“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. His “rich, resonant baritone” has been hailed by Opera News while the Dallas Morning News has celebrated his “truly commanding baritone”. During the 2014-2015 season, Craig returned to Minnesota Opera as Peter in Hänsel und Gretel, debuted at Utah Opera as Zurga in Les pêcheurs de perles, reprised the role of Lieutenant Horstmayer in Silent Night with Lyric Opera of Kansas City, and joined Nashville Opera and Pensacola Opera as the Pirate King in The Pirates of Penzance. The 2015-2016 season will see debuts with Sarasota Opera as Marcello in La bohème and Anchorage Opera in the title role of The Mikado as well as his return to Utah Opera as Count Almaviva in Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro.
The 2013-2014 season brought 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. In 2011, Craig made his role and company debut with Wolf Trap Opera as the Villains in The Tales of Hoffman and was invited to return in 2012 as Leporello in Don Giovanni. Additional engagements for 2011-2012 included his debut with Minnesota Opera in the world premier of Kevin Puts’ new opera Silent Night, Betto in Gianni Schicchi and covering the role of Simone in A Florentine Tragedy with the Canadian Opera Company, and covering the role of Paolo in Simon Boccanegra with Los Angeles Opera.
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. He was also 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 his debut with Opera Company of Philadelphia as Lt. Horstmayer 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, his debut with Opera Saratoga performing both Dick Deadeye in HMS Pinafore and Raimondo in Lucia di Lammermoor, Ramphis in Aida with Pensacola Opera, Basilio in Il barbiere di Siviglia with Intermountain Opera, Dulcamara in Donizetti’s L’elisir d’amore with Naples Opera, and Bottom in Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream with Des Moines Metro Opera. Other role highlights include Private Willis in Iolanthe with Nashville Opera and Don Alhambra in Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Gondoliers with Opera North.
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. In the course of his graduate work at The University of Tennessee, he performed 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 completed his undergraduate study at the Simpson College in Indianola under the tutelage of Dr. Robert L. Larsen.