Rod Gilfry

Associate Professor

  • Program:
    Vocal Arts and Opera
  • Division:
    Classical Performance and Composition


Rod Gilfry, two-time Grammy nominee, singer and actor, has performed in all the world’s music capitals. His most recent Grammy nomination was for his 2008 performance in the title role of Messiaen’s monumental opera Saint François d’Assise in Amsterdam. Best-known as an opera singer, he is also an acclaimed recitalist and concert artist, and appears frequently in musical theater classics. His discography of 28 audio and video recordings includes the DVD and CD of his one-man show My Heart is So Full of You. His radio program, Opera Notes on Air, aired on K-Mozart 105.1 FM in Los Angeles for over three years.

With a 74-role repertoire, Gilfry sings music from the Baroque to that composed expressly for him. He was brought to worldwide attention when he created the role of Stanley Kowalski in the 1998 premiere of André Previn’s A Streetcar Named Desire at the San Francisco Opera with Renée Fleming. Other world premieres: Nicholas, Deborah Drattel’s Nicholas and Alexandra (Los Angeles, opposite Placido Domingo); Nathan, Nicholas Maw’s Sophie’s Choice (London, Washington D.C.); Jack London, Libby Larsen’s Every Man Jack (Sonoma, CA); Edward Gaines, Richard Danielpour’s Margaret Garner (Detroit, Cincinnati, Philadelphia). He created his sixth world premiere in Zürich in October 2010 in the title role of Gesualdo, by Marc-André Dalbavie. Other future projects include performances as Lyndon Baines Johnson in August 4th, 1964 by Steven Stucky in Dallas and at Carnegie Hall with the Dallas Symphony, and the title role in Sondheim’s Sweeney Todd at the Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris.

Gilfry devoted his entire 2009/10 Season to the music of Rodgers and Hammerstein. He appeared as Emile de Becque in the U.S. National Tour of the Lincoln Center production of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s South Pacific, a production that garnered seven Tony Awards in 2008. In December 2009, he also appeared as Captain von Trapp in the Théâtre du Châtelet production of The Sound of Music in Paris, with his daughter Carin Gilfry playing the part of his daughter Liesl.

Other notable appearances include Doktor Faust in Busoni’s Doktor Faust (San Francisco Opera); Billy Budd in Britten’s Billy Budd (Geneva, Paris, London, Dallas, Los Angeles); Don Giovanni in Mozart’s Don Giovanni (Los Angeles, Zürich, Lyon, London, Parma, Dallas, Minneapolis, Amsterdam); Danilo in Lehar’s The Merry Widow (Los Angeles, Zürich, San Francisco, Dallas); and Robert Storch in Strauss’s Intermezzo, (Zurich).

Gilfry is an associate professor of vocal arts at the USC Thornton School of Music.