Lt. Roberto Gonzalez's Aria: The Knock (Aleksandra Vrebalov/Deborah Brevoort) Armando Contreras, baritone
Steven Aguilo-Arbues, piano
Praised for “the easy caramel syrup of his voice” (Opera Today), Mexican-American baritone Armando Contreras is quickly becoming a standout in the world of opera. In the summer of 2023, Mr. Contreras made his company debut with Cincinnati Opera as Lt. Roberto Gonzalez in the stage premiere of The Knock. In the 2023-24 season, Mr. Contreras portrays Hemingway and Santiago in The Old Man and the Sea with the Beth Morrison Projects, joins the Omaha Symphony as the Baritone soloist in Brahms’s Requiem, performs as Older Thompson in Glory Denied with the Cleveland Institute of Music, and makes his role and house debut with Arizona Opera as Zazueta and Moncada in Zorro.
In 2021, Mr. Contreras was a part of the world premiere of Aleksandra Vrebalov and Deborah Breevort’s The Knock, singing the lead role of Lt. Roberto Gonzales with The Glimmerglass Festival. Other highlights of his 2021-22 season included making his debut with Salt Marsh Opera as Moralès in Carmen, reprising the role of Diego Rivera in Frida and the Bravest Girl in the World with Central City Opera, joining Opera Steamboat in The Three Feathers as The King/Rat, making his Denver Philharmonic debut in L'elisir d'amore as Belcore and singing the role of Dandini in La Cenerentola with Tri-Cities Opera, Syracuse Opera and Salt Marsh Opera. In the summer of 2022, Mr. Contreras returned to The Glimmerglass Festival to sing a lead role in the world premiere of the Rossini pastiche, Tenor Overboard, and cover Moralès in Carmen. In the 2022-2023 season, Mr. Contreras performed Dandini in La Cenerentola with Kentucky Opera, the role of Cesar Chavez in a workshop of Dolores, a new opera by Nicolas Benavidas based on the life of civil rights leader Dolores Huerta, performed recitals with Colorado State and Pikes Peak Opera League, and returned to Salt Marsh Opera to sing the role of Papageno in The Magic Flute.
In the 2020-2021 season, Mr. Contreras was seen as Ernesto in the US premiere of Bizet’s Don Procopio with Pacific Opera Project, Il Conte in Le nozze di Figaro and Marcello in La bohème with Boulder Opera, and Diego Rivera in Frida and the Bravest Girl in the World with Opera Steamboat. In the summer of 2021, he covered the role of Papageno in Mozart’s The Magic Flute with The Glimmerglass Festival.
2019-2020 credits include Ben in Menotti’s The Telephone with Opera Fort Collins and Estaban in En Mis Palabras with Central City Opera. He was also set to perform as Guglielmo in Così? and cover Argante in Rinaldo with The Glimmerglass Festival in the summer of 2020 (COVID19).
During the 2018-2019 season, he was seen as the Imperial Commissioner in Lyric Opera of Kansas City’s Madama Butterfly, Nardo in La finta giardinera and Dr. Falke in Die Fledermaus with University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC) and covered Guglielmo in Così fan tutte with Lyric Opera of Kansas City. He also appeared as John Proctor (The Crucible), Sharpless (Madama Butterfly) and Belcore (L’elisir d’amore) in the Des Moines Metro Opera Apprentice Artist Scenes program.
Engagements in the 2017/2018 season included Filippo in the US premiere of Rossini’s La gazzetta with Pacific Opera Project, Le Dancaïre in Carmen with Central City Opera, the Herald in Rigoletto and Fiorello in Il barbiere di Siviglia with Lyric Opera of Kansas City, Peter in Hänsel und Gretel and L'horloge comtoise/Le chat in L'enfant et les sortilèges with UMKC. He also covered the role of Doug Hansen in Joby Talbot’s Everest in its premiere at the Lyric Opera of Kansas City.
Equally comfortable in concert repertoire, he has performed as the bass soloist in Handel’s Messiah with the Missouri Oratorio Society and Orff’s Carmina Burana with the Kansas City Ballet. He also appeared as Papageno in a concert featuring operatic selections by Mozart with The Cleveland Orchestra, a concert he will again perform with the Colorado Symphony in 2022.
Mr. Contreras has had extensive training including at The Glimmerglass Festival as a Young Artist, Des Moines Metro Opera as an Apprentice Artist, Lyric Opera of Kansas City as a Young Artist and Central City as a Studio Artist. Accolades from the vocal competition circuit include Mr. Contreras receiving the Top Prize after completion of the Central City Young Artist Program, being named a finalist in the 2020 Kyrenia Opera Vocal Competition and participating in the 2019 Dorothy Lincoln Smith Voice Competition where he was the Regional Winner.
A strong proponent of education, Mr. Contreras holds a Bachelor’s degree in Voice Performance from the Cleveland Institute of Music and a Master’s degree in the same major from the University of Missouri-Kansas City.