"Oskar McCarthy's bolshy Leporello stole the show with a performance of real vocal and physical power"
Opera Now, June 2016
Oskar McCarthy trained originally as a horn player, studying at the Junior Guildhall of Music and Drama and playing in the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain. Upon taking up a choral scholarship to study English and Modern Languages (French and Portuguese) at Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge, his focus shifted towards the theatre. Since graduating, his interests have mainly converged on opera, whilst he has also become actively-involved in actor-musician projects, both as a horn player and singer. His operatic roles include Uberto (La serva padrona), Guglielmo (Così fan tutte) and Taddeo (L’italiana in Algeri) for Pop-Up Opera; Falke (Die Fledermaus) and Binnacle/Garibdis (Ulla’s Odyssey) for OperaUpClose; Leporello (Don Giovanni), Angelotti (Tosca), and Bello (La fanciulla del west) for Midsummer Opera; Aeneas (Dido and Aeneas) and Secrecy (The Fairy Queen) for Barefoot Opera; Donner (Das Rheingold - cover) for Saffron Opera Group; Dottorre/Marchese (La traviata), Escamillo (CarMen) and Orest (Elektra) for Secret Opera; Trinity Moses (Aufstieg und Fall der Stadt Mahagonny) for King's Opera; and Arsamenes (Serse) and Edmund Bertram (Mansfield Park) for Hampstead Garden Opera. He most recently performed the role of Pausanias in Chabrier's Une éducation manquée with Pop-Up Opera at Wilderness Festival 2016 and will reprise the role at Holt Festival 2017.
Recent concert work includes the role of Zurga in Bizet’s Les pêcheurs de perles; Mozart and Duruflé's Requiems for the Brandenburg Choral Festival; Handel's Messiah for the National Portrait Gallery; Beethoven's Ninth Symphony and Brahms' Ein deutsches Requiem for the Angel Orchestra; and collaborations with the Basement Orchestra. Recital work includes Kindertotenlieder with London Euphonia Orchestra, the UK premiere of Othmar Schoeck's Buried Alive for the London Month of the Dead, and the world premiere of John Whittaker’s Shakespeare Songs for Opera Anywhere. Oskar has developed Buried Alive into a semi-staged theatre piece - "Tinged with cool Gothic morbidity, and with a deft, light and effective theatrical touch" **** (London City Nights) - and gives its next performance in autumn 2017 at Pleasance Theatre. He gave the first performance of a trio of songs written for him and Rob Keeley by Robin Holloway at Brompton Cemetery in October 2016, in a concert that also featured a staging of Mussorgsky's Songs and Dances of Death, presented in collaboration with movement director Rachel Drazek.
Oskar sings regularly for professional choirs in and around London. He is part of the Philharmonia Chorus Professional Singer Scheme, and a principal member of The Portrait Choir, with whom he has recorded the first ever Choral Audio Guide for the National Portrait Gallery (available to download from iTunes and to stream via Spotify) and performed at The Globe's Sam Wanamaker Playhouse and Latitude Festival. He has recorded Britten's War Requiem with the Stuttgart Festivalensemble, under Helmuth Rilling, undertaken session work with London Voices, and performed live on BBC Radio 3's In-Tune, as well as on The Archers, with Pop-Up Opera.
As an actor-musician, Oskar has performed in Secret Cinema's immersive productions of The Shawshank Redemption and Brazil, and alongside aerial theatre artists Ockham's Razor as part of the 2013 London International Mime Festival. Other recent projects include the role of Wilfred Owen in Where Then Shall We Start?, a semi-operatic multimedia theatre piece by Jennifer Leach, performed at the Queen's House, Greenwich, in November 2014, and two touring productions with Re:Sound Music Theatre: After Party (2014-15) and Duet (2016). In autumn 2015, Oskar worked on Dance Umbrella and The Egg Theatre's 16 Singers, a devised music theatre piece for 0-18 month year olds, incorporating dance, puppetry and song, which toured to venues in London, Manchester and Durham (as part of the TakeOff Festival). In 2016, he joined the cast of Spitalfields Music's Catch a Sea Star, the latest in their award-winning Musical Rumpus series of music theatre pieces for 0-2.5 year olds. Performance venues include community centres and libraries in East London and the Happy New Ears festival of music theatre for young audiences in Mannheim, Germany.
From 2013 to 2015, Oskar trained with and devised cross-genre work as a core company member of ERRATICA. The company's first show Triptych, performed in spring 2014 at the Print Room Notting Hill and the Spitalfields Music Festival, received warm praise from The Observer, The Times and Time Out, among many others. Other projects include a staged version of David Lang’s the little match girl passion, performed at Shapes in Hackney Wick, and La Celestina, a site-specific video opera, which premiered at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York in March 2015. Oskar's ongoing interest in broadening his skillset as a performer has led him to taking masterclasses in clowning at The Comedy School, attending Jonathan Kay's Nomadic Academy for Fools, and participating in workshops at the International School of Dramatic Corporeal Mime in Paris.