American baritone Samuel James Dewese is rapidly making a name for himself as an evocative artist in the United States and beyond. He completed undergraduate studies at the University of Illinois before earning a Master of Performance with Distinction from the Royal College of Music, London.
In the 2019-2020 season, Samuel was a Baumgartner Studio Artist at Florentine Opera in Milwaukee, US. Appearances for Florentine included Sam in Trouble in Tahiti/Bernstein, Antonio (cover Conte) in Le Nozze di Figaro/Mozart, and Doctor in Macbeth/Verdi. In August 2019 Samuel made his Scottish stage debut at the Edinburgh International Festival as Lady Macbeth in the world premiere of The Perfect Opera/Davis. He also made his Scottish recital debut during the 2019 Festival, presented alongside soprano Katy Thomson at St. Andrew’s and St. George’s West showcasing the program “Songs of Innocence and Experience” with renowned pianist Ingrid Sawers.
Following his orchestral solo debut in Fidelio/Beethoven with the University of Illinois Symphony Orchestra in 2011, Samuel returned to East Central Illinois as a soloist with the Vocal Arts Ensemble of Urbana in the summer of 2012 performing Schubert and Brahms Lieder and partsongs. In 2015, Samuel debuted in Chicago as Marcello in La Bohème/Puccini with Windy City Opera and he has appeared regularly with Opera On Tap Chicago. In June 2016 he performed the role of Peter, the Father in Hansel & Gretel/Humperdinck with New Moon Opera.
Samuel is the proud recipient of the Joann Damman Memorial Scholarship from the Bel Canto Foundation of Chicago and is the beneficiary of the Golden Lyre Foundation Award from the Illinois Federation of Music Clubs. Samuel is a two-time St. Louis District winner in the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions and took 2nd place in the 2015 James Toland Vocal Arts International Singing Competition in Oakland, California. In 2017 Samuel was a grand finalist in the Hariclea Darclée International Singing Competition in Braila, Romania, and he sang in the semifinal rounds of the 55th Francisco Viñas International Singing Contest in Barcelona in 2018. Competition successes continue as a current semifinalist in the ongoing Music International Grand Prix 2021.
Samuel earned a Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Illinois, where he appeared onstage in roles including Vicar Gedge/Albert Herring, Mercurio/La Calisto, Paris/Roméo et Juliette, and Ceprano/Rigoletto. He completed a Master of Opera Performance with Distinction at the Royal College of Music, London in 2018 under the guidance of Graeme Broadbent and Gary Matthewman. Samuel’s studies at the RCM were generously supported by a Vivian Prins Award. Performances at the RCM include the title role in Eugene Onegin/Tchaikovsky, Guglielmo/Così fan tutte, Il Conte/Le Nozze di Figaro, Amida/L'Ormindo, while recent recital highlights include Copland's Old American Songs, the European premiere of Eric Malmquist's Chicago Songs, and an exploration of romances written by F. P. Tosti during his time in London.
Since the advent of COVID-19, Samuel has curated a series of outdoor concerts called On Your Street, performing for hundreds of people outdoors at a safe distance.