Markel Reed

Baritone Markel Reed “brings great articulate power and style” (Broadway World) to concert, recital and opera performances throughout the U.S., Canada and Europe. A passionate conveyor of the operatic repertoire, Reed has been cited for “delight[ing] the crowd with his musical and dramatic expression” (Upstage Post) in both standard and contemporary works. At the Metropolitan Opera, Reed performed with the ensemble in productions of Terence Blanchard’s Fire Shut Up in My Bones and sang in their GRAMMY®Award-winning Porgy and Bess in 2019. That same year, he created the role of Chester in Fire Shut Up in My Bones in its premiere at Opera Theatre of St. Louis.

2022 highlights include singing as Young Emile in Terence Blanchard’s Champion with Boston Lyric Opera and as Marcello in La bohème with Opera Steamboat. Concert highlights include soloist performances in Carmina Burana with the Omaha Symphony Orchestra, Wozzeck in concert with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Bach’s Mass in B minor  with the Charlotte Master Chorale, and a Bach and Margaret Bonds program with the Cecilia Chorus of New York at Carnegie Hall.

Reed’s 2021-22 season opened with the premiere of Damien Sneed and Karen Chilton’s The Tongue & The Lash at Opera Theatre of St. Louis, where he portrayed “a credible James Baldwin and sang through his argument with power and finesse” (St. Louis Post-Dispatch). He also performed The Hope of Loving with the New York Choral Society and sang the role of Br’er Fox in Nkeiru Okoye’s Tales from the Briar Patch with the Virginia Arts Festival.

In March 2020 – just prior to the COVID-19 shutdown – Reed premiered Okoye’s Black Bottom with the Detroit Symphony, a musical depiction of a historically black community of the same name. His recent online appearances have included the role of Schaunard in a 2021 filmed version of La Bohème, a co-production from companies More Than Musical, Opera Columbus, Opera Omaha, and Tri-Cities Opera; Voodoo Man in Shirley Graham Du Bois’s 1932 opera Tom-Tom livestreamed from the Caramoor Festival; Pat in David Wolfson’s Fortune’s Children: A Zoom Opera with Hartford Opera Theater; Papageno in “A Distant Flute” from The Lighthouse Opera Company, a scaled version of Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte; the title role in Don Giovanni with the Bronx Opera’s “BronxLive.”

As a member of Utah Opera’s Resident Artist Program, Reed performed the roles of Masetto in Don Giovanni, Le Dancaïre in Carmen, Kromov in The Merry Widow and covered the role of Brian Castner in the western premiere of Jeremy Howard Beck’s The Long Walk.  He was also featured in a revue of original miniature operas as part of a collaboration between Utah Opera, the Bee (a story telling organization based in Salt Lake City) and local composers, entitled Operas on the Hive. Reed has also sung the roles of Count Almaviva (Le Nozze di Figaro), Leporello (Don Giovanni), John Sorel (The Consul), Dandini (La Cenerentola), Ruggiero (La Liberazione di Ruggiero), and Count Pâris (Roméo et Juliette); and has performed with the Kentucky Opera, Cincinnati Opera, Soo Theatre Project, National Music Festival, Utah Symphony, Opera Louisiane, dell’Arte Opera, Lyric Opera Studio Weimar, Utopia Opera, Utah Festival Opera, Harlem Opera Theater, and Musical Theatre and the Lyric Opera of Chicago.

A native of Charlotte, North Carolina, Markel Reed pursued his bachelor’s degree in music performance at Oakwood University and is an alumnus of the University of Kentucky Opera Theatre program.