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BIOGRAPHY

Hailed by Opera News as "a booming, well-crafted bass," Chinese-American singer Robert Ellsworth Feng is is a born collaborator who creates striking and powerful performances.

Performance highlights include La bohème (Colline), An American Dream (Papa), Gianni Schicchi (Betto di Signa), Nolan Gasser's The Secret Garden (Ben Weatherstaff), The Pirates of Penzance (Pirate King), Dichterliebe (Soloist), and Madama Butterfly (Bonze/Prince Yamadori) with Hawai'i Opera Theatre, the co-production of Paola Prestini’s Sensorium Ex with Washington National Opera/Vision Into Art/Beth Morrison Projects, Robert le Diable (Bertram) with St.Johns in the Village, the Mozart Requiem (Bass Soloist) with Mid America Productions and the Glens Falls Symphony respectively, The Garden of Alice (Mad Hatter/Frog Footman/Card #7) with City Lyric Opera, Roméo et Juliette (Frère Laurent), Fiddler on the Roof (Constable/Russian Solo), Daniel Crozier’s With Blood, With Ink (Archbishop Sejas cover), and the world premiere of Robert Carl and Russell Banks’ Harmony (Rev.Joseph Twichell) with Seagle Festival, Juana (Padre Antonio), Il ritorno d'Ulisse in Patria (Il Tempo), and Anna Bolena (Rochefort) with dell’Arte Opera Ensemble, Les pêcheurs de perles (Nourabad) and Don Giovanni (Il Commendatore) with /Kor/ Productions, and Prince Igor (Khan Konchak) with Russian Opera Workshop.

Not limited to performing standard repertoire, Feng remains active in premiering and performing works by living composers. These include the aforementioned Harmony and Sensorium Ex, Yunfei Li’s Chew On This (Shou Zi Chew) with Lyric Opera of Kansas City/No Divide KC, Felix Jarrar's You do not recognize the bodies in the water (Body/Interviewer) at OPERA America, and Tony Small’s Qadar (Detective/Body Guard) with the Smithsonian Museum.

Robert placed first in the Dorothy Lincoln Smith Regional Voice Competition, first in the Mozart International Competition Vienna, second in the NY Classical Music Society International Voice Competition, third in the Beethoven Club of Memphis Savell Competition, third in the Lyra Mozart International Voice Competition, and third in the Opera for Earth Vocal Competition. Robert is also the recipient of the MI Opera Role Award, Seagle Festival Guild Scholarship, the George Woodhead Prize in Voice, and the Peabody Career Development Award.

For the 2024-25 season, Robert will join Opera Memphis as a Handorf Company Artist where he will perform in their 30 Days of Opera & Variations on a Theme concert series respectively, the Mozart Requiem (Bass Soloist), The Rake’s Progress (Nick Shadow), Carmen (Zuniga), and La Calisto (Giove). Robert holds degrees from Peabody Conservatory and Manhattan School of Music.

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Drew Feng Photography
 
Additionally, Robert Ellsworth Feng is a librettist who creates impactful and entertaining works that often find themselves interwoven with his identity and experiences as an Asian-American. Robert’s goal is to help create an equitable industry and a stage that reflects the diverse and multicultural audiences of today.

Robert began writing libretti while attending the Peabody Conservatory of the Johns Hopkins University, where he collaborated with several student composers to premiere their works including Terrence J. Martin’s song cycle “Projections” for bass voice and piano, and Nick Bentz’s monodrama “Mikylvxka Hllupo” for bass voice and Pierrot Ensemble.

Feng went on to premiere his first opera with Nick Bentz titled "Having Guests for Dinner", a 1-Act Horror/Comedy. It received its virtual premiere with New Opera West in 2020 and has since received live performances with Hartford Opera Theater in 2021 for their New in November series and with the afformentioned New Opera West in 2022. In February 2024, the opera received its full-length premiere with the Western NY Chamber Orchestra, /Kor/ Productions, and SUNY Fredonia. Feng and Bentz’s second opera “Salmo”, a grand space opera in prologue and four acts, is set to be premiered in 2026/27 at Brown University. Robert has also collaborated with prolific NYC based composer Felix Jarrar on the art song “When they killed us, did you say they killed Americans?” as a response to the 2021 Atlanta Spa Shootings and rise in anti-Asian hate crimes during the Covid Pandemic, and the supernatural horror opera “You do not recognize the bodies in the water,” which was workshopped at OPERA America in 2022. Other upcoming projects include an adaptation of "The Enigma of Amigara Fault", based off of the short story by Junji Ito to be set to music by Chris Drago Fistonich, a staged oratorio detailing nuclear war titled "Annihilation”, and a micro-opera collaboration titled “Chew On This” with composer Yunfei Li commissioned by Lyric Opera of Kansas City and No Divide KC to premiere in June, 2024.

Robert is the recipient of the Peabody Career Development Award and holds degrees from Peabody Conservatory and Manhattan School of Music. Feng is currently a Librettist Fellow for Lyric Opera of KC and No Divide KC’s Come As You Are (CAYA) Fellowship and following this will join Really Spicy Opera as a Librettist Fellow for their Aria Institute for Composers & Librettists: June Sci-Fi Brunch Edition.

Luis Silos Photography
 
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