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Orson Van Gay II

Orson Van Gay II has captivated audiences in classical and contemporary opera and concert performances with his charisma and “fine heroic tenor” (San Francisco Classical Voice). Van Gay has garnered acclaim for roles in his home of Southern California and across the United States, with Broadway World declaring, “his sound was fluent and his high notes golden,” and Voix des Arts stating, “The vitality of his work was gratifyingly unflappable.” 

Van Gay’s 2023-24 concert season includes solo appearances with the Muse/ique Symphony, Redlands Symphony Orchestra, and performances of Mozart’s Requiem with the Modesto Symphony. He also voices the role of Tamino in Pocket Opera’s animated/live-action film version of A Pocket Magic Flute, to be shown in schools and educational programs in conjunction with the San Francisco Opera Guild. In November of 2023, Van Gay self-released his first solo album, Colors of a Lyric with pianist Lenny Hayes.  

Van Gay’s recent operatic roles have included Danilo in The Merry Widow, for which he earned Pocket Opera’s inaugural Hurst Artist of the Year Award in 2022; Nemorino in L’elisir d’amore with the Phoenicia International Festival of the Voice; Alfredo in La Traviata with Piedmont Opera; the title role of Candide with Angels Vocal Art; Orlando in The Industry’s acclaimed site-specific production of Hopscotch; and both The Athlete in I Can’t Breathe and Rodolfo in La Bohème with Pacific Opera Project. A frequent performer with Long Beach Opera, Van Gay has been seen as Vitaliano in Handel’s Giustino, Gérard in Les Enfants Terribles, and Raymond Santana in Anthony Davis’ Pulitzer Prize winning opera, The Central Park Five, a role Van Gay premiered with the same company in 2019. Of his portrayal of The Young Man in The Last Romance with Kansas New Theater, Broadway World wrote, “Van Gay II is one of the finest operatic tenors I have had the pleasure of hearing in a very long time.” 

Van Gay often performs with the Los Angeles Opera, most recently as The Messenger in Il Trovatore and as Ramerrez in The Prospector. He debuted the role of Bernard Curson (aka “Cherubino”) in the world premiere of Figaro 90210!, and has sung in the company’s “Connects,” “City of Hope,” and “I AM LA” series.  

Van Gay has presented recitals with the Portsmouth Community Concerts in Virginia, at Rio Hondo College, and performed with Wang Wei at Carnegie Hall. He was also selected to perform in Mandarin at SINO US’s Chinese New Year’s Concert in Los Angeles and Phoenix. Other concert highlights have included singing as a soloist in Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 with the California Philharmonic Orchestra; Handel’s Messiah with the Alabama Baptist Symphony; premiering Golden, Nathan Wang’s composition based on the life of Ignacy Jan Paderewski; and singing the role of Prince in the world premiere of Ricky Ian Gordon’s Morning Star.   

 In addition to his operatic résumé, Van Gay has enjoyed success as an actor in several nationally recognized television series. He has been featured in major television commercials and starred on a variety of shows for Netflix; including foreign film and television. In 2020 he co-starred on the Disney series Coop & Cami Ask the World. Van Gay holds a bachelor’s degree in science and vocal performance from Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia.  

Current & Upcoming Performances

Upcoming Performance Schedule Coming Soon

Past Performances

Past Performance Schedule Coming Soon

Händel’s Giustino – Long Beach Opera

 “Orson Van Gay displayed a fine heroic tenor for Vitaliano.” – ​San Francisco Classical Voice

Lehar’s The Merry Widow – Pocket Opera

 Orson Van Gay II (Danilo’s) voice is clean, clear, beautiful and magnetic, with a wide sound range. It’s just perfect for a playboy who tries to avoid the responsibility of marriage and is only concerned with pleasure-seeking. He is impressive in this role as he makes his debut in the Bay Area. – Splash Magazine


Rodolfo in La bohème – Pacific Opera Project

Orson Van Gay II’s top notes were thrilling… – ​Gordon Williams, Operawire

Alfredo in La Traviata – Piedmont Opera

“In Van Gay’s performance, Alfredo’s aria ‘De’ miei bollenti spiriti’ was a potent statement of personal conviction, the zealous lover proclaiming his total immersion. Van Gay was a romantic Alfredo. The vitality of his work was gratifyingly unflappable.” – Voix de Arts

“Bringing to his performance of Verdi’s music for the lovelorn Alfredo a flickering vibrato reminiscent of Miguel Fleta, tenor Orson Van Gay II sang and acted ardently, his body language in the opening scene of Act One communicating the character’s devotion to Violetta before his first word was sung. Launhcing the celebrated Brindisi, Van Gay voiced ‘Libiamo, libiamo ne’ lieti calici’ ebulliently. His traversal of ‘Un dì, felice, eterea’ was properly amorous…” ​- Voix de Arts

“Tenor Orson Van Gay, II has a charming warm tone, very even in all registers, with an intense vibrato, well-suited to his role of earnest young lover hoping to woo La Violetta away from her coterie of admirers and imitators.” – Cultural Voice of North Carolina


The Young Man – The Last Romance / New Theatre Kansas

…Van Gay II is one of the finest operatic tenors I have had the pleasure of hearing in very long time. He is a device used to connect scenes and to step seamlessly back into Ralph’s imagination. With a singer as skilled as Van Gay II, the device works wonderfully. – ​Alan Portner, Broadway World

Alfredo – La traviata / Pacific Opera Project

Orson Van Gay was an ardent Alfredo…his sound was fluent and his high notes golden. -Broadway World

Cherubino – ¡Figaro! (90210) / Los Angeles Opera (world premiere)

“Cherubino, renamed Li’L B-Man and sung by the very appealing Orson Van Gay II, was an embodiment of with-it hip-hop” – Opera News