Dennis Jesse (Associate Professor, Voice) has found much success in a wide range of vocal styles and characterizations in a career that has taken him from the madcap world of operetta to the dramatic depths of grand opera. He has appeared in more than 40 operettas including: Desert Song, The Mikado, H.M.S. Pinafore, Gräfin Maritza, Die Fledermaus, and The Merry Widow. His operatic credits include the title roles in Rigoletto, Don Giovanni, Gianni Schicchi, and Il Barbiere di Siviglia, as well as lead baritone roles in I Pagliacci, Madama Butterfly, Faust, Le Nozze di Figaro, Die Zauberflöte, La Boheme, Cavalleria Rusticana, Carmen, Romèo et Juliette, and The Crucible.
He has appeared in numerous productions with Des Moines Metro Opera, Arizona Opera, Eugene Opera, Knoxville Opera, Nevada Opera, Sacramento Opera, Pensacola Opera, Shreveport Opera, Triangle Opera Theater, Opera Idaho, Amarillo Opera, Metro Lyric Opera, El Paso Opera, Chautauqua Opera, Opera Southwest, Ohio Light Opera, Pittsburgh Public Theater, Opera Lenawee, Jefferson Performing Arts Society, and he toured for two years with the National Opera Company as Guglielmo in Così fan tutte, Taddeo in L’Italiana in Algeri and Belcore in L’Elisir d’amore. He has received critical acclaim as a well rounded singing actor.
“Whenever Dennis Jesse entered, he completely took over the stage as the toreador Escamillo. He showed an excellent and complete grasp of the character and a strong command of the language and nuance of the score.”
“Dennis Jesse drenches Tonio with a rich baritone sound. Jesse’s voice and subtle acting creates a menacing characterization, yet one of genuine pathos.”
“Dennis Jesse’s Giovanni was gentlemanly but menacing, handsome but heartless. He moved well on stage and was especially convincing in such seductive moments as the sensuous”La ci darem la mano” duet. The voice? Compact, solid and nicely gauged for the house, with a pleasantly husky quality. Jesse used his sense of the Italian text and of word accents to make the dramatic moments convincing, rather than overblowing the sound.”
Oratorio appearances include Vaughan Williams’ Sea Symphony with the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra, Carmina Burana with the Atlanta Ballet, St. Matthew Passion with Louisiana State University, Elijah with the New Orleans Symphonic Chorus and the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra, Brahms’ Ein deutsches Requiem with the Adrian Symphony and a Carnegie Hall performance of Schubert’s Mass in G and Mozart’s Te Deum and Regina Coeli with Mid America Productions.
Some of his most recent and upcoming engagements include: Danilo in The Merry Widow with the Nevada Opera, John Brooke in Little Women as a Guest Artist with University of North Carolina Greensboro, Soloist in Carmina Burana with The Burlington Choral Society, Schaunard in La Bohème with the Jacksonville Symphony, Scapria in Tosca with Nevada Opera, Escamillo in Carmen with Opera Idaho, Lord Mountjoy in Gloriana and Shlemil in The Tales of Hoffmann with Des Moines Metro Opera, Enrico in Lucia di Lammamoore with Pensacola Opera and Soloist in Messiah with Johnstown Symphony.
Upcoming recital appearances are with Baton Rouge’s BRAVO organization and on the Saddle Rock Music Series in Denver Colorado.
Jesse’s singing awards include being the national winner of the MTNA vocal recital competition, two time winner of the Fredrick Shorr vocal competition, winner of the Junior Division of the Opera Columbus Vocal Competition, and an invitation to be a guest artist on A Night with the Diva-Dolora Zajick a gala concert for Nevada Opera.