentically expressive before...Phares’ baritone is powerful throughout the range, with fantastic diction…” Honolulu Star-Advertiser Mar 25, 2017

 

Riders of the Purple Sage, Arizona Opera

“As “bad guys” Elder Tull and Bishop Dyer, bass-baritone Kristopher Irmiter and baritone Keith Phares provided more than enough dark tones and evil opposition to contrast with the love of both couples.”

operatoday.com Mar 7, 2017

 

“Kohn's libretto is true to Zane Grey's classic 1912 novel, and the lingo of ranchers, cowpokes and gunslingers resonates with authenticity in the voices of a superb cast, featuring (in the production I saw) Karin Wolverton, Morgan Smith, Joshua Dennis, Amanda Opuszynski, Kristopher Irmiter, and Keith Phares.”

broadwayworld.com Mar 6, 2017

Candide, New York City Opera

“The baritone Keith Phares brings a virile voice and deadpan comedic gifts to Maximilian, Cunegonde’s self-absorbed brother, who primps constantly to maintain his reputation as the handsomest young man in the realm.” New York Times Jan 9, 2017

 

Baritone Keith Phares was an unusually potent Maximilian, her vain brother.”

Wall Street Journal Jan 10, 2017

“Keith Phares used his baritone to great - and funny- effect as the self-involved Maximilian...

theaterscene.net Jan 10, 2017

“The narcissistic Maximilian is well served by Keith Phares's droll manifestation and excellent vocals.”

Woman Around Town (Alix Cohen) Jan 10, 2017

“Hands down, the best singing came from...Meghan Picerno...and the suave-toned Keith Phares.”

Gay City News (David Shengold) Feb 5, 2017

Carmen, Opera Santa Barbara

“Keith Phares brought a rich, full voice to Escamillo…” Opera News Feb 2017

 

Sister Carrie, Florentine Opera

“Baritone Keith Phares nailed the assignment with a beautifully sung, keenly nuanced account of Hurstwood’s plunge into desolate desperation. Beyond his work in standard rep, Phares has carved out a notable career niche as an authentic contemporary-American-opera divo. His George joined an impressive gallery of finely-drawn character portraits.” Opera News Nov 2016

 

“Adriana Zabala was thoroughly convincing in her title role and possessive of a lovely, lilting mezzo-soprano. Fully her equal was scene-stealing baritone Keith Phares as her tormented lover, George.”

Shepherd Express Oct 11, 2016

“...hard to imagine a better Carrie than mezzo Adriana Zabala nor an improvement to baritone Keith Phares as her imploding lover, George Hurstwood.” urbanmilwuakee.com Oct 10, 2016

“Mezzo-soprano Adriana Zabala gave a dramatically compelling, beautifully sung performance in the title role on Friday. Baritone Keith Phares was strikingly well matched to Zabala in the role of Hurstwood, both in dramatic presence and focused, refined, vocal deliveries.” Journal Sentinel Oct 8, 2016

Le nozze di Figaro, Opera Saratoga

“Basler’s Susanna and Keith Phares's impossibly dapper (silly ‘70s ‘stache and all) Count Almaviva—in excellent vocal shape and wisely directed to show some appealing, vulnerable qualities alongside the character’s slime factor—would succeed on any stage, anywhere...Phares aced the tricky F sharp.”

Opera News Oct 2016

“Keith Phares has a romantic stage presence that is perfect for the scoundrel Count. His rich baritone gives the character a sense of sincerity that makes you understand why people forgive his boorish behavior. ... Phares is burdened with the almost impossible task of making the despicable man always likeable. That on most every occasion he succeeds is a tribute to his skill.” saratogian.com Jun 29, 2016

“The Count Almaviva was a revolting mixture of self-love, snobbery, dishonesty, licentiousness and later a shallow obsequiousness, acted perfectly and sung with powerful bass [sic] by Keith Phares.”

timesunion.com Jun 28, 2016

“Keith Phares was lyrically splendid as Count Almaviva.” dailygazette.com Jun 27, 2016

 

Three Decembers, Florentine Opera

“As Charlie the son, good-looking baritone Keith Phares (recently of Elmer Gantry fame) came off as something of an audience favorite.  With his rich, silken baritone, he balanced a carefully wrought vocal performance of grief and regret without obvious attempts at sympathy.” Shepherd Express Mar 17, 2016

 

“Soprano Rena Harms and baritone Keith Phares gave spot-on performance Friday evening as siblings Charlie and Beatrice, creating completely believable characters and playing strong, moving solo and ensemble scenes. Beautifully matched vocally, both Harms and Phares gave polished, precise deliveries of the sometimes angular, sometimes quite lyrical vocal writing, making use of the small-for-opera performing space to make strong connections between their characters and the audience.”

Journal Sentinel Mar 12, 2016

 

“The cast...make you feel the emotions of their characters through their sublime full voices, mannerisms and interactions.” Urban Milwaukee Mar 17, 2016

Show Boat, Kentucky Opera

“The arrival of Gaylord Ravenal (Keith Phares) injects an assured energy into both the story and this production. “Make Believe,” his duet with Magnolia (Emily Albrink), embodies exactly how a naïve girl could be swept up by his romantic vision. Both a charmer and an opportunist, Phares’ Gaylord manages to persuade us that his abandonment of Magnolia is done with sincere regret, paving the way for his world-wiser return at the end.” arts-louiville.com Feb. 19, 2016

 

“But it was two male performers who stood out most. Baritone Keith Phares as Gaylord Ravenal had a swagger of a stalwart and seductive voice to embody his character…” Courier-Journal Feb. 19, 2016  

 

Les pêcheurs des perles, Seattle Opera

“Baritone Keith Phares showed off a strong voice and a commanding physical presence, as well as acting chops that almost made Zurga's frequent, drastic changes of mood believable.”

Seattle Gay News Oct 23, 2015

“On Sunday, Keith Phares and Anthony Kalil took over as Zurga and Nadir, with Elizabeth Zharoff as L”éila...Phares a strong, conflicted Zurga.” Seattle Times Oct 19, 2015

The Consul, Florida Grand Opera

“Keith Phares has a beautiful baritone which along with his impeccable diction creates a gripping character whom the audience never really gets to know; not an easy feat to pull off. Their concluding trio in the first scene is brilliant offering a testament to this opera’s often neglected tenderness.”

ConcertoNet.com May 12, 2015

“As the wounded revolutionary husband, Keith Phares doesn’t have the same amount of stage time, but the GQ-handsome hero has a commanding pure baritone that, when singing English words, is as plausible and convincing as anyone can be singing grand opera. Phares set hearts aflutter, as they say, when he played Orin in 2013’s memorable Mourning Becomes Electra.” Sun Sentinel May 11, 2015

 

“Although his stage time is brief, in many ways the opera revolves around the plight of John Sorel. Keith Phares’ rich lyric baritone, perfect diction and fierce declamation infused his every appearance with dramatic impact.” Miami Herald May 11, 2015

 

“In the role of John Sorel, baritone Keith Phares cuts a dashing figure. He is a handsome man with a powerful voice and a big personality. The role is on the small side so we don't see him on stage as much as we might like, but he makes good use of every moment of his stage time.” edgemiami.com May 13, 2015

 

“In the role of John Sorel, Phares is very well cast. With leading man looks and a strong baritone voice it really is a shame we only get to see him at the beginning, flying out a window and being arrested near the end of act three.” shotglassreview.com May 13, 2015

 

“The handsome Phares as Magda’s husband possessed a strong and clear baritone, his revolutionary character resolute and enigmatic through his dramatic entrance, bleeding from a gunshot wound, to his surrender…” miamiartzine.com May 13, 2015

 

Le nozze di Figaro, New Orleans Opera

“Baritone Keith Phares brought a striking stage presence as Count Almaviva as well as a strong voice; his range throughout impressed.” The Times-Picayune Apr 13, 2015

 

The Scarlet Ibis, PROTOTYPE

“As Father, Keith Phares sang with a fullness and clarity that one often yearns for in singers of contemporary music.” Opera News April 2015

 

Carmina Burana, Tulsa Ballet

“Soloists Keith Phares, Elizabeth Fischborn and Gregory Schmidt were outstanding.”

Tulsa World Nov 1, 2014

La cenerentola, Tulsa Opera

“[Keith Phares] makes Dandini's entrance "Come un'ape ne giorni d'aprile" into a bravura showcase of comedy...his deftly wielded wit allows his character to steal just about every scene.”

Tulsa World Oct 24, 2014

  

The End of the Affair, West Edge Opera

“Baritone Keith Phares sang the role of Maurice Bendrix in earlier productions of The End of the Affair at the Madison Opera and Lyric Opera of Kansas City. He has honed the vocal and dramatic complexities of the part to perfection and the pure indignation with which he vents his anger at God after Sarah’s death was awe-inspiring.” San Francisco Classical Voice Aug 3, 2014

 

“As Maurice, Keith Phares was the afternoon's standout. The baritone combined dramatic focus and vocal assurance throughout, rising to his final confrontation with gripping emotional power.”

San Jose Mercury News  Aug 4, 2014

“...Carrie Hennessey...delivering her assignment with vocal freshness and ardor, and baritone Keith Phares as Maurice matched her, soaring phrase for soaring phrase.” sfgate.com Aug 4, 2014

 

La bohème, Manitoba Opera

“Keith Phares (MO debut) delivers a standout performance as smock-wearing artist Marcello, Rodolfo's loyal friend and tempestuous lover of saucy playgirl Musetta. He painted his character with testosterone-fuelled swagger, brooding about love with Rodolfo during their duet O Mimi, tu più non torni.”

Winnipeg Free Press  Apr 7 2014

Elmer Gantry, Tulsa Opera

“Phares is the only person to have sung the role of Elmer in its professional productions, and his depth of understanding of this rather shallow character is evident from the start. His booming, confident baritone gives a swagger to such scenes as Elmer’s drunken tales that open the opera, his pitching farm tools with a “death-bed confession” story, or his angry aria at his rejection by Sharon, and his determination to “never be the same again.” Phares is equally adept at comedy, and in his duets with Chavez and Fischborn — two examples of Elmer’s way with the ladies, as seducer and the one being unknowingly seduced.”

Tulsa World Feb 27 2014

Paul's Case, PROTOTYPE

“As Paul’s business minded father, Keith Phares used his powerful baritone to assert a compelling authority that only the hardiest of fools would ignore, yet could color his phrases with shades of loss, evoking genuine sympathy when betrayed by his son.” musicvstheater.com Jan 27, 2014

 

“...rich-voiced baritone Keith Phares, incisive in his bombastic solos as the boy’s father…”

The New York Observer Jan 14, 2014

“The vocalists did exemplary work throughout the 90-minute piece, with especially fine singing by Mr. Phares as the stern but solicitous father.” The New York Times Jan 10, 2014

 

“The unsung star is baritone Keith Phares, Paul’s father: he has a burning, incisive intensity that grounds the opera in human feeling and tragedy.” newyorkclassicalreview.com Jan 9, 2014

 

Mourning Becomes Electra, Florida Grand Opera

“Keith Phares was striking as Lavinia's brother Orin, who unravels mentally in the wake of his father's murder.” Opera News Feb 2014

 

 

 

“Keith Phares’ Orin was sung with authority and pathos.” operamusicbroadcast.com Nov 22, 2013

 

“Not that this takes away from the marvelous and down-right virtuosic singing by the entire cast. There was no weak link at this assembly.” artburstmiami.com Nov 21, 2013

 

“Phares, as the likable and conflicted Orin, brought a pleasing baritone voice to his character. At times sounding like a tenor, Phares was comfortable in the upper register, smooth as he traversed his gamut of emotion from dealing with “one more ghost” to plotting to dispatch his mother’s lover.”

miamiartzine.com Nov 19, 2013

“The cast has no weak links, only members who are truly committed to the piece.”

ConcertoNet.com Nov 16, 2013

 

“Baritone Keith Phares, who played Orin Mannon, the tortured brother and mama’s boy, also was excellent, with a beautiful, rich voice and an effective stage manner in which the tempestuousness of his character was expertly communicated.” palmbeachartspaper.com Nov 15, 2013

 

“Baritones Keith Phares as Orin Mannon, and Thomas Lehman as Peter Niles sang excellently in their roles.”  edgemiami.com Nov 11, 2013

 

“An equally strong performance was given by Keith Phares as Ezra’s son Orin, whose vigorous, youthful voice darkened as his character became more twisted.”  southfloridaclassicalreview.com Nov 9, 2013

 

“Morgan Smith’s Adam and Keith Phares’ Orin produced strong, clear voices that embraced Levy’s lyricism but never seemed as if they were over-emoting. The men could even be deeply affecting…”

floridatheateronstage.com Nov 8, 2013

Paul's Case, UrbanArias

“If operatic meat and potatoes is what you want, Baritone Keith Phares as Paul’s father is a succulent feast ...Phares manages to break the sound barrier with profound, chill-inducing precision.”

dcmetrotheaterarts.com Apr 21, 2013

“Keith Phares as Paul's father embodies well the strict disciplinarian.  His stern deep voice seems to carry all the pompous weight of a man formed and imprisoned by the industrial age society, and, at the same time, this singer actor touches me with a father's consternation over his lost son.”

dctheatrescene.com Apr 23, 2013

La bohème, Seattle Opera

“[Playing Marcello] Keith Phares, ...was vocally superb and dramatically excellent.”

The Seattle Times Feb 25, 2013

Keith Phares was ...superb in the role of Marcello.

The Sunbreak Feb 27, 2013

Le nozze di Figaro, Opera Colorado

“Keith Phares - also in his Opera Colorado debut - struck a noble figure and offered a commanding baritone as the Count.” Opera News May 2012

“Baritone Keith Phares has the rakish looks and commanding presence necessary for the lecherous and hypocritical, yet somehow sympathetic, Count Almaviva, and his resonant tone in the Act III revenge aria was another breathtaking moment.” Daily Camera Feb 16, 2012

 

“...the performers sing as skillfully as they act. This is an ensemble piece and success depends on a well-rounded set of terrific voices, all supplied here. ...great chemistry that extends to the rest of the cast as well. This is a comedy, balance is everything, and Keith Phares (as the Count), Twyla Robinson (the Countess) and Patricia Risley (as Cherubino) all find it, singing for laughs when appropriate, but tapping a rich, earthiness that gives their characters dimension. The Denver Post Feb 12, 2012

 

Carmina Burana/Symphony Pops, Columbus Symphony

“Baritone Keith Phares showed off an impressive range.  ...the strongest theatrical performer of the three. He is an engaging actor as well as a notable singer; through his gestures and musical expression, an audience can understand each turn of phrase... His presence is commanding yet unassuming; he is every bit the modern musical-dramatic actor.” Columbus Dispatch Oct 16, 2011

“...Phares kicked off the evening with "Mab, la reine des mensonges" from Romeo and Juliet, immediately commanding the stage with his strong presence, rich, lush tones, and warm baritone voice. He patiently allowed his voice to swell with the powerful crescendos and climaxes of the music, and exuded an honest confidence that set him apart from the other soloists. When the music shifted to Broadway classics in the Second Act, Phares clearly became in his element as an impressive actor with a beautiful, expressive voice.” Broadway World Oct 17, 2011

La bohème, Santa Fe Opera

“Baritone Keith Phares conveyed the musician Schaunard with dapper magnetism — a delightful counterweight to his friends' tendency to self-imposed gloom.” Santa Fe New Mexican Jul 3, 2011

Carmina Burana, Virginia Symphony

 “Phares invested the character of a corrupt abbot with comic difficulty, holding on to the rails of the conductor’s platform while singing passionate high notes with effortless agility.” artsongupdate.org Jan 22, 2011

 

Carmina Burana, San Francisco Symphony

“Baritone Keith Phares, with the largest share of the duties, rose ably to the occasion, particularly in the high vocal lines of "Dies, nox et omnia."” San Francisco Chronicle Nov 5, 2010

Here and Gone from Heggie's Passing By (recording)

“Keith Phares and Paul Groves bring to the songs and duets an affecting sense of loss and regret as to the road not taken.” theclassicalreviewer.com Nov 11, 2010

“Heggie's attractive "Here and Gone" cycle is written for tenor, baritone and piano quartet, happily recalling Vaughan Williams' "On Wenlock's Edge." The singing is as fine as this distinguished lineup promises to be.”

Minneapolis Star Tribune Oct 9, 2010

Three Decembers, Central City Opera

“The standout in the three-person cast under John Baril's baton was baritone Keith Phares, who created the role of Charlie at the world premiere in 2008. With his resonant, wonderfully multidimensional voice, Phares had power to spare but could also shape soft, poignant moments with a gentle sweetness that made Charlie empathetic and real.” Opera News Oct 5, 2010

 

“Youthful baritone Keith Phares, who created the role in Houston, is a stellar Charlie...”

Daily Camera Jul 11, 2010

 

Elmer Gantry, Florentine Opera

“Keith Phares and Patricia Risley gave stand out performances as Gantry and Falconer, and their scenes together lit up the stage.”  Opera Online Mar 2010

“Keith Phares's scrupulously rendered Elmer Gantry appears a strong contender for iconographic recognition. Beautifully vocalized and bursting with charismatic smarm (think Burt Lancaster with buttery legato), Phares's achievement will prove a difficult act to follow.”                                                           Opera News Mar 21, 2010

Cosi fan Tutte, Portland Opera

“Keith Phares brought his incisive baritone and a compelling seriousness to Guglielmo.”                              The Oregonian Feb 6, 2010

“Add to the tuneful mix tenor Ryan MacPherson as Ferrando and the hunky baritone Keith Phares as the boyish Guglielmo. The goofy suitors strengthen the good chemistry.”                                    

ConcertoNet Feb 2010

“Keith Phares used his resonant and expressive baritone to the utmost, and his Guglielmo was robust and totally convincing.”               

Oregon Music News Feb 9, 2010

Il barbiere di Siviglia, Washington National Opera

“The excellent Figaro Keith Phares gave appropriate weight to his performance, and also all of the necessary virtuosity that is needed for a baritone in this difficult Rossini work.”

Drammaturgia.it Sep 29, 2009

La cenerentola, Glimmerglass Opera

“Everyone once in a while, we veteran opera-goers are privileged to see a promising artist give a break-out performance that announces a giant step forward into major stardom.  Such was the case with the wholly exceptional Dandini from the exciting young baritone Keith Phares in Glimmerglass’s quite delightful Cenerentola One third into the first act of the Rossini (up to that point a wholly competent, if not yet quite sparkling rendition), Mr. Phares strode on through the door stage left, and did not so much inhabit the stage as take complete ownership of it.  His first few utterances — virile, vibrant, “present” — caused the audience to sit up as one with immediately increased interest. Indeed, having thrown the gauntlet of vocal excitement and dramatic commitment in his opening aria, he urged the entire evening to a much higher level....nothing in his excellent prior work could have prepared me for this star-making role assumption. His voice now had even greater point and focus, his lower range filled the house without pushing, his trip-hammer melismas were spot-on, and his sassy upper register had a thrilling ping. His acting, always finely detailed, was on this occasion a veritable tour-de-force, totally in charge and in your face, and characterized by wryly funny gestures and takes. He was just up there having a hell of a good time, and so were we. And it does not hurt that he is as handsome as a young Alec Baldwin.  What a joy to anticipate the doors that should now open to him at the world’s major houses. The buzz at intermission was “who is that Dandini?” Keith, I do believe you have “arrived.” A well deserved triumph for an artist with a great future.” Opera Today Aug 2009

 

“The second brilliantly executed comedic role in this production, and another effort likely to be remembered for years to come, was Keith Phares' Dandini – valet to Ramiro who is all too eager to play the role of 'prince for a day' at his employer's request. Making his entrance sporting a slick three-piece suit, fur coat and greased-back coif, Phares resembled a character culled from a ‘30s style gangster movie.”

musicalcriticism.com, Aug 6, 2009

“The crowd loved him as it did bass Keith Phares as Dandini. He won many hearts with his resonant voice, stellar technique and comic flair, not to mention his good looks.”

The Daily Gazette Jul 19, 2009

“The second brilliantly executed comedic role in this production, and another effort likely to be remembered for years to come, was Keith Phares’ Dandini – valet to Ramiro who is all too eager to play the role of "prince for a day" at his employer’s request. Making his entrance sporting a slick three-piece suit, fur coat and greased-back coif, Phares resembled a character culled from a ‘30s style gangster movie.  The role of Dandini calls for a coloratura baritone – an uncommon vocal presence that, like the role of Angelina, demands great flexibility for the florid vocal embellishments. Phares’ handsome baritone was at once evident in his tongue-in-cheek aria Come un’ape ne’ giorni d’aprile, and his superb comedic acting spiced up the many ensemble numbers, particularly his second-act duet with Don Magnifico (Un segreto d’importanza). I was also impressed with the singer’s rhythmic skills in the second-act sextet (Siete voi?), where his razor sharp dotted-rhythmic figures were as accurate as any of the instruments accompanying the singers from the pit.” CNY Cafe Momus Jul 19, 2009

“Tessier’s handsome and affable Ramiro and Phares’ gamesome, Cary Grant-like Dandini, determined to make the most of his opportunity to impersonate Don Ramiro, made for an inspired teaming.”         

Examiner Jul 24, 2009

“Baritone Keith Phares was very funny as his valet, Dandini, thrilled and nervous about disguising himself as his master...”  Wall Street Journal Jul 29, 2009

Peter Grimes, Washington National Opera

“It helps to have such strong singers as WNO marshaled. Keith Phares sang with a marvelous frank lyricism as Ned Keene, the decent but weak apothecary who lines up Grimes's new apprentice.”                

The Washington Post March 23, 2009

Three Decembers, San Francisco Opera

“Phares, making his S.F. Opera debut, was superb. He has a rock-solid baritone with a real warmth underpinning it; it was a pleasure to listen to him alone and in duet with Clayton, especially effective in a scene where brother and sister imagine themselves re-enacting what they thought to have been one of the happiest days in their parents' short-lived marriage.”

Contra Costa Times Dec 12, 2008

“Baritone Keith Phares and soprano Kristin Clayton bring plenty of sympathy and vocal color to both roles…”

The San Francisco Chronicle Dec 13, 2008    

“The bracing baritone of Keith Phares and the expansive and sure soprano of Kristin Clayton proved potent matches for von Stade.” The Sacramento Bee Dec 14, 2008

“Baritone Phares brought a rich, accurate voice; good looks; and fine acting ability to the part of Charlie, making his performance the highlight of the production for me.”

San Francisco Classical Voice Dec 12, 2008

“Clayton and Phares were spellbinding in the perfectly delivered and deeply emotional duet “Man in the Chair” The Epoch Times Dec 16, 2008

“Phares has a gorgeous, Broadway-style voice, and Clayton is especially fine in softer singing. The shoe duet, strong enough to have Imelda Marcos turning in her grave, was delightful.”                                                          

Bay Area Reporter Dec 18, 2008

Three Decembers (recording - Houston Grand Opera)

“Interestingly, the most complex role is not Maddy but Charlie, and Keith Phares’ powerful baritone is a wonderful complement to von Stade. The role is demanding in its emotional range and Phares’ voice shifts between outrage and tenderness with stunning ease. His extended aria that opens Part II, where he sings of writing his now-dead partner Burt “four little lines” each day, seems destined to become a staple baritone aria, and singers tackling it will forever be trying to live up to its original singer. Phares is clearly a name to watch.” ConcertoNet Dec 30, 2008

 

Three Decembers (premiered under the title Last Acts)

“Baritone Keith Phares…match[ed] von Stade in grand sound and polished technique.”

Houston Chronicle, Mar 2, 2008

Elmer Gantry, Nashville Opera (premiere)

“Keith Phares, charismatically seductive in voice and person, was ideally cast as Elmer, one of

those operatic anti-heros in the line of Don Giovanni and Tom Rakewell, who charm us even as we are repelled by their morally bankrupt nature.” Opera News Feb 2008

Elmer Gantry, Peak Performances (NYC area premiere)

“Just as the film (starring Burt Lancaster) offers a more likable title character than the book’s loathsome, conniving and perennially heartless protagonist, the operatic Gantry is a more appealing character, though still seriously flawed. The baritone Keith Phares deftly illuminated both Gantry’s rapscallion ways and his genuine introspection with a warm voice and a lively stage presence.” The New York Times, Jan 25, 2008

"Keith Phares, as Gantry, has the confidence of someone who has been told he was good-looking since he was a baby, and the singer was blessed with an almost unctuously seductive baritone. He embodied the shallow jock turned sham artist." New Jersey Star-Ledger Jan 25, 2008

The End of the Affair, Lyric Opera of Kansas City

“Keith Phares was magnificent as Maurice, his ringing, bronze baritone always pleasing to the ear and his ferocity making us both love and hate him” The Kansas City Star Apr 22, 2007

Le nozze di Figaro, Arizona Opera

“For the opening night in Tucson, the part of the Count was sung by Keith Phares, who brings a kind of handsome suaveness to his role…”  The Arizona Republic Nov15, 2006

Die tote Stadt, New York City Opera

“The second aria, from Act II, is "Mein sehnen, mein wähnen," a poignant treat for the baritone voice. Thomas Hampson is a strong proponent of this song as a recital piece and for this performance, the fine young Keith Phares put it over very beautifully. This was far and away the highlight of the afternoon and the crowd knew it, rewarding him with its warmest ovation. Mr. Phares sang the role of the pilot in "The Little Prince" last season and was quite impressive.” The New York Sun Sept 26, 2006

The Merry Widow, Lyric Opera of Kansas City

“Most convincing vocally and dramatically among the cast was baritone Keith Phares as Danilo, the widow’s love interest who loves her but spurns her. He sang with bright, sinewy gold, and his natural stage sense was engaging.” The Kansas City Star Apr 30, 2006

Nixon in China, Portland Opera

“Keith Phares created an elegant Chou-en Lai.” Opera Sept 2006

“Keith Phares is a Chou of Verdian authority, with a commanding baritone voice that adds moral weight to his character.” The Oregonian Mar 27, 2006

 

The Little Prince, New York City Opera

“The stupendous baritone Keith Phares…who has a warm, inviting tone and clarity and concision of singing style, was a magnificent pilot.” New Jersey Star Ledger Nov 14, 2005

“With his attractive stage presence and heroic voice, Phares was well suited to the role. He created a stalwart and likeable hero, and was a decided asset to the production.” Bay Windows Feb 24, 2005

L'elisir d'amore, Arizona Opera

“Keith Phares has a, creamy baritone and fine comedic timing. As Belcore he had just the right swagger, and a voice so rich you kinda understood why all the women swooned over him, even though he wore his arrogance like medals on his army jacket.” The Arizona Daily Star Feb 2003

Il barbiere di Siviglia, Boston Lyric Opera

“Keith Phares was a personable, assured, and sexy Figaro with a pleasing baritone voice that tackled the score with ease and expressiveness.” Opera Now Jan/Feb 2003

“Keith Phares was dashingly handsome in the title role and nimbly jumped his attractive light baritone over all the vocal hurdles.” The Boston Globe Oct 4, 2002

Marilyn Horne Foundation recital, Juilliard Theater

“His singing was so vivid and expressive, the German words so crisp, that the specifics of the texts almost didn’t matter...and when Mr. Phares broke into a jaunty account in good old English of ‘The Most Beautiful Girl in the World’ from the Rodgers and Hear musical Jumbo, every snappy line and witty rhyme was an utter pleasure.” The New York Times Jan 23, 2002

Miss Havisham’s Fire, Opera Theater of St. Louis

“Keith Phares was heart-rending and memorable as Pip, singing with a dark baritone and conveying worlds of grief with a single glance.” St. Louis Post-Dispatch Jun 4, 2001