Richard Stilwell


Born: May 6, 1942
Richard Stilwell is a leading American operatic baritone. He is known for a light, flexible voice with even tone production and a dramatic and intense stage presence.

His primary teachers were Frank St. Leger and Daniel Ferro. During his period of military service he was a member of the United States Army Chorus. His operatic debut, in April 1970 at the New York City Opera, was in a role with which he became closely identified: that of Pelléas in Debussy's opera Pelléas et Mélisande. He went on to record the role in a classic EMI recording with Herbert von Karajan opposite his fellow American Frederica von Stade.

His repertory tends away from the heavier Germanic parts. His roles include the Marquis de la Force in Poulenc's Dialogues des Carmelites, both Mr. Redburn and the title role in Britten's Billy Budd, Captain Balstrode in the same composer's Peter Grimes, De Siriex in Mascagni's Fedora, Dandini in Rossini's La Cenerentola, Otho in Monteverdi's L'incoronazione di Poppea, Olivier in Strauss' Capriccio, Count Almaviva in The Marriage of Figaro, Papageno in The Magic Flute, the Music Master in Strauss' Ariadne auf Naxos, Ford in Verdi's Falstaff, and the title roles in Tchaikovsky's Yevgeny Onegin, Donizetti's Don Pasquale, Mozart's Don Giovanni, Rossini's Il Barbiere di Siviglia, and Monteverdi's Il ritorno d'Ulisse in patria. He sang in the first American stage production of Il ritorno in January 1974 at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C., a part he had sung the previous summer at the Glyndebourne Opera Festival in England.

He premiered the parts of Konstantin in Pasatieri's The Seagull in 1974 at the Houston Opera, the leading male role in Pasatieri's Inez de Castro in Baltimore in 1976, and also sang in the world premieres of Ingvar Lidholm's A Dream Play with the Santa Fe Opera and Dominick Argento's The Aspern Papers with the Dallas Opera.

In addition to theaters already mentioned, he has appeared with the Metropolitan Opera (where his debut was as Guglielmo in Così fan tutte in 1975), the Seattle Opera, the Lyric Opera of Chicago, the Los Angeles Opera, La Scala in Milan, the Royal Opera House (Covent Garden) in London, the Opéra National de Paris, the Deutsche Oper Berlin, and the San Francisco Opera.

Besides the acclaimed Pelléas recording, his disc credits include Le nozze di Figaro, Il ritorno d'Ulisse, Handel's Messiah, Brahms' Requiem, and Götz Friedrich's video production of Falstaff with Sir Georg Solti conducting.