Applied Voice for Primaries and Secondaries
Opera Workshop Stage Director
Intro to Opera
West Virginia University, DMA
University of North Carolina, MM
SUNY at Fredonia, BM
Robert Strauss has been praised for his sensitive, intelligent interpretation, his attention to musical and textual nuance, and his versatile tenor voice. Since returning to Western New York in 2004, Strauss has become increasingly in demand as a singer, as a teacher, and as a stage director. An avid recitalist, he has presented the programs Sublime and Ridiculous, Chamber Music of Benjamin Britten, Seasons in Song and The Recital That Dare Not Speak Its Name (a program featuring the music of homosexual composers) with Eastman School of Music faculty member Benton Hess as pianist. The recital, Inner Voices, featuring music for tenor and mezzo-soprano voices, premiered in North Carolina in 2007. More recently, the revues Finding A Way Back and Ready at Last, including music from the contemporary musical theatre repertoire, was performed at Nazareth College, also featuring area singers Chandra Downs and Matthew Tappon with Don Kot, director of the music theatre program at Nazareth at the piano.
On the stage, he has sung with Rochester’s professional opera company, Mercury Opera, as Pedrillo in Die Entfuhrung Aus Dem Serail, and roles in The Tender Land (Mr. Splinters), La traviata (Gastone), Tosca (Spoletta), and most recently as Dr. Caius in Falstaff. Other favorite roles include Peter Quint (The Turn of the Screw), Jack Point (The Yeoman of the Guard), Archibald Craven (The Secret Garden), Simeon/Butler in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat with Rochester Children’s Theatre, for which he learned to play accordion, and Federico in L’amico Fritz, with the Centro Studi Italiani Opera Festival in Urbania, Italy. His concert performances have included the tenor solos in Messiah, The Creation, St. Nicolas (Britten), Christmas Oratorio (Saint-Saëns), The Christmas Story (Schütz), and the Requiems of Pinkham and Mozart. Strauss has also appeared as one of the tenor soloists in Rossini’s Messa di Gloria in the composer’s hometown of Pesaro. He has also toured Italy performing opera scenes and arias from the standard Italian operatic literature with the Centro Studi Italiani Opera Festival.
As comfortable behind the production table as he is in front of it, he has directed full productions of Purcell’s Dido And Aeneas, Gilbert & Sullivan’s Trial By Jury, the New York State premiere of Benton Hess’ Felice, as well as The Secret Marriage, The Turn of the Screw, and Cosi fan tutte, and a retelling of Gilbert & Sullivan’s masterpiece for all-male cast U.S.S. Metaphor. He served as assistant stage director for Mercury’s production of Il barbiere di Siviglia, directed the inaugural production of Amahl and the Night Visitors for Mercury, and has stage directed productions of Seussical the Musical, and Godspell!
Dr. Strauss also maintains an active profile as a voice teacher and pedagogue. Having studied vocal pedagogy with the late William McIver, he has served on the voice faculties of Guilford College (NC), Radford University (VA), and Washington & Jefferson College (PA). He is a member of the National Association of Teachers of Singing, and served on the board of directors for the Virginia State Chapter. He holds degrees from SUNY Fredonia, UNC-Greensboro, and earned his Doctor of Musical Arts in Performance and Literature from West Virginia University. He is a member of the National Association of Teachers of Singing and the College Music Society, as well as of Pi Kappa Lambda, the national music honor fraternity. Dr. Strauss currently serves on the voice faculty of Nazareth College and the Fredonia School of Music and conducts the Rochester Gay Men’s Chorus.