New York City native Mark Freiman has impressed audiences with his rich lyric bass, his engaging stage presence, and his creative stage direction. In 2020-21, despite the pandemic, he directed La Serva Padrona for Sarasota Opera (live and streaming); and The Tales of Hoffmann for Union Avenue Opera (St. Louis) in a circus tent for social distancing. In 2021-22, he returns to Sarasota Opera to direct The Daughter of the Regiment. He also directs Madama Butterfly and sings the Bonze for Winter Opera St. Louis, and directs Act 2 of La Bohème and sings Alcindoro for their Holiday Extravaganza. Reviewing his 2020 production of La Bohème for Sarasota Opera, Opera News noted “the busy and noisy Café Momus of Act II, in which director Freiman worked his miracles with the smallish stage of the Sarasota Opera House, which was filled to overflowing.”
A recipient of the prestigious Richard F. Gold Career Grant from the Shoshana Foundation, Mark Freiman sang the roles of William Jennings Bryan and the 4th Crony on the Sony Newport Classics CD of The Ballad of Baby Doe, and Simone in the Metropolitan Opera Guild’s Gianni Schicchi, released on video.
Career highlights include two U.S. tours of The Barber of Seville with the N.Y. City Opera National Company, first as Don Basilio, then as Dr. Bartolo. Bartolo was also his debut role with Opera Saskatchewan, Summer Opera Theatre (DC), Tri-Cities Opera (NY), the National Philharmonic (DC), and The Green Mountain Opera Festival (Vermont). Mr. Freiman’s credits also include the opera companies of Sarasota, Kansas City, Ft. Worth, Virginia, Nashville, Mobile, and Central City (Colorado), as well as N.Y. City Opera Education, The Orchestra of St. Luke’s, and the Caramoor Festival (NY). Other favorite roles include Leporello and the title character in Don Giovanni, Don Alfonso in Così fan Tutte, Don Magnifico in La Cenerentola, Dr. Dulcamara in L’Elisir d’Amore, Mephistopheles in Faust, Papageno in The Magic Flute, Colline in La Bohème, Sparafucile in Rigoletto, the Four Villains in The Tales of Hoffmann, and the title roles in Gianni Schicchi, Don Pasquale, and Falstaff.
Additional stage directing credits include The Magic Flute, The Italian Girl in Algiers, Norma, and La Bohème for Sarasota Opera, where he was also stage director for their Apprentice Artists program; Così fan Tutte for Mobile Opera (Alabama); Nabucco and La Bohème (winner of the 2020 St. Louis Theater Circle Award for Outstanding Production of an Opera) for Union Avenue Opera; The Marriage of Figaro for Nickel City Opera (Buffalo, NY); La Bohème, Tosca, Otello, Il Trovatore, Die Fledermaus, and The Pearl Fishers for Winter Opera St. Louis; Bolcom’s Lucrezia for Gateway Opera (St. Louis); and La Bohème for Muddy River Opera (Quincy, IL) and the Southern Illinois Music Festival.
Mr. Freiman’s versatility led him to musical theater as Don Attilio and Passarino in the German-language production of The Phantom of the Opera in Hamburg. At St. Louis’ Muny, the nation’s oldest and largest outdoor musical theater, he played J.H. Rogers in Titanic: The Musical. Gilbert and Sullivan credits include the Lord Chancellor in Iolanthe and the title role in The Mikado with the Colorado Symphony.
Appearing in concert, Mr. Freiman was the bass soloist in Weill’s The Flight of Lindbergh for the St. Louis Symphony’s 2017-18 season-opening concert led by David Robertson. He has sung numerous other works with the St. Louis Symphony and MidAmerica Productions (Carnegie Hall); the Mozart Requiem with the National Chorale (Avery Fisher Hall); Verdi’s Requiem with the Orquesta Filarmonica de Lima (Peru); and Handel’s Messiah with Chorale Delaware and the Gulf Coast Symphony (Florida).
A child soloist for three seasons with the Metropolitan Opera, Mark Freiman sang a solo in the very first Live From the Met telecast, La Bohème with Luciano Pavarotti, available on DVD. He trained at New York’s Amato Opera and made his professional adult debut singing the title role in The Marriage of Figaro at Virginia’s Ash Lawn Opera.
Select Singing Reviews
THE MARRIAGE OF FIGARO
“Mark Freiman was a Figaro strong in every sense: a solid singer, a capable actor and a genuinely funny comedian.”
The New York Times
“As Figaro, bass Mark Freiman gave us a stellar performance. He is a true lyric bass, with an exceptionally even production throughout his range, and a clarity of enunciation which allows him considerable flexibility of expression, particularly in his recitatives.”
The Observer (Charlottesville, VA)
“Tops among the singing actors is Mark Freiman as the wily and jealous Figaro. Freiman is a robust bass who fills his role comfortably, reveling in ploys and triumphs, seething in jealousies.”
The Modesto Bee (CA)
“Freiman has the ability to be physically interesting and emotionally expressive every moment he is on stage. His characterization of Leporello is delightful and engaging.”
The Daily Progress (Charlottesville, VA)
“The singers, for most of whom this experience is a tour de force (they must sing in all three productions), gave proof of excellent preparation. Mark Freiman was equally convincing as Leporello and Don Pasquale.”
“Mark Freiman sang and acted well as Masetto, and his physical slightness made sense of the manhandling that Leporello and Giovanni gave him.”
THE BARBER OF SEVILLE
“Mark Freiman gave a virtuoso performance as Bartolo, including an exquisitely and deliberately off-key rendition of “Quando mi sei vicina.”
The Washington Post
“Mark Freiman’s Dr. Bartolo was perhaps the funniest portrayal in the show, exasperated and pathetic, well- sung in a rich bass.”
“Freiman created a comic tour de force. His cantankerous, blustery Bartolo shone as brightly as any character in the show.”
Press & Sun-Bulletin (Binghamton, NY)
“Mark Freiman kept Dr. Bartolo silly and pompous throughout and was especially good in fast, patter-song passages.”
The Washington Post
“Mark Freiman (Colline) provided solid singing and a nicely individualized characterization.”
“Mark Freiman made for an exceptionally dashing Sparafucile.”
The New York Times
“Sinister doesn’t even begin to describe Mark Freiman’s Sparafucile, who offers to rid the jester of the vile seducer, then reneges. Freiman is chillingly real in his first-act meeting with Rigoletto, which has an undeniable air of menace.”
Mobile Register (AL)
Select Directing Reviews
THE ITALIAN GIRL IN ALGIERS
“[A] wonderful new production by stage director Mark Freiman… resulting in real Rossiniana and some hilarious bits of stage action. Actually, the fun began at the finale of Act I, when Freiman introduced some hilarious stage business that took the singers into a crazy wave (think sports waves) and made the audience laugh so hard it almost overpowered the singers. From there on, the schtick, which was carried out to a T by the performers, produced bust-a-gut laughter, the performers all seemed to be having a ball and the Rossini bubbles burst forth from the stage.”
June LeBell, Your Observer (Sarasota, FL)
“Mark Freiman’s production brought out the opera’s inherent comedy without stooping to slapstick for laughs. The Act 1 finale is a masterpiece of screwball comedy as each character becomes lost in confusion, expressed through perfectly synchronised sounds, contortion, and gyrations.”
Opera Now (England)
“There’s not that much to be done dramatically with this static story, which can easily turn into little more than a series of static tableaux; stage director Mark Freiman made sure it was never dull and held our interest.”
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
“Mark Freiman created beautiful stage pictures and actions with his singers, ranging from humorous to heartbreaking. And Freiman’s handling of the huge Christmas Eve crowds in the Latin Quarter of Act 2, including children’s chorus, toy vendors and marching soldiers, was nothing short of brilliant.”
Your Observer (Sarasota, FL)
THE MARRIAGE OF FIGARO
“Nickel City Opera is reaching toward new heights with Mozart’s “The Marriage of Figaro.” This weekend’s production deserves a lot of Bravos…. [Freiman] added an unusual touch – a stunning silence as the Countess considered. That was beautifully finessed, and I ended the opera as you should with “Figaro” – with tears in my eyes.”
The Buffalo News
“This was the company’s most fully successful production of a serious opera. The elaborate backstory requires a great deal of narration, a problem mitigated at Winter Opera by the singing and the direction. Director Mark Freiman accentuated the drama by having members of the ensemble act out scenes from the narrative on another part of the stage. Allowing the audience to see the drama as well as hear it was helpful. In addition, Freiman elicited highly involved performances from all the principals.”
“Mark Freiman’s direction was nicely attuned to the action and not too melodramatic. Freiman himself provided the finest acting in his subtle portrayal of the sacristan of the church in the opening scene.”