Jake Gardner | PRESS
Official website for opera singer Bass-Baritone Jake Gardner, including biography, engagements, press, media, repertoire, and contact information.
Jake Gardner, bass-baritone, bass baritone, opera, singer, actor, director



“Ashby, the Wells Fargo man working with Rance in frontier-justice pursuit of the Ramirez gang, was sung and acted with authority by bass Jake Gardner, husband of heroine Jill, and Virginia’s Judge Turpin last year.”

—David Wagner, Opera Wire

TOSCA—Opera Coeur d’Alene

“No complaints concerning diction could be leveled at Jake Gardner, who took the role of the second male pursuing Tosca, the loathsome Baron Scarpia, the chief of police. In fact, there were no complaints of any type to be leveled at Mr. Gardner’s performance, which had one rummaging through the names of great Scarpias of the past, names like Warren, Ruffo and Gobbi, for examples of comparable mastery. Scarpia’s character, like Tosca’s, is a challenging confluence of opposites, both sensual and spiritual, but in Scarpia’s case, transmuted by a diseased mind and corrupt soul into a sickening stew of lust and cruelty. The best interpreters, and one includes Mr. Gardner in this class, are able to convey this without dropping Scarpia’s mask of aristocratic refinement and elegance. It was an honor to witness a performance of such stature.”

—Larry Lapidus, The Spokesman Review


“Jake Gardner’s Bartolo was a classic buffo bass, with a voice not only big but also refined, and superb in rhythm and diction.”

—Mike Greenberg, Incident Light

“Baritone Jake Gardner was overly theatrical, appropriately, as Dr. Bartolo.”

—David Hendricks, My San Antonio


“The cast knew what they had to do, and seemed fully invested in the show both dramatically and vocally. Jake Gardner maintained stunning bravado with the right hints of vulnerability as Harold Ryan.”

—Jay Harvey, Jay Harvey Upstage

“In the play—and in the film version—Harold is rendered with one-note machismo. Multiple notes, courtesy of Clark, enrich the character. Yes, he’s an egomaniac without empathy, but there’s a sincerity bolstering his bluster. He actually believes his world-view. As played by Jake Gardner, he’s still frightening and misguided, but thanks to the needs of the music, he’s more difficult to easily dismiss.”

—Lou Harry, Indianapolis Business Journal 


“The well-seasoned bass-baritone Jake Gardner made a suitable smarmy Samiel and also offered noble phrasing as the Hermit.

— Tim Smith, Opera News

“Jake Gardner, one of opera’s exemplary actor-singers, portrayed the point men on both sides of the good-evil battle lines. The devil Samiel is a spoken (at times shouted) role, whereas the good Hermit enlists Gardner’s secure bass-baritone.”

— William, Opera Warhorses

“Jake Gardner (as both the devil and holy man) brought great stage and baritone appeal.”

— Shulson, Virginia Gazette

TOSCA—Piedmont Opera

“The antagonist in the opera is the powerful and suave Baron Scarpia, for whom the word love is replaced by lust, enacted with violence. I could not imagine a more perfect match for the role than Jake Gardner, whose smooth aristocratic arrogance was matched by an insinuating bass baritone voice of beauty and power. What a disgusting combination – but how convincing!

— Peter Perret, Classical Voice of North Carolina (CVNC)

“Scarpia is one of the great villains of the repertoire. Jake Gardner makes the most of the role, his warm baritone caressing the notes as his imposing physique threatens to despoil the distraught Tosca.”

— Lynn Felder, Winston-Salem Journal

SWEENEY TODD—Mill City Summer Opera

“A similar restraint informs Jake Gardner’s firmly voiced Judge Turpin, whose momentary self-flagellation provides a rare clue to the sexual predations he is prone to.

—Terry Blain, Star Tribune


“The true love story of the night, however, was between Jill and Jake Gardner, husband and wife in real life and in the opera. Jake Gardner’s return to Eugene Opera struck a different tone from the sinister and dark characters of last season. His rich and emotive voice as Prince Gremin proved hypnotic and endearing, lending an immediacy to the character that often is overshadowed by his melodic aria.

—Alison Kaufman, The Register-Guard

LA BOHÈME—Virginia Opera

“Jake Gardner made the most of the Benoit/Alcindoro assignment, proving to be quite the scene-stealer; it was especially refreshing to hear the landlord’s music truly, fully sung, free of cliché old-man sounds.”

—Tim Smith, Opera News

“And I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Jake Gardner, the scene-stealing bass-baritone who appeared first as the heavy-drinking landlord Benoit, and then returned as Musetta’s flustered sugar daddy Alcindoro. Gardner is a true buffo—an operatic clown, in the best sense—his brief appearances lit up the stage as each of his characters were hoodwinked by the mischievous Bohemians.

—Molly Simoneau, The Washington City Paper

“Bass-baritone Jake Gardner also stands out when he brings his acting chops to bear on creating distinctive characters in the garret’s morally questionable landlord in Act 1 and Musetta’s sugar daddy in Act 2.”

—Roy Procter, Richmond Times-Dispatch

“The standout supporting performance was Jake Gardner as the crusty and conceited old landlord, Benoit.”

—Sam Hall, DC Metro Arts


“Jake Gardner as Judge Turpin was particularly moving and disturbing. Quite often, the creepy Judge—who through a scene of intense flagellation decides to marry his 16-year-old ward, Johanna—is presented as a caricature of the typical ‘evil, bad guy.’  However, Gardner presented a deep, very human and almost pitiable man, which if anything made the audience despise him even more.

—Alison Kaufman, The Register-Guard

H.M.S. PINAFORE—Virginia Opera

“Bass-baritone Jake Gardner turned in a fine performance as the spurned Sir Joseph Porter…”

—Grace Jean, The Washington Post

Jake Gardner, fresh off of a tremendous turn as Judge Turpin in VOC’s Sweeney Toddstraps on the breeches once again as the pompous yet lovable Sir Joseph Porter. His paean to his own implausibly successful naval career, “I Am the Monarch of the Sea,” is one of the funniest and most musically satisfying numbers in the production.”

—Michael Poandl, DC Metro Theater Arts

“Jack Gardner proved over and over again his mastery of patter songs as Sir Joseph.”

—Roy Proctor, Richmond Times-Dispatch

SWEENEY TODD—Virginia Opera

“…the veteran Jake Gardner as Judge Turpin created a rounded and richly sung portrayal of a sleazy elderly villain (complete with the uncomfortable self-flagellation aria, which is so hard to pull off that it’s often cut).”

—Anne Midgette, The Washington Post

“Jake Gardner fleshed out the role of Judge Turpin fully, capturing the man’s hauteur, slime and creepy yearning to potent effect. The bass-baritone’s voice had terrific vitality, while his masterful articulation of text, especially in “Pretty Women,” made every syllable shine. His was a first-class achievement all around.”

—Tim Smith, Opera News

“As the self flagelating Judge Turpin, Jake Gardner is the consummate Victorian aristocrat, rife with hypocrisy and hidden desires.”

—Michael Poandl, DC Metro Theater Arts

LA TRAVIATA—Eugene Opera

“…Jake Gardner is a standout: His voice conveys power and authority, a perfect match
in every way for the role of Germont.”

—Diana Barth, Epoch Times


“…The Dutchman is played and sung by Jake Gardner with weary resignation but powerful depth… and his duets with Senta in the second act are musical gems.”

—Peter Perret, CVNC, an online arts journal of North Carolina

“…Jake Gardner as the Dutchman somehow manages to be both imposing and shambling, like a wounded bear.”

—Lynn Felder, Winston-Salem Journal

“…the very experienced Jake Gardner gives a very moving portrayal of the Dutchman.”

—Luiz Gazzola, Opera Lively

COSì FAN TUTTE—North Carolina Opera

“…The singers were anchored by Jake Gardner’s impressive Don Alfonso, the wise old man who teaches two couples about relationships and fidelity. Gardner’s long stage experience showed up in every expression and gesture, underpinned by a still-formidable bass-baritone.”

—Roy C. Dicks, News & Observer

IL BARBIERE de SEVILLE—Mill City Summer Opera

“As the suitor, Jake Gardner proves a great exponent of the basso buffo tradition.”

—William Randall Beard, Minneapolis Star-Tribune

LA TRAVIATA—Opera Grand Rapids

“Bass-baritone Jake Gardner as Germont was regal and restrained confronting Violetta with demands she leave his son to protect the family honor. His stern exterior began to crack, but unfortunately not fast enough. His voluminous baritone was a pleasure to hear again.”

—Jeffrey Kzaczmarczyk, Michigan News


“The consul Sharpless was strongly played and sung by bass-baritone Jake Gardner. He particularly captured the consul’s dilemma as a well-meaning but ultimately hapless bureaucrat, attempting to unravel the wrongs that Pinkerton has brought about.”

—Theodore P. Mahne, The Times-Picayune

MANON LESCAUT—Washington National Opera

“Jake Gardner, a third debutant, made the old Geronte an entertainingly real rascal.”

—Paul du Quenoy, Opera Today

“Jake Gardner’s singing as Geronte achieved telling results.”

—Tim Smith, Opera News

THE INSPECTOR—Boston Lyric Opera

“As the Mayor of Santa Schifezza (which can be translated roughly as “Blessed Refuse”), bass-baritone Jake Gardner was top notch, a blend of elegance, petulance and greed.”

—Kalen Ratzlaff, Opera News

LA TRAVIATA—Hawaii Opera Theater

“…Violetta’s true vocal match was Germont, cast perfectly and sung wonderfully by Jake Gardner, whose rich baritone made him an exceptionally sympathetic antagonist.”

—Ruth Bingham, Opera News

A QUIET PLACE—New York City Opera

“Bernstein had set Stephen Wadsworth’s text so that it was quite intelligible, and the singers worked hard and successfully to put it across. Jake Gardner’s Doc…was outstanding in this regard.”

—William R. Braun, Opera News

MANON LESCAUT—Opera Grand Rapids

“Bass baritone Jake Gardner, as Geronte, Manon’s wealthy patron, was a stunning, plumed peacock in velvet and silk. Cold, aloof and nicely sung.”

—Jeffrey Kaczmarczyk, The Grand Rapids Press

DIE WALKÜRE—Hawaii Opera Theater

“….Wotan’s Farewell was emotionally draining. Gardner was every inch a God, vocally and dramatically, shaping and colouring the words.”

—Jim Becker, Opera

“Jake Gardner with his dark, rich baritone, was commanding and vulnerable by turns as Wotan.”

—Ruth Bingham, Opera News

 “Jake Gadner renders a masterful performance as Wotan, king of the gods. His mature,warm but powerful baritone captures the frailty of this flawed, tortured being who possesses knowledge but lacks the wisdom to foresee the consequences of his actions.”

—Gregg Geary, Honolulu Advertiser

LA FILLE DU REGIMENT—San Francisco Opera

“Jake Gardner’s Hortensius and Kenneth Kellogg’s Corporal offered fluent contributions.”

—Opera News

 “Jake Gardner had some amusing comic turns as the Marquise’s major-domo.”

—San Francisco Chronicle

MADAMA BUTTERFLY—Florida Grand Opera, Palm Beach Opera, Cleveland Opera

“Jake Gardner remains a first-rate Sharpless, bringing a resonant bass-baritone, unstuffy dignity and sensitivity to the American consul.”

—Lawrence A. Johnson, Miami Herald

“Jake Gardner as U.S. Consul Sharpless displayed a bright baritone voice that cut through the orchestra when necessary, but was also lyrical. His demeanor was government-mannerly, yet relaxed, and his stage presence was always alive.”

—Earl Cunnigham, Palm Beach Daily News

 “As the American Consul, Gardner was all dignified understanding, his baritone warm and full.”

—Donald Rosenberg, The Plain Dealer

MESSIAH—ProMusica Chamber Orchestra

“Bass-baritone Jake Gardner has a rich and commanding voice that brought authority to The Trumpet Shall Sound.”

—Lynn Green, Columbus Dispatch

MANON—Lyric Opera of Chicago

“American baritone Jake Gardner is an assured de Bretigny …”

—Andrew Patner, Chicago Sun-Times

 “Another American baritone, Jake Gardner, has a fine voice and is effective in showing the moral and romantic ambiguity of the aristocrat De Bretigny, who keeps Manon as his mistress for a time.”

—F.N. D’Alessio, Chicago Tribune

A LITTLE NIGHT MUSIC—Hawaii Opera Theater

“Jake Gardner is comfortable and relaxed as her old beau Fredrik Egerman, tolerating a serious young son and a skittish young wife and building a solid character base with the show’s first solo Now.”

—Joseph T. Rozmiarek, Honolulu Advertiser

 “Particularly exceptional throughout the evening was Gardner, a great actor and outstanding singer, perfect in his role.”

—Valeria Wenderoth, Honolulu Star Bulletin

BALLAD OF BABY DOE—Central City Opera

“As Horace Tabor, Jake Gardner projects power and raw ambition without the clich’d overtones of bluster and braggadocio. His voice resonates compellingly and with much beauty in a tuneful role that nevertheless requires the singer to cut through the music and deliver the goods, dramatically speaking. Gardner does so with aplomb, bringing back memories of the great baritone Walter Cassel, the opera’s original Horace Tabor.”

—Keely Brown, Summit Daily News

TOSCA—Syracuse Opera, Hawaii Opera Theater

“Jake Gardner was the standout of this production, with a splendid baritone and commanding presence that breathed life into his character from the moment he walked onstage. Gardner’s portrayal of the ruthless Scarpia was not of the evil … variety, but rather that of a manipulative, arrogant megalomaniac. His chilling second-act aria, ‘Mi dicon venal’ … was outstanding.”

—David Abrams, Syracuse Post-Standard

“Jake Gardner, as the police chief Baron Scarpia, proved an audience favorite, his rich, dark, powerful baritone bullying everyone on stage, and his presence commanding. His final scene in Act V (‘Va, Tosca!’), when he sings his ambitions in dissonant juxtaposition to the church service, was chilling.”

—Ruth O. Bingham, Honolulu Advertiser

 “[Jake] Gardner was sophisticated in his evilness, a true criminal. His rock-solid voice, coupled with his booming entrance line, was fantastic, and his voracious pursuit of Tosca was frighteningly realistic. Gardner just appeared in Il Trittico, in the parts of Michele and Gianni Schicchi. What a talent to be so diverse, yet so consistent in his interpretations!”

—Valeria Wenderoth, Honolulu Star Bulletin

A WEDDING—Lyric Opera of Chicago

“Jake Gardner’s world-weary Jules was touching in his bittersweet discovery of an aching love for Tulip.”

—Mark Thomas Ketterson, Opera News

THE MERRY WIDOW—Los Angeles Opera

“Bracketing the four principals is the wonderful talent of Jake Gardner’s Baron Mirko Zeta.”

—Christie Grimstad, ConcertoNet.com

IL TRITTICO—Hawaii Opera Theater

“Words fail with baritone Jake Gardner (Michele and Gianni Schicchi), who did not play his roles so much as became them—wonderful voice, wonderful actor.”

—Ruth O. Bingham, Honolulu Advertiser

FALSTAFF—Florida State Opera

“[Jake] Gardner’s Falstaff was bigger than life, in every meaning of the phrase. He used the character’s girth for comic and emotional effect. His rich voice easily filled the hall and dominated the proceedings.”

—Steve Hicken, Tallahassee Democrat


“This role fits Gardner’s comic abilities like a glove, and many of the shows funniest moments (and there are a lot of them) are his.“

—Sara D’Esti Miller, Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin

OF MICE AND MEN—Vancouver Opera

“Jake Gardner’s Slim was dignified and penetrating…”

—Lloyd Dynk, The Vancouver Sun