Praised for “the easy caramel syrup of his voice” (Opera Today), Mexican-American baritone Armando Contreras is quickly becoming a standout in the world of opera. In 2021, Mr. Contreras was a part of the world premiere of Aleksandra Vrebalov and Deborah Breevort’s The Knock, singing the lead role Lt. Roberto Gonzales with The Glimmerglass Festival. Other highlights of his current season include making his debut with Salt Marsh Opera as Moralès in Carmen, reprising the role of Diego Rivera in Frida and the Bravest Girl in the World with Central City Opera, joining Opera Steamboat in The Three Feathers as The King/Rat and making his Denver Philharmonic debut in L'elisir d'amore as Belcore. This summer, Mr. Contreras will return to The Glimmerglass Festival to sing a lead role in the world premiere of the Rossini pastiche, Tenor Overboard, and cover Moralès in Carmen. In 2022-2023, Mr. Contreras will sing Marco in Gianni Schicchi and Council in Trial by Jury with Salt Marsh Opera. He will also make his company debut with Cincinnati Opera in the near future.
In the 2020/2021 season, Mr. Contreras was seen as Ernesto in the US premiere of Bizet’s Don Procopio with Pacific Opera Project, Il Conte in Le nozze di Figaro and Marcello in La bohème with Boulder Opera, and Diego Rivera in Frida and the Bravest Girl in the World with Opera Steamboat. In the summer of 2021, he covered the role of Papageno in Mozart’s The Magic Flute with The Glimmerglass Festival.
2019-2020 credits include Ben in Menotti’s The Telephone with Opera Fort Collins and Estaban in En Mis Palabras with Central City Opera. He was also set to perform as Guglielmo in Così? and cover Argante in Rinaldo with The Glimmerglass Festival in the summer of 2020 (COVID19).
During the 2018-2019 season, he was seen as the Imperial Commissioner in Lyric Opera of Kansas City’s Madama Butterfly, Nardo in La finta giardinera and Dr. Falke in Die Fledermaus with University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC) and covered Guglielmo in Così fan tutte with Lyric Opera of Kansas City. He also appeared as John Proctor (The Crucible), Sharpless (Madama Butterfly) and Belcore (L’elisir d’amore) in the Des Moines Metro Opera Apprentice Artist Scenes program.
Engagements in the 2017/2018 season included Filippo in the US premiere of Rossini’s La gazzetta with Pacific Opera Project, Le Dancaïre in Carmen with Central City Opera, the Herald in Rigoletto and Fiorello in Il barbiere di Siviglia with Lyric Opera of Kansas City, Peter in Hänsel und Gretel and L'horloge comtoise/Le chat in L'enfant et les sortilèges with UMKC. He also covered the role of Doug Hansen in Joby Talbot’s Everest in its premiere at the Lyric Opera of Kansas City.
Equally comfortable in concert repertoire, he has performed as the bass soloist in Handel’s Messiah with the Missouri Oratorio Society and Orff’s Carmina Burana with the Kansas City Ballet. He also appeared as Papageno in a concert featuring operatic selections by Mozart with The Cleveland Orchestra, a concert he will again perform with the Colorado Symphony in 2022.
Mr. Contreras has had extensive training including at The Glimmerglass Festival as a Young Artist, Des Moines Metro Opera as an Apprentice Artist, Lyric Opera of Kansas City as a Young Artist and Central City as a Studio Artist.
Accolades from the vocal competition circuit include Mr. Contreras receiving the Top Prize after completion of the Central City Young Artist Program, being named a finalist in the 2020 Kyrenia Opera Vocal Competition and participating in the 2019 Dorothy Lincoln Smith Voice Competition where he was the Regional Winner.
A strong proponent of education, Mr. Contreras holds a Bachelor’s degree in Voice Performance from the Cleveland Institute of Music and a Master’s degree in the same major from the University of Missouri-Kansas City.
The Glimmerglass Festival
"The easy caramel syrup of his voice grows ever richer as it vaults imploringly in prayer, and he makes compelling sense of Gonzalz's emotional landscape - a heavy combination of resentment, compassion, and duty-bound determination."
Russell Janzen, Opera Today 11/11/21
The Denver Philharmonic
"Armando Contreras brought both of his characters to life with his comical expressions and spirited baritone voice."
Julia Mertes, DU Clarion 11/08/21
Pacific Opera Project
"Armando Contreras was an effective Ernesto."
Maria Nockin, Broadway World 06/05/21
LE NOZZE DI FIGARO
"Armando Contreras was a dignified Count who relished his superiority over the rest of the household and showed occasional flashes of anger. His Act II aria, "Hai gia vinta la causa...Vedro mentr'io sospiro" ("I've won the cause...Should I see my servants happy while I'm sad?) mixed rage with disappointment, and resolve. Most impressive was his last scene discovery that he had chased his own wife."
Maria Nockin, Broadway World 03/08/21
Pacific Opera Project
"Armando Contreras as Fillipo the hotel manager, is another baritone with gravitas and he is quickly making his mark in the opera world."
Loren Lester, Schmopera 07/02/18
Central City Opera
"The smugglers Dancaire and Remendado were played for both comedy and intensity by Armando Contreras and Nathan Ward."
Kelly Dean Hansen, Daily Camera 07-12-17