Skip to main content

Robert Chafin

Assistant Professor of Voice

Tenor Robert Chafin has earned international acclaim for his drama and versatility on the opera and concert stages. The Virginia native debuted in Europe in La boheme and then received ensemble engagements with the National Theater in Mannheim, followed by the State Theater of Freiburg, following with the State Opera of Hannover. Beginning his career with the major roles of Mozart and Rossini, Chafin has since accumulated over 70 operas in his repertoire and has branched out into more heroic roles, including Apollo (Daphne), Max (Der Freischütz), Erik (Der Fliegende Holländer), Midas (Die Liebe der Danae), Enée (Les Troyens), Don José (Carmen), Laca (Jenufa), Menelas (Die Ägyptische Helena) and the title roles in Don Carlo, Idomeneo, and Les Contes d’Hoffmann. He has made guest appearances in these and other roles at New York City Opera, Carnegie Hall, Deutsche Oper, Berliner Philharmonie, and the Salzburg Summer Festival, and in venues in Paris, Zurich, Stockholm, Vienna, Frankfurt, Strasbourg, Leipzig, Brüssels, Helsinki, and Dresden. He has earned international acclaim for his operatic recordings of Franz Schreker (Flammen and Christophorus), Richard Strauss (Die Liebe der Danae), and Leonard Bernstein (Candide), as well as recordings of Haase's Ruggiero, Beethoven's 9th Symphony, songs by Stravinsky and the Hindemith Oratorio (Das Unafuhörliche).


Equally as at home on the concert stage, Robert Chafin has appeared throughout Europe and the United States alongside Riccardo Muti, Marc Albrecht, Donald Runnicles, Andrew Litton, Fréderic Chaslin, Markus Stenz, Michel Plasson, Gary Bertini, Nicolas McGegan, Stefan Anton Reck, Edo de Waart and Leon Botstein.

Recently, Chafin has made several role debuts, including the title role in Don Carlo for the Staatsoper Hannover, his Covent Garden Royal Opera House and Salzburg Festival debut with Ricardo Muti in Die Zauberflöte, and the title role in Les Contes d'Hoffmann for the Wiesbaden Staatsoper.  In the 2011-2012 season, Chafin debuted as Idomeneo in Germany, sang in the American premiere of Franz Schmidt's The Hunchback of Notre Dame with Leon Botstein conducting the American Symphony Orchestra at Carnegie Hall, and performed in Mahler's full and chamber versions of Das Lied von der Erde in Spain, France and Belgrade, Serbia.


Chafin is also establishing himself as an educator. In addition to his 2012-2013 appointment as a Visiting Assistant Professor of Voice at Virginia Tech, Chafin joined West Virginia University’s voice faculty in the School of Music in 2015. He recently worked on a collaborative multimedia presentation of Die schöne Müllerin, planned along with recitals throughout the United States in 2013. He made his Virginia Opera debut in the 2014 season as Bacchus in Ariadne auf Naxos. More recently, he sang “Mona Lisa” to critical acclaim at Carnegie Hall, noted by one critic for his “big, sweet voice and a stage presence to match.” He will sing with the American Symphony Orchestra with Leon Botstein conducting, and he will perform and hold master classes in Virginia, Memphis, Boston, Cincinnati, Brussels, Germany, and Israel. He will also return to the NAPA Music Festival and Opera Theatre Pittsburg in the summer of 2016.