Catch a star on the rise
Magnolia Chorale is excited to introduce our audience to Robert Wise, baritone soloist for our winter concerts. While he’s new to us and fairly new to Seattle, he’s not new to solo roles. Robert recently moved to Seattle after graduating from Iowa State University (ISU) where he majored in software engineering and music. At ISU, he sang with the Iowa State Singers for five years and performed many operatic roles with the school’s Opera Studio and Symphony Orchestra.
His most recent roles include Tommy in Lerner and Loewe’s Brigadoon, the Sorcerer in Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas, Le Baron de Pictordu in Viardot’s Cendrillon, and Frank Maurrant in Weill’s Street Scene. The latter is both one of his most memorable and favorite roles.
“We performed Street Scene in fall 2021 and it was our first live, unmasked performance,” says Robert. “It was wonderful to share the stage with people again without having all the usual constraints distracting us. Frank Maurrant is also the most serious role I’ve had the opportunity to play. And the music is absolutely gorgeous. Kurt Weill creates a stunning mix of opera, jazz, and theatre.”
Robert’s first memory of performing was in his preschool graduation ceremony in Texas where he sang a duet of “I’m proud to be an American” with a fellow graduate. After that his singing mainly took place in church until midway through high school. Robert recalls “I was initially more involved in instrumental music through high school, but I soon realized that I had an aptitude for voice as well. My interest in singing grew with each hour of practice.”
The practice paid off. Robert won first place in the National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS) Central Region (2021) and Iowa State competitions (2022) and was one of the first recipients of the ISU Scholarship Award of Vocal Excellence in 2022. In summer 2022, Robert placed second in his division for the 2022 National NATS competition. He has also participated in masterclasses with bass, Morris Robinson; baritone, Sherrill Milnes; and bass-baritone, James Morris.
Robert came to Seattle for a software engineering job, which keeps him extremely busy. But, in his free time he continues to expand his musical repertoire and enjoys weightlifting, reading, and cooking.
The Chorale is thrilled to have his resonant baritone voice performing the solo for Ralph Vaughan Williams’s Fantasia on Christmas Carols, for our winter concerts. We’re also delighted that he’s performing in the ensemble for the rest of the program.
To hear for yourself, join us at Magnolia United Church of Christ for “Good Tidings–A Global Celebration” on Friday, December 9 at 7:30 pm and Sunday, December 11 at 2 pm.
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