Geoffrey Penar is a young and versatile classical voice artist with a rich and mature vocal quality. Equally comfortable in a recital setting or performing on stage in a Grand Opera production and adept with comedic and dramatic roles, his vocal talents are enhanced by a phenomenal stage presence.
A student of Sanford Sylvan, Geoffrey Penar completed Masters and Graduate Artist Diploma programs in Opera Performance, in May 2014 from McGill University. In the Opera McGill 2012 production of Don Giovanni, he played one of his favorite roles, “Leporello” to enthusiastic applause. Geoffrey was able to culminate his Artist Diploma in 2014 by playing both “Bottom” and “Puck” in Opera McGill’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream and perform the role of “Voltore” in Musto’s Volpone for its Canadian premiere in 2013, as well. Opera Canada made special note that, “Geoffrey Penar’s hilariously oily and strongly sung Voltore… gave much pleasure.” In addition, Geoffrey had the duty of singing “Papageno” in Opera McGill’s 2013 production of The Magic Flute, a performance which The McGill Tribune lauded, “Papageno (Geoffrey Penar) steals the show with his refreshingly comical performance, all the while executing a challenging score.”
A Vermont native, Geoffrey is a 2011 High Distinction graduate of the Eastman School of Music Vocal Performance program, where he studied with Dr. Robert McIver. He was recognized with the Ornest Award for excellence in academic and musical study, was a finalist for the Kneisel Lieder Competition in 2011, took first place at the 2009 Civic Morning Musicals opera and art song competition in Syracuse, and earned jury awards in 2008 and 2009.
Geoffrey Penar has appeared in productions ranging from musical theatre, to operetta, to grand opera. In the summer of 2014, Geoffrey was a young artist for the second time with the Green Mountain Opera Festival, previously playing “Alcindoro” and “Benoit” in their 2012 La Boheme, this time singing the role of “Tarquinius” in Britten’s dark chamber opera The Rape of Lucretia. Vermont Today called Geoffrey, “a sly, randy Tarquinius, with a rich dark and effective voice.” Later in the summer he sang the role of “Count Almaviva” in Hubbard Hall Opera Theatre’s The Marriage of Figaro. The Daily Gazette made mention that, “Geoffrey Penar as the Count was wonderfully arrogant,” and that he, “worked up a great stage rage and did vengeance very well even as he sang with lovely aplomb.” He performed in the Eastman Opera Theatre productions of Manon (“Lescaut”), The Secret Garden (“Ben the Gardener”), The Impressario (“Buff”), and Roman Fever (“Waiter”) and in 2009 and 2010 Geoffrey performed several roles with the Janiec Opera Company, of Brevard, North Carolina including “Prison Warden Frank” in Die Fledermaus, “Barnaby” in Hello Dolly, and “Dr. Bartolo” in The Marriage of Figaro. As well, during the summer of 2011, he appeared in 60 performances of 7 productions with the Ohio Light Opera Company, singing roles such as “Lancelot” in Camelot and “General Bogdanowitsch” in The Merry Widow.
Geoffrey Penar has performed on NPR’s radio show “From The Top”, and was chosen to perform for baritones Håkan Hagegård and Harry van der Kamp, as well as the pianist, coach and art song scholar Graham Johnson at Eastman School of Music. He was the bass soloist in the Eastman Philharmonic Orchestra’s concert of the Bruckner Mass No. 1 in D, and in 2011 appeared as the bass soloist for a staged Messiah production at Bryn Mawr Church in Philadelphia.
Geoffrey premiered an opera in January of 2015 called Storybook by the Canadian composer Darren Russo with Opera 5, a Toronto based company known for their innovative works and staging. Afterwards, he performed with Opera Saratoga’s outreach program “Opera-to-Go.” Being a lover of Mozart repertoire, Geoffrey was happy to sing another “Papageno” in May of 2015, this time with Seattle’s Pacific MusicWorks, a company headed by the Grammy Award winning Stephen Stubbs. During the summer of 2015, he was an Apprentice Artist with the Des Moines Metro Opera Company covering three roles in their production of La Fanciulla del West. In Sepetember, he played the lead baritone, “Antoine,” in the production of A Fleeting Animal, a tragic story about a Vermonter and Vietnam Veteran written by Erik Nielsen and David Budbill.
In the spring Geoffrey will be back with Opera 5 to sing “Frank” in Die Fledermaus. He will also be the Bass Soloist for The Kingston Symphony’s performance of Beethoven’s 9th symphony.