Lauded by The Miami Herald for a “a voice of seductive beauty” and The Boston Globe as an “unfailingly versatile” performer, baritone David McFerrin has won critical acclaim in opera, concert, recital, small ensemble and Pops repertoire. He is a mainstay of the Boston classical vocal scene and has performed on many other leading stages in the US and Europe.
David’s recent performances have included the role of Thoas in Gluck’s Iphigénie en Tauride with Boston Baroque; Monteverdi’s dramatic scena Il Combattimento di Tancredi e Clorinda with American Bach Soloists; Bach’s St. John Passion and Christmas Oratorio with Emmanuel Music; concerts at the preeminent renaissance vocal festival Laus Polyphoniae in Antwerp, Belgium with the ensemble Blue Heron; and a turn as the Devil in Stravinsky’s A Soldier’s Tale at the Aston Magna Music Festival.
Highlighting the 2023-24 season, David is a featured soloist with the Handel and Hadyn Society, and he debuts as Jesus in Bach’s St. Matthew Passion and at Bachfest Leipzig with Emmanuel Music. On the opera stage he sings the role of Masetto in Don Giovanni with Boston Baroque and completes Enigma Chamber Opera’s trilogy of Britten’s church parable operas with The Burning Fiery Furnace. He also sings various programs in Boston and around the country with Blue Heron (winners of the 2018 Gramophone award for Best Early Music Album).
A former Emerging Artist with Boston Lyric Opera, David has sung over 15 roles with the company, including Pallante in Handel’s Agrippina, Junius in Britten’s Rape of Lucretia, and The Officer in Glass’ two-character drama In the Penal Colony — a portrayal the Wall Street Journal hailed as “disturbingly eloquent.” David’s other opera credits include Florida Grand Opera, Santa Fe Opera, Seattle Opera, Boston Early Music Festival, Odyssey Opera, and the Rossini Festival in Wildbad, Germany. Last season he covered the role of the Count in Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro with conductor Raphael Pichon and the Handel and Haydn Society. Additional roles include Aeneas in Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas, Guglielmo in Mozart’s Così fan tutte, Taddeo in Rossini’s L’Italiana in Algeri, and the title role in Britten’s Noye’s Fludde.
David’s concert engagements have ranged from Monteverdi’s Vespers of 1610 at St. Mark’s Basilica in Venice to various performances with the Boston Pops. He made his solo debut in Carnegie Hall with Gustavo Dudamel and the Israel Philharmonic, and he has sung with the Cleveland Orchestra, North Carolina Symphony, and San Antonio Symphony. David has received notable acclaim for performances of baroque repertoire with ensembles including the Handel and Haydn Society, American Bach Soloists, Apollo’s Fire, TENET, 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. His oratorio/concert repertoire includes all the major works and many cantatas of Bach; Beethoven’s 9th Symphony, Missa Solemnis, and Choral Fantasy; Handel’s Messiah, Judas Maccabeus, 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 SongFest. He has also spent four summer residencies at the Marlboro Music Festival in Vermont. Recently David gave debut performances of Mahler’s Songs of a Wayfarer at Harvard University. 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.
Like all musicians, David had many engagements cancelled or postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, including performances of Achilla in Giulio Cesare and Peter in Hansel and Gretel with Boston Lyric Opera. During this period, he was able to record virtual performances with a number of Boston-area ensembles, including Blue Heron, the Boston Pops, the Handel and Haydn Society, and the role of Lucifero in Emmanuel Music’s filmed production of Handel’s La Resurrezione.
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, joined a children’s choir, and spent his teenage years fitting orchestra, musical theatre and a cappella 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. His awards include 2nd place in the Metropolitan Opera National Council New England Region, runner-up in the Oratorio Society of New York's Lyndon Woodside Competition (the premier solo concert competition in the US), and a Richard F. Gold Career Grant from the Shoshana Foundation, given annually to promising young American singers. David now lives in Natick, Massachusetts with his wife Erin (an architectural historian and preservation planner), their five-year-old daughter Fiona, and black lab Holly.