In the spring of 2015, baritone Ricardo Rivera — who was a semi-finalist in the Met Opera National Council Auditions — made major debuts at Lyric Opera of Chicago, Houston Grand Opera, and San Diego Opera in the world premiere of El pasado nunca se termina, directed by Broadway and opera director Leonard Foglia, in the leading role of Acalán.
Upcoming engagements include Schaunard in La bohème with Musica Viva Hong Kong, Germont in La traviata with Northwest Florida Symphony Orchestra, and a not-yet-announced role with Arizona Opera.
Past engagements for Mr. Rivera, in the 2015/2016 and 2016/2017 seasons, include performances with Washington Concert Opera as Hérode in Hérodiade with Michael Fabiano and Joyce El-Khoury; Opera San José as Enrico in Lucia di Lammermoor and as Lieutenant Audebert in Kevin Puts' Pulitzer Prize–winning opera Silent Night; as Escamillo in Carmen with Musica Viva Hong Kong, El Paso Opera, and Heartbeat Opera; as El payador in María de Buenos Aires with Des Moines Metro Opera; of the Baritone Solos in both Des Knaben Wunderhorn and Fauré’s Requiem with the Pioneer Valley Symphony; and as Uncle John in Ricky Ian Gordon’s The Grapes of Wrath with Sugar Creek Opera.
Operatic performance highlights, of recent past seasons, include: Orsini in Rienzi and Mathieu in Andrea Chenier with the Opera Orchestra of NY in Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher Hall; Moralès and Escamillo (cover) in Stephen Wadsworth's new production of Carmen, Thomas Martin and the Hotel Managers in the world premiere of Theodore Morrison's Oscar, and Germont (cover) in La traviata at Santa Fe Opera; Marcello in La bohème and Escamillo in Carmen with El Paso Opera; Sharpless in Madama Butterfly with the Opera Company of Middlebury; Thomas Martin and the Hotel Managers in Oscar with Opera Philadelphia; Le chat in L’enfant et les sortilèges and Spinelloccio in Gianni Schicchi at the Castleton Festival with the late conductor Lorin Maazel; Moralès in Carmen and Fiorello/L'Ufficiale in Il barbiere di Siviglia with Opera North; Ashby in La fanciulla del West with Knoxville Opera; and Corifeo in Jorge Liderman's opera Antigona Furiosa in Chicago with Contempo and members of the multi-Grammy Award–winning ensemble eighth blackbird.
Concert performance highlights include his Alice Tully Hall debut in an Eve Queler and Friends Concert with Eve Queler at the piano and his Rose Hall at Jazz at Lincoln Center debut in the Licia Albanese-Puccini Foundation Gala with Eve Queler conducting the Opera Orchestra of NY. Concert performance highlights of standard repertoire include the baritone solos in: Ein deutsches Requiem with both The New York Choral Society and The Westchester Chorale Society; Carmina Burana with Monmouth Civic Chorus; and Bach’s “Coffee Cantata” at the White Mountains Music Festival.
Mr. Rivera is a graduate of Mannes College the New School for Music where his B.M. M.M. and PDPL were conferred. As a Mannes Opera Young Artist, he performed the title role in Don Giovanni, Ford in Falstaff, Don Alfonso in Così fan tutte, and Aeneas in Dido and Aeneas. At Mannes, he was mentored by Met Opera conductor and Music Director at The Glimmerglass Festival, Joseph Colaneri and the great, late American mezzo-soprano Regina Resnik.
Mr. Rivera was an apprentice singer with Santa Fe Opera, a young artist with Opera North, and an Eva and Marc Stern Fellow at SongFest where he coached with Martin Katz, Graham Johnson, and composer Lori Laitman on her music. As an apprentice artist at Chautauqua Opera, he covered Enrico in Lucia di Lammermoor; performed the Sergeant and covered Lescaut in Manon Lescaut; and performed in two concerts with the Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra.
In a review of Mr. Rivera's performance in Sophia Gubaidulina's Perception with multi-Grammy Award–winning ensembles eighth blackbird and the Pacifica Quartet, the Chicago Tribune declared him "amazingly precise of musical and verbal gesture." In continuation of his commitment to the vitality of contemporary music, Mr. Rivera performed Steven Stucky's Four poems of A.R. Ammons with the FLUX Quartet, the world premiere of Reinaldo Moya's Soliquio en las olas with the Arts Symphony Orchestra, and the world premiere of Aaron Dai's Con furia with the Chelsea Symphony. 21st-century operatic roles which have been composed for and have been performed by Mr. Rivera include leading roles in Robert Cuckson's A Night of Pity and Horace: a Portrait, Christopher Park's Phaedra and Hippolytus, Alexander Berezowsky's The Nine Billion Names of God, and Andrew McManus's Killing the Goat.
Mr. Rivera won 1st Prize in the Eastern Region of the 2012 Met Opera National Council Auditions (MONC) which led him to the semi-finals of that competition. He received two awards upon graduating from Mannes College: the Richard F. Gold Career Grant in 2008 and the Michael Sisca Memorial Opera Award in 2012. He was awarded 3rd Prize in the Gerda Lissner Competition, a Career Grant from the Licia Albanese-Puccini Competition, 1st and Audience Prizes in the NY Lyric Opera Competition, and Encouragement Awards from the Opera Index, Career Bridges, and Connecticut Opera Guild Competitions.