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Michael Spyres, Worldwide Opera Star And Ozarks Native, Debuts At The Met

(Photo: www.michaelspyres.com)

Ozarks native Michael Spyres, who over the past decade and a half has become one of the most sought-after operatic tenors of his generation, spends part of his year in Springfield as Artistic Director of Springfield Regional Opera. 

But only part—because his 2019-2020 performance calendar includes lead tenor roles at the Paris Opera, the Bavarian State Opera in Munich, and the Vienna State Opera, along with concerts in Brussels and Moscow.  Oh, and he’ll also portray the role of Canio in Leoncavallo’s Pagliacci for the first time here in Springfield in an SRO production this April.                                                                                

Now, Spyres has achieved another milestone, one the online Parterre Box opera blog calls a “long-awaited debut.”  On January 26, the New York Times referred to it as a “belated debut.”  He’s finally made his debut at New York’s Metropolitan Opera in the fiendishly difficult title role of the French grand opera “The Damnation of Faust” by Hector Berlioz. 

He is sharing this run of performances with another major American tenor, Bryan Hymel.  Parterre Box’s columnist Christopher Corwin said Michael Spyres has become “the go-to-tenor for 19th century French opera," and called his Met debut performance “nearly ideal.”

KSMU airs the Toll Brothers/Metropolitan Opera Radio Network’s live Saturday matinee broadcasts every Saturday afternoon between December and May. And Michael’s final performance in the current run of "Damnation of Faust" at the Met takes place during Saturday afternoon’s broadcast matinee.

KSMU will bring you the live broadcast from the stage of the Met Saturday, starting during the noon hour on KSMU's HD2 stream. It can be heard from an HD-equipped radio if you have one, or streaming online at www.ksmu.org. Just click on the grey "Listen live now" bar at the top of the homepage, and you can toggle between KSMU's HD1 and HD2 program streams.

Randy Stewart joined the full-time KSMU staff in June 1978 after working part-time as a student announcer/producer for two years. His job evolved from Music Director in the early days to encompassing production of a wide range of arts-related programming and features for KSMU, including the online and Friday morning Arts News. Stewart assisted volunteer producers John Darkhorse (Route 66 Blues Express), Lee Worman (The Gold Ring), and Emily Higgins (The Mulberry Tree) with the production of their programs. He was the de facto "Voice of KSMU" due to the many hours per day he was heard doing local station breaks. Stewart’s record of service on behalf of the Springfield arts community earned him the Springfield Regional Arts Council's Ozzie Award in 2006.

Stewart passed away on July 1, 2024.