Artist Profile: Eric Owens, One of America’s Leading Bass-Baritones

By David Salazar
(Credit: Dario Acosta)

One of the leading American bass-baritones, Eric Owens, is famous for his wide array of operatic interpretations—ranging from Saariaho to Mozart to Dvorak to Adams.

Owens was born July 11th, 1970 in Philadelphia. From a young age, Owens was inspired by music and began playing the piano at age six. By the time he reached high school, Owens took up the oboe, as well, leading him to enroll in the Bachelor of Music program at Temple University, graduating in 1993. After college, Owens studied voice at the Curtis Institute with teacher Armen Boyajian.

After graduating, Owens was a participant in the young artist program at the Houston Grand Opera. His debut was Ramfis in “Aida.” Not long after, Owens won the 1996 Metropolitan Opera Council Auditions. Throughout his career, Owens has collaborated with John Adams. For his debut at the Met, Owens sang the role of General Leslie Groves in “Doctor Atomic.”

Owens has been the recipient of numerous awards—including the 2003 Marian Anderson Award and  2nd place in the Operalia competition. Owens is also renowned for his portrayal of Alberich in “Ring des Nibelungen,” a role which won him a 2012 Grammy for Best Opera Recording when performed with the Met.

Most recently, he has been seen on stage at the Met and around the world as the leading role in “Porgy and Bess.”

Signature Roles 

Owens constantly adds new roles to his diverse repertoire. Early in his career, Owens identified with the works of John Adams—including “Doctor Atomic” and “A Flower Tree.” He has also frequently performed the music of Wagner, most famously in “Ring des Nibelungen.”

The bass-baritone has also performed in several Mozart operas, such as “Idomeneo.” Recent performances include “Porgy and Bess” as well as Handel’s “Hercules” with the Canadian Opera Company.


“Bess, you is my woman now” from “Porgy and Bess” at the Met

“Non piu andrai” from “Fiagaro”

Eric Owens discusses trailblazers at the Metropolitan Opera


Opera Wiki