Athlone Artists is pleased to welcome to its roster Jesse Darden, cited for his “warm, buttery tenor” (Boston Classical Review) and “broad range and clear, effortless tone” (Boston Music Intelligencer). Darden was chosen as the 2018-2019 Principal Artist-In-Residence with Boston Lyric Opera where he received the Shrestinian Award for Excellence. While there, Darden covered the role of Count Almaviva in Il Barbiere di Siviglia, and performed in the world premiere of Tod Machover’s Schoenberg in Hollywood, Britten’s The Rape of Lucretia, and as Luke in Poul Ruders’ The Handmaid’s Tale. Darden returned to the company in November 2019 to portray Timothy in Gregory Spears’ and Greg Pierce’s Fellow Travelers to great acclaim, with Opera News praising his “vulnerable, complicated” character who “looked gorgeous and sang that way as well,” and the Harvard Crimson lauding his “incredible vocal performance.”
Having completed his postgraduate work at Boston University’s Opera Institute, Darden has been a mainstay of the Boston music scene for several seasons. It was there that colleagues introduced him to Miguel Rodriguez of Athlone Artists. “We were introduced after a performance of BLO’s Fellow Travelers this past fall,” says Darden, whose colleagues Michelle Trainor and David McFerrin are also on the Athlone roster and voiced their vote of confidence in the agency. “I’m looking forward to joining this great group of artists.”
“I first heard Jesse Darden in a Boston Lyric Opera production of The Rape of Lucretia where he played Male Chorus, and a year later I saw him in the complex role of Timothy in Fellow Travelers,” says Miguel Rodriguez. “Both times, Jesse gave a compelling and vulnerable performance, and I was moved by the beauty of his lyric tenor voice. After Fellow Travelers, I knew I wanted to work with Jesse.”
Darden “brought a clear, well-produced tenor and solid acting chops” (St. Louis Dispatch) to the title role of Candide in his Union Avenue Opera debut in 2019. He spent his 2017 and 2018 summers as an Apprentice Artist with the Santa Fe Opera, where he performed several comprimario roles and covered the role of Robert Wilson in John Adams and Peter Sellars’ Doctor Atomic. Other recent engagements include those with Odyssey Opera, Dartmouth College, New York Festival of Song, the Rhode Island Civic Chorale and Orchestra, Boston University Opera Institute, Piedmont Opera and the Chautauqua Symphony. Previous apprenticeships have included Opera North and Chautauqua, where he received the Chautauqua Opera Studio Artist Award.
Darden has been a New England Regional Finalist with the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions and won Third Prize in the Gerda Lissner International Voice Competition. Originally from Chapel Hill, North Carolina, Darden now resides in New York where he is “taking advantage of all that the musical community in the city has to offer.” As the city and opera houses are quiet this spring and summer, Darden has not slowed down, working on his German language skills and some new favorite roles via Zoom with voice teacher Bradley Williams.