“All this works effectively because his cast of exceptional singers are also such convincing actors. . . Craig Irvin, whose rich, resonant baritone was heard to good effect as Mandryka, gave his character a directness and nobility that turned out to be far more interesting than the way Mandryka is sometimes played, as a country bumpkin on the order of Baron Ochs. . .” – Opera News
Baritone Craig Irvin brings a vibrant sound and commitment to character to each role he portrays. Craig recently made role and company debuts with Wolf Trap Opera as the Villains in The Tales of Hoffman and then returned to Wolf Trap in 2012 for Leporello in Don Giovanni. Additionally, he debuted with Minnesota Opera in the world premier of Kevin Puts’ new opera Silent Night, appeared with the Canadian Opera Company as Betto in Gianni Schicchi and covered the role of Simone in A Florentine Tragedy, and joined the cast of Simon Boccanegra with Los Angeles Opera covering the role of Paolo. The 2012-2013 season brought his debut at Opera Company of Philadelphia in Silent Night, Orff’s Carmina Burana with the Phoenix Symphony, and a return to Canadian Opera Company as 1st Nazarene and Jochanaan/cover in Strauss’ Salome, followed by his Opera Saratoga debut performing both Dick Deadeye in HMS Pinafore and Riamondo in Lucia di Lammermoor. The 2013-2014 season brings debuts with both Fort Worth Opera and Cincinnati Opera reprising his Lieutenant Horstmayer in Silent Night, his return to Minnesota Opera as Mandryka in Arabella, and his role debut as Dandini in Pensacola Opera’s La Cenerentola.
While in residence with Lyric Opera of Chicago’s Ryan Opera Center , Craig was seen as Zuniga in Carmen, Theseus in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Sam in A Masked Ball, Imperial Commissioner in Madama Butterfly, Doctor/Professor in Lulu, and Ashby in La fanciulla del West. Additionally, he covered the roles of Bottom, the title role in The Mikado, the title role in Hercules, and Escamillo in Carmen (a role he sang in the student matinee performance). In the 2009-2010 season, he returned for a second year with Lyric Opera of Chicago where his assignments included Angelotti in Tosca as well as covering the roles of Bartolo in Le nozze di Figaro and Brander in Berlioz’s Damnation of Faust. Additionally, he was seen with the Knoxville Opera as Basilio in Il barbiere di Siviglia and as a soloist in Verdi’s Requiem with the Elmhurst Symphony Orchestra.
Other recent engagements include Ramphis in Aida with Pensacola Opera and appearances with Intermountain opera as Basilio in Il barbiere di Siviglia, Naples Opera as Dulcamara in Donizetti’s L’elisir d’amore, and with Des Moines Metro Opera as Bottom in their production of Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. A winner of the Heinz Rehfuss Singing Actor Award sponsored by Orlando Opera, Mr. Irvin spent a season with the company as a Resident Artist, and then stayed on with the company a second year as a main stage artist. During his tenure there he was seen featured as the Pirate King in Pirates of Penzance, Abimelech in Samson et Dalilah, Figaro in Le nozze di Figaro, Elder Ott in Susannah, and Angelotti in Tosca. While in Orlando, Mr. Irvin also sang the role of Gaston in over 700 performances of Beauty and the Beast at Walt Disney World, MGM.
Other role highlights include Private Willis in Iolanthe with Nashville Opera and Don Alhambra in Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Gondoliers with Opera North. In the course of his graduate work at The University of Tennessee, he has been seen with the Knoxville Opera as Pooh Bah in The Mikado, Der Sprecher in Die Zauberflöte, and Basilio in Il barbiere di Siviglia, as well as Reverend Blitch in Susannah and the title role in Sondheim’s Sweeney Todd with the Knoxville Opera Studio. A native of Iowa, Mr. Irvin did his undergraduate study at the Simpson College in Indianola under the tutelage of Dr. Robert L. Larsen.