Dr. Miracle


John the Baptist


Since making his New York City Opera debut in 1972, Chicagoan  WILLIAM POWERS  has performed over 100 operatic roles with the major opera companies in the United States, Europe, and South America.  While the stylistic range of his portrayals spans the gamut from Renaissance ( Monteverdi’s ORFEO for San Francisco ) to Contemporary ( Pasatieri’s SEAGULL for Washington DC ), William Powers has earned an enviable reputation as a  “heavy” – due in large part to the dark, penetrating color of his voice – thus the portrayal of  rogues and villains has dominated his career.  His  teachers and mentors,  George London and Norman Treigle,  have also added to the intensity of the acting aspect of Powers’ delivery – for which he has become well-known.

Mr. Powers has been the creator of many new roles through world-premiers or important revivals…most recently singing the villain “Meyer Wolfsheim” for the premier of Harbison’s  THE GREAT GATSBY at the Metropolitan Opera in New York; other new creations have included  Penderecki’s  PARADISE LOST  for Chicago’s Lyric Opera; Herrmann’s  WUTHERING HEIGHTS  for Portland;  Copeland’s HOLY BLOOD AND CRESCENT MOON  for Cleveland;  and Petrassi’s SESTINA D’AUTUNNO for Italy’s Spoleto Festival.  Of re-creations.  Powers offered the role of  “Celio” for the 50th  Anniversary production of Prokofiev’s  THE LOVE OF THREE ORANGES for Chicago; the rarely heard  BETLY of Donizetti for Strasbourg,  and the  French version of Donizetti’s LA FAVORITE for the Theatre d’Champs-Elysees  and the Opera Comique in Paris; the creation of the Italian version of  THE LADY MACBETH OF THE MTZENSK DISTRICT for Spoleto; and the American premier of  G. F. Handel’s   PORO, RE DI INDIE  for Kennedy Center’s Handel Festival in Washington DC.

William Powers’ voice has been widely recorded and has been heard in hundreds of Broadcasts;  a solo CD –released on the Centaur label as ROGUES AND VILLAINS in 2000 has been followed with yet another collection of wicked evil-doers and miscreants entitled,  THE WORST OF WILLIAM POWERS in 2009 – the two discs contain dozens of arias from many under-handed characters…Rossini’s  “Basilio” and  “Dr. Bartolo”, “Mustafa”,  and “Don Magnifico”;  OTHELLO’s  “Iago”;  Beethoven’s  “Pizzaro”; Ponchielli’s “Alvise”, and Mussorgsky’s  “Boris”.  Various devils:  Gounod’s “Mephistopheles”,  Meyerbeer’s  “Bertram”, and Boito’s “Mefisto”.  The “Four Villains” of Offenbach’s  LES CONTES D’HOFFMANN.  Floyd’s “Reverend Blitch”;  Wagner’s “Alberich”;  Mozart’s  “Leporello”;  Puccini’s  “Gianni Schicchi”;  Gruenberg’s  “Jones”, and the ultimate rascal of them all – Verdi’s  “Falstaff”, to name a few!

Symphonic repertoire has not been ignored with Beethoven’s NINTH and  MISSA SOLEMNIS;  the REQUIEMs  of Verdi, Mozart, Dvorak, Brahms and Faure; and the MESSIAH as well as many oratorios of Handel.  These standards being joined by the contemporary works of William Schuman and Ned Rorem,  in conjunction with the Symphonies of  Chicago,  St. Louis,  Pittsburgh,  Cleveland, Philadelphia,  San Antonio, Los Angeles, and Dallas in the United States,  as well as the Symphonies of Paris,  Cologne, Strasbourg, Trieste,  Prague, Bratislava,  Hague, Amsterdam, and Vienna.

Recent performances have included the  Chicago premier of   DER KAISER VON ATLANTIS, and THE TALES OF HOFFMANN ( in the controversial  Ratner version ) for the Chicago Opera Theater;  WERTHER of Massenet for the Klangbogen Festival of Vienna, as well as the Basque National Opera of Bilbao;  DEAD MAN WALKING for Cincinnati;  THE DAMNATION OF FAUST for Chicago’s Grant Park Festival,  and the Pablo Casal’s Fesdtival of San Juan;  the Opera Gala for the Festival of the Aegean in Athens and Styros;   FAUST for Trieste;  THE BARBER OF SEVILLE for Charlotte and Buenos Aires;  THE MAGIC FLUTE for Bozman; FIDELIO for Cedar Rapids;  and the national tour of  Teatro Lirico d’Europa’s   production  of Puccini’s TOSCA,  in the role of the corrupt Commissioner of Police, the despicable  “Baron Scarpia”.

Does William Powers feel bad about the label of  “evil” that has been hung upon him? Not at all!  As a matter of fact, he delights in it!  It is not often that a person can act “as bad as he wants to be “,  and get away with it!