James McKeel, baritone, has sung over 70 roles with opera companies and festivals throughout the United States as well as England’s Aldeburgh Festival, Minnesota Opera, Santa Fe Opera, Baltimore Opera, Muny Opera, Opera Theatre of St. Louis, Guthrie Theatre, Plymouth Music Series, Dale Warland Singers, Kennedy Center, New Works Ensemble, Midwest Opera Theatre, Dale Warland Singers, and the Minnesota & St. Paul Chamber Orchestras. Performances range from The Magic Flute & The Marriage of Figaro to La Boheme & Carmen to premieres of Casanova’s Homecoming, The Juniper Tree, and the award-winning A Death in the Family. Other performances include Lady in the Dark, Sweeney Todd, and TheThreepenny Opera, the critically-acclaimed world-premiere of The Three Hermits, the award-winning Paul Bunyan with England’s Aldeburgh Festival, and As You Like It at the Guthrie Theatre with Val Kilmer and Patti Lapone. His recordings include The Mother of Us All, Voices from Lost Realms, Paul Bunyan, The Three Hermits,Visions, and The Hero of Hamblett.

Mr. McKeel’s artistic collaborators have included Philip Glass, David Hockney, Dominick Argento, Raymond Leppard, Wesley Balk, Philip Brunelle, Joan La Barbara, Morton Sobotnick, Stephen Paulus, William Mayer, and Salvatore Murdocca.

An avid composer, Mr. McKeel has written over 60 operas, operettas, musicals, choral works, arts songs, and song cycles which have received commissions, grants, and premieres from the Kennedy Center, Minnesota Opera, Minnesota Composers Forum, Jerome & Blandin Foundations, Midwest Opera Theatre, Southern Theatre, Twin Cities Opera Guild, and Bel Canto Voices, among others. His premiered works include the Minnesota Opera children’s opera, Jargonauts Ahoy, which toured for two years, played to over 20,000 students, and was featured in a PBS special on reading, In Reference to a Child, a choral song cycle commissioned by the Bel Canto Voices, featured in the Kennedy Center’s “Year of the Child” concert, and toured throughout the South Pacific, and Reveille to Requiem, a Civil War opera funded by the Blandin Foundation , SEMAC, and St. Olaf College. His published works include the choral work Christmas Dawning (Shawnee Press) and Sherlock Holmes: Solitary Insect (Blackbird Books, Australia).

Recent activities include A Salute to Rodgers and Hammerstein with Henry Charles Smith, the composition of two independent New York film scores Dan Ruff and Plague,stage direction of Christopher Columbus, La Finta Giardiniera, L’enfant et les Sortileges, and a grant from the Twin Cities Opera Guild to produce a touring version of his children’s opera The Hero of Hamblett written with critically-acclaimed New York author/illustrator Salvatore Murdocca. In 2007 he reprised his role as the Bishop in The Three Hermits with St. John’s University and premiered his jazz-age opera Love Sonnets of a Hoodlum with St. Olaf College.

Professional activities of the past few years have included the role of Galileo in Brecht's play of the same name, stage direction of the operas Transformations and Albert Herring, the creation of a new opera residency course, the world premiere of his oratorio The Mysteries, and a collaboration with award-winning Canadian author, Mark Frutkin, on the composition of a new operetta, Fabrizio's Comet, which will premiere in the Fall of 2014 at St. Olaf College. Mr. McKeel co-directs the Lyric Theatre Season and teaches Opera Workshop, Acting for the Lyric Stage, and Voice Performance Studies.