International dramatic baritone, conductor and director Robert McFarland, has performed as dramatic international baritone in over 114 operas and 22 musicals, many which can be seen and heard on internationally distributed DVD and CD recordings. In addition to his worldwide reputation as an opera star, Mr. McFarland has also conducted and directed 41 operatic productions internationally since 1986. During the 2012-2013 performance Season, reviewers found the international Baritone in Concert for the Temple, Texas Symphony fundraiser night (December, 2012); He performed the title role in Mendelssohn’s “Elijah” with maestro Steven Harter and the Colorado Springs Oratorio Symphony (April, 2013); and most recently as the Artistic Director, Robert McFarland Directed & performed the Title role in Opera Seabrook’s Rigoletto - October 30, 2013.
Having begun his musical career as an exceptional trumpet player, Robert McFarland was awarded the opportunity to play with the Cleveland Orchestra in 1963 at the age of 12 as co-first 4th chair for one full season.
The son of Margaret Jane McFarland, protégé to John Findley Williamson of the famed Westminster Choir College in Princeton , New Jersey , Robert McFarland began his vocal studies and eventually after 12 years of intense study - won the National Metropolitan Opera Auditions in 1979. This achievement led to his eight-year twenty-seven major 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. From Milano, Palermo , Rome , Barcelona , Lisbon , Nice, London , Santiago , Toronto , and Montreal to Los Angeles , San Francisco , Chicago , and New York (Metropolitan Opera and New York City Opera) Robert has performed such major roles as 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 production of Andrea Chenier in 1993 and Nabucco in 1999. The years 2002 & 2003 found the Dramatic Baritone performing Scarpia in Tosca & Germont in La Traviata with a review of “the Artist of the Year” for the United Kingdom . . . at the Queens Opera Company in Leeds, United Kingdom. In 2008, Robert McFarland directed and performed the Title Role of Rigoletto with the Winter Opera of St. Louis, Missouri’s first season. Again, the reviews for his performance and for the whole production were spectacular for the inaugural season of the newest Midwestern opera company.
With a ready repertoire of over 83 major roles, Robert McFarland continues to delight the world with his artistry.
Robert McFarland is also renowned as a major international voice teaching as he has taught voice throughout his extensive operatic career. Mr. McFarland has held many international Master Classes at both Universities and Major Opera Theaters throughout the world. In 1997, Robert McFarland became ‘Artist in Residence’ at Temple University, Philadelphia, Pa (their 1st Artist in Residence). During his 5 years teaching at Temple University, Robert McFarland had 2 students (Daniel Cole & Jordan Shanahan) win the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions all the way to and including the National level in New York City. Students of Robert McFarland are currently performing throughout the operatic world and Musical Theater world.
As Opera Seabrook Artistic Director & Conductor, Robert McFarland says:
“Many people have given me support and encouragement throughout my career.”“The Opera Seabrook is my way of giving back - by helping the next generations of opera stars as they begin their careers.”