Bio

Find the newest biography of Stephen Tharp, tenor here.

Tenor Steven Tharp has gained worldwide recognition and acclaim as a singer of remarkable versatility in repertoire spanning many centuries and styles. Opera News has praised the "bel canto flexibility and sweetness" of his voice, while The New Yorker  has described his voice as “strong, free, and forward in tone, verbally sure, lyrical in utterance.” 

Mr. Tharp’s operatic credits include performances with the Metropolitan Opera, New York City Opera, Netherlands Opera, the Badisches Staatsoper in Karlsruhe, the Teatro Massimo (Palermo), the Netherlands Reisopera, Glimmerglass Opera, Opera Pacific, the Minnesota Opera, Skylight Opera, Bel Canto at Caramoor, and the companies of Dallas, Houston, Seattle, Memphis, Omaha, Salt Lake City and Miami. In addition to the major tenor parts of Mozart and Handel, his more than 50 operatic roles include Jaquino in Fidelio, Nemorino in L’Elisir d’Amore, David in Die Meistersinger, and Lysander in Midsummer Night’s Dream. Mr. Tharp has a special interest in lesser-known 18th and early 19th Century opera, and has taken roles in Gluck’s Les Pèlerins de la Mecque, Haydn’s L’Isola Disabitata and L’Infedeltà Delusa, Scarlatti’s Gli Equivoci nel Sembiante, Conti’s Don Quixote in Sierra Morena, Gassmann’s L’Opera Seria, Grétry’s Zémire et Azor, and Schubert’s Alfonso und Estrella. 

Mr. Tharp has appeared in concert with orchestras worldwide, including the New York Philharmonic, Chicago Symphony, Philadelphia Orchestra, Royal Philharmonic, Cleveland Orchestra, Cincinnati Symphony, Houston Symphony, Colorado Symphony, Vancouver Symphony, Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional (Mexico), St. Louis Symphony, Chicago Music of the Baroque, and American Bach Soloists, under conductors including Sir Georg Solti, Daniel Barenboim, Kurt Masur, Charles Dutoit, Valery Gergiev, Christoph von Dohnanyi, Stanislaw Skrowaczewski, James Conlon, Marin Alsop, JoAnn Falletta, Alan Gilbert and Jane Glover.  His concert repertoire extends from Monteverdi to John Musto, includes the masterpieces of the 18th and 19th century — the Bach passions, the masses of Mozart, Beethoven, and Schubert, the oratorios of Handel, Haydn, and Mendelssohn — and extends to Elgar’s Dream of Gerontius, Schönberg’s Gurre-Lieder, the Verdi Requiem, and Britten’s War Requiem.

Recitals have also been a constant and important feature of Mr. Tharp’s career. At the New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art he collaborated with Will Crutchfield in two series, The World of Schubert’s Songs and The World of Heinrich Heine. He has also appeared in recital at the 92nd Street Y, Carnegie’s Weill Hall, the Bard Festival, Caramoor, Newport Chamber Music Festival, Carmel Bach Festival, the New York Festival of Song and venues in Europe, Japan and South America. His interest in musical theater and cabaret led to his appearance in 3 Tenors in Search of an Act, which won the Back Stage Bistro Award for Outstanding Musical Comedy after a sold-out run at Don’t Tell Mama in New York.  

Mr. Tharp has recorded for Decca, Delos, Newport, Albany and Naxos. His world-premiere recording of the complete songs of Edward MacDowell, accompanied by the late James Barbagallo, earned a Grammy Award nomination, and his recording of Frank Martin’s Le Vin Herbé was an “Editor’s Choice” in Opera News. Albany released his recording of Vaughan-Williams’ On Wenlock Edge with the Ciompi Quartet, and he can be heard on a Delos release of Handel’s Messiah with the American Bach Soloists. Mr. Tharp’s live recording of Schubert’s Schwanengesang, with the Dutch pianist Jan-Paul Grijpink, was released in 2011, and a CD of Fauré songs with Rachelle Jonck accompanying is forthcoming. In recent seasons, Mr. Tharp has added stage direction to his accomplishments, with productions for the Manhattan School of Music’s Handel Project (Alcina, Ariodante) and for Caramoor (Così fan Tutte, H.M.S. Pinafore, Pauline Viardot’s Cindrillon, and Donizetti’s Linda di Chamounix).

January 2013