J. Raymond Meyers, a.k.a. "Joe" is a highly sought after West Coast tenor with projects ranging from Verdi to Weill with many other stops along the way. Over the past five years, he’s turned his attention to the leading roles of the lyric stage. The Duke in Rigoletto, Pinkerton in Madama Butterfly, Ferrando in Cosi fan Tutte, Rodolfo in La Boheme, Hoffmann in The Tales of Hoffmann, Ernesto in Don Pasquale, Camille in The Merry Widow, Rinuccio in Gianni Schicci and Alfred in Die Fledermaus are just of a few of the roles for which he is becoming known.
Within the confines of the classical music business, the tenor has been involved in so many different productions in so many different capacities as a singer that to say, "Lyric Tenor" really only captures where he is and doesn’t reflect on where he has been and some of the roles which have defined him as an actor/singer in the opera world. Goro in Madama Butterfly, Beppe in I Pagliacci, Bardolfo in Falstaff, Remendado in Carmen, the Four Macabre’s in The Tales of Hoffmann, and other character roles along the same lines were his first steps into the singing business and at this point in his career these roles still compromise a part of his work load, but as someone once said, “the voice cannot be denied” so instead of being referred to as an “Actor-Singer”, he prefers the reverse of “Singing-Actor” to illustrate his place in the opera business.
He’s been a frequent performer with many of the America’s premiere opera companies, including leading and supporting roles with San Francisco Opera, Anchorage Opera, Utah Festival Opera, Portland Opera, Opera Tampa, Opera Grand Rapids, Rogue Opera, Opera Santa Barbara, Sacramento Opera, San Francisco Lyric Opera, West Bay Opera, Opera San Jose, Stockton Opera, Bear Valley Music Festival, Apollo Performing Arts, Mendocino Music Festival, Pacific Repertory Opera, Festival Opera, Pocket Opera and many others.
Highlights from the last few seasons include the 2001-2002 season marking the tenor’s first affiliation with the San Francisco Opera covering Goro in Madama Butterfly, Remendado in Carmen and Bardolfo in Falstaff. Then in 2003, he made his debut with Portland Opera as Tony in the West Coast Premiere of William Bolcolm’s A View from the Bridge. The 2004-2005 season provided the opportunity to work with Opera San Jose, continuing his long standing relationship with the company where he first started singing the character roles which would shape his early career. He was pleased to sing one of his signature roles, Alfred in Die Fledermaus as well as Giles Corey in The Crucible. During the 2006 summer season the tenor made his Prague debut singing the Requiem Mass of Czech composer F. Hidas. He then returned to the U.S. for his debut at Opera Grand Rapids as Goro in Madama Butterfly.
On the concert stage, the tenor is well known for his portrayal of the roasting swan in Carmina Burana. Whether as a “roasting swan” or as guest soloist, he has appeared with the New West, Napa Valley, Modesto, Santa Rosa, Stockton, Diablo Valley, Redwood, Santa Cruz and Monterey symphonies.
Recent projects include Lou Harrison’s Young Caesar with Ensemble Parallèle, Mozart and Haydn with the Modesto Symphony, and Carmina Burana with San Mateo Masterworks Chorale and Santa Clara Chorale. Last summer he returned to Pocket Opera for his debut as Pinkerton in Madama Butterfly and made his debut at Sonoma City Opera as Belmonte in Die Entführung aus dem Serail. He was tenor soloist in San Francisco Ballet’s West Side Story Suite last spring, as well as Carmina Burana with Ballet San Jose in Shanghai, China last May, and Rodolfo in La Boheme at Pocket Opera in San Francisco last July. In August he returned to Sonoma City Opera as Ernesto in Don Pasquale and made his debut at Toledo Opera in November as Borsa in Rigoletto.
More Upcoming: The Fourth Jew In Toledo Opera’s Salome, a return to San Francisco Ballet as tenor soloist in the West Side Story Suite, Carmina Burana with Peninsula Symphony and Rodolfo in La Boheme at Rogue Opera.
Mr. Meyers made his Motion Picture debut in 2009 portraying an opera singer in the movie, "Milk" starring Sean Penn and directed by Gus van Sant. The movie won acadamy awards for best original screen play (Dustin Lance Black) and the Best Actor oscar went to Sean Penn.