Robert Orth is a leading baritone with major opera companies including those in New York City, San Francisco, Chicago, Toronto, Vancouver, Washington, D.C., Houston, Seattle, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Miami, Portland, Indianapolis, Cincinnati, and Denver. He was named “Artist of the Year” by both New York City Opera and Seattle Opera. New York City Opera also gave him the “Christopher Keene Award” for new and unusual repertoire. He has appeared as soloist with the symphony orchestras of Chicago, Cleveland, Milwaukee, Seattle, Denver, Dallas, Phoenix, Indianapolis, and Washington, D.C., in repertoire ranging from Brahms’ REQUIEM to Broadway pops to his most repeated symphonic piece, CARMINA BURANA.
Future engagements include the world premiere of Kirke Mechem’s THE RIVALS in Milwaukee; A WATERBIRD TALK in Indianapolis; MOBY DICK in San Diego and San Francisco; THE LIGHTHOUSE in Dallas; CANDIDE in Portland; and a concert of NIXON IN CHINA with the BBC in London with John Adams conducting.
Mr. Orth has often appeared as Figaro in IL BARBIERE DI SIVIGLIA, Eisenstein in DIE FLEDERMAUS, Malatesta in DON PASQUALE, Guglielmo in COSI FAN TUTTE, Dandini in LA CENERENTOLA, Germont in LA TRAVIATA, and Sharpless in MADAMA BUTTERFLY. He made his Metropolitan Opera debut as Kromow in THE MERRY WIDOW and his European debut as Pangloss/Voltaire in CANDIDE in Rome.
Hailed by Opera News as a “fixture of contemporary opera,” Mr. Orth’s involvement in new works has brought him great pleasure and acclaim. He was John Buchanan, Jr., in Lee Hoiby’s SUMMER AND SMOKE, which was broadcast nationally on Public Television. At the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis, he was Count Almaviva in the premiere of ROSINA. In Milwaukee he was Fantomas in Stanley Silverman’s HOTEL FOR CRIMINALS. He played the Lodger in Dominic Argento’s THE ASPERN PAPERS in its east coast premiere at the Kennedy Center; and he was the Lecturer in Argento’s one-man opera, A WATERBIRD TALK, in Chicago. Also in Chicago, he sang the the Father in Hugo Weissgall’s SIX CHARACTERS IN SEARCH OF AN AUTHOR in its second professional production. He created the title role in HARVEY MILK by Stewart Wallace and Michael Korie for Houston Grand Opera, New York City Opera and San Francisco Opera. In 1997 he portrayed Frank Lloyd Wright in SHINING BROW by Daron Aric Hagen. In 2000 he played Owen Hart with San Francisco Opera in the world premiere of DEAD MAN WALKING by Jake Heggie and Terrence McNally. In 2001 he premiered Michael John LaChiusa’s LOVERS AND FRIENDS (CHAUTAUQUA VARIATIONS) in Chicago. In 2002 he premiered Garrison Keillor’s MR. AND MRS. OLSON in St. Paul. In 2004 he was Mr. Parkis in the premiere of Jake Heggie’s THE END OF THE AFFAIR, and Richard Nixon in John Adams’ NIXON IN CHINA with Opera Theatre of St. Louis, a role he has repeated in many other cities. In 2007 he was Uncle John in the world premiere of Ricky Ian Gordon and Michael Korie’s THE GRAPES OF WRATH with Minnesota Opera, and Capt. Compson in MIDNIGHT ANGEL by David Carlson. In 2009 he was Mr. Godby in the world premiere of Andre Previn’s BRIEF ENCOUNTER in Houston, and Lyndon Johnson in the world premiere of Steven Stucky’s AUGUST 4, 1964 in Dallas. In 2010 he created the role of Mr. Stubb in the world premiere of Jake Heggie and Gene Scheer’s MOBY DICK in Dallas. And in 2011 he was Mayor Fazzobaldi in the world premiere of John Musto and Mark Campbell’s THE INSPECTOR at Wolf Trap, VA.
Robert Orth began his career in summer stock doing plays and musicals, and has performed such roles as Fredrik Egerman in A LITTLE NIGHT MUSIC, Billy Bigelow in CAROUSEL, El Gallo in THE FANTASTICKS, Henry Higgins in MY FAIR LADY, and, most often, Don Quixote in THE MAN OF LA MANCHA. His recordings include Menotti’s THE TELEPHONE, SIX CHARACTERS IN SEARCH OF AN AUTHOR, HARVEY MILK, DEAD MAN WALKING, HANSEL AND GRETEL, GRAPES OF WRATH, NIXON IN CHINA, SHINING BROW, and BRIEF ENCOUNTER.