Philip Kraus is currently one of the most versatile artists on the American music scene today, having appeared as soloist with numerous orchestras and opera companies throughout the United States in a wide variety of standard and adventurous repertoire.
Mr. Kraus has been on the roster of the Lyric Opera of Chicago since 1990 performing numerous roles including Dulcamara in L’Elisir d’amore, Dr. Bartolo in The Barber of Seville, Harashta in The Cunning Little Vixen, the Sacristan in Tosca, Elder MacLean in Susannah, Antonio in The Marriage of Figaro, Benoit/Alcindoro in La Boheme, Wolfsheim in The Great Gatsby, Baron Duphol in La Traviata, Ratcliffe in Billy Budd, Abe Kaplan in Street Scene, and the Mayor in Jenufa as well as featured roles in The Gambler, Candide, The Bartered Bride, Tristan und Isolde, and Andrea Chenier. Additionally he created the role of southern Senator John Calhoun in the world premiere of Anthony Davies’ Amistad at Lyric.
Mr. Kraus made his debut with the Minnesota Opera in 1995 in the title role in Verdi’s Rigoletto and made his Cleveland Opera debut in 1994 as the Vicar in Albert Herring. Most recently he joined the roster of the Los Angeles Opera repeating Duphol in La Traviata opposite René Fleming and Elizabeth Futral. The performance with Ms. Fleming will receive a Decca DVD release. Additionally, he has performed Germont in Traviata and Alfio in Cavalleria Rusticana with the Missouri Symphony, Scarpia in Tosca with Chamber Opera Chicago and the Battle Creek Symphony, the title role Gianni Schicchi in both the Puccini Opera and Michael Ching’s Buoso’s Ghost at Chicago Opera Theater and Taddeo in L’Italiana in Algeri with both the Hawaii Opera Theater and the Pamiro Opera.
Comfortable in both the serious and comic repertoires, Mr. Kraus has made a specialty of two title roles, Verdi’s Falstaff and Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi, performing both roles on numerous ocassions to enthusiastic reviews. No stranger to unusual repertoire, Mr. Kraus performed Mangus in the American premiere of Sir Michael Tippett’s The Knot Garden and portrayed the tortured Salieri in Rimsky Korsakov’s Mozart and Salieri with Concertante di Chicago and the Fort Wayne Philharmonic.
Also comfortable in the Baroque repertoire, Mr.Kraus has made yearly appearances with the Handel Week Festival singing solo work in The Dettingen Te Deum, Esther, Judas Maccabaeus, and the roles of Cosroe in Siroe and Varo in Ezio. Kraus has also made a specialty of the Purcell masques appearing in The Fairy Queen and King Arthur with Music of the Baroque.
Mr. Kraus is equally at home in the light opera and Broadway repertoire. Considered a specialist in Gilbert and Sullivan, Mr. Kraus received high accolades from the press for his performances of Sir Joseph Porter in H.M.S. Pinafore at the Cleveland Opera and Major General Stanley in The Pirates of Penzance at Michigan Opera Theater. Also adept in the Viennese repertory, Mr. Kraus has portrayed leading roles in The Gypsy Baron, Weiner Blut, The Merry Widow, and One Night in Venice. He scored a critical coup in 1989 with his acclaimed portrayal of Russell Paxton in the first major revival of Kurt Weill’s Lady in the Dark at Light Opera Works. Mr. Kraus has also been featured on numerous pops concerts with the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra featuring the music of Rodgers and Hammerstein, Cole Porter, George Gershwin, and Stephen Sondheim.
Solo engagements with conductor Margaret Hillis led to his Chicago Symphony Orchestra debut in 1975 in Handel’s Dettingen Te Deum and Russell Woollen’s In Martyrium Memoriam after which Sir Georg Solti engaged him for Carnegie Hall performances and recording of Fidelio. A frequent concert artist, Mr. Kraus has appeared as soloist with the Cleveland Orchestra, the Dallas, Milwaukee, Omaha, Colorado, Santa Barbara, Richmond, Roanoke, Grant Park, South Bend, Owensboro, Jacksonville, and Madison Symphonies, and the Rochester and Fort Wayne Philharmonics under conductors Erich Leinsdorf, Eduardo Mata, Zdenek Macal, Leonard Slatkin, David Zinman, Claudio Abbado, James Levine, James Paul, Mark Elder, Anton Coppola, Gisele Ben-Dor, Eduard Tchivzhel and Marin Alsop. His wide concert repertoire includes a quartet of Requiems; the Verdi, Brahms, Faure and Mozart; Orff’s Carmina Burana, Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, Handel’s Messiah, Mendelssohn’s Elijah, Haydn’s Lord Nelson Mass, Bach’s B Minor Mass and Magnificat, Vaughan Williams’ The Sea Symphony and Shostokovitch’s Fourteenth Symphony.
Mr. Kraus has also been a frequent guest of choral ensembles including the Bel Canto Chorus of Milwaukee, Chicago’s Apollo Chorus, the Bach Festival of Winter Park, Music of the Baroque, the Handel Week Festival and the Calvin College Oratorio Society.
Mr. Kraus holds three degrees including a Doctor of Music from Northwestern University. He taught both in the voice and opera programs at De Paul University. Additionally, he headed the opera department at Roosevelt University. Mr. Kraus is also a highly regarded stage director and composer. He founded Light Opera Works in 1980, a professional company devoted to operetta and was Artistic Director for 19 seasons. He also served as resident stage director of Pamiro Opera from 1988 through 1996.