Mr. Croft gives an outstanding portrayal of the ruler incapable of action while deploying his velvety tenor with regal stylishness. His delivery of the challenging “Fuor del mar” is technically stunning, yet the aria emerges as the recognizable product of a tormented soul.—The New York Times
American tenor Richard Croft is internationally renowned for his performances with leading opera companies and orchestras around the world, including the Metropolitan Opera, Vienna Staatsoper, Teatro alla Scala, Opera National de Paris, Berlin Staatsoper, The Salzburg Festival, Festival d’Aix en Provence, The Berlin Philharmonic, Leipzig Gewandhaus, The Cleveland Orchestra, The New York Philharmonic, and The Boston Symphony Orchestra. His clarion voice, superlative musicianship and commanding stage presence allow him to pursue a wide breadth of repertoire from Handel and Mozart to the music of today’s composers.
The 2013-2014 season will include performances at Los Angeles Opera as Captain Vere in Benjamin Brittin’s Billy Budd with conductor James Conlon. Mr. Croft launched his operatic season at the Theater an der Wien, where he performed the title role of Idomeneo to critical acclaim. He then joins the Canadian Opera Company as Hyllus in Handel’s Hercules.
Mr. Croft began the 2012-13 season in the role of Idomeneo with the Ravinia Festival of which the Chicago Tribune raved, “Friday’s opening performance was dominated by Croft’s towering performance as Idomeneo. A deeply expressive singer and a compelling stage presence, the American tenor caught the heroic, tragic dimension of his role. In his big showpiece aria in the second act, ‘Fuor del mar,’ he made each embellishment speak volumes about the terrible emotional conflicts raging within the king.” Other operatic highlights included the title role in La Clemenza di Tito with the Wiener Staatsoper conducted by Adam Fischer. Symphonic engagements include the world premiere of Jake Heggie’s Ahab Symphony at the University of North Texas, Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis with Leipzig Gerwandhaus and the National Symphony Orchestra, Händel’s Messiah with the Singapore Symphony, and Rachmaninoff’s The Bells with the Milwaukee Symphony conducted by Edo de Waart.
During the 2011 – 2012 season, Richard Croft reprised his critically acclaimed performance as M. K. Gandhi in the Metropolitan Opera’s visually extravagant production of Philip Glass’s Satygraha, which was also broadcasted live in high definition to movie theatres around the world. His concert calendar included performances of Messiah with the Minnesota Orchestra and the San Francisco Symphony, Berlioz’s Te Deum with the Dallas Symphony, and Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis with the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the Berliner Philharmoniker—both conducted by Herbert Blomstedt and available on www.digitalconcerthall.com.
In the 2010 – 2011 Mr. Croft was seen as Hyllus in a new Peter Sellars production of Händel’s Hercules at Lyric Opera of Chicago under the baton of Harry Bicket. In the title role of Idomeneo, he inaugurated a three-season-long exploration of Mozart at Théâtre des Champs-Élysées, under the artistic direction ofJérémie Rhorer. On the concert stage, Mr. Croft appeared with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra in Handel’s Messiah, conducted by Helmut Rilling.
Richard Croft began the 2009 – 2010 season with his much-anticipated debut at La Scala as the title role of Idomeneo under the baton of Myung-Whun Chung, in a production by Luc Bondy. He took on the role of Jupiter in a David McVicar production of Handel’s Semele at the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées, conducted by Christophe Rousset, and reprised Idomeneo as the centerpiece of the Mozarteum’s Mozartwoche in Salzburg. The American tenor also joined frequent collaborator Marc Minkowski and Les Musiciens du Louvre in a special concert for President Sarkozy and invited French dignitaries to celebrate the reopening of the newly refurbished Palace of Versailles.
Richard Croft’s 2008 – 2009 season included Idomeneo with René Jacobs and the Freiburg Baroque Orchestra (also recorded and released on Harmonia Mundi in May 2009 to rave reviews); a European tour and recording (to be released on Harmonia Mundi in autumn 2009) with Marc Minkowski and Les Musiciens du Louvre, featuring musical odes to Saint Cecilia by Purcell, Haydn, and Handel, a staged version of Handel’s Messiah for the Theater an der Wien; and Idomeneo at the Aix-en-Provence Festival, under the baton of Mo. Minkowski.
During the 2007 – 2008 season, Mr. Croft made a triumphant return to the Metropolitan Opera as M.K. Gandhi in a critically acclaimed new production of Philip Glass’s landmark 1980 opera Satyagraha, for which The New York Times heralded his “heroic performance” and “aching poignancy” (Tommasini). Other engagements include Handel’s Ariodante with the San Francisco Opera, Beethoven’s Mass in C with Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos and the Boston Symphony at Tanglewood, Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 with Leonard Slatkin and the National Symphony, the role of Don Ottavio in Mozart’s Don Giovanni with the Seattle Opera, and a return to the Salzburg Festival in Haydn’s Armida, as well as Beethoven’s An die ferne Geliebte at the University of North Texas, where he has been Professor of Voice since 2004.
Richard Croft is renowned throughout North America. At the Metropolitan Opera he has sung Ferrando under the baton of James Levine, Belmonte in Die Entführung aus dem Serail, and Almaviva in Il Barbiere di Siviglia. He made his debuts with Houston Grand Opera and Washington Opera as Ferrando as well. He has performed Mozart’s La Clemenza di Tito for Dallas Opera and Santa Fe Opera, where he has also sung Belmonte, as well as Tom Rakewell in Stravinsky’s The Rake’s Progress.
In Europe he has been heard at the Paris Opera as Don Ottavio at the Bastille and as Tacmas in Rameau’s Les Indes Gallantes at the Palais Garnier (DVD release 2006). At the Berlin Staatsoper he has been heard as Almaviva, Ferrando, as well as the Composer in Gassman’s Opera Seria. At the Zurich Opera he debuted as Abaris in Rameau’s Les Boréades in a new production by Laurent Pelly. At the Deutsche Oper Berlin he performed the role of Pelléas and has been seen in numerous leading roles at the opera companies of Hamburg, Cologne, Amsterdam, Toulouse, Nice, Lyon, Stockholm, Glyndebourne and Salzburg.
In concert, Croft debuted with the Cleveland Orchestra in the title role of Pelléas et Mélisande in concerts led by Pierre Boulez, where he was hailed as “impassioned, clear-toned and ideal”; made his Carnegie Hall début under Sir Neville Marriner in Mozart’s Requiem; and made his St. Louis Symphony début with Nicolas McGegan in Britten’s Serenade. He made his Boston Symphony Orchestra debut in Mozart’s Requiem with Bernard Haitink. His performance of Handel’s Jephtha at Alice Tully Hall with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment prompted Alan Kozinn of The New York Times to write. “…some of the most supple and emotionally resonant Handel singing I have ever heard.”
He has also been heard in London at the Royal Albert Hall as Pelléas with Sir Andrew Davis, in Amsterdam at the Concertgebouw in Ariodante, at the Konzerthaus in Vienna as Hyllus in Handel’s Hercules, as well as at the Grosses Festspielhaus in Salzburg, as Orphee, in the Paris version of Gluck’s Orphée et Euridice with Marc Minkowski leading Les Musiciens du Louvre.
Mr. Croft has been twice Grammy-nominated, for his recordings of Handel’s Hercules with Anne Sophie von Otter (Deutsche Grammophon/Archiv) as well as Scarlatti’s Il Primo Omicidio with Dorothea Roshmann (Harmonia Mundi). Other recordings with Deutsche Grammophon include Handel’s Ariodante and the Paris version of Gluck’s Orphée et Eurydice, both with Marc Minkowski and Les Musiciens du Louvre. For Erato, he has recorded Handel’s Theodora with William Christie and Les Arts Florissants. His performance in Theodora was also released on DVD in Peter Sellars’ production from Glyndebourne, as have his early Drottningholm performances of Mozart’s Die Entführung aus dem Serail and La Finta Giardiniera on Phillips Classics, Rameau’s Les Indes Gallantes from the Paris Opera, his Almaviva from the Netherlands Opera in Dario Fo’s production of Il Barbiere di Siviglia, and as Cassio in Verdi’s Otello with Plácido Domingo and Renée Fleming from the Metropolitan Opera. He sang the title role in the recently released and critically acclaimed recording of Mozart’s Mitridate from the Salzburg Festival.