A Little About Bill
With more than forty operatic roles to his credit, baritone Bill McMurray has been described as “a baritone with warm, rich tones and superb stage presence” by the Durham Herald Sun. Such roles include “Figaro” in Il Baribiere di Sivigila, “Count Almaviva” in Le nozze di Figaro and “Escamillo” in Carmen. Walter Marini of the New Buffalo Times is quoted as saying his portrayal of “Marcello” in Puccini’s La Boheme as “a powerful actor who brings great elegance to the role. His singing is as fine as anything being heard in major opera houses today.”
Recent engagements include his debut with Opera San Antonio as “Marullo” in Rigoletto, “Ibn Hakia” in Tchaikovsky’s opera Iolanta, “The Father” in the Midwest premiere of Stefan Weisman’s opera The Scarlet Ibis, both with Chicago Opera Theater, and as the Narrator in The Snowman with the Illinois Philharmonic Orchestra.
For the 22-23 season Bill sings the bass solos in Handel’s Messiah with both the Illinois Philharmonic Orchestra and the Harris Theater for Music and Dance, “Raphael/Adam” in Haydn’s Creation, as well as the baritone soloist in a Porgy and Bess concert with IPO, the Mozart Requiem with the Chicago Bar Association and Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony in his debut with South Bend Symphony Orchestra. He will also be returning to Chicago Opera Theater to perform the role of “Mr Gedge, the Vicar” in their production of Albert Herring.
Bill has also performed the roles of “King Overall” in the Chicago premiere of Der Kaiser von Atlantis at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion, “Germont” in Verdi’s La Traviata with Harbor County Opera, “Mr Greatorex” with Chicago Opera Theater in the world premiere opera Elizabeth Cree, a return to Summer Garden Opera in Virginia to reprise his signature role of “Figaro” in Il Barbiere di Siviglia and the lead role of “Prospero” in Lee Hoiby’s The Tempest. He has sung with noted companies like Florida Grand Opera, Opera North, Knoxville Opera, Skylight Music Theater,The Opera Company of NC, Mobile Opera, Opera Carolina, Central City Opera and Opera on the James. Mr. McMurray has also performed several times with the Lyric Opera of Chicago’s “Opera in the Neighborhoods” and “Meet the Artist” outreach programs.
Equally successful on the concert stage, Bill has sung solos in sacred works such as Handel’s Messiah, which he recorded on CD, Mozart’s Mass in C Minor and Mendelssohn’s Elijah. He has also been the featured soloist in Vaughan Williams’ Five Mystical Songs, Aaron Copland’s Old American Songs and the Faure Requiem. He was the baritone soloist in Michael Tippett’s oratorio A Child of Our Time, conducted by Barbara Schubert with the University of Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Other solo orchestral appearances include the New Philharmonic Orchestra, Elmhurst Orchestra and Choral Society, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Skokie Valley Symphony, Elgin Symphony, Chicago Civic Orchestra and Waukegan Symphony. Mr McMurray was also a featured soloist in Florence and Rome, Italy with the combined choirs of St John Cantius Church and St Joseph College as a result of an invitation to sing at the Vatican. In the summer of 2017 at the Ravinia Festival he was the bass soloist in the final movement of Haydn’s Creation, conducted by former Metropolitan Opera Music Director, James Levine. He is a previous first place winner of the National Association Teachers of Singing competition and was one of eight singers selected to the Winners Circle of The Classical Music Vocal Competition, which was held in Chicago. In 2021 Bill received a Grammy award as a member of the Chicago Symphony Chorus for their work on the recording of Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 13, Babi Yar.
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