Bass-Baritone Joshua Hughes, lauded for his “lush, rich” voice (TheatreBloom), "powerful lyricism" (Texas Classical Review), and "brilliant vocal range” (DC Metro Theater Arts), has performed in opera, operetta, theatre, cabarets, and concerts ranging from Gilbert and Sullivan to Mozart to Shakespeare. The "rising young singer" (Baltimore Sun) and "excellent baritone" (Theater Jones) approaches a wide variety of roles with a "power and dramatic effect" (Dallas Morning News) that immediately connects the audience to the story at hand. Hughes's gift for honest communication and his extensive training in music, acting, language, and dance aid him in providing engaging and entertaining performances.
Currently based in Palo Alto, CA, Hughes made his Bay Area debut in 2019 appearing as the bass soloist with Soli Deo Gloria performing Bach’s Cantata 68 and both Schubert and Charpentier’s Magnificats. He later returned to Soli Deo Gloria as the bass soloist and Pilatus in Bach’s Saint John Passion. The 2019/2020 also marked his first with Opera San José, performing throughout the year in the educational outreach production of Seymour Barab’s Little Red Riding Hood (Wolf/Woodsman). Audiences eagerly await his mainstage debut at the California Theater for Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte (rescheduled due to COVID-19). Hughes’s final performance before the pandemic was his role debut as Escamillo in a sold-out aerial production of La Rêve de Carmen with San Francisco Opera on Tap and Air Opera Collective.
While based in Dallas, TX, Hughes performed with a number of companies, including Opera in Concert in their productions of Giménez and Nieto's zarzuela El Barbero de Sevilla (Benito Sánchez), Boris Blacher’s Die Flut (Der Fischer), and Kurt Weill’s Mahagonny Songspiel (Bobby). He made his DFW operatic role debut as Licomede, King of Skyros in a period staging of Francisco Courcelle's Achille in Sciro with Orchestra of New Spain and appeared in the inaugural season of American Baroque Opera Company in Handel's Alcina (Melisso) and Pergolesi's La Serva Padrona (Uberto). Hughes has also worked extensively as a soloist with Dallas Bach Society in a number of concerts and productions, including Bach's Saint Matthew Passion, Purcell's The Fairy Queen, and Charpentier’s Les Arts Florissants. Other North Texas credits include Jerry Herman's Mame (Junior Babcock) with Lyric Stage and Shakespeare's The Winter’s Tale (Antigonus and Florizel) with Barebones Shakespeare Company.
Hughes made his professional operatic debut in 2016 with Lyric Opera Baltimore as Ambrogio in a "lively" (Tim Smith, Baltimore Sun) production of Rossini's Il Barbiere di Siviglia and previously appeared on Baltimore's historic Lyric Opera House stage as Harry Easter in Kurt Weill's Street Scene (under the direction of Kristine McIntyre and the baton of Steven White) and as Pasha Selim in Mozart’s Die Entführung aus dem Serail with Peabody Opera. Additional Peabody credits include the roles of Apollon and Titye in Charpentier’s La Descente d’Orphée aux Enfers and Le Marriage Forcé, and as the Premier Ministre and Herald in Massenet’s Cendrillon.
In addition to his professional and academic credits, Hughes has performed in both concerts and fully staged productions at a number of summer music festivals. In 2011, he attended the Bay View Music Festival in Petoskey, Michigan and sang the role of Marco in Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi in addition to alternating the role of Marco and the Magistrate in Buoso’s Ghost, Michael Ching’s English-language sequel to the Puccini classic. In 2012, he worked at Opera in the Ozarks in Eureka Springs, Arkansas, appearing in every single performance of a summer-long rotating repertory of Die Zauberflöte, La Bohème, and A Little Night Music. In 2014, he made his DC metro area debut with Bethesda Summer Music Festival portraying Guglielmo in Mozart’s Così fan tutte.
Rapidly making a name for himself as an accomplished Gilbert and Sullivan “patter” baritone whose comic sensibilities have been compared to Groucho Marx and Eric Idle (DC Metro Theater Arts), Hughes returned to Opera in Concert last season to perform a semi-staged concert of Gilbert and Sullivan Rarities. Hughes recently returned to Young Victorian Theatre Company in Baltimore to perform in From London to Baltimore: A Salute to Gilbert and Sullivan. In 2018, he played the role of Ko-Ko in The Mikado, the role of Sir Joseph Porter in Young Vic's 2017 production of HMS Pinafore, and in 2016 he portrayed the Lord Chancellor in Iolanthe . His rendition of the “Nightmare Song” was even featured on the CBS local syndicate WJZ TV. In the summer of 2015, Hughes made his Victorian Lyric Opera Company debut performing the lead in Ruddigore. Hughes’s portrayal of the cursed Sir Ruthven (disguised as Robin Oakapple) was met with critical acclaim with DC Metro Theater Arts praising how “the enjoyment he infused into the role made his portrayal of Robin a constant joy to watch.”
A gifted educator with a passion for passing music onto younger generations, Hughes has been involved with a great deal of operatic and theatre outreach. In the spring of 2017, he was seen by over twenty North Texas schools as the Man in the Yellow Hat in Plano Children's Theatre's touring production of Curious George and the Golden Meatball and also performed the role of The Grinch for the City of Grapevine's Carol of Light's 2017 Christmas extravaganza. In the 2014-2015 academic year, he sang the role of the Father in Peabody’s Opera Outreach production of Humperdinck’s Hansel and Gretel, which was performed at venues ranging from concert halls to elementary gymnasiums throughout the state of Maryland. While at Opera in the Ozarks, he sang a number of roles in an English translation of Ravel’s L’enfant et les Sortilèges in schools, libraries, and theaters throughout northwest Arkansas. In 2018 and 2019, Hughes toured with Shakespeare Dallas in their school outreach production What Visions Have I Seen exploring Shakespeare's contributions to the English language through scenes from A Midsummer Night's Dream.
In 2016, Hughes graduated with a Master of Music in Voice Performance and Pedagogy from the Peabody Institute of Johns Hopkins University where he studied with acclaimed baritone William Sharp. In 2013, he received his Bachelor of Music Education from Oklahoma City University where he studied with tenor Jeffrey Picón.