Canadian baritone Iain MacNeil is a member of the Frankfurt Opera Studio and a recent semi-finalist of the Metropolitan Opera National Council auditions. In June 2017, he debuted the title role in Don Giovanni with Saskatoon Opera, demonstrating a “blend of subtle machismo and an almost palpable self-assuredness” (The Star Phoenix). MacNeil was hailed as “a master” by The Calgary Herald in the role of Tarquinius in The Rape of Lucretia with the Banff Centre in 2016: “His is a voice so sure of itself you can trust it do exactly what it is supposed to do”. His “virile and smooth baritone” was praised in his performance of Canadian composer John Greer’s arrangement of the Songs of Travel for piano quintet for its “uncommon beauty of tone and heartfelt expression” (Musical Toronto).
With the Canadian Opera Company Ensemble Studio, he performed the title role in The Marriage of Figaro with “clear and piercing tone” (Schmopera) in 2016, following a “remarkable … totally convincing” (La Scena Musicale) Doctor Bartolo in the previous season’s The Barber of Seville. MacNeil was a member of the Canadian Opera Company Ensemble Studio from 2014 to 2016 after studying for a year at the University of Toronto Opera School.
Previously, he participated in the Young Singers Project with the Salzburg Festival, after graduating from Dalhousie University with a Bachelor of Music degree. In his 2012 performance of the title role in Sweeney Todd, critics said he “…doesn’t miss a beat, and that, as they say, is performance” (The Chronicle Herald), and “his voice and diction were excellent and he easily portrayed the conflicted anti-hero” (Opera Canada).
Other opera performance highlights include: Figaro (The Marriage of Figaro) with Vancouver Opera; Le Dancaïre (Carmen), Marchese d’Obigny (La traviata), Fiorello (The Barber of Seville), and the Imperial Commissioner (Madama Butterfly) with the Canadian Opera Company; Guglielmo (Così fan tutte) and Figaro (Le nozze di Figaro) with the Centre for Opera Studies in Italy; Sid (Albert Herring) with the U of T Opera School; and Tancredi (Il Combattimento di Tancredi e Clorinda) at the International Barrocktage Stift Melk in Austria. In May of 2014, MacNeil represented the Canadian Opera Company in the Stella Maris International Voice Competition.
MacNeil has been recognized with numerous scholarships and prizes. Recently he was a Sylva Gelber Foundation Award; a winner in the Ottawa Choral Society New Discoveries Competition; the male prize recipient of the Emmerich Smola Förderpreis in Landau, Germany; and a winner of the Canadian Opera Company Centre Stage Competition.
MacNeil joined the Frankfurt Opera Studio in September of the 2017/2018 season.