Bass-baritone George Cordes has earned high praise in both the comic and serious
repertoire with such companies as the Metropolitan Opera, New York City Opera, Lyric
Opera of Chicago, Houston Grand Opera, and Dallas Opera. He sang a dizzying array
of roles in six seasons with NYCO, highlights being his appearances in 2000 and 2001
on consecutive PBS Live from Lincoln Center telecasts. He also has appeared with
the opera companies of Santa Fe, St. Louis, Kansas City, Pittsburgh, New Orleans,
Columbus, and Cleveland, and other regional houses.
Mr. Cordes’ many roles with NYCO include Figaro in Le Nozze di Figaro, Colline in
La Boheme, the Four Villains in Les Contes d’Hoffmann, Timur in Turandot, Monterone
in Rigoletto, the Speaker in The Magic Flute, Zuniga in Carmen, Masetto in Don Giovanni,
Harasta in The Cunning Little Vixen, Tchelio in The Love for Three Oranges, and Pistola
in Falstaff. In 2001, he won acclaim as Colline in City Opera’s Live From Lincoln
Centertelecast on PBS. The previous spring, he appeared as Angelotti in a NYCO production
of Tosca, another Live from Lincoln Centertelecast. With the Met in the Parks, Mr.
Cordes sang the Bonze in Madama Butterfly, as well as Angelotti and Monterone, both
in Central Park performances.
In 2007, Mr. Cordes appeared with Opera Boston as Nourabad in Bizet's Les Pecheurs
de Perles, having debuted with that company in 2005 in a critically acclaimed production
of Ward's The Crucible. In 2004, he debuted with Lyric Opera of Kansas City, chewing
up the stage in the role of Bottom in A Midsummer Night's Dream. In 2002, he made
his Syracuse Opera debut as Leporello. Also in 2002, he traveled to Japan to sing
Colline with the Tokyo City Orchestra. His debut with Houston Grand Opera came in
2001 in the role of Monterone in a cast that featured Dmitri Hvorostovsky as Rigoletto.
Other career highlights include Mozart’s Figaro with both Opera Theater of St. Louis
and Opera Columbus and numerous roles with Dallas Opera, New Orleans Opera, and Pittsburgh
As a concert soloist, George Cordes has performed most of the standard sacred and
secular works, including Messiah, the Mozart Requiem, the Verdi Requiem, Elijah,
Bach's St. Matthew Passion and Magnificat, the masses of Beethoven, Mozart, and Schubert,
and many other works. Most recently, Mr. Cordes appeared with the Berkshire Choral
Festival in July 2009 in Mendelssohn’s Magnificat and Faure’s Requiem. His most recent
performance of the Verdi Requiem was in June 2009 with Downtown Singers of Binghamton,
NY. In 2008, Mr. Cordes sang Barber’s Dover Beach as part of the Duxbury Music Festival.
He also has appeared with the Hartford Symphony, the Plymouth Philharmonic, the Hilton
Head Symphony, Ascension Music, and other orchestras and choral groups.
Mr. Cordes was chosen by composer Robert Xavier Rodriguez to perform several of his
works, including the world premiereofForbidden Fire, a cantata for bass, chorus,
and orchestra, with the University of Miami orchestra and chorus. He also has performed
the Rodriguez works Scrooge!, based on Dickens' A Christmas Carol, and Con Flor y
Canto, based on the Mayan Popol Vuh, numerous times, including a performance with
Orquesta de las Americas in Mexico City following 9/11. Mr. Cordes is the featured
soloist in these pieces on the Albany Records CD Robert Xavier Rodriguez: Works for
Chorus and Orchestra.
George Cordes began his vocal training at the Boston Conservatory of Music with Iride
Pilla and Bradley Pennington. He continued his vocal and dramatic studies with Clifford
Billions and Alfred Anderson at the University of Akron School of Music, where he
earned his Master of Music degree. He was an apprentice artist with Santa Fe Opera
for two seasons and Pittsburgh Opera for three seasons and has won numerous awards