Tenor Arnold Rawls has delighted audiences with his unique combination of vocal and dramatic skills in performances ranging from art song to opera. He has been hailed for having a 'powerful, clarion-sounding tenor,' a 'firm, pliant lyric tenor with ringing high notes', as well as a 'flair for acting'. His Radamès recently thrilled audiences as he 'rose to the occasion, singing the famous "Celeste Aida" with a creamy tone and a beautiful sense of Italian lyricism. It included a dazzling high B-flat that seemed to ring for an eternity.' (Omaha World Herald ) The tenor portrays Hagenbach in Le Wally and Bacchus in Ariadne auf Naxos both at the Theater St. Gallen in Switzerland, as well as Manrico in Il trovatore for his debut with the Sydney Opera House in Australia during the 2012 - 2013 season.
Engagements for the tenor during the 2011 - 2012 season included Radamès in Aida with Arizona Opera and Vancouver Opera where he was 'very much a tenor in the Italian mode, swaggering and strutting his way through his role in approved Verdi style'. (Vancouver Sun) He portrayed Calaf in Turandot with Lyric Opera of Kansas City, Manrico in Il trovatore with Opera Grand Rapids, and the title role in Andrea Chenier for a return engagement with the Bregenzer Festpiele. Additionally, he joined Opera Omaha for a Gala concert and offered a recital at the University of Louisiana.
A highlight of Mr. Rawls 2010 - 2011 season included his debut with The Metropolitan Opera as Manrico during Act II of Verdi’s Il trovatore, where he stepped in at the last minute for an ailing Marcelo Alverez. As the title role in Andrea Chenier with the Bregenzer Festpiele The New York Times reported 'Chénier, long a cherished role of Italian dramatic tenors, finds a creditable exponent in the American tenor Arnold Rawls, whose voice has an easy flow in midrange yet rang out excitingly in the big, high-lying moments'. Additional performances during the season included San-Lui in Leoni’s L’Oracolo, Roberto in Le Ville and Apollo in Daphne all with Oper Frankfurt, and Calaf in Turandot with Pensacola Opera and Arizona Opera where Concertonet.com reported Rawls 'has all the prerequisite for the part, signing a quasi perfect "Nessun dorma" that brings the house to their feet. His heroic voice is in glorious condition, the timbre is pleasing, the high register stunningly easy, powerful, with ringing authority. Rawls could definitely sing this part on the world's most prestigious stages'. In addition, he returned to Oklahoma Baptist University for a recital engagement.
Recent seasons saw Mr. Rawls as Radamès in Aida with the Bregenzer Festspiele in Austria, Opera Omaha, Florida Grand Oper, and Lyric Opera of Kansas City, Manrico in Il trovatore with the Seattle Opera, Bregenzer Festpiele, and Indianapolis Opera, Turridu in Cavalleria rusticana with Granite State Opera, Bacchus in Ariadne auf Naxos with the Indianapolis Opera, and Canio in Pagliaci with Lyric Opera of Chicago. He portrayed Erik in Der fliegende Holländer and Pinkerton in Madama Butterfly with the Madison Opera, Cavaradossi in Tosca with Florida Grand Opera, Riccardo in Un ballo in maschera with the Des Moines Metro Opera, Sam in Susannah with Opera Pacific, and sang the leading role of Standing Bear in the World Première of Anthony Davis’ Wakonda’s Dream with Opera Omaha.
Recent concert performances include Verdi’s Requiem with the Madison Symphony, Oberlin Conservatory, the Washington Chorus at the Kennedy Center, and with the Concert-Chor Concordia/Koncertchor Flensbur/Neue Philharmonie Westfalen at the Köln Philharmonie. He sang the role of San-Lui in Franco Leoni’s L’Oracolo with the Teatro Grattacielo at New York’s Avery Fisher Hall, participated in gala concerts with the Abilene Symphony, Opera Omaha, and Las Vegas Philharmonic, sang Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 with the Southwest Florida Symphony, and offered recitals throughout the United States.
Career highlights include Manrico in Il trovatore with Teatro Lirico, Pinkerton in Madama Butterfly with the Granite State Opera, Calaf in Turandot with Opera Omaha, Nevada Opera and Mobile Opera, and Alfred in Die Fledermaus with the Nashville Opera. He portrayed Don José in Carmen with the Madison Opera, the Duke in Rigoletto with Teatro Lirico, and Canio in Pagliacci with the Opera Theatre of Highland Park. He portrayed Dick Johnson in La fanciulla del West with the Utah Festival Opera, Bacchus in Ariadne auf Naxos with the Arizona Opera, Turiddu in Cavalleria rusticana with the Pine Mountain Music Festival, and Alfredo in La traviata with the Natchez Opera Festival.
In concert he has sung Manrico in Il trovatore with the Elmhurst Symphony, Don José in Carmen with the DuPage Symphony, and Calaf in Turandot with the Beloit Janesville Symphony. He was a soloist for Verdi’s Requiem with both the Lake Charles Symphony and Southwest Missouri State University, and for Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 in San Ramon, California and in St. Charles, Illinois. His concert repertoire also includes Mozart's Requiem, Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis, Handel's Messiah, Rossini's Stabat Mater, Schumann's Requiem, and Puccini's Messa di Gloria.
He is a recent recipient of a major grant from the Olga Forrai Foundation.