DAVÓNE TINES | BASS-BARITONE
In this unprecedented time I keep coming back to two questions that my close collaborator Zack Winokur poses to our extended artistic family: Who do we want to hear from? And how do we keep going? One possible answer to both questions is: Community. For me personally my dearest art communities are the cast and creative team of The Black Clown and my incredible colleagues in the American Modern Opera Company. A lot of my time has been spent figuring out how to keep art making going with my AMOC family. It’s looked less like a race to create content or win Instagram and more like checking in on each other, continuing involved conversations about the art we dream to make and sharing parts of our work in ways that maintain its integrity.
Another thing that’s been keeping me busy is collaborating with Zack to create something for the digital space centered around the show The Black Clown. The development is being supported by Lincoln Center and their expanding platform Lincoln Center at Home. We’re aiming to invite audiences to revisit or discover our production by joining us in an excavation of the original poem. I’m excited about this project because it will offer further insight into the show as well as serve as a springboard into conversations critical for our time including themes of personal identity, race, and the importance of community in the face of adversity. This is something we’ve wanted to create even before this current time and now we have the space and impetus to do it.
ABOUT DAVÓNE TINES
Heralded as ‘a singer of immense power and fervor’ by The Los Angeles Times, Davóne Tines came to international attention during the 2015-16 in breakout performances at the Dutch National Opera premiere of Kaija Saariaho’s Only the Sound Remains directed by Peter Sellars and at the Ojai Music Festival presenting works by Caroline Shaw and Kaija Saariaho with the Calder Quartet and the International Contemporary Ensemble.
Eric Woolsey / Opera Theatre of Saint Louis
Davóne Tines was co-creator with Zack Winokur and composer Michael Schachter, as well as co-librettist of The Black Clown, a music theater experience inspired by Langston Hughes’ poem of the same name that animates a black man’s resilience against America’s legacy of oppression by fusing vaudeville, opera, jazz, and spirituals to bring Hughes’ verse to life onstage. The world premiere was given by the American Repertory Theater in autumn 2018 and presented by Lincoln Center in summer 2019. Of performances of The Black Clown, Ben Brantley of The New York Times lauded, “this rich, seamless production melds the past and present of African-American history into an electrifyingly ambivalent whole…An estimable opera singer, Mr. Tines has a depths-plumbing bass-baritone that can find a range of contradictions within a single note. And his body and face match that voice in their expressiveness.”
As a founding core member of the American Modern Opera Company, Davóne Tines has been featured in a wide array of productions including Henze’s El Cimarrón and John Adams’ Nativity Reconsidered, both presented by the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and in the original work, Were You There, with music by Matthew Aucoin and Michael Schachter.
Vincent Tullo / The New York Times
Photo: Nikolai Shukoff
In summer 2019, Davóne Tines made his debut at Opera Theatre of Saint Louis in the world premiere of Fire Shut Up In My Bones by the creative team of Terence Blanchard and Kasi Lemmons, based on the memoir of the American journalist, commentator, and New York Times op-ed columnist, Charles M. Blow. John Adams and Peter Sellars’ Girls of the Golden West was the platform for Davóne Tines’ San Francisco Opera debut and the work was later given its European premiere by Dutch National Opera.
He has appeared at the Opéra national de Paris, Teatro Real, and Finnish National Opera in Kaija Saariaho’s Only the Sound Remains directed by Peter Sellars, and the artist made his Brooklyn Academy of Music debut in a production of Matthew Aucoin’s Crossing directed by multi Tony Award-winning director Diane Paulus. Additional highlights include a new production of Oedipus Rex at Lisbon’s Teatro Nacional de São Carlos led by Leo Hussain and Handel’s rarely staged serenata, Aci, Galatea, e Polifemo at National Sawdust in a new production by Christopher Alden, which examined parallels between an 18th century telling of Ovid’s mythological tale and our own contemporary aesthetic driven by power, class, race, and the cruelty of thwarted desire.
Additional highlights include a new production of Oedipus Rex at Lisbon’s Teatro Nacional de São Carlos led by Leo Hussain and Handel’s rarely staged serenata, Aci, Galatea, e Polifemo at National Sawdust in a new production by Christopher Alden, which examined parallels between an 18th century telling of Ovid’s mythological tale and our own contemporary aesthetic driven by power, class, race, and the cruelty of thwarted desire.
Davóne Tines’ concert appearances include John Adams’ El Niño with Vladimir Jurowski conducting the Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin, Kaija Saariaho’s True Fire with the Orchestre national de France, Stravinsky’s Oedipus Rex with Esa-Pekka Salonen and the Royal Swedish Orchestra, Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony with Michael Tilson Thomas leading the San Francisco Symphony and with Pablo Res Broseta and the Seattle Symphony, and a program exposing the Music of Resistance by George Crumb, Julius Eastman, Dmitri Shostakovich, and Caroline Shaw with conductor Christian Reif and members of the San Francisco Symphony at SoundBox.
Katurah Ashby / Ojai Music Festival
Photo: Katurah Ashby
Photo: Stephanie Berger
This season, Mr. Tines appeared on numerous concert stages including in collaboration with the Dover Quartet and in Schumann’s Das Paradies und die Peri with Louis Langrée and the Cincinnati Symphony. Due to COVID-19, his recitals to presented by Carnegie Hall, Celebrity Series of Boston, Da Camera Society of Houston, and Vocal Arts DC; and his performances of the European premiere of David Lang’s prisoner of the state with Ilan Volkov conducting the BBC Symphony and John Adams’ El Niño with David Robertson and the Houston Symphony have been postponed until further notice.
Davóne Tines is a winner of the 2020 Sphinx Medal of Excellence, recognizing extraordinary classical musicians of color. Along with a $50,000 career grant, the Sphinx Organization annually awards Medals of Excellence to three artists who, early in their career, demonstrate artistic excellence, outstanding work ethic, a spirit of determination, and an ongoing commitment to leadership and their communities. He also is the recipient of the 2018 Emerging Artists Award given by Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts and is a graduate of Harvard University and The Juilliard School.
Katurah Ashby / Ojai Music Festival