American baritone Rod Gilfry, whom The New York Times describes as “a tour-de-force…[who] 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…” is a two-time Grammy award nominee, singer and actor, has performed in all of the world’s music capitals. His most recent Grammy award 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 over 80 roles in his 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 the 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 (Zurich), and Master Chen in Christian Jost’s Die Rote Laterne (Zurich). Recently, he originated the role of Walt Whitman in Matthew Aucoin’s Crossing in Boston, Los Angeles and San Diego, the Father in Matthew Aucoin’s Eurydice with Los Angeles Opera, Alfred Stieglitz in Kevin Puts’ The Brightness of Light, opposite Renée Fleming, Claudius in Brett Dean’s Hamlet with the MET, Bayerische Staatsoper, Glyndebourne Festival, and Adelaide Festival, Mr. Potter in Jake Heggie’s It’s a Wonderful Life in Houston and San Francisco, and David Lang’s the loser in New York City and Los Angeles.
In the 2023-2024 season, Rod Gilfry will open the Metropolitan Opera season as Owen Hart in Jake Heggie’s Dead Man Walking in a new production by Ivo Van Hove, conducted by Yannick Nézet-Séguin. With San Francisco Opera, Mr. Gilfry will sing the Father-in-Law in the North American premiere of Kaija Saariaho’s Innocence, Claudius in Brett Dean’s Hamlet with Opera Australia in Melbourne, and a Japanese tour of Così fan tutte with the Seiji Ozawa Music Academy, portraying the role of Don Alfonso. In concert, Mr. Gilfry joins Renée Fleming in a gala performance with the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra, and a gala with Detroit Opera, celebrating the appointment of Roberto Kalb as Music Director.
In immediate past seasons, Rod Gilfry returned to The Metropolitan Opera to sing Alberto Roc in the American premiere of Thomas Adès’s The Exterminating Angel and Danilo in a new production of The Merry Widow, Howard K. Stern in Mark-Anthony Turnage’s Anna Nicole with the New York City Opera and the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, originated the role of Robert McNamara in Washington National Opera’s world premiere Written in Stone by Huang Ruo and David Henry Hwang, debuted the role of Scarpia in Tosca with the Houston Grand Opera, Sondheim’s Sweeney Todd at the Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris and with Opera Theatre of St. Louis, Don Alfonso with The Dallas Opera, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Aix-en-Provence Festival, Santa Fe Opera and Korean National Opera. Orchestral works of recent seasons included Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 with the San Francisco and Pacific Symphony’s, and Elijah with the Phoenix Symphony. In the aforementioned performances of Kevin Puts’ The Brightness of Light with Renée Fleming, Rod Gilfry has appeared as Alfred Stieglitz in this work with the Lyric Opera of Chicago, Los Angeles Opera, Dallas Symphony, Baltimore Symphony, Colorado Symphony, National Symphony Orchestra, Oregon Symphony, Tanglewood Festival, Naples (FL) Philharmonic, and Aspen Music Festival and School.
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 his daughter Liesl. A lifelong Californian, Rod resides in Rancho Cucamonga with his wife Tina.