American baritone, Paul Scholten, has been hailed as “an excellent baritone with notable intelligence and trenchant musicality” (Opera News). The 2012-2013 season found Mr. Scholten performing as the baritone soloist in Handel’s Messiah with the Chicago Apollo Chorus and Orchestra. He performed the role of Der Vater in a concert performance of Humperdinck’s Hänsel und Gretel with the Macon Symphony Orchestra. Upcoming engagements will find Mr. Scholten performing at the Metropolitan Opera in a workshop performance of Scott Wheeler’s new opera The Sorrows of Frederick, where he will sing the role of the General. He sang the title role of Eugene Onegin with Opera Company of Middlebury.
In the 2011-2012 season, Mr. Scholten completed his second season as a young artist in the Ryan Opera Center at the Lyric Opera of Chicago. While at the Lyric, he was seen as Normanno in Lucia di Lammermoor, Zweiter Priester in Die Zauberflöte, and Der Perückenmacher in Ariadne auf Naxos. He also covered the roles of Papageno in the student matinee performances of Die Zauberflöte, Schlemil in Les Contes d’Hoffman, and Mitiukha in Boris Godunov. During that season, Mr. Scholten also made his role and company debut as Sharpless in Dupage Opera Theatre’s production of Madama Butterfly, and as Baburov in Shostakovich’s operetta Moscow Cheryomushki at the Chicago Opera Theatre. In the 2012 summer, Mr. Scholten joined the Santa Fe Opera Apprentice Program where he covered the role of Zurga in Les Pêcheurs des Perles.
The 2010-2011 season found Mr. Scholten returning to Chicago’s Grant Park Music Festival to sing the role of Dandini in highlights from Rossini’s La Cenerentola. He also sang the role of Don Alfonso in Così fan tutte with the Lyric Opera of Chicago’s Ryan Opera Center. In the opera season at the Lyric Opera of Chicago, Mr. Scholten was seen as El Dancaïro in Carmen, Starveling in Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and Happy in Puccini’s La Fanciulla del West.
Mr. Scholten was a 2009 young artist in the San Francisco Opera Merola Opera Program where he covered the role of David in Mascagni’s L’Amico Fritz, and performed scenes from La Bohème and Il barbiere di Siviglia as part of Merola’s Schwabacher Summer Concert and Merola Grand Finale. He was a fellow of the Tanglewood Music Center in 2005, 2006 and 2007, where he sang the role of Don Alfonso in Così fan tutte conducted by Maestro James Levine, and took part in a variety of performances including Samuel Barber’s Dover Beach, Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas with the Mark Morris Dance Group, and numerous art song recitals.
Other notable roles for Mr. Scholten’s include Tarquinius in Britten’s The Rape of Lucretia, Guglielmo in Così fan tutte, Schaunard in La Bohème, Krušina in Smetana’s The Bartered Bride, and Le Directeur in Poulenc’s Les Mamelles de Tirésias. When he sang the role of Bartolo in Il Barbiere di Siviglia, the Cincinnati Enquirer hailed him as “The scene-stealer… A fusty old crank re-conceived by Miller as a full blown obsessive-compulsive, he was brought vividly to life by Scholten, whose rapid ‘patter aria’ facility was the most impressive of the show.”
Mr. Scholten’s success also extends to the concert stage, where he has been the soloist in Bach’s B Minor Mass with the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music; soloist in Handel’s Messiah and Haydn’s Creation Mass with Musica Sacra in Cincinnati; and soloist in Bruckner’s Te Deum with the Berkshire Choral Festival. He made his Carnegie Hall debut in 2010 under the auspices of The Marilyn Horne Foundation’s The Song Continues Festival, where he sang for Maestro James Levine in a public master class of art song. Mr. Scholten was a national semi-finalist in the 2012 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions and second place winner of the 2012 National Orpheus Vocal Competition. He is the first place winner of the American Opera Society Competition as well as the first place winner of the Irma M. Cooper International Opera Columbus Vocal Competition (junior division), the first place winner of the University of Michigan Friends of Opera Scholarship Competition, the third place winner of The Florida Grand Opera/Young Patronesses of the Opera National Vocal Competition and the third place winner of the 39th Annual William C. Byrd Young Artist Competition.
Mr. Scholten received his master of music degree from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, and his bachelor of music degree with highest honors from The University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre & Dance. He is a native of Muskegon, Michigan.