Baritone Joshua R. Wentz has had the privilege of singing for two decades throughout the United States and abroad in over a dozen countries. He has worked with Cleveland Opera, Florida Grand Opera, Opera Carolina, Dayton Opera (Ohio), Harrower Opera, Festival Internaccional d’Opera Americas, Rome Festival Opera, Darmstadt Festspiel, and various other venues. Recent engagements included Lindorf/Crespel in Tales of Hoffmann and Baron Zeta in The Merry Widow, both in São Paolo, Brazil with the Festival Internacional de Opera Americas. In 2013, Wentz debuted the role of Sam in the world premiere of Bambino by Richard Maltz. He performed Count Almaviva in Le Nozze di Figaro and Pistola in Falstaff with the Rome Festival Orchestra in Rome, Italy, and Papageno in Die Zauberflöte in Darmstadt, Germany. Favorite roles include Giovanni, Figaro, Top in Copland’s The Tender Land, and Pangloss in Bernstein’s Candide.
Dr. Wentz serves as Executive Director of Santa Clarita Symphony Orchestra (formerly Mission Orchestra) and Artistic & Executive Director of Mission Opera. Launched in 2019, Mission Opera strives to produce high-quality, accessible opera and musical theater, to provide members of the community the opportunity to participate at all levels of these productions, and to afford both participants and audiences enjoyment and a deeper appreciation of opera and musical theater. In 2021, Wentz earned a Commendation from the County of Los Angeles from Fifth District Supervisor, Kathryn Barger, for his work in promoting and advancing Music Education in LA. Additionally, the 2020 digital performance of The Medium earned Mission Opera their first Telly Award, alongside video editing collaborator Command VirFormance. Mission Opera is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. Dr. Wentz also serves as the Director of Music at Santa Clarita United Methodist Church and Production Manager of Landmark Opera in Los Angeles.
In addition to opera, Wentz has sung many oratorio and musical theater roles at various levels throughout the United States. He began his orchestra conducting career with the SBOCES Orchestra in Wyoming, debuting large-scale works such as Handel’s Messiah. As a musicologist, Wentz’s published research on American Opera, and in particular, Carlisle Floyd, has become a leading source on Floyd’s works of the 1960s. “Dr. J” is an Associate Professor of Music at Los Angeles Mission College, where he oversees the choral and vocal area, as well as the Baritone Voice Professor at California State University Northridge.
Wentz holds a Doctorate of Musical Arts from the University of South Carolina, and Masters of Music from Winthrop University and a Masters of Science in College Student Affairs from Nova Southeastern University, where he specialized in Conflict Analysis and Resolution. In 2020, Wentz was a quarterfinalist for the Grammy Music Educator of the Year Award, and was nominated again in 2021 as a Legacy Candidate, where he also advanced to the quarterfinalist category. He lives in Castaic, California with his partner Brandon and Siberian Husky, Vulcan.