Fri October 10, 2008
Robert McFarland: Dramatic Baritone
Hear the story of this amazing opera star whose life has been punctuated with tremendous successes and equally demanding challenges. He speaks candidly about his journey with Jill Pasternak.
With a ready repertoire of over 114 major roles, dramatic baritone Robert McFarland continues to delight the opera world from Milano, Palermo, Rome, Barcelona, Seville, Lisbon, Nice, London, Dublin, Porto, Santiago, Toronto, Montreal, to Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, New York (Metropolitan Opera and New York City Opera), Houston, and Miami. This singing actor has recorded with renowned artists Placido Domingo as Iago in Otello, Jose Carreras as Escamillo in Carmen, and Roberto Alagna as Lord Nottingham in Roberto Devereaux.
Winning the National Metropolitan Opera Auditions in 1979 led to his eight-year, twenty-seven-role career at New York City Opera under the leadership of Beverly Sills. Since that time, Robert McFarland's vocal artistry has been showcased in nearly every major opera house in the world in the roles of Rigoletto, MacBeth, Scarpia (Tosca), Tonio (I Pagliacci), Germont (La Traviata), Iago (Otello), Carlo Gerard (Andrea Chenier), The Dutchman, Barnaba (La Giaconda), Blitch (Susannah), Mephistopheles (Faust), Friar Lawrence (Romeo and Juliette), Enrico (Lucia de Lammermoor), Alfio (Cavalleria Rusticana), Riccardo (I Puritani), Sharpless (Madama Butterfly), Four Villains (Les Contes d'Hoffmann), Renato (Un ballo in maschera), Rodrigo (Don Carlo), Simon Boccanegra, di Luna (Il Trovatore), Frank Maurant (Street Scene), Nabucco, Jokanaan (Salome), George (Of Mice and Men), Jack Rance (La Fanciulla del West), and Don Giovanni.
Other career highlights include McFarland's recording of Donizetti's Maria de Rudenz that was hailed by critics as the new "gem of Donizetti," his European debut as Ford in Verdi's Falstaff at the Glyndebourne Festival with conductor Bernard Haitink, his internationally successful performance at the Festival Dei Due Mondi in Spoleto, Italy, where he performed the role of Major Kavalioff in Shostakovich's The Nose (in Russian), and triumphant performances of San Francisco's new production of Andrea Chenier in 1993 and Nabucco in 1998.
McFarland is frequently engaged for oratorio performances of Elijah, Joshua, Messiah, Verdi's Requiem, and modern works such as Penderecki's Passion of Christ According to St. Luke. A well-known sacred artist, Robert often presents classical, sacred recitals and has recorded a very successful sacred recording, Nothing Between.
A graduate of McMurry University (Abilene, Texas) and recipient of the Performance Certificate from Indiana University School of Music (Bloomington, Indiana), Mr. McFarland has taught voice for over 25 years including master classes in Europe, Canada, South America, and in the United States. He has also served as an adjudicator for NATS, Metropolitan Opera Auditions, and many other national vocal competitions. In 1997, Robert McFarland joined the voice faculty of Temple University and was awarded the title of Artist In Residence in 1999. Robert currently teaches at McFarland Artist's Voice Studio in Philadelphia.