American baritone Rod Gilfry, two-time Grammy Award nominee, singer and actor, has performed in all of the world’s music capitals. His most recent Grammy nomination was for his performance in the title role of Messiaen’s monumental opera Saint François d’Assise in Amsterdam. Best-known as an opera singer, he is also an acclaimed recitalist and concert artist, and appears frequently in musical theater classics. His discography of 28 audio and video recordings includes the DVD and CD of his one-man show My Heart is So Full of You. His radio program, Opera Notes on Air, aired on K-Mozart 105.1 FM in Los Angeles for over three years. With a 77-role repertoire, Mr. Gilfry sings music from the Baroque to that composed expressly for him. He was brought to worldwide attention when he created the role of Stanley Kowalski in the 1998 premiere of André Previn’s A Streetcar Named Desire at San Francisco Opera, opposite Renée Fleming. Other world premieres include Nicholas in Deborah Drattel’s Nicholas and Alexandra (Los Angeles, opposite Placido Domingo); Nathan in Nicholas Maw’s Sophie’s Choice (London, Washington D.C.); Jack London in Libby Larsen’s Every Man Jack (Sonoma, CA); Edward Gaines in Richard Danielpour’s Margaret Garner (Detroit, Cincinnati, Philadelphia), the title role in Marc-André Dalbavie’s Gesualdo (Zürich), and Master Chen in Christian Jost’s Die Rote Laterne (Zürich). Most recently, he originated the role of Walt Whitman in Matthew Aucoin’s Crossing in Boston, Claudius in Brett Dean’s Hamlet with Glyndebourne Festival, Mr. Potter in Jake Heggie’s It’s a Wonderful Life in Houston, and David Lang’s the loser in New York City.
In the 2020-2021 season, Rod Gilfry will return to the Metropolitan Opera as Owen Hart in Jake Heggie’s Dead Man Walking. On the concert stage, he will perform as Clov in György Kurtág’s one-act opera Fin de partie with the New York Philharmonic, under the baton of music director Jaap van Zweden. He will also reprise Alfred Stieglitz in Kevin Puts’ highly acclaimed The Brightness of Light opposite Renée Fleming with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, conducted by music director Andris Nelsons, as well as with Los Angeles Opera.Read more
In the 2019-2020 season, Mr. Gilfry sang the Father in the world premiere of Matthew Aucoin’s Eurydice at Los Angeles Opera. In concert, he performed as Alfred Stieglitz in The Brightness of Light opposite Renée Fleming both with the National Symphony Orchestra, conducted by music director Gianandrea Noseda, and the Colorado Symphony. He also gave a solo recital at Messiah College with pianist Peter Walsh. Previously scheduled engagements include Bernstein’s A White House Cantata at the Ravinia Festival, Claudius in Brett Dean’s Hamlet with the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra, and a solo concert at Old Dominion University with the Norfolk Chamber Consort.
In the 2018-2019 season, Mr. Gilfry reprised the role of Henry Potter in It’s a Wonderful Life at San Francisco Opera, sang Don Alfonso in Così fan tutte at Santa Fe Opera conducted by Harry Bicket and the same role at Korea National Opera, and performed the loser at Los Angeles Opera. In concert, Mr. Gilfry performed the world premiere of The Brightness of Light at the Tanglewood Festival, a selection of songs by Cole Porter with the New York Philharmonic in Vail, Colorado, Mozart’s Requiem and Kirchner’s Songs of Ascent with the Los Angeles Chorale, Aucoin’s Crossing Suite and Mahler’s Ich bin der Welt abhanden gekommen with the San Diego Symphony, and excerpts from Crossing at the American Civil War Museum with Aucoin at the piano.
In previous seasons, Mr. Gilfry has performed the role of Howard K. Stern in Mark-Anthony Turnage’s Anna Nicole with the New York City Opera and the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden and returned to the Metropolitan Opera as both Alberto Roc in the American premiere of Thomas Adès’ The Exterminating Angel and Danilo in a new production of The Merry Widow opposite Susan Graham. Other highlights include the Father in Hansel and Gretel with the Alabama Symphony, the title role in Don Giovanni and Don Alfonso at the Festival d’Aix-en-Provence, the Musiklehrer in Ariadne auf Naxos at Santa Fe Opera, Wotan in Das Rheingold at the Biwako Hall Center for the Performing Arts in Shiga, Japan, concerts with the San Francisco Symphony in music of Thomas Adès and Felix Mendelssohn, performances with the Dallas Symphony as Lyndon Baines Johnson in Steven Stucky’s August 4th, 1964 in Dallas and at Carnegie Hall, Mendelssohn’s Elijah with the Phoenix Symphony, Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 with the Pacific Symphony, a concert of Mozart arias with the San Bernardino Symphony, and selections from Mahler’s Des Knaben Wunderhorn with the Grand Rapids Symphony. He sang the title role in Sondheim’s Sweeney Todd at the Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris and with Opera Theatre of St. Louis, Frank Butler to Deborah Voigt’s Annie in Annie Get Your Gun at the Glimmerglass Festival, and Brahms’ Ein deutsches Requiem at the Oregon Bach Festival. He appeared with the Los Angeles Philharmonic and Gustavo Dudamel for the final installment of their Mozart/Da Ponte Trilogy as Don Alfonso, performed a Broadway standards concert with Sylvia McNair and Kevin Cole at the Ravinia Festival, and gave a recital and series of masterclasses at James Madison University as part of the National Association of Teachers and Singing (NATS) convention.
Mr. Gilfry devoted an entire season to the music of Rodgers and Hammerstein, starring as Emile de Becque in the U.S. National Tour of the Lincoln Center production of South Pacific, a production that garnered 7 Tony awards. He also appeared as Captain von Trapp with the Théâtre du Châtelet in The Sound of Music, with his daughter Carin Gilfry in the role of Liesl.
In addition to his full-time performance schedule, Mr. Gilfry is an Associate Professor of Vocal Arts at the University of Southern California Thornton School of Music.
“Rod Gilfry in a tour-de-force performance. Gilfry sings every phrase with crisp diction and dramatic point, delivering phrases with virile energy, sudden bluster, or, during vulnerable moments, an aching confusion that takes you by surprise. He is becoming the singer of choice for new American operas.”