L'onore! Ladri!: Falstaff (Giuseppe Verdi)
Darren Drone, baritone
Aurelia Andrews, piano
Described as having “a gorgeously warm tone and deep resonance” (Opera News), baritone Darren Drone is quickly making a name for himself in the opera world. In the summer of 2023, Mr. Drone debuted at The Glimmerglass Festival as Marcello in La bohème and Grégorio in Roméo et Juliette, and participated in a workshop of Nmon Ford’s House of Orfeus with Cincinnati Opera. In the 2023-2024 season, Mr. Drone will be seen as Belcore in L’elisir d’amore in a debut with Florentine Opera, and returns to the Metropolitan Opera covering Moralès in Carmen and singing Foreman/Adult James and covering Chester in Fire Shut Up in My Bones. He also will appear with the Dayton Philharmonic singing as a soloist in Brahms' Requiem.
In the 2022-2023 season, Mr. Drone made a series of exciting debuts with esteemed American companies including Seattle Opera as Baron Douphol in La Traviata, Portland Opera as Zuniga in Carmen, and Opera San José in the title role of Verdi’s Falstaff. He also performed in a concert of operatic favorites with the Santa Fe Symphony and joined the Lyric Opera of Chicago roster where he covered Preacher Man and Bilal in the world premiere of Daniel Roumain and Anna Deavere Smith’s The Walkers.
During the 2021-2022 season, Mr. Drone joined the Metropolitan Opera roster as a featured soloist in Porgy & Bess, covered Mtchll in the world premiere of Carlos Simon and Marc Bamuthi Joseph’s it all falls down at Washington National Opera, made his Opera Memphis debut as Guglielmo in Così fan tutte and was set to make a debut with Florentine Opera as Schaunard in La bohème (COVID-19). In the summer of 2021, Mr. Drone joined the Santa Fe Opera roster, covering the roles of the Count in Le nozze di Figaro, Starveling in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and the Captain in Eugene Onegin. He returned to Santa Fe the following summer, singing Moralès in Carmen and covering the title role of Falstaff.
His 2020-21 season began with his second year of residency with Michigan Opera Theatre. During his first year with the company, roles included covering Leporello in Don Giovanni, covering the title role of Sweeney Todd, performing both the title role of Gianni Schicchi, as well as Buoso’s Ghost, covering Tonio in Pagliacci, and preparing the role of Young Man/Man in Bar in Champion (canceled due to COVID-19). In the spring of 2020, Mr. Drone was awarded as a semifinalist in the Lotte Lenya Competition, performed with the Detroit Youth Symphony Orchestra, and was scheduled to make his company debut with Opera Maine as William in The Fall of the House of Usher (canceled due to COVID-19). In 2021, Mr. Drone made his company debut with Opera Naples as Riff in West Side Story and singing Baron Douphol while covering Germont in La Traviata. He was also set to make his role debut as the title role in Le nozze di Figaro with Opera in the Heights (COVID19 – now scenes as Enrico: Lucia di Lammermoor).
Mr. Drone began his 2018-19 season by making his role and company debut as Sulpice in Opera in the Heights’ production of La fille du regiment, followed by his debut with Opera Southwest as a resident artist, where he performed Slook in La cambiale di matrimonio and Der Heerufer des Königs in Lohengrin. The season concluded with performing the role of Officer Krupke in West Side Story, singing Antonio and covering Count Almaviva in Le nozze di Figaro, and performing Bunsen in Newsies, all with Utah Festival Opera and Musical Theater.
During his 2017-18 season, Mr. Drone made his debut with Heartland Opera Theater as Sam in Trouble in Tahiti, and Utah Festival Opera and Musical Theater as Thomas in Amazing Grace, The Steward in Into the Woods, and covering the role of Bartolo in Il barbiere di Siviglia. He returned to Opera on the Rock, where in 2015 he made his house and role debut as Papageno in Die Zauberflöte, this time performing the role of Figaro in Il barbiere di Siviglia.
In 2016-17, Mr. Drone completed a residency with Tulsa Opera, where he covered the role of Zurga in Les pêcheurs de perles, performed Sciarrone and covered Scarpia in Tosca. During the summer of 2016, he was an apprentice artist with Des Moines Metro Opera where he covered Ping in Turandot and returned to Tulsa to make his debut with the Tulsa Symphony as a featured soloist in their Christmas Pops concert. Additional career and role highlights include Masetto in Don Giovanni, Sharpless in Madama Butterfly, and Marcello in La bohème.
Recognized on the competition circuit as well, Mr. Drone received an Encouragement Award from the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions in 2011, 2012, 2016, and 2017. He is a first place winner of the Benton Schmidt Competition, and won the NATS Classical Regional Competition in 2011 and 2012. Mr. Drone is a native of Arkansas, where he earned his Bachelor of Arts in Music at Arkansas Tech University.