Originally a pianist, JOHN IRVIN discovered his passion for singing in 2008 after enrolling in choir. Switching vocal performance, John earned his Bachelor of Music magna cum laude from Georgia State University (2010) and his Professional Certificate from Boston University’s Opera Institute (2012). Currently a first year member of the Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan Opera Center at the Lyric Opera of Chicago, John was most recently seen as Borsa (Rigoletto), Kunz Vogelgesang (Die Meistersinger von Nurnberg) and Schmidt (Werther). In addition to the mainstage, he performed Ferrando (Cosi fan tutte, Act 1) at the Grant Park Music Festival, Don Basilio (Le nozze di Figaro, Act 2) with Civic Orchestra and appeared on WFMT Radio’s recital series (Other Americans in Paris, Shakespeare Songs, 1929, Chicago).
For Lyric Opera’s 2013-14 season, John will perform and cover roles in Verdi’s Otello, Wagner’s Parsifal, Strauss’ Die Fledermaus, Rossini’s Il barbiere di Siviglia and Mozart’s La clemenza di Tito. Other future plans include Haydn Theresienmesse with the Apollo Chorus of Chicago, Beethoven Symphony no. 9 with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra and Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro with the Los Angeles Philharmonic.
John attended Boston University’s Opera Institute under Sharon Daniels, where he was awarded the Esther B. and Albert S. Kahn Career Entry Award. His credits include Chevalier de la Force (Poulenc’s Dialogues of the Carmelites), Paolino (Cimarosa’s Il Matrimonio Segreto), Romeo (Gounod’s Romeo et Juliette) and Nick Papadakis (Paulus’ The Postman Always Rings Twice). A Boston Lyric Opera Emerging Artist, John made his debut as Malcolm in their production of Macbeth. Appearing in Opera America’s New Works Sampler, John performed as Greenhorne in selections from Jake Heggie’s Moby Dick with Maestro Heggie at the piano.
In 2011, John was an apprentice with The Santa Fe Opera where he covered roles in Puccini’s La Boheme and Menotti’s The Last Savage. He was given the great opportunity to sing as The Detective and The Bailiff in a workshop presentation of Theodore Morrison’s newly commissioned work, Oscar. This intimate workshop performance featured selections from the opera with countertenor David Daniels in the title role. John was awarded the Agnes M. Canning Memorial Award for Singers
A Bonfils-Stanton Studio Artist at Central City Opera in 2010, John study covered B.F. Pinkerton and performed scenes from Bizet’s Carmen, Hoiby’s A Month in the Country, Verdi’s La Traviata and Rigoletto. At the conclusion of the program, he received the prestigious David R. Gloss Award for Excellence.
During his time at Georgia State University, John performed Don Jose (Bizet’s Carmen), Singer #7 (Susa’s Transformations),King Kaspar (Menotti’s Amahl and the Night Visitors) and Father Confessor (Poulenc’s Dialogues of the Carmelites). He toured Italy as B.F. Pinkerton (Puccini’s Madama Butterfly) and joined the Atlanta Opera Chorus, under the direction of Walter Huff, for their productions of Verdi’s Il Trovatore, Wagner’s Die Fliegende Hollanderand Verdi’s Aida.
John earned the 2012 Encouragement Award from the Gerda Lissner Foundation’s International Vocal Competition and the John Moriarty Encouragement Award for the 2012 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions (New England Region). A finalist for the 2012 Sara Tucker study grant, other accomplishments include being a 2012 Liederkranz Foundation I.V.C. finalist,a 2011 MONCA Finalist (New England Region) and earning 2nd place in the 6th annual Peter Elvins Vocal Competition.
In addition to opera, John has also performed many oratorio works along the east coast, including Puccini’s Messa di Gloria, Handel’s Messiah, Bach’s Magnificat, Mendelssohn’s Elijah and Mozart’s Vesperae Solennes de Confessore. Throughout his studies, he has participated in masterclasses with Renee Fleming, Thomas Hampson, Stephen Lord, Laura Canning, Matthew Epstein, Deborah Birnbaum, David Daniels, George Shirley, Patricia Moy, Lauren Flannigan, Phyllis Curtin, Harry Bickett, Benton Hess and Peter Strummer.