Baritone Zachary Gordin is redefining what it means to be an opera star in the 21st Century; praised for his “arresting musical insights” and a voice that is “commanding and intense without ever descending into coarseness” (The Seattle Times), he has an active performance schedule while also maintaining his passion for fitness, community engagement, artistic consulting, and mentoring. His debut disc: Amour sans ailes - Songs of Reynaldo Hahn on the MSR Classics label was named Best Lieder Recording of 2017 by Voix des Arts. Recent engagements have included Silvio in Pagliacci and Brother in Seven Deadly Sins with Festival Opera, Escamillo in Carmen at The Broad Stage in Santa Monica, a recital at the Green Music Center in Sonoma, Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 14 and a Master Class for the vocal program at CSU Chico, Mozart’s Requiem with the Camellia Symphony, and “Mozart at the Opera” with the YOSA Philharmonic in San Antonio. Gordin reprised his performance of Joseph De Rocher in Jake Heggie’s Dead Man Walking at Shreveport Opera, a role that won him critical acclaim when he premiered it at Dayton Opera in 2015. Reviewers praised his “vocal power” as well as his demonstrative portrayal of the “enigmatic character” (The Oakwood Register). Other recent appearances include a recital of French music for Music in the Mountains, Handel’s Messiah with Bakersfield Master Chorale and Orchestra, Mahler’s Songs of a Wayfarer with the SSU Symphony Orchestra, a recital with Fremont Symphony, Orff's Carmina Burana with the Young People’s Symphony Orchestra and for Chora Nova’s 10th Anniversary Gala, covering the role of Manfred in the World Premiere of Jake Heggie’s Out of Darkness for Music of Remembrance in Seattle and San Francisco, and “A Taste of Opera” for Bear Valley Music Festival.
In previous seasons his performance highlights include a guest artist residency to launch Visalia Opera Company: giving a master class to young artists and performing Count Almaviva in Le Nozze di Figaro, Escamillo in Carmen with Diablo Symphony and San Francisco Lyric Opera, Silvio in Pagliacci with Sacramento Opera, Aeneas in Dido and Aeneas with West Bay Opera, Enrico in Lucia di Lammermoor with North Bay Opera, and Germont in La traviata with Center Stage Opera and West Bay Opera. A regular on the concert and recital stage, celebrated for his “depth and passion” (Piedmont Post), Gordin’s recent engagements include performances with San Francisco Symphony, Oakland Symphony, Sacramento Philharmonic, YOSA Philharmonic, Bay Area Rainbow Symphony, Olympic Music Festival, Bakersfield Symphony, and many others. Some of his notable concert repertoire includes Mahler’s Kindertotenlieder and Songs of a Wayfarer, Mozart’s Coronation Mass and Requiem, Bach’s Cantata #82: Ich habe genug, and Handel’s Messiah. However, Orff’s Carmina Burana has become a signature piece for Gordin, who has performed the work numerous times to great praise. Maestro Michael Morgan of the Oakland Symphony wrote that Gordin is “the ideal baritone for Carmina Burana… the best singing of the high, sensual music that I have ever heard. This is as good a rendering of those solos as one is ever likely to encounter.”
Gordin’s celebrated vocal technique has won him numerous awards, including the Ibla Grand Prize Baroque Music Competition, Bellini International Voice Competition, Pacific Musical Society Competition, and the East Bay Opera League Competition, among others. He was a finalist for the Metropolitan Opera National Council, Pacific Region. During his early childhood, he was inspired by his Great-Grandfather, an organist, and began training as a pianist at a young age. His commitment to education makes him an effective, results-driven voice trainer. He serves as General Director of Festival Opera, is on the voice faculty of Sonoma State University, operates a private vocal studio in the San Francisco Bay Area, serves as a judge for regional and national voice competitions, and frequently gives master classes at some of the country’s most renowned opera companies and schools. Gordin is also widely recognized as a frequent presence on Barihunks, a site dedicated to physically fit and vocally-gifted operatic baritones from around the globe.
Festival Opera’s mission is to educate, enlighten and entertain; to preserve and advance the operatic art form, to make opera accessible to a diverse population, and to assist young artists, directors, designers and technicians in their pursuit of careers in the operatic field.
Gordin was named Artistic Director of Festival Opera in 2018, after helping reshape the company in the role of Artistic Advisor earlier that year. The following season San Francisco Classical Voice wrote: “A gripping production of Carlisle Floyd’s tragedy Susannah this past weekend made it clear that Festival Opera has returned to full production in high gear. After several years of reduced offerings, the Walnut Creek-based company, with newly appointed artistic director Zachary Gordin, brought this lush American opera to the Lesher Center with savvy stage direction and first-class music from singers and orchestra.”
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