Chicago native Baritone Carlton Ford is a gifted emerging artist who is rapidly establishing himself as singer of consequence. Described as “A powerful baritone” and singing with “…a beautiful baritone voice…and a joy to listen to…” this is an artist to be watched. A graduate of The Juilliard School and Rice University, the young Mr. Ford has performed with prominent organizations in the US and abroad. As a guest artist, he has performed with Houston Grand Opera, Le Théâtre du Châtelet, and the New York Philharmonic, and as a member of several notable young artist programs, he has performed on the mainstages of Opera Theatre of St. Louis, Chautauqua Music Festival, Crested Butte Music Festival, the Aspen Music Festival, and most recently in the 2013-2014 Season, Florida Grand Opera. Next in the 2014-2015 Season Mr. Ford looks forward to projects with Glimmerglass Music Festival where he sings Harlekin, the New York Philharmonic (Biennial) in a return engagement to sing HK Gruber’s Gloria – A Pig’s Tale, the Deutsche Oper Berlin for numerous assignments as a resident artist, and performances for the BBC Proms and the Royal Opera House, Muscat.Read more...
2013-2014 comprised significant role debuts and repertoire additions for Mr. Ford. He performed the Valet in Andy Vores’ No Exit for Florida Grand Opera for which he garnered extremely high praise for his carefully crafted portrayal of the character and his extraordinary singing. He performed General Kan for FGO in David Chesky’s The Mice War - a work originally premiered by the Krakow Opera in Poland, with subsequent performances by the National Symphony Orchestra in Taiwan and in New York City at the Bargemusic Chamber Festival - and finally for FGO, he covered Athanaël (Thaïs) a highly demanding role which he performed in the company’s theater dress rehearsal for students and guests of the company. Also in the season, Mr. Ford made his debut with the Southwest Florida Symphony and a concert of musicals for which he also received very high marks.
Mr. Ford’s 2012/13 season saw debuts with the New York Philharmonic and Crested Butte Music Festival singing Kaiser Overall in Victor Ullmann’s Der Kaiser von Atlantis and Fiorello in Il Barbiere di Siviglia. Mr. Ford also made his Le Théâtre du Châtelet in the season where he received highest praise for his portrayal of Dewain in John Adams’ I Was Looking At The Ceiling And Then I Saw The Sky. In the preceding 2011/12 season, Carlton made his Houston Grand Opera debut as Fiorello in Il barbiere di Siviglia and created the role of John in the world premiere of the company’s New Arrivals.
Notable highlights in preceding seasons included his debut on PBS’ ‘Great Performances’ series which marked his Carnegie Hall debut in the 2008 opening night gala titled A Celebration of Leonard Bernstein. He performed, alongside Yo-Yo Ma, Dawn Upshaw and Thomas Hampson and under the baton of Michael Tilson Thomas. The concert was filmed for PBS and released on DVD. Carlton has been seen and heard on the Emmy nominated Live from Lincoln Center’s broadcast of Carousel with the New York Philharmonic and the Oscar nominated HBO series Masterclass with Plácido Domingo.
Roles in previous seasons include Marcello (La bohème) under George Manahan and Fiorello (Il barbiere di Siviglia) under Josep Caballé-Domenech at the Aspen Music Festival. While studying at Rice University and The Juilliard School, Carlton sang Gugliemo in Così fan tutte, Demetrius in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Marcello in La bohème, and Ottone in L’incoronazione di Poppea. Other operatic credits include Voltore in Musto’s Volpone as a guest artist at Rice University and Mercutio in Roméo et Juliette with the Southern Illinois Festival. During three seasons as a Gerdine Young Artist at the Opera Theatre of St. Louis, he sang Cappadocian in Salome, Uncle Yakuside in Madama Butterfly and covered Schaunard in La bohème, Lisargo in Una cosa rara, Yashvin in Anna Karenina and Pish-Tush in The Mikado. As a member of the Chautauqua Voice Program he appeared as Dancaïro in Carmen and Hermann in Les contes d’Hoffmann at the Chautauqua Institute
On the concert stage, Mr. Ford has been heard as soloist in the Brahms and Fauré Requiems as well as Dubois’ Seven Last Words of Christ and Handel’s Messiah. He has appeared in recital with Brian Zeger, Mikael Eliasen, and has performed in a number of recitals with Steven Blier, Michael Barrett and the New York Festival of Song. Carlton has been a featured soloist with the Da Camera Ensemble and the Bach Society of Houston and sang Cantatas 234 and 20 with the Bach Society of Houston which were recorded for National Public Radio Houston.Carlton was a recipient of the 2014 Opera Foundation Award, finalist in Houston Grand Opera’s 2012 Eleanor McCollum Competition, and a recipient of both First Place and Grand Prize in Chicago’s 2011 Bel Canto Foundation Competition.