Todd Payne’s voice has been described as "Magnificent", "Impassioned", and "Stentorian". He is sought after nationally for his commanding presence and ringing tones in opera, recital, oratorio and dramatic speech interpretation.
Recently Todd was the bass soloist in Handel’s Messiah with the Rockford Lutheran Chorale and portrayed the role of Balthazar in Amahl & The Night Visitors with Union Avenue Opera. Other previous engagements include the role of Simon in Scott Joplin’s Treemonisha at Cheney University, a historical recording Simon in Treemonisha on New World Records, a live recording of patriotic songs and a stirring rendition of Old Man River with the Memphis River City Concert Band and the title role in Rigoletto, with the Springfield Regional Opera which was favorably reviewed:
Baritone Todd Payne, starring as Rigoletto, quickly establishes the court jester’s public persona as he cruelly taunts the Renaissance courtiers whose wives and daughters have been seduced by the Duke. Yet when he retreats to the house where his virginal daughter is sequestered, we discover a different man thanks to Todd’s warm, resonant voice and sincere delivery.
Other professional credits include performances with Opera Memphis, Indianapolis Opera, Illinois Opera Theater, Houston Grand Opera, Union Avenue Opera Theatre, Springfield Regional Opera, Santa Fe Opera, Opera Theatre St. Louis, Chicago Opera Theatre, Champaign-Urbana Symphony, Danville Symphony, Eastern Illinois Symphony, Rockford Symphony, and the Memphis Youth Symphony. He has performed the title roles in Tartuffe, Gianni Schicchi, Rigoletto andThe Marriage of Figaro. Other roles include Ned in Treemonisha, Dr. Bartolo in The Barber of Seville, Don Magnifico in La Cenerentola, Don Pippo in L'Oca del Cairo, Escamillo in Carmen, Marcello in La Boheme and many others. He debuted the role of “Daddy King" in the Illinois premier of a dramatic oratorio entitled Make it Plain: The Life of Martin Luther King, Sr. January 1999, Todd was the featured soloist at the inauguration of newly elected Illinois governor George Ryan, and later made his European debut in Eisendstadt, Austria as the bass soloist in Haydn's Die Jahareszeiten and Beethoven's Mass in C.
An interpreter of dramatic spoken works, Todd is also sought after for his interpretation of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have A Dream,” speech and Aaron Copland’s “Lincoln Portrait.” On the campus of Missouri State University, where Todd is a Tenured Associate Professor of Voice, as well as in the Springfield community, he presents annual recitals that vary from classical to jazz, and frequently gives lectures on Negro Spirituals.
Todd holds a Bachelor's degree in music from University of Memphis and received the Master of Music and Doctor of Musical Arts degrees in Vocal Performance from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.