Finding the right time zone in which to conduct a FaceTime interview with baritone Tobias Greenhalgh took some figuring out. When he is not rehearsing or performing, he always seems to be in a plane, in Europe, the United States, or in between. Does he actually have a home?”
“That’s the greatest question in my life at the moment!” he laughed. “I’m not really in a rush to plant myself down, because I love working in the United States and in Europe. But one of these days I’m going to want to have a place where I can relax and put my feet up. Maybe Florida. I’ve sung with the Palm Beach Opera and I was a member of their Benenson Young Artist Program. I love Florida.”
The Florida climate and culture could hardly be further from Tobias’s other favorite hangout, Vienna. While a member of the Junges Ensemble at the Theater an der Wien, he made his European debut as the title role of Eugene Onegin at the Wiener Kammeroper, followed by performances of Argante in Rinaldo, which he reprised in a tour to the Bolshoi Theater, Ramiro in L’heure Espagnole, Le Directeur and Le Gendarme in Les mamelles de Tirésias, Cecco in Gli Uccellatori, and was presented in solo concert and recital. He has continued to perform at the Theater an der Wien, where he is currently rehearsing the role of Demetrius in Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream; he has also performed at the Wiener Kammeroper and, more recently, at the Arnold Schoenberg Center there.
“I love performing on both sides of the Atlantic. In Europe, where opera companies and concert halls are publicly funded, one has more resources to try out new productions and new ideas, to take risks. In the United States, where there is always a scramble for money and time, passionate artists develop a hunger, a will to make it happen. And when it does, that edge can produce the most wonderful results.”
Nearly a decade ago, when Tobias was still a student at Juilliard, Mark Shapiro, music director of The Cecilia Chorus of New York, conducted him in a production of Britten’s Curlew River. Mark remembered Tobias and wanted to approach him about collaborating on The Prison. “Working with Tobias was such a pleasure. He’s a brilliant singer and actor, keenly attuned to the nuances of text, and amazingly conscientious and detailed about his preparation and artistry. I knew Tobias has been working extensively in Europe and thought he couldn’t possibly be available for this project. How fortunate we are that the scheduling worked out!" Tobias knew nothing about Dame Ethel Smyth or The Prison when Shapiro tapped him for the role. “I’m really curious and excited to learn more about the work and the composer,” he said. Now armed with a list of twenty-odd articles and reference books, he is delving into Smyth territory. “I always like to do my homework.”
BIO Tobias Greenhalgh:
This season Tobias will make role debuts as both Demetrius (A Midsummer Night’s Dream) and Cecil (Maria Stuarda) at Theater an der Wien, as well as house debuts with Glyndebourne on tour as Figaro (Il barbiere di Siviglia), and at the prestigious Festival d’Aix as Aeneas (Dido and Aeneas). Additionally, he will sing Maximilian (Candide) with Palm Beach Opera.
Tobias made his European debut singing the title role in Eugene Onegin at the Wiener Kammeroper. Whilst working in Vienna he sang Ned Keene (Peter Grimes), Escamillo (Carmen), Argante (Rinaldo), Peter (Hänsel und Gretel), and Ramiro (L’heure Espagnole).
Last season, Tobias sang the role of of Tom Joad (The Grapes of Wrath) with the Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, and debuted as the Cold Genius and Merlin (King Arthur) at the Staatstheater am Gärtnerplatz. Upcoming engagements include the title role in Don Giovanni with Virginia Opera, Tom Joad (The Grapes of Wrath) with Michigan Opera Theater, and Malatesta (Don Pasquale) with Opera National de Montpellier.