"John Irvin, coping handily with Picker’s treacherously high vocal writing turned Matthew Gurney, the Oedipal crux of the drama, into an appealing, keenly energetic young man.” (Opera News)
Praised for his "golden sound" and "elegant wit," Mr Irvin is fast establishing himself in a diverse array of repertoire, from the obscure early romantic works of Méhul to the delightful comedies and epic tragedies of Rossini.
Last season, at Lyric Opera of Chicago's highly anticipated world premiere of Lopez’s Bel Canto, John Irvin brought “a handsome tenor voice and talented hands to the production with a searing portrayal of the diva’s doomed accompanist. In the 2015 season at Opera Theatre of St. Louis, Irvin garnered rave reviews for his “irresistibly charming, commanding, clarion tenor” and “virile performance” in the challenging role of Matthew Gurney in a new production of Tobias Picker’s Emmeline. Future engagements include Irvin’s Rossini Opera Festival debut as Cléomène in Le siège de Corinthe and Lucas in the American premiere of Thomas Ades’ The Exterminating Angel at the Metropolitan Opera.
Originally a pianist, Irvin discovered his passion for singing in 2008 where he went on to earn his Bachelor of Music magna cum laude from Georgia State University (2010) and Professional Certificate from Boston University’s Opera Institute (2012). An alumnus of The Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan Opera Center at Lyric Opera of Chicago, Irvin covered and performed over twenty roles for Lyric Opera’s mainstage season. Highlights include stepping in as Don Ottavio for the Stars of Lyric Opera at Millennium Park performance, as Lord Percy in the final dress rehearsal of Donizetti’s Anna Bolena, and as Alfred for two performances of Strauss's Die Fledermaus. In addition to the main stage, he has performed selections from Schubert’s Die Winterreise with artist and director William Kentridge, performed selection of Strauss songs with Civic Orchestra at Symphony Center, and portrayed Ferrando (Cosi fan tutte, Act 1) with the Grant Park Music Festival. During this time, Irvin also made debuts with Madison Opera (Il barbiere di Siviglia with John DeMain), Chicago Symphony Orchestra (Beyond the Score with Stéphane Denève), Los Angeles Philharmonic (Giuseppe, Verdi’s La Traviata and Don Curzio, Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro with Gustavo Dudamel) and Melbourne Symphony Orchestra (Beethoven Symphony no. 9 with Sir Andrew Davis).
Invited to the Georg Solti Accademia in Italy in 2015, Irvin was able to continue intensive study of the bel canto tradition with notable artists Barbara Frittoli, Leo Nucci, Silvana Bartoli, and Sir Richard Bonynge.
Irvin attended Boston University’s Opera Institute, where he was awarded the Esther B. and Albert S. Kahn Career Entry Award. His credits include Chevalier de la Force (Dialogues of the Carmelites), Paolino (Il Matrimonio Segreto), Roméo (Roméo et Juliette) and Nick Papadakis (The Postman Always Rings Twice). A Boston Lyric Opera Emerging Artist, Irvin made his debut as Malcolm in their production of Verdi’s Macbeth. Also appearing in Opera America’s New Works Sampler, Irvin performed as Greenhorne in selections from Jake Heggie’s Moby Dick with Maestro Heggie at the piano.
In 2011, Irvin was an apprentice with the Santa Fe Opera where he covered roles in Puccini’s La Bohème and Menotti’s The Last Savage. He was given the great opportunity to sing as The Detective and The Bailiff in a workshop presentation of Theodore Morrison’s newly commissioned work, Oscar. This intimate performance featured selections from the opera with countertenor David Daniels in the title role. Irvin was awarded the Agnes M. Canning Memorial Award for Singers.
A Bonfils-Stanton Studio Artist at Central City Opera in 2010, Irvin study covered B.F. Pinkerton and performed scenes from Bizet’s Carmen, Hoiby’s A Month in the Country, Verdi’s La Traviata and Rigoletto. At the conclusion of the program, he received the prestigious David R. Gloss Award for Excellence.
Irvin recently represented Lyric Opera at the Stella Maris International Voice Competition (2014). He has earned the 2012 Encouragement Award from the Gerda Lissner Foundation and the Irvin Moriarty Encouragement Award for the 2012 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions (New England Region). A finalist for the 2012 Sara Tucker study grant, other accomplishments include being a 2012 Liederkranz Foundation I.V.C. finalist, a 2011 MONCA Finalist (New England Region) and earning 2nd place in the 6th annual Peter Elvins Vocal Competition.