Robert Grayson, Tenor
Kirkpatrick Professor of Voice Emeritus
Paul Groves, Tenor
Distinguished Artist in Residence
Robert Grayson is the Edith Killgore Kirkpatrick Distinguished Professor and served as Chair of the Voice/Opera Division (1987-2016) at the LSU School of Music. A leading tenor at the New York City Opera for a decade, Grayson has sung throughout the USA at many great opera houses including Chicago Lyric, Cleveland, Miami, Tulsa, and Spoleto. Professor Grayson has been cited as a "Rising Star" by the LSU Alumni Magazine, has been the recipient of the Phi Kappa Phi award for "Outstanding Creativity in the Arts" and has received commendation from the Student Government Association for "Outstanding Teaching." Grayson was recognized in 2016 for his legacy at LSU, with his studio being named in his honor and the establishment of the "Robert & Karola Grayson Award for Excellence in Singing."
Making his New York debut as Faust oppo-site Samuel Ramey's Mefistofele, Grayson sang over 100 perf-ormances as leading tenor for the New York City Opera in such operas as La Boheme, Madama Butterfly, and Carmen. With that company he opened new productions of Tosca, Norma, and La
Traviata. Grayson has appeared as leading tenor with numerous performing organizations: The Spoleto Festival, Italy, Israel Philharmonic in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem & Haifa, Santa Fe Opera, Arizona Opera Company, Canadian Opera, Tulsa Opera, Miami Opera, Wolftrap, Saratoga, Cleveland, ARTPARK, San Diego Opera, Costa Mesa Opera, Los Angeles Opera Theatre, Washington National Opera, Kennedy Center, and the Los Angeles Music Center Opera. Grayson may be heard as
"Caesar" on New World Records Antony & Cleopatra by Barber which won a GRAMMY. He has performed with Beverly Sills, Jerome Hines, Samuel Ramey, Susan Graham, Elizabeth Futral, Jeffrey Wells, Paul Groves, Lisette Oropesa, Chad Shelton, Marilyn Niska, and has sung under the batons of Charles Mackerras, Richard Bonynge, Eduardo Muller, Julius Rudel, Bruno Rigacci, and Walter Herbert.. Grayson has appeared as leading tenor with numerous performing organizations: The Spoleto Festival, Italy, Israel Philharmonic in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem & Haifa, Santa Fe Opera, Arizona Opera Company, Canadian Opera, Tulsa Opera, Miami Opera, Wolftrap, Saratoga, Cleveland, ARTPARK, San Diego Opera, Costa Mesa Opera, Los Angeles Opera Theatre, Washington National Opera, Kennedy Center, and the Los Angeles Music Center Opera.
From 1998 to 2002 Professor Grayson served as the first General-Artistic Director of the LSU Opera, during which time productions were increased from two to four per year, two state-wide tours were undertaken, and budgets were quadrupled through fundraising and engagement of the community. The Patrons of LSU Opera were formed, the LSU Opera Endowment was initiated, the 75 Voices were born. Extant opera groups were cultivated and integrated in to the support system for LSU Opera, including BRAVO (Baton Rouge Area Volunteers for Opera an) and BROG (Baton Rouge Opera Guild).
Robert Grayson has produced a number of outstanding professional singers. Foremost among these artists is Tenor Paul Groves who has made auspicious debuts at the MET, La Scala, Vienna, Munich, and Glyndebourne. Soprano Lisette Oropesa, who has electrified the operatic world at the MET, La Scala, Covent Garden, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Glyndebourne, Opera di Roma, etc. Tenor Chad Shelton, of New York City Opera, Houston Grand, San Francisco, Strasbourg; Tenor Matt Morgan, of New York City Opera, the Pittsburgh Opera, National Grand Opera, Fort Worth Opera; Baritone Noel Bouley, Deutsche Opera, Opera San Jose, Opera Koln. Baritone Shon Sims of New York City Opera, Seattle Opera, Colorado Festival Opera; Soprano Kimla Beasley of Houston Grand; Character tenor Edward Dacus of Ohio Light Opera, New Orleans Opera; Tenor Matthew Morgan, of New York City Opera, the Pittsburgh Opera, National Grand Opera, Fort Worth Opera; Heldentenor Andrew Zimmerman, Aachen, Pfortzheim, Germany; Baritone Kenneth Brundage, Ohio Light Opera, New Orleans Opera; Mezzo Soprano Kathleen Clawson, regional orchestral soloist; Soprano Dawn Harris, Ohio Light Opera, Chicago Opera Theatre. Two Tucker Award winners, and one Beverly Sills Award winner from the MET.
Grayson has produced 30 DMA's, dozens of MM's, hundreds of BM/BME's. Nationally, four of his students have been National Finalists and Semi-Finalists in the Metropolitan Opera Auditions, dozens of regional finalists, two national finalists in the NATS Young Artists Competition, national finalists in the National Opera Association Auditions, and national finalists in the Liederkranz Competition, New York.
In the Fall of 2007 Grayson founded Opera Louisiane, a professional regional company which brought some of the world's great singers to Baton Rouge and has presented fully-staged operas to school children and to the community with more than 30,000 attending over the years. Grayson stepped down at the end of the season in 2011, with the company "in the black" and with a reserve for the following season.
Grayson is widely in demand for master classes, and serves as a consultant to collegiate programs and non-profit organizations for audience development and community outreach. His passion for the pipe organ is shared by his wife, Karola,
An alumnus of LSU from Professor Grayson's first studio, Paul Groves is one of the great American tenors of his generation. He continues to enjoy an impressive international career performing on the stages of the world’s leading opera houses and most prestigious concert halls.
Paul Groves begins his 2019/2020 season performing La Damnation de Faust in concert with the Shanghai and Beijing Symphonies. He returns to the Metropolitan Opera for his 27th season with the company in performances of Chekalinsky in The Queen of Spades and Tamino in The Magic Flute. He finishes the season in the world premiere of Tobias Picker’s Awakenings with Opera Theatre of Saint Louis.
Last season saw Groves at Opera de Lyon for performances as Faust in Boito’s Mefistofele, his debut at the National Kaohsiung Center for the Arts in Taiwan as the title role in Candide, and his debut as Herod in Salome with the Spoleto Festival USA. A veteran of the concert stage, Groves appeared with the Los Angeles Philharmonic for Stravinsky’s Persephone with Esa-Pekka Salonen, the Indianapolis Symphony for Bruckner’s Te Deum with Krzysztof Urbanski, and the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra for Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde with Donald Runnicles. Recent performances include as Wilhelm Arndt in The Ring of Polykrates with the Dallas Opera underMusic Director Emmanuel Villaume, Faust in a concert production of La Damnation de Faust with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Benjamin Britten’s War Requiem with Opera de Lyon, Beethoven’s Symphony no. 9 with the Rochester Philharmonic, Haydn’s Creation with the Prague Philharmonia, and Das Lied von der Erde alongside Sasha Cooke at the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival.
Additional highlights of recent seasons include a rare role debut singing Alessandro Cesare in Cavalli’s Eliogabalo with the Opéra national de Paris, his first performances in the title role of Wagner’s Parsifal with the Lyric Opera of Chicago led by Sir Andrew Davis, appearances as Admète in Gluck’s Alceste with Madrid’s Teatro Real, Nicias in Massenet’s Thais with the Los Angeles Opera, and Pylade in Iphigénie en Aulide with Theater an der Wien. An avid concert performer, Groves’ previous season was filled with debuts and return engagements with symphonies across the United States. Throughout the 2016/2017 season, he was seen performing Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde with the Cleveland Orchestra and the Indianapolis Symphony, Berlioz’ Requiem with the San Francisco Symphony under Charles Dutoit, as well as Stravinsky’s Perséphone with the Oregon Symphony.
Paul Groves came to national attention as a winner of the Met’s National Council Auditions in 1991. A graduate of the Metropolitan Opera’s Young Artists Development Program, Mr. Groves made his Metropolitan Opera debut in 1992 as the Steuermann in Der fliegende Holländer. Mr. Groves returned to the MET for performances as Camille de Rosillon in their new production of The Merry Widow, opposite Placido Domingo and Frederica von Stade; Ferrando in a new production of Cosi fan tutte; Tom Rakewell in The Rake’s Progress; Lysander in Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream; Belmonte in Die Entführung aus dem Serail; Fenton; and Don Ottavio in nationally-televised season-opening performances of Don Giovanni opposite Bryn Terfel and Renee Fleming. In 2006, he created the role of Jianli in the world premiere of Tan Dun’s The First Emperor, opposite Placido Domingo, and he returned to the MET in 2008 for further performances of this role. Paul Groves made his debut with San Francisco Opera as Fenton, and he returned in subsequent seasons for performances as Ferrando, Belmonte and Pylade. His debut with Lyric Opera of Chicago was in 1998 as Nadir in a new production of Les pêcheurs de perles, and audiences in Chicago saw him in later seasons as Tamino, Pylade and the title role in La Damnation de Faust. Los Angeles Opera audiences first saw him in season-opening performances of the title role in La damnation de Faust, and he recently returned for performances as Fritz in a new production of La Grande Duchesse de Gerolstein directed by famed Hollywood director Garry Marshall.
He made his debut at La Scala in 1995 as Tamino in the opening night performance of Die Zauberflöte, Riccardo Muti conducting, and he has returned in several roles, including Renaud in Gluck’s Armide and Nemorino in L’elisir d’amore – the first American tenor invited to La Scala for this role. Audiences in Paris have seen the tenor often since his debut in 1996 season when he appeared as Tom Rakewell at the Théâtre Musical de Paris, Châtelet in a new Sellers/Salonen production of The Rake’s Progress. Mr. Groves made his debut with the Opéra de Paris as Fenton in a new production of Falstaff, and he soon returned for performances as Tamino, Berlioz’s Faust, Nemorino, Julian in a new production of Charpentier’s Louise and his role debut as Mozart’s Idomeneo. The role of Tamino was also the vehicle for his debut at London’s Royal Opera, Covent Garden. He has since returned to perform the role of Pylade in Iphigénie en Tauride opposite Simon Keenlyside and Susan Graham. He has performed often with the Vienna Staatsoper in roles including Camille in a new production of Die lustige Witwe, Carlo in a new production of Linda di Chamounix, Tamino, Nemorino, Don Ottavio, Flamand in Capriccio, Count Almaviva in Il barbiere di Siviglia, and the Italian Singer in Der Rosenkavalier. In 2009 the tenor sang his first performances in the title role of Stravinsky’s Oedipus Rex in Japan under the baton of Charles Dutoit. Mr. Groves has appeared frequently with the Salzburg Festival since his debut there in 1995 as Don Ottavio conducted by Maestro Daniel Barenboim.Mr. Groves made his debut with the Deutsche Oper Berlin in 1998 as Des Grieux in a new production of Manon and with the Netherlands Opera in 2001 as Bénédict. His debut with the Bayerische Staatsoper was in 1997 as Don Ottavio, and he has returned to Munich for performances as Tamino and as Arturo in a new production of I Puritani, opposite Edita Gruberova.
Paul Groves is a passionate fisherman. When between engagements you will find him in his bay boat. As he put it "I always tell people I'm an opera singer to support my fishing habbit."