Aaron O’Hare’s favourite baritone roles

6 August 2021

Unlike their tenor counterparts, baritones don’t always get to be the romantic leads. However, they do have some excellent roles in the operatic repertoire. Here are a few of WNO Associate Artist Aaron O’Hare’s favourites.

Title Role in Don Giovanni, Mozart

The legendary ‘Don Juan’. Who doesn’t want the opportunity to perform this infamous character? The role is full of death, deceit, comedy, cunning, love, lust… You name it, it’s in there. Don G also seems to have this super human power of being able to disappear at the drop of a hat at the slightest sign of trouble! Of course, the music is some of the finest that Mozart has written, with two great contrasting arias, Deh veini alla finestra, and Fin ch’han dal vino, as well as a plethora of fantastic ensembles.

Papageno in Die Zauberflote, Mozart

I have a real soft spot for this loveable, misunderstood character. Maybe it’s because I consider myself a bit of a joker, but this is a role that I have wanted to play for a long time. He may be the bumbling sidekick accompanying Tamino on his journey, but he manages to bag himself three arias - more than any other character come to think of it. My favourite is his ‘suicide aria’, but don’t worry, he gets his happily ever after.

Pelleas in Pelleas and Melisande, Debussy

I have only come to know this role over the last couple of years. The more I work on it the more I fall in love with it. Debussy’s music is beautiful from start to finish, with a strange mystical uneasiness which builds the tension between Pelleas, Melisande and Goulad as we go from one scene to another. The scenes between Pelleas and Melisande have a real ‘will they/ won’t they’, until Pelleas’s final scene in which all tension is released in a stunning fashion.

Figaro in The Barber of Seville, Rossini

Another role that is surely on every baritone’s wish list. It’s hard not to fall in love with the charming and charismatic barber as he schemes his way to helping Rosina and Almaviva get together. Not only is his opening aria Largo al Factotum an extremely challenging entry into the opera, but the role is also full of devilishly hard ensembles and fast patter that needs to come across as just another day at the office for Figaro.

Marcello in La bohème, Puccini

La bohème has been a firm favourite for a long time. I get chills from hearing the opening number. Marcello always seems to be in the thick of the drama, be it leading the charge in tricking the old landlord out of the rent, his on/off relationship with Musetta or as confidant for both Mimi and Rodolfo. My favourite musical moment is Marcello and Rodolfo’s Act 4 duet o mimi tu piu non torni - a beautiful moment in which both men admit they miss Mimi and Musetta.