Meet the Student: Q&A with Bass-Baritone Robert Frazier

Bass-baritone Robert Frazier, from Star Lake, New York, stars as the Parson, Badger, and Harašta in Curtis Opera Theatre’s innovative new production of Leoš Janáček’s operatic masterpiece, The Cunning Little Vixen, May 3 and 5 at the Perelman Theater, Kimmel Center. He entered the Curtis Institute of Music in 2023 and studies in the opera program with Mark Schnaible. All students at Curtis receive merit-based, full-tuition scholarships, and Mr. Frazier is the Amaranth Foundation Fellow.

 


 

What sparked your interest in pursuing a career as an opera singer?
Growing up, I focused more on playing instruments than singing. I was in concert band, orchestra, handbell choir, jazz band, as well as choir. I even spent time playing guitar and harmonizing with my sister on our local radio station with our original songs. While pursuing college, my plan was to audition on trumpet and get a musical education degree. At that time, I didn’t own my own instrument, and getting a quality one was out of my budget. One of my teachers recommended I audition for voice instead. After being accepted, I went on to join a barbershop quartet. We got the chance to sing on the millennial stage at the Kennedy Center. My friend introduced me to opera by taking me to see a Met Opera On Demand streaming of Samson and Delilah. As cliché as it might sound, after hearing Roberto Alagna and Elīna Garanča sing the title roles, I was sold. I transferred to SUNY Purchase, where I began my vocal training. From that moment on, I knew I needed to pursue a career in opera.

Tell us about the characters you play in The Cunning Little Vixen. What have you enjoyed the most about preparing these roles and learning this opera?
I will be playing the roles of Parson/Badger and Harašta. I begin with the badger, who is very grumpy and upset when someone comes to visit him. My character then shifts in the following scene. I become Parson, who is a reverend. Growing up, my father was a pastor, so I sourced my inspiration from him while portraying this role. On my other nights, I’ll be singing Harašta. He has some of my favorite tunes in the show. He has quite the rustic nature, which can be an enjoyable change from playing the more noble characters. One of the things I most enjoy about this opera is the continuity of motifs shared throughout different characters in the orchestra and vocal lines.

What have been some of the most surprising, challenging, or memorable moments in your time here at Curtis so far?
It’s exciting that we often get the opportunity to audition for European houses. Our weekly schedule is surprisingly abundant, with coaching sessions catered to nurture a variety of styles and languages. Some of the most memorable moments I’ve experienced at Curtis have been shared with friends and mentors.

Visit Robert Frazier’s official website HERE.

Photo Credits: 1.) Nichole MCH Photography. 2 & 3.) Courtesy of the artist.

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