Charles Robert Stephens has enjoyed a career spanning a wide variety of roles and styles in opera and concert music. His performances have shown “a committed characterization and a voice of considerable beauty.” (Opera News, 1995) At the New York City Opera he sang the role of Professor Friedrich Bhaer in the New York premiere of Adamo’s Little Women, and was hailed by the New York Times as a “baritone of smooth distinction.” Other New York City Opera roles since his debut as Marcello in 1995 include Frank in Die Tote Stadt, Sharpless in Madame Butterfly, and Germont in La Traviata. He has sung on numerous occasions at Carnegie Hall in a variety of roles with Opera Orchestra of New York, the Oratorio Society of New York, the Masterworks Chorus, and Musica Sacra.
In his twenty years in New York City Mr. Stephens has sung as guest soloist with most of New York’s premiere ensembles including Sacred Music in a Sacred Space, Ascension Music, L’Opera Français de New York, Brooklyn Academy of Music’s Next Wave Festival, the New York Collegium, the American Classical Orchestra, and many others. Now based in Seattle he has sung with Seattle Symphony, Tacoma and Spokane Symphonies and Opera Companies, Portland Chamber Orchestra and many other orchestras and opera companies in the Pacific Northwest. He joined the roster of Seattle Opera in 2010 for the premiere of Amelia by Daron Hagan.
Recent collaborations with early music expert Stephen Stubbs include the role of Haman in Handel’s Esther with Pacific Musicworks as part of the Seattle Handel Festival, Messiah with Portland Baroque and the role of Tiresias in the Boston Early Music Festival’s lavish production of Steffani’s Niobe, Queen of Thebes. A long association with Maestro Gary Thor Wedow has recently led to two performances with the Seattle Symphony: Messiah and “Opera Festival.”
On the international stage he has sung Rigoletto at Taipei’s National Theater, Sharpless in Santo Domingo, Germont and Valentin (Faust) in Montevideo, Uruguay, and Montano, and (Otello) in Mexico City. Concert tours have taken him to France, Russia, and Canada.
In the United States Mr. Stephens has sung leading roles in operas by Verdi, Puccini, Donizetti and Rossini throughout the US with opera companies including the Minnesota Opera, Palm Beach Opera, New Jersey State Opera, Hawaii Opera, Arizona Opera, Birmingham Opera, Tacoma Opera, Mobile Opera, Opera Grand Rapids, Buffalo Opera, Boston Bel Canto, Tampa Opera, Connecticut Grand Opera, and Connecticut Opera.
Mr. Stephens has worked closely with composers in the preparation and performance of new works for the concert hall and the stage, taking part in many premieres at Lincoln Center and in other venues. For two seasons he was a guest artist as part of “Regina Resnik Presents”, broadcast on CUNY television. He has sung as baritone soloist with such ensembles as the Maryland Handel Festival, the Hartford Symphony, Colorado Symphony, North Carolina Symphony, Helena Symphony, Walla Walla Symphony, the Princeton Symphony and the Symphony Orchestras of Montevideo, Uruguay and Mexico.
A native of New London, Connecticut, Mr. Stephens is the recipient of a Sullivan Grant and was a finalist in both the Washington International Competition and the Zachary Society Auditions. He is a Liederkranz Competition winner where he sang Scarpia, Silvio, and Don Giovanni. He received his training at the University of Connecticut, Boston University, the Goldovsky Opera Institute, and the Santa Fe Opera.