Artist Associate in Voice and Co-Director of the Williams Opera Workshop, Instructor
American baritone Paul La Rosa continues to gain recognition on the strengths of his vocal appeal and charismatic stage presence. He has earned critical praise for “a wonderful touch for physical comedy, a strong and beautiful voice, and the dancing skills that one typically encounters on Broadway”. 2018 witnessed Mr. La Rosa’s return to San Diego Opera and his debut with Eugene Opera, for the respective company premieres of Piazzolla’s tango-opera Maria de Buenos Aires, in the role of E1 Payador, and his Princeton Festival debut as Sharpless in Madama Butterfly. Mr. La Rosa made his 2019 role and company debuts with Gulfshore Opera (Malatesta in Don Pasquale and Germont in La traviata) as well as his debut with Angel’s Share as Aeneas in a innovative site specific production of Dido and Aeneas in Brooklyn’s Greenwood Cemetery and his Fort Worth Opera debut reprising the role of Enrique in Martinez’s El pasado nunca se termina, which he created in 2015. In the summer of 2019, Mr. La Rosa joined Greylock Opera Collective/ Mass MoCA for the world premiere of The Weeping Woman singing the role of Pablo Picasso.
In the summer of 2017, Mr. La Rosa made his debut with the Brooklyn Art Song Society at the Marcella Sembrich Opera Museum in Bolton Landing, NY, performing excerpts from Mahler’s Das Knaben Wunderhorn. Throughout the autumn, Mr. La Rosa rejoined Brooklyn Art Song Society for a French melodie program dedicated to Chausson and Duparc, and bowed his debut with New York’s Bare Opera as Figaro in the two-hour Mozart / Rossini pastiche Figaro/Figaro!
Recent seasons have witnessed return engagements with Lyric Opera of Chicago (Cascada in The Merry Widow, Jud Fry in Oklahoma!) and Chicago Opera Theater (Boris in Shostakovitch’s Moscow, Cheryomushki), in addition to debuts with Los Angeles Opera (First Mate in Billy Budd, directed by Francesca Zambello), Lyric Opera of Kansas City (Falke in Die Fledermaus, directed by Tomer Zvulun), and Central City Opera (Jud Fry in Oklahoma!). As Enrique in the world premiere production of Jose “Pepe” Martinez’s El pasado nunca se termina, he appeared at Lyric Opera of Chicago and made his company debuts with both San Diego Opera and Houston Grand Opera.
Committed to the performance of new works as well as to the revival of long-unheard works, in 2011 Mr. La Rosa made his debut with Chicago Opera Theater as Oronte in the Midwest premiere of Charpentier’s 1693 masterpiece Medee and his debut with Opera Theater of St. Louis as Rambo and First Officer in the second fully staged US production of John Adams’ The Death of Klinghoffer.
Mr. La Rosa enjoyed a long association with the late Lorin Maazel, and was a frequent guest artist at Maestro Maazel’s Castleton Festival for several seasons. Under the festival’s auspices, Mr. La Rosa performed the roles of Le fauteuil in L’enfant et les sortileges, Don Quixote in de Falla’s El retablo de maese Pedro, Jack Rance in La fanciulla del West (all under the maestro’s baton), and Mercutio in Romeo et Juliette. Concert appearances with Maestro Maazel include Mr. La Rosa’s role debut as Jack Rance at Spain’s Palacio de la Opera de A Coruna and his Roman debut as the baritone soloist in Brahms’ Ein deutsches Requiem with the Orchestra della Svizzera ltaliana at Rome’s historic Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia.
Additional concert credits include debuts with the Boston Symphony Orchestra at the Tanglewood Festival, the Los Angeles Philharmonic at the Hlollywood Bowl (both as Maximilian in Candide), and the Cleveland Orchestra both in Cleveland and at Miami’s Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts (in a program of Aaron Copland’s Old American Songs).
Mr. La Rosa initially came to national attention through America’s most prestigious training programs. Between 2009 and 2012 he fulfilled a young artist residency in the Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan Opera Center at Lyric Opera of Chicago, where his responsibilities included performing Hermann in Les contes d’Hoffmann, Bello in La fanciulla del West, Silvano in Un ballo in maschera, Morales in Carmen (conducted by Alain Altinoglu), Cascada in The Merry Widow (conducted by Emmanuel Villaume), and Kuligin in Katya Kabanova (his company debut, conducted by Markus Stenz), as well as covering Ravenal in Show Boat, Papageno in Die Zauberflote, Harlekin in Ariadne auf Naxos, Demetrius in A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Le Dancaire in Carmen.
Mr. La Rosa has also apprenticed with Glimmerglass Opera (performing Curio and covering Achilla in Giulio Cesare in Egitto), San Francisco Opera’s Merola Opera Program (Dandini in La Cenerentola), and the Juilliard Opera Center, where he trained between 2007 and 2009. As a member of the Juilliard Opera Center, Mr. La Rosa appeared as the boxer Adam Ochsenschwanz in Ernst Krenek’s Schwergewicht oder die Ehre der Nation under the baton of James Conlon, as Ford in Falstaff in a production by Stephen Wadsworth conducted by Keri-Lynn Wilson, as Rambo in The Death of Klinghoffer under the baton of the composer, and as Raimbaud in Le comte Ory.
Mr. La Rosa earned his MM and Artist Diploma from the Juilliard School and a BA from Williams College, where he double majored in Philosophy and English.