“Conductor Robert Wood, making his debut with the company, has obviously studied the score with affectionate care. The orchestral openings of all five acts, particularly Act IV, are superbly played, and the cellos deserve particular praise for their beautiful four-part harmonies, the scoring of which is one of Gounod’s great inspirations.” -Daily Camera
Conductor Robert Wood has enjoyed considerable success since his debut with the San Francisco Opera in 2004. Primarily an opera conductor, he has made a considerable impression with his interpretations of bel canto works, garnering praise for his stylish and elegant conducting. In 2010, Robert launched a contemporary opera company in Washington, DC, UrbanArias. Its mission is to highlight short, new, accessible operas, and its first festival season commenced in April 2011. Recently, Robert returned to the San Francisco Opera to conduct the Merola Program Grand Finale – Schwabacher Summer Concert, and to Opera Colorado for Roméo et Juliette. In the 2015-2016 season, he leads Three Decembers with Kentucky Opera and As One and After Life at UrbanArias.
Mr. Wood was appointed Conductor in Residence at the Minnesota Opera from 2006-2008, leading productions of L’italiana in Algeri, Le nozze di Figaro, La donna del lago, Rusalka, and, most recently, Il barbiere di Siviglia. Mr. Wood also recently conducted a concert featuring Stephanie Blythe and Lawrence Brownlee for San Francisco Opera, L’italiana in Algeri at Vancouver Opera, Carmen at Opera Colorado, Paul’s Case at NYC’s Prototype Festival, Die Entführung aus dem Serail for Hawaii Opera Theater, The Love for Three Oranges at Indiana University Opera Theater, La cenerentola at New Jersey Opera Theater, Lakmé at Minnesota Opera, and The Nutcracker for San Francisco Ballet. Mr. Wood’s collaborations with the Wolf Trap Opera Company include Le Comte Ory and Die Zauberflöte. Other recent conducting engagements include H.M.S. Pinafore with the Indiana University Opera, and a recording for ODC Dance in San Francisco of Jack Perla’s On a Train Headed South. Mr. Wood spent many years on the staff of San Francisco Opera where he led performances of La traviata and L’italiana in Algeri, and assisted productions of La bohème, Il barbiere di Siviglia, Don Carlos, Hansel and Gretel, The Merry Widow, and Tosca.
He has also appeared as conductor for many productions with Opera San José including Tosca, Faust, Manon, Carmen, L’elisir d’amore, Rigoletto and La bohème, and as guest conductor with the San José Chamber Orchestra. Mr. Wood held the position of Chorus Master at The Santa Fe opera from 2001 to 2004, and acted as cover conductor for Béatrice et Bénédict, La belle Hélène, L’italiana in Algeri, and Lucia di Lammermoor. At The Santa Fe Opera, he also received critical acclaim for the choral contribution to the world premiere of Bright Sheng’s Madame Mao, and the American premiere of Kaija Saariaho’s L’amour de loin. Mr. Wood also served as Chorus Master for Opera Company of Philadelphia’s production of Les Pêcheurs de perles in 2004, and has appeared at Chicago Opera Theatre and the Florida State Opera, where he conducted Gluck’s Orfeo.
Mr. Wood was a 1998 Merola Opera Program and Western Opera Theater participant, and spent several years in Vienna studying voice and singing in the Arnold Schönberg Chor.