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Clifton Forbis


Clifton Forbis


Clifton Forbis is engaged to sing the most demanding tenor repertoire around the world, including the title roles of Samson et Dalila, Otello and Tristan und Isolde. He is a leading artist with the Metropolitan Opera, Opéra National de Paris, Canadian Opera Company, and Teatro alla Scala. Of his performance for a new production as Tristan, Opera News said, “Clifton Forbis[‘s]…attention to detail was admirable, and he risked a rare degree of intense soft singing in Act II before rising with mighty force to the agonies of Act III. The few voices raised against him at the final curtain were unjustified: this was as thrilling a piece of tenor singing as you are likely to hear in the role today.”

This season, Mr. Forbis will perform Tristan in Tristan und Isolde at Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw in a radio broadcast of the Saturday Matinee Performance, with the Dutch Radio Orchestra under the baton of Jaap van Zweden. He performed Siegmund in Die Walkure with the Canadian Opera Company, and the title role of Otello last season at Korea National Opera. Highlights of recent seasons include Tristan und Isolde with Washington National Opera, Dallas Opera, and Opéra National de Lyon; the title role of Otello in a return to Nashville Opera and in Bari, Italy; Florestan in Fidelio with Seattle Opera; Samson in Samson et Dalila with San Diego Opera; Canio in Pagliacci with New Orleans Opera; and Otello with Opera Company of Philadelphia and Deutsche Oper Berlin. On the concert stage, Mr. Forbis recently sang the role of Siegmund in performances of Act I of Die Walküre with the Dallas Symphony and the Milwaukee Symphony; Otello with the BBC Philharmonic and Gianandrea Noseda; and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 with the Seattle Symphony.

Past engagements include Otello for Dallas Opera, inaugurating the Winspear Opera House at the Dallas Center for the Performing Arts. He reprised Otello with Canadian Opera Company and sang performances for Deutsche Oper Berlin. He was heard in the title role in Tristan und Isolde with Semyon Bychkov and the Westdeutscher Rundfunk Köln in concert, and again with Seattle Opera, Opéra National de Paris, and Lyric Opera of Chicago.

On the concert stage, Mr. Forbis appeared in Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 with Palm Beach Opera and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra under Sir Bernard Haitink.

He also appeared as Florestan in Beethoven’s Fidelio at the Gran Teatre del Liceu in Barcelona.

Clifton Forbis began the 2007–2008 season singing the title role in Samson et Dalila at San Francisco Opera, broadcast into movie theaters throughout the United States. He returned to the Metropolitan Opera for performances of Siegmund in Die Walküre, conducted by Lorin Maazel, and made his debut with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra in concert performances of Act I of Die Walküre, conducted by Sir Bernard Haitink. Mr. Forbis sang Florestan in the highly anticipated Chris Kraus production of Fidelio, with Claudio Abbado conducting. The production premiered in Reggio Emilia, Italy, and traveled to Baden-Baden and the Teatro Real de Madrid. His summer engagements included performances of the title role in Tristan und Isolde with Paris Opera on tour in Japan.

Mr. Forbis has earned international acclaim for his portrayals of the title roles in Samson et Dalila and Tristan und Isolde. His Samson has thrilled audiences at the Metropolitan Opera, San Diego, Marseille, Bilbao, Genoa, and Cincinnati. He has delivered stunning performances of Tristan in his debut with the Berlin State Opera conducted by Daniel Barenboim, Paris Opera under Valery Gergiev, in concert with the Los Angeles Philharmonic and Esa-Pekka Salonen, as well as in a new production at Grand Théâtre de Genève. He has distinguished himself in the title role of Otello with his debut at La Scala, as well as in performances of the role with the Dresden Semperoper, Vienna State Opera, Chicago Symphony at the Ravinia Festival, and with Tokyo Opera Nomori. He has been heralded for his performances of Siegmund in Die Walküre with Canadian Opera Company, Vienna State Opera, and in concerts of the opera’s first act with James Conlon and the National Symphony Orchestra, James Levine and the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, as well as the Boston Symphony at Tanglewood, Chicago Symphony at Ravinia, and Cincinnati May Festival.

Other roles with which Mr. Forbis has become notably identified are the Drum Major in Wozzeck, Andrei Khovansky in Khovanshchina, and Florestan in Fidelio, which he has performed at theaters including the Metropolitan Opera, Teatro del Maggio Musicale in Florence, Atlanta Opera, and Minnesota Opera. Other recent highlights include his performances of Canio in Pagliacci for Florida Grand Opera and Nashville Opera, Don José in Carmen for the Metropolitan Opera and Palm Beach Opera, the title role of Oedipus Rex with the Metropolitan Opera, and his debuts with Paris Opera in the title role of Wagner’s Parsifal and Venice’s Teatro la Fenice as Boris in Janáček’s Katya Kabanova.

Clifton Forbis made his debut with the Metropolitan Opera singing Lenski in a new production of Eugene Onegin and his debut at Lyric Opera of Chicago as Tom Buchanan in Harbison’s The Great Gatsby. Other performances include Honegger’s King David with the Brooklyn Philharmonic, Kodály’s Psalmus Hungaricus with Orchestre de Lyon, and Laca in concert performances of Janáček’s Jenufa with the Philadelphia Orchestra under Sir Simon Rattle. He has performed Cavaradossi in Tosca with numerous companies including Seattle Opera, Florida Grand Opera, Opéra de Marseilles, and Pacific Opera.

As a soloist with symphony orchestras, Mr. Forbis has been heard in Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 with the Boston Symphony Orchestra under James Levine, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra under Daniel Barenboim, and The Cleveland Orchestra under Franz Welser-Möst.