American heldentenor Clay Hilley is poised for a prominent international career in the most demanding roles of the operatic repertory. From Bacchus to Siegfried and Canio to Samson, the Georgia native has been acclaimed by The New York Times for his “vocal heft, clarion sound and stamina.”
Honing his repertoire and stage experience at first by covering in the leading international opera houses of North America, engagements have included Parsifal with Yannick Nézet-Séguin at the Metropolitan Opera, Der Ring des Nibelungen with Donald Runnicles and Turandot conducted by Nicola Luisotti at San Francisco Opera, Siegfried at the Canadian Opera Company led by Johannes Debus, and Samson et Dalila under the baton of Emmanuel Villaume at The Dallas Opera.
The 2019-20 season brings Clay Hilley to the Lyric Opera of Chicago for performances of Dead Man Walking (Father Grenville) and to cover both Siegfrieds in Der Ring des Nibelungen, to the Metropolitan Opera to cover the role of the Drum Major in the company’s new production by William Kentridge of Wozzeck, to the National Theatre Mannheim for performances of Siegfried, to the Bard Music Festival singing the role of Paul in a semi-staged presentation of Die Tote Stadt, and to Opera Roanoke for Canio in Pagliacci.
In recent seasons, Clay Hilley has performed the title role of Dvořák’s Dimitrij in a new production by Anne Bogart for the Bard Music Festival conducted by Leon Botstein, the title role of Mozart’s Idomeneo both in a new production by Arila Siegert at the Salzburger Landestheater under the baton of Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla and at the Theater Würzburg in a production by Stefan Suschke conducted by Enrico Calesso, Radamès in Aida with Opera Southwest and Baltimore Concert Opera, Canio in Pagliacci with Virginia Opera, and Erik in Der fliegende Holländer with Austin Lyric Opera.
Concert experience includes performances of Beethoven’s Fidelio with Robert Spano and the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, Mahler’s Eighth Symphony with Marin Alsop and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra at the Ravinia Festival, with John DeMain and the Madison Symphony Orchestra, and with Leon Botstein and the American Symphony Orchestra, as well as Das Lied von der Erde with The Apollo Orchestra of Washington, D.C. Emerging as a world class Straussian tenor, he has sung Menelaus in Die ägyptische Helena with Gil Rose and Odyssey Opera and Gundelfingen in Feuersnot with Leon Botstein and the American Symphony Orchestra at Carnegie Hall.
The Wagner Society of New York presented Clay Hilley in recital, singing a program of Mahler, Janáček, Mozart, Dvořák, and Wagner following the Society’s recognition of the tenor with its Top Prize, the Robert Lauch Award, in 2015. He received his Bachelor of Music degree in Music Education at the University of Georgia, a Master of Music degree in Vocal Performance from Georgia State University, a Professional Studies Certificate from the Manhattan School of Music, and a Performer’s Certificate from the Opera Institute at Boston University.