Roger Pines is recognized nationally and internationally as an expert in the field of opera, encompassing writing, lecturing, broadcasting, adjudicating, and repertoire research/consultation. His voice is familiar to a large radio audience from appearances on the Metropolitan Opera broadcasts’ “Opera Quiz,” for which he has been a panelist since the 2005-06 season.
Among Roger’s recent projects have been lectures for the Curtis Institute of Music; a series of interviews with legendary artists for Opera magazine (U.K.); feature articles for Opera News focusing on Terrence McNally’s play The Lisbon Traviata and the recordings of legendary German soprano Frida Leider; serving as dramaturg, script writer, and master of ceremonies for a tribute to American tenor Richard Tucker at Chicago’s venerable Congregation Anshe Emet; and a seminar on the history of American musical theater for Chicago’s Newberry Library, one of the most renowned independent research libraries in the world.
Roger recently concluded his 26-year-tenure at Lyric Opera of Chicago. In addition to serving as dramaturg and editing the company’s house program – for which he also wrote a large number of feature articles each season – he was co-host and co-producer of the company’s live broadcasts (2010-18); a presenter of lectures and moderator of artist panels, both in the opera house and throughout the greater Chicago area; and special lecturer and consultant for the Ryan Opera Center, the company’s renowned young-artist program. He also co-edited the book commemorating the company’s 50th anniversary. During the years following the launching of the “Ask Roger” feature on Lyric’s website in 2016, hundreds of opera enthusiasts emailed questions to him on a wide variety of opera-related topics.
Previously, at San Diego Opera, Roger served as director of education, expanding the education department from four programs to thirteen. He has also been dramaturg, publications editor, and education coordinator at The Dallas Opera, having begun his career there on a fellowship from the National Opera Institute; and surtitles coordinator at Glimmerglass Opera, where he launched the surtitles department.
Roger’s hour-long radio documentary; “The Stradivarius of Singers: A Tribute to Leontyne Price,” has been heard on more than 50 radio stations nationwide. His media activities also include in-depth discussions regarding the major voice types and programs regarding Giacomo Puccini, Enrico Caruso, Renata Tebaldi, Maria Callas, and Victoria de los Angeles, all for baritone Thomas Hampson’s website, “hampsongfoundation.org”; and commentary on the artistry of another celebrated tenor, Giuseppe di Stefano, for the Decca label’s new box set commemorating the 100th anniversary of di Stefano’s birth.
Roger frequently undertakes repertoire research for internationally celebrated artists, who have included Renée Fleming (numerous projects since 1995), Joyce DiDonato, Susan Graham, Ben Heppner, and Matthew Polenzani. Roger has led master classes at DePaul University, Baldwin-Wallace College Conservatory, and the Opera Training Institute of Chicago. He was repertoire consultant and special lecturer for the 2023 Vann Vocal Institute in Montgomery, Alabama, serving on a faculty made up of highly respected operatic artists and coaches. During academic year 2023-24 at Northwestern University’s Bienen School of Music – in addition to teaching the Opera Repertoire course for the fifth consecutive year – he is teaching a new course on all aspects of operatic auditions.
A judge for the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions since 1991, Roger has judged for several other prestigious competitions nationwide, among them Young Texas Artists, the scholarship competition of the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, the concerto competition of Northwestern University, and the finals of the National Association of Teachers of Singing and Classical Singer national competitions.
A contributor of numerous articles and reviews for important American and European publications, Roger has written pieces that have appeared in Great Britain’s most distinguished newspaper – The Times (London) – as well as in Opera News, Opera, International Record Review, The Opera Quarterly, BBC Music, and programs of every leading American opera company, from Lyric, the Metropolitan Opera and San Francisco Opera to Houston Grand Opera, Washington National Opera, The Santa Fe Opera, and Cincinnati Opera. Among his recent publications are articles for the programs of The Juilliard School and Ireland’s Wexford Festival. He has written program notes for CDs on the RCA, EMI, Decca, Sony Classical, Deutsche Grammophon, Erato, Virgin Classics, and West Hill Radio Archives labels. Among the more than 25 releases have been Renée Fleming’s “Verismo” (Grammy winner); Joyce DiDonato’s “Diva/Divo” (Grammy winner); the re-releases of Beverly Sills’s complete Norma and Manon; a four-disc set of radio broadcasts by Jussi Björling; and recital discs by Anna Netrebko, Danielle de Niese, Juan Diego Flórez, Ben Heppner, Jonas Kaufmann, and Vittorio Grigolo.
In addition to Lyric Opera of Chicago, Roger has lectured for such prestigious organizations as The Cleveland Orchestra, the Art Institute of Chicago, Opera Festival of Chicago, and Chicago’s Temple Sholom. His lifelong interest in historically important singing has led to lecture residencies at the University of Texas at Austin and the American Institute of Musical Studies in Graz, Austria, as well as Chicago’s Newberry Library, where he taught for the first time in 2018.
Roger’s lifelong interest in theater has led to his being invited to join Chicago’s prestigious Joseph Jefferson Awards Committee. He has been a “Jeff Awards” judge for Chicago-area Equity and non-Equity theater since October of 2022.