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.
Robert’s 2023-24 season begins as a Young Artist at Hawai’i Opera Theatre where he will perform the roles of Papa in An American Dream and Colline in La bohème. He also appears with Washington National Opera / Vision Into Art in Paola Prestini’s Sensorium Ex (Ensemble/Corp cover), and Glens Falls Symphony as the Bass Soloist in the Mozart Requiem. In the summer of 2023, he appeared with Seagle Festival as an Emerging Artist as Frère Laurent in Roméo et Juliette, the Constable/Russian Solo in Fiddler on the Roof, and covering Archbishop Sejas in Daniel Crozier’s With Blood, With Ink.
Other performance highlights include 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, Robert le Diable (Bertram) with St.Johns in the Village, the Mozart Requiem (Bass Soloist) with Mid America Productions, The Garden of Alice (Mad Hatter/Frog Footman/Card #7) with City Lyric Opera, the world premiere of Harmony (Rev.Joseph Twichell) by Robert Carl and Russell Banks with Seagle Festival, Juana (Padre Antonio), Il ritorno d'Ulisse in Patria (Il Tempo), and Anna Bolena (Rochefort) with dell’Arte Opera Ensemble, Don Giovanni (Il Commendatore) with Opera on the Rocks, Les pêcheurs de perles (Nourabad) and Don Giovanni (Il Commendatore) with /Kor/ Productions, Tobias Picker’s Emmeline (Pastor Avery), La traviata (Dottore Grenvil) and Les pêcheurs de perles (Nourabad) with Manhattan School of Music, Die Zauberflöte (Sarastro) and Le nozze di Figaro (Bartolo) with Manhattan Opera Studio, Prince Igor (Khan Konchak) with Russian Opera Workshop, and Massenet’s Chérubin (Le Philosophe) with Peabody Conservatory.
Not limited to performing standard repertoire, Mr. Feng remains active in premiering and performing works by living composers, often participating in the creation of new roles. Such roles include the afformentioned Rev.Joseph Twitchell in Robert Carl/Russell Banks’ Harmony, the Interviewer/Body in the workshop premiere of Felix Jarrar's You do not recognize the bodies in the water at OPERA America, Ensemble and CORP cover in the workshop premiere of Paola Prestini’s Sensorium Ex with Beth Morrison Projects, and Body Guard/Detective in the world premiere of Tony Small’s Qadar with the Smithsonian Museum.
Robert placed first in the Dorothy Lincoln Smith Regional Voice Competition, second in the NY Classical Music Society International Voice Competition, third in the Beethoven Club of Memphis Savell Vocal 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, the Peabody Career Development Award, the Special Prize in the Ise-Shima International Singing Competition, and was awarded the Honorable Mention in the Harold Haugh Light Opera Competition. Robert received his Bachelor’s degree at Peabody Conservatory, his Master's degree at Manhattan School of Music, and is an alumni of Seagle Festival.
Luis Silos Photography
Drew Feng Photography
Creating impactful and entertaining works, Robert Ellsworth Feng is also a librettist from Kailua, HI.
Mr. Feng’s works often find themselves interwoven with his identity as an Asian-American through biting comedy and horror. 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 Nicholas Bentz’s monodrama “Mikylvxka Hllupo” for bass voice and Pierrot Ensemble.
Mr.Feng has gone on to premiere his first opera with Mr. Bentz titled "Having Guests for Dinner", a one-act horror-comedy opera. It made its virtual premiere with New Opera West in 2020 and its live premiere with Hartford Opera Theater in 2021. Later this year, the opera will receive its full-length workshop premiere with orchestra at Fredonia University in association with /Kor/ Productions. Robert has also worked with award winning composer Felix Jarrar, first on an art song titled “When they killed us, did you say they killed Americans?” as a response to the 2021 Atlanta Spa Shootings. In collaboration with Felix, Robert's second opera received its workshop premiere with OPERA America titled “You do not recognize the bodies in the water,” a supernatural horror opera. His third opera will be set to music by Christopher Drago Fistonch titled "The Enigma of Amigara Fault", based off of the short story by Junji Ito. Robert has since written the libretto for an oratorio detailing nuclear war titled "Annihilation" and is working with Nicholas Bentz on their next work "Salmo", a grand space opera.