Praised by The Miami Herald for his “commanding stage presence and a voice of seductive beauty,” baritone David McFerrin has won critical acclaim in a wide variety of repertoire.
David is a mainstay of the Boston opera scene, and has sung on many other leading stages in the US and Europe. A former Emerging Artist with Boston Lyric Opera, he has performed numerous roles with the company, including King Mark in Martin’s The Love Potion, Pallante in Handel’s Agrippina, and the Officer in Glass’ gripping two-character drama In the Penal Colony — a portrayal the Wall Street Journal hailed as “disturbingly eloquent.” Last season he created the role of Dr. Ferguson in BLO’s world premiere of Julian Grant’s The Nefarious, Immoral but Highly Profitable Enterprise of Mr. Burke & Mr. Hare, and he will soon rejoin the company as Junius in Britten’s Rape of Lucretia. Additional roles this season include Aeneas in Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas with Boston’s Handel and Haydn Society, and debuts with Boston Early Music Festival as Neptune in Caccini’s Alcina and Odyssey Opera as Agamemnon in Offenbach’s La Belle Hélène. Past opera credits include Florida Grand Opera, Santa Fe Opera, Seattle Opera, and the Rossini Festival in Wildbad, Germany, in roles such as Guglielmo in Così fan tutte, Taddeo in L’Italiana in Algeri, and the title role in Britten’s Noye’s Fludde.
David’s solo concert engagements have ranged from Monteverdi’s Vespers of 1610 at St. Mark’s Basilica in Venice to Bernstein’s Broadway hits with the Boston Pops. He debuted in Carnegie Hall with Gustavo Dudamel and the Israel Philharmonic, and has performed with the Cleveland Orchestra, North Carolina Symphony, and San Antonio Symphony. Mr. McFerrin has received particular acclaim for his performances of baroque repertoire with ensembles including Handel and Haydn Society, the Bay Area’s American Bach Soloists, Cleveland’s Apollo’s Fire, New York’s TENET, Miami’s Seraphic Fire, and Arion Baroque Orchestra in Montreal. He has also appeared at the Tanglewood Festival, Carmel Bach Festival, and Casals Festival in Puerto Rico. In 2016 he was runner-up in the Oratorio Society of New York's 2016 Lyndon Woodside Solo Competition, the premier contest for this repertoire. This season’s solo concert highlights include Handel’s Messiah with Apollo’s Fire, Bach’s Easter Oratorio with Emmanuel Music, and Holiday Pops with the Boston Pops. Other repertoire includes Bach’s St. John Passion, B Minor Mass and Christmas Oratorio; Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis; Handel’s Joshua and Samson; Haydn’s Creation, Lord Nelson Mass, and Mass in Time of War; Vaughan Williams’ Dona Nobis Pacem and Five Mystical Songs; and the requiems of Brahms, Fauré and Duruflé.
An avid recitalist and chamber musician, David has performed at the Caramoor Festival, the Steans Institute at the Ravinia Festival, New York Festival of Song, Five Boroughs Music Festival, and completed four summer residencies at the Marlboro Music Festival in Vermont. Recently David co-curated and performed a program of songs from World War I, presented during this centenary period in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, and Washington DC. He is an artist member of Music for Food, a volunteer, musician-led chamber music initiative started in Boston to fight hunger in the community. He is also a member of the renaissance vocal ensemble Blue Heron, whose recent recording of 16th-century English polyphony won the 2018 Gramophone award for Best Early Music Album.
David’s childhood in western Massachusetts was full of music: his choral director mother took him to her rehearsals in a bassinet. He started violin lessons at age five, soon joined a children’s choir, and spent his teen-age years fitting orchestra, musical theatre and a capella group rehearsals around ultimate frisbee practices and outing club treks. A Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Carleton College in music and political economy, he earned graduate degrees at the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music and the Juilliard School. In 2008 he won 2nd place in the Metropolitan Opera National Council New England Region, and was awarded a Richard F. Gold Career Grant from the Shoshana Foundation, annually given to promising young American singers. He now lives in the Boston neighborhood of Roslindale with his wife Erin (a preservation planner with the Massachusetts Historical Commission,) their newborn daughter Fiona, and black lab Holly.