Ben Wager, bass-baritone
Ben Wager is a 2009 graduate of the Academy of Vocal Arts in Philadelphia, where his roles included: Raimondo in Lucia di Lammermoor, Enrico in Anna Bolena, the title role in Mendelssohn’s Elijah, Sparafucile in Rigoletto, Don Alfonso in Così fan tutte and Padre Guardiano in La forza del destino.
Mr. Wager’s 2016-2017 season features a return to the Lyric Opera of Kansas City for performances of the Police Sergeant in Pirates of Penzance, a return to the Deutsche Oper Berlin in a variety of roles, and a solo recital with the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society.
Last season brought a company debut as Figaro in Le Nozze di Figaro with Opera San Jose. After highly successful prior engagements with Minnesota Opera, the bass returned in the role of Vodnik in Dvorak’s Rusalka, and also returned to Opera Delaware as Lo Spettro/Luciano in Amleto.
Mr. Wager’s 2014-2015 season brought an anticipated debut in Oslo with Den Norske Opera as Escamillo in Carmen, and as the Hotel Manager in Powder Her face with Odyssey Opera. Following his highly successful house debut as Colline in La bohème, he returned to the Lyric Opera of Kansas City for two roles: Taddeo in L’italiana in Algeri, and Angelotti in Tosca. He concluded the season with Washington D.C.’s Cathedral Choral Society, in a concert of opera favorites.
Mr. Wager performed the role of Colline in La bohème with PORTOpera during summer 2013. His 2013-2014 engagements included Nourabad in Les pêcheurs de perles with Nashville Opera, as well as a company debut with Lyric Opera of Kansas City as Colline. He joined the Albany Symphony for Dvořák’s Stabat Mater,and returned to the Deutsche Opera Berlin, to perform such as roles as Doctor Grenvil (Traviata), Zuniga (Carmen), Angelotti (Tosca), Der Steuermann (Tristan und Isolde), and Johann (Werther).
Mr. Wager sang Haydn’s Seasons with Chicago’s Grant Park Music Festival and Carlos Kalmar in summer 2012. His engagements in 2012-2013 included Il Re in Aida with Dallas Opera, the Hotel Manager in Powder Her Face and the Sprecher in Die Zauberflöte with Opera Company of Philadelphia, Count Rodolfo in La sonnambula with Washington Concert Opera, and the title role in Don Giovanni in a new production with Kentucky Opera.
Mr. Wager’s 2011-2012 season included dual appearances at Minnesota Opera, as General Audebert in the world premiere of Silent Night, and Raimondo in Lucia di Lammermoor. Additionally, he debuted with the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra under Music Director Jacques Lacombe for a series of concerts, joined the Oratorio Society of New York for Dvořák’s Stabat Mater, returned to the Oregon Symphony as the bass soloist in Haydn’s The Creation under the baton of Carlos Kalmar, and covered the Commendatore in the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s performances of Don Giovanni.
During the 2010-2011 season, Ben Wager maintained a presence in both North American and European opera houses. In the United States, he made debuts with Opera Cleveland as Nourabad in Les pêcheurs de perles and the Dallas Opera as Masetto in Don Giovanni, and returned to Minnesota Opera for the role of Hindley Earnshaw in Bernard Herrmann’s Wuthering Heights. As a member of the ensemble of the Deutsche Oper Berlin, which he joined in 2009, he sang Panthus in Les Troyens, Doctor Grenvil in La traviata, Angelotti in Tosca, and Escamillo in Carmen, among other roles.
For the 2009-2010 season, Mr. Wager’s assignments at the Deutsche Oper included Zuniga in Carmen, Angelotti in Tosca, and Sarastro in an abridged version of Die Zauberflöte. Additional engagements for the season included Beethoven’s 9th Symphony with the Mozarteum of Salzburg under Ivor Bolton, Rossini’s Stabat Mater with the Oregon Symphony led by Carlos Kalmar, and his debut with the Los Angeles Opera as Julian Pinelli in Schreker’s Die Gezeichneten.
During the 2008-2009 season, he concluded his residency at the Academy of Vocal Arts as Enrico in Anna Bolena, Il Vescovo in La fiamma, and Raimondo in Lucia di Lammermoor, joined Minnesota Opera to sing the bass roles in the North American premiere of Jonathan Dove’s Adventures of Pinocchio, and made his debut at Opera Philadelphia as Collatinus in The Rape of Lucretia.
Mr. Wager spent the summer of 2008 as a member of the prestigious Merola Opera Program at San Francisco Opera, where he sang the role of Il Commendatore in Catherine Malfitano’s production of Don Giovanni.
Other notable engagements include: Masetto in Don Giovanni for his debut at Chicago Opera Theater, under the baton of Jane Glover; Monterone in Rigoletto and Der Sprecher in Die Zauberflöte with Opera New Jersey; and appearances as Kaspar in Der Freischütz, Gremin and Zaretsky in Eugene Onegin, Basilio in Il barbiere di Siviglia, and the bass soloist in Mozart’s Mass in C Minor with the Academy of Vocal Arts.
Ben Wager studies with world-renowned voice teacher Bill Schuman.