Boasting a career of performances with major opera companies and orchestras worldwide, bass-baritone Jake Gardner remains one of the opera world’s most sought-after singing actors.
Having sung a decade as principal baritone with Oper der Stadt Köln under the baton of James Conlon, his long and distinguished career has included performances with such notable companies as Wiener Volksopera, Dresden’s Semper Oper, Glyndebourne Festival, De Nederlandse Opera, Edinburgh Festival as well as Lyric Opera of Chicago, San Francisco Opera, Los Angeles Opera, Houston Grand Opera, Washington National Opera, New York City Opera, Florida Grand Opera and a host of excellent American regional companies.
Career highlights include a world tour and film of Peter Brook’s Le Tragédie de Carmen; a landmark production of Così fan Tutte with Trevor Nunn and Simon Rattle at the Glyndebourne Festival, and the world premiere of William Bolcom’s A Wedding directed by Robert Altman commemorating Lyric Opera of Chicago’s 50th Anniversary season.
Equally at home in the operetta and musical theater traditions, Mr. Gardner has recently appeared in productions of Annie Get Your Gun (Buffalo Bill) and The Music Man (Mayor Shin) with the Glimmerglass Festival, Merry Widow (Baron Zeta) with Los Angeles Opera, A Little Night Music (Frederic) with Hawai’i Opera Theater, Die Fledermaus (Frank) and HMS Pinafore (Sir Joseph Porter) as well as a critically-acclaimed portrayal of Judge Turpin (Sweeney Todd), all with Virginia Opera. He returned to the role of Judge Turpin in recent seasons with Houston Grand Opera, Mill City Summer Opera as well as Eugene Opera where he also made a triumphant debut in the role of Prince Gremin in Eugene Onegin in the 2015–2016 season.
For the 2016–2017 season, Mr. Gardner made his Indianapolis Opera debut as Harold Ryan in the highly-anticipated world premiere production of Richard Auldon Clark’s and Kurt Vonnegut’s Happy Birthday Wanda June, celebrated his 100th role performance as the Hermit in Der Freischütz for Virginia Opera, made his debut with Anchorage Opera in the company’s 55th Anniversary Gala Concerts as well as Opera San Antonio in the role of Dr. Bartolo, and sang the role of Scarpia opposite his wife, soprano Jill Gardner’s Tosca, for Piedmont Opera and Opera Coeur d’Alene. During the 2017–2018 season, Mr. Gardner sang the role of Ashby in Virginia Opera’s La Fanciulla del West, returned to Eugene Opera for Dr. Bartolo in Il Barbiere di Siviglia, debuted the role of Sulpice in La Fille du Regiment with Hawai’i Opera Theater and returned to Opera San Antonio for performances of Benoit/Alcindoro in Puccini’s La Bohème. For the 2018–2019 season, he returned to the Lyric Opera of Chicago for performances of Benoit/Alcindoro in Puccini’s La Bohème and debuted the role of Le Bailli in Werther for Florida Grand Opera. On the concert stage, he returned to the Binghamton Philharmonic for Wagner’s Ring Cycle in One Night, under the baton of Daniel Hege.
Bass-baritone Jake Gardner died at home with his loving wife Jill by his side on
November 2, 2021.