Baritone Kevin Wetzel continues to earn critical praise as he progresses through a national career centered on leading roles. Acclaimed for his "luxurious and exciting baritone" and "virtually flawless technique", he has also been hailed as "a remarkably graceful and physically precise actor". In recent seasons, he has joined the rosters of such opera companies as Baltimore Opera, Lyric Opera Baltimore, Glimmerglass Opera, Utah Festival Opera, Sarasota Opera, Arizona Opera, Central City Opera, Opera Columbus, Opera in the Heights, Summer Garden Opera, Cleveland Opera Circle, Hub Opera Ensemble, Tacoma Opera, Winter Opera St. Louis, Asheville Lyric Opera, Brooklyn's Loft Opera, and the Czech Republic’s National Moravian-Silesian Theatre.
A seasoned interpreter of the Verdian heroic baritone repertoire, Mr. Wetzel's Verdi roles include the Conte di Luna in Il trovatore, Renato in Un ballo in maschera, Iago in Otello, and the Cavaliere di Belfiore in Verdi's early comedy Un giorno di regno. Mr. Wetzel has also distinguished himself as a Mozartean (both Don Alfonso and Guglielmo in Così fan tutte, and the title role of Don Giovanni) and as an idiomatic interpreter of French romantic repertoire (Escamillo in Carmen, Alphonse in Donizetti's rarely-heard masterpiece La favorite). During the summer of 2017, Mr. Wetzel makes an anticipated role debut as Valentin in Faust.
In the verismo repertoire, Mr. Wetzel made a successful role debut as Scarpia in Loft Opera's 2016 production of Tosca, a performance noted for its "threatening viscerality". Other verismo roles include Silvio in Pagliacci, Marcello in La bohème, the Mandarin and Ping in Turandot.
A committed advocate of 20th and 21st century English-language repertoire and new American works, Mr. Wetzel was widely lauded by the customarily fastidious New York press for his role debut performance as Tarquinius in Loft Opera's 2015 The Rape of Lucretia. He "sang this ungrateful part with intensity and vitality", and the New York Times noted his "robust voice and menacing fervor". In 2017 Mr. Wetzel reprised the role of Tarquinius in a new production at the Antonín Dvořák Theatre of Ostrava (Czech Republic).
During the 2017-18 season, Mr. Wetzel joins the Center for Contemporary Opera for a double bill of operas by Gordon Getty: in Usher House as the Attendant, and in The Canterville Ghost as Canterville. This production will be reprised in partnership with Los Angeles Opera in June of 2018.
Equally interested in concert and recital repertoire, Mr. Wetzel has frequently performed the virtuosic baritone solo role in Carmina Burana, most notably in a co-production between the Richmond Symphony Orchestra, Richmond Chorus, and Richmond Ballet. He has also appeared in concert with Concert Artists of Baltimore, Virginia Symphony, Peabody Concert Orchestra, the New York Choral Society, the U.S. State Department, and at the Kennedy Center. A specialist in Russian art song, Mr. Wetzel has performed for both the Russian Embassy and the U.S. Consulate in St. Petersburg (Russia). He has become a favorite guest artist with the Russian Chamber Arts Society in Alexandria, Virginia, for whom he most recently performed a program of Russian art song in February 2017.
Mr. Wetzel received his Master of Music and Graduate Performance Degree from the Peabody Conservatory. He has fulfilled artist residencies with Sarasota Opera, Arizona Opera, Virginia Opera Association, Glimmerglass Opera, and Central City Opera. Mr. Wetzel has also placed as a prizewinner in the Metropolitan Opera National Council auditions (Washington DC district), First Prize winner of the Sylvia Green Voice Competition, and recipient of the Lindauer Memorial Prize at the Annapolis Opera Competition.