Noted for his “rich and agile voice” (Arts Knoxville) and “magnetic confidence” (Star Tribune), baritone Aaron Jacob Keeney’s 22-23 season includes a world premiere and a return to two beloved roles. He begins the season as Belcore in Donizetti’s L’elisir d’amore in debuts with both Pacific Opera Project in Los Angeles and Opera in the Heights in Houston. An avid performer of new music, he also creates the roles of Hank Edwards and Passional Civil Servant in Houston Grand Opera’s premiere of Another City by Jeremy Howard Beck and Stephanie Fleischmann. He finishes his season in a return to Minnesota Opera, where he covers the title role in Don Giovanni.
A 2020-22 Resident Artist at Minnesota Opera, Aaron’s roles with the company included Ophémon in The Anonymous Lover, Sid in Albert Herring conducted by Jane Glover, and Escamillo in Carmen, which marked Denyce Graves’ directorial debut. He also developed and presented a recital centered on his favorite passage from John Milton’s Paradise Lost, highlighting the works of living composers Kristin Kuster and Matt Boehler. During this time he also spent two summers with The Glimmerglass Festival, singing Moralès and covering Escamillo in Carmen, singing Second Notary and covering Don Andres in Songbird, and covering Captain von Trapp in The Sound of Music.
Aaron holds a M.M. in Voice from The Juilliard School in New York. During his studies, he covered several roles and was scheduled to perform Schaunard in Puccini’s La bohème, a role which he had previously covered with Des Moines Metro Opera while also singing the Sargeant. He also performed excerpts from Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen, one of his favorite works in any genre, with the Juilliard Lab Orchestra. While in school, he also performed Hades Spirit and covered Plutone with Apollo's Fire. His other roles and covers include Guglielmo and Don Alfonso (Così fan tutte), Leporello (Don Giovanni), Dr. Rappacini (Rappacini's Daughter), Count Almaviva (Le nozze di Figaro), Speaker and Papageno (The Magic Flute), and Dr. Falke (Die Fledermaus) with organizations including Juilliard Opera Theater, Opera Naples, and Opera on the Avalon.
Aaron holds a special fondness for concert music, and especially enjoys opportunities to connect with audiences in this format. He most recently performed with the Amadeus Chamber Ensemble in Knoxville, Tennessee, in a concert featuring music from nearly all of Mozart’s operas. Other concert highlights include excerpts of Haydn’s Creation with the Bach Ensemble Chorus in Naples, Florida and Bach’s St. John Passion with the Wayne Oratorio Society.
Aaron is a recipient of the Novick Career Advancement Grant from The Juilliard School, as well as the Nelson Eddy Award from the Nelson Eddy Appreciation Society. He received an Encouragement Award from the Gerda Lissner Song Competition in 2019.