Baritone Craig Irvin brings a vibrant sound and commitment to character to each role he portrays. Craig recently made role and company debuts with Wolf Trap Opera as the Villains in The Tales of Hoffman and then returned to Wolf Trap in 2012 for Leporello in Don Giovanni. Additionally, he debuted with Minnesota Opera in the world premier of Kevin Puts’ new opera Silent Night, appeared with the Canadian Opera Company as Betto in Gianni Schicchi and covered the role of Simone in A Florentine Tragedy, and joined the cast of Simon Boccanegra with Los Angeles Opera covering the role of Paolo. The 2013-2014 season brought debuts with both Fort Worth Opera and Cincinnati Opera reprising his Lieutenant Horstmayer in Silent Night, his return to Minnesota Opera as Mandryka in Arabella, and his role debut as Dandini in Pensacola Opera’s La Cenerentola. During the 2014-2015 season, Craig returns to Minnesota Opera as Peter in Hänsel und Gretel, debuts at Utah Opera as Zurga in Les pêcheurs de perles, reprises the role of Lieutenant Horstmayer in Silent Night with Lyric Opera of Kansas City and joins Nashville Opera and Pensacola Opera as the Pirate King in The Pirates of Penzance.
While in residence with Lyric Opera of Chicago’s Ryan Opera Center, Craig was seen as Zuniga in Carmen, Theseus in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Sam in A Masked Ball, Imperial Commissioner in Madama Butterfly, Doctor/Professor in Lulu, and Ashby in La fanciulla del West. Additionally, he covered the roles of Bottom, the title role in The Mikado, the title role in Hercules, and Escamillo in Carmen (a role he sang in the student matinee performance). In the 2009-2010 season, he returned for a second year with Lyric Opera of Chicago where his assignments included Angelotti in Tosca as well as covering the roles of Bartolo in Le nozze di Figaro and Brander in Berlioz’s Damnation of Faust. Additionally, he was seen with the Knoxville Opera as Basilio in Il barbiere di Siviglia and as a soloist in Verdi’s Requiem with the Elmhurst Symphony Orchestra.
Other recent engagements include his debut with Opera Company of Philadelphia as Lt. Horstmayer in Silent Night, Orff’s Carmina Burana with the Phoenix Symphony, and a return to Canadian Opera Company as 1st Nazarene and Jochanaan/cover in Strauss’ Salome, his debut with Opera Saratoga performing both Dick Deadeye in HMS Pinafore and Raimondo in Lucia di Lammermoor, Ramphis in Aida with Pensacola Opera, Basilio in Il barbiere di Siviglia with Intermountain Opera, Dulcamara in Donizetti’s L’elisir d’amore with Naples Opera, and Bottom in Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream with Des Moines Metro Opera. A winner of the Heinz Rehfuss Singing Actor Award sponsored by Orlando Opera, Mr. Irvin spent a season with the company as a Resident Artist, and then stayed on with the company a second year as a main stage artist. During his tenure there he was featured as the Pirate King in Pirates of Penzance, Abimelech in Samson et Dalilah, Figaro in Le nozze di Figaro, Elder Ott in Susannah, and Angelotti in Tosca. While in Orlando, Mr. Irvin also sang the role of Gaston in over 700 performances of Beauty and the Beast at Walt Disney World, MGM.
Other role highlights include Private Willis in Iolanthe with Nashville Opera and Don Alhambra in Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Gondoliers with Opera North. In the course of his graduate work at The University of Tennessee, he performed with the Knoxville Opera as Pooh Bah in The Mikado, Der Sprecher in Die Zauberflöte, and Basilio in Il barbiere di Siviglia, as well as Reverend Blitch in Susannah and the title role in Sondheim’s Sweeney Todd with the Knoxville Opera Studio. A native of Iowa, Mr. Irvin completed his undergraduate study at the Simpson College in Indianola under the tutelage of Dr. Robert L. Larsen.
“All this works effectively because his cast of exceptional singers are also such convincing actors. . . Craig Irvin, whose rich, resonant baritone was heard to good effect as Mandryka, gave his character a directness and nobility that turned out to be far more interesting than the way Mandryka is sometimes played, as a country bumpkin on the order of Baron Ochs. . .” – Opera News
“Baritone CRAIG IRVIN plays Zurga, whose crisis of conscience gives the drama its tension. He, too, sang with conviction and nuance, particularly in his powerful last-act soliloquy. As for that famous duet, no matter how many times you’ve heard the number at opera galas or on “greatest hits” compilations, nothing matches the immediacy of a live, in-context performance, and Irvin and Stucki’s delivery Saturday was magical.”
-Salt Lake Tribune
"CRAIG IRVIN, the cast’s lone male, made a resonant Father, sympathetic despite the drinking problem Varone imputed to him.” – Opera News
“CRAIG IRVIN sings in robust fashion as the Father.”
-Minneapolis Star Tribune
“Jacqueline Wagner makes an ultimately regal Arabella. Her singing and Craig Irvin’s stalwart vocalization as Mandryka carry the opera and make it emotionally satisfying if not rationally convincing.” -Examiner
“Emotional turmoil is also magnified by other instances of dramatic irony, particularly in the character of Lieutenant Horstmayer, for whom the truce represents his only Christmas ever, because he’s Jewish. Craig Irvin reflected vocally and dramatically the uneasiness underneath this disciplined officer’s devotion to the Fatherland.”
"Craig Irvin has a truly commanding baritone for the German Lt. Horstmayer . . .” -Dallas Morning News
“Craig Irvin displays in his emotionally versatile voice and engaging characterization the fish-out-of-water awkwardness of a man of the country in Viennese society.” - TwinCities.com
“Craig Irvin as Lieutenant Horstmayer was brilliant in the confrontational exchanges he had with Sprink, handling well some beastly recitative passages” -KCmetropolis.org