Robert Macfarlane


Management: Australasia and Non-Exclusive Asia

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Handel Belshazzar, Adelaide Philharmonia Chorus
“…Tenor Robert Macfarlane …cut a strapping Belshazzar. With diction to die for and a dynamic range rare in my experience...”
Vincent Plush, Limelight Magazine 11 November 2017


The Coronation of Poppea, Lyric Opera

"Rober Macfarlane's performance alone is worth the price of the ticket...he is a consummate performer of this type of music. Excellent control of a most pleasing tenor voice, complemented by an ebullient personality, enabled him to commit himself totally to characterising the mulitple roles he undertook in this production."

Heather Leviston, Classic Melbourne, 19 July 2017


Rossini, Petite Messe Solennelle, Canberra International Music Festival 

“…Tenor, Robert MacFarlane sang with irresistible joy, unleashing operatic flourishes for the benefit of both God and the audience.”

Jennifer Gall, The Canberra Times, 4 May 2016


Lully’s Armide, Göttingen
“…Robert Macfarlane brought a remarkable presence as Renaud, who also mastered the tricky top notes of his part without any effort."

Göttinger Tageblatt, November 2015


Israel in Egypt, Halberstadte Domfestspiel
“…the soloists impressed.  In particular Robert Macfarlane, who articulate tenor and great stage presence lent the text emphasis and power”., Sabine Scholz, 8 June 2015


Semiramide, György Ligeti Saal, Graz

“Delightful as the wild Scythian was the Australian tenor Robert Macfarlane…Macfarlane gave a bravura performance.”

“Köstlich als wilder Skythe der australische Tenor Robert Macfarlane…Robert Macfarlane bestand bravourös.”

Kleine Zeitung, Graz, 1 May 2014


Handel’s Messiah, Canberra Choral Society

“Star of the show was Tenor Robert Macfarlane, whose unfailing enthusiasm was matched by a rich voice that filled the auditorium

Canberra Times, 17 December 2013


St John Passion, Adelaide Festival

"the star of the evening…was Robert Macfarlane as the Evangelist… Not only did he perform this extremely demanding role with great dramatic variety of delivery and with impeccable diction, but his timing was almost theatrical…"

Nicholas Routley, Australian Stage, 18 March 2012


Schubert Winterreise

"But then Robert Macfarlane is an unusual phenomenon, with a remarkable capacity for mastering works that would daunt most singers…. The emotional arc of the performance was sustained without flagging for a moment. After the stunning climax of 'Die Nebensonnen' came the numbing, haunting conclusion of Der Leiermann. It was a memorable performance that left the audience and the performers emotionally drained."

Stephen Whittington, The Advertiser, October 2010

Robert Macfarlane studied at the Elder Conservatorium in Adelaide and subsequently at the Hochschule für Musik, Leipzig ‘Felix Mendelssohn-Bartoldy’ with Prof. Dr. Jeanette Favaro-Reuter, as recipient of the prestigious Thomas Elder Overseas Scholarship. He undertook extensive study of the Baroque repertoire with tenor Howard Crook and has also studied and performed with world-renowned accompanist Malcolm Martineau.  Robert Macfarlane was the winner of the Adelaide Critic’s Circle award for best individual performance in 2012 (Bach St. John Passion), a finalist in the Lortzing Competition in Germany in 2013, and winner of the Royal Melbourne Philharmonic Aria competition in 2009. Robert is also the winner of the Richard Wagner Society of Victoria’s 2020 Young Artist Award, which enabled him to travel to Bayreuth and attend the Bayreuth Festival in 2022.

Robert continues his association with Melbourne Opera this year as he performs the role of Mime in both Das Rheingold and Siegfried for the company.

Robert’s passion for directing has seen him direct Radamisto for the Apollo Opera Collective, Handel’s Acis and Galatea for Genesius Baroque, in which he also sang the role of Acis, and directing/singing The Song Company’s tour of The Arms of Love. Further performances include a recital of Schubert’s Die Winterreise for Geelong Chamber Music Society, Evangelist in Bach’s St Matthew Passion, Fatty The Pimp in The Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny, and in a major role and repertoire debut, the role of Mime in Melbourne Opera’s concert presentation of Siegfried.

2019 saw significant debuts for Robert, as Steve Hart in Ned Kelly (Styles) for Lost and Found Opera Perth, as Bob Boles (Peter Grimes) with Sydney Symphony Orchestra. He also returned to Melbourne Symphony Orchestra (Messiah), Auckland Choral Society (Bruckner Mass in D minor) and St. Peter’s Cathedral Adelaide for Britten’s St Nicholas. Other recent engagements have included Woodend Winter Arts Festival, The Song Company for Brett Dean’s Hamlet at the Adelaide Festival, Auckland Choral Society for Beethoven Mass in C, Evangelist in St Matthew Passion for Canberra Choral Society, Kunz Vogelgesang in Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg for State Opera of South Australia, Ulrich Eisslinger, also in “Die Meistersinger” (also covering David) for Opera Australia, First Elder in Susanna for Handel In The Theatre, Messiah for Perth Symphonic Chorus. Robert was also co-artistic creator of the Cirkidz production in Adelaide of “More Guilty than the Poet” (based on the Lieder of Schubert).

Robert made his European Opera Debut in the virtuosic role of Ircano in Hasse’s Semiramide in Graz and Leipzig in 2014, for which he was highly acclaimed by the Austrian critics. On the opera stage, he has also sung Tybalt in Boris Blacher’s Roméo et Juliette for Opera de Lyon, Pong in Turandot with the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra, Monostatos (The Magic Flute) for West Australian Opera; Orfeo (Peri’s Euridice) for Woodend Winter Arts Festival; the title role in Rameau's Pygmalion for the Peninsula Festival; Notary (La Sonnambula), Parpignol (La Boheme), Beppe (Pagliacci) and 3rd Jew (Salome) for State Opera of South Australia; Acis (Acis and Galatea) in Malaysia and Singapore; the roles of Echo and Pastore (covering the title role) in L'Orfeo with the Australian Brandenburg Orchestra for Brisbane Festival and in Sydney and Melbourne. Robert has also performed with New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, Sydney Philharmonia Choirs, Pinchgut Opera, Victoria Chorale, Lyric Opera of Melbourne, Royal Melbourne Philharmonic Society, Adelaide Philharmonic Chorus, and Co-Opera.

Robert is known internationally for his performances of Bach, in particular the Evangelist of the St. John and St. Matthew Passions, and was the 2008 and 2009 Bach Scholar in the St. Johns Bach Cantata program in Melbourne. He made his debut in Leipzig’s Thomaskirche in 2013 as the tenor soloist in Bach’s Mass in B Minor, with the Gewandhaus Orchestra and Thomanerchor under the direction of Georg Christoph Biller, returning the following year to perform Wär Gott nicht bei uns diese Zeit. Other acclaimed concert performances include soloist in semi-staged performances of St. Matthew Passion for Opera Queensland; Britten St Nicolas with the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra; Mozart Great Mass in C minor at St George's Cathedral, Perth; Handel's Messiah and Solomon; Monteverdi’s Vespers at the Melbourne Recital Centre and the Adelaide Festival; Britten's Serenade and Les Illuminations; recitals of Schubert's Die Schöne Müllerin, Winterreise and Schwanengesang and Schumann's Dichterliebe and Liederkreis with pianist Leigh Harrold, Wolf’s Italienisches Liederbuch with Anthony Legge, and for ArtSong Canberra and The Firm in Adelaide.

Robert also performs in the new music ensemble Duo Trystero with guitarist Aleksandr Tsiboulski, which has given the Australian premieres of works by Alec Roth, Wolfgang Fortner, Alexander Goehr and Paul Dessau and world premieres of works by David Kotlowy, Luke Altmann and Anne Cawrse.

Robert Macfarlane is managed by Graham Pushee: 
February 2023
   This biography is for general information purposes only and not for publication.
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