"Oskar McCarthy's bolshy Leporello stole the show with a performance of real vocal and physical power"
Opera Now, June 2016
A graduate of Cambridge University, where he was a choral scholar at Caius College, Oskar McCarthy is a singer and actor-musician whose interests include opera, choral music and experimental music theatre. He will begin his postgraduate opera studies with a scholarship to the Alexander Gibson Opera School (Royal Conservatoire of Scotland) in September 2018.
His operatic roles include Uberto (La serva padrona), Guglielmo (Così fan tutte), Taddeo (L’italiana in Algeri) and Pausanias (Une éducation manquée) for Pop-up Opera; Falke (Die Fledermaus) and Binnacle/Garibdis (Ulla’s Odyssey) for OperaUpClose; Leporello (Don Giovanni), Angelotti (Tosca), Bello (La fanciulla del west) and Bartley (Riders to the Sea) for Midsummer Opera; Don Alfonso (Così fan tutte) for London Young Sinfonia; Papageno (Die Zauberflöte) for Opera Anywhere; Aeneas (Dido and Aeneas) and Secrecy (The Fairy Queen) for Barefoot Opera; Donner (Das Rheingold - cover) for Saffron Opera Group; Un Viellard Hebreu (Samson et Delila) and Zurga (Les pêcheurs de perles) for Genesis Chorale; 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 (Mansfield Park) for Hampstead Garden Opera. He will perform Leporello for the inaugural Waterperry Opera Festival in August.
Oratorio work includes Mozart and Duruflé's Requiems (Brandenburg Choral Festival); Handel's Messiah (National Portrait Gallery); Verdi's Requiem (Philharmonia Britannica); Bach's St Matthew Passion, Beethoven's Ninth Symphony and Brahms' Ein deutsches Requiem (Angel Orchestra); and multiple collaborations with the Basement Orchestra. Concert 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 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) - which he has toured around the UK. 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 is a founder member and Creative Producer of Festival Voices, and he sings regularly for professional choirs nationally. He is part of the Philharmonia Chorus Professional Singer Scheme, and from 2013 to 2016 was a principal member of The Portrait Choir, with whom he 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. He has undertaken session work with London Voices, performed live on BBC Radio 3's In-Tune with Pop-up Opera and in 2017 he joined the JSB Ensemble, resident ensemble of the Musikfest Stuttgart, under artistic director Hans-Christoph Rademann.
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 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, and two critically-acclaimed touring productions with Re:Sound Music Theatre: After Party (2014-15) and Duet (2016). He enjoys work with young audiences and recently led workshops for the charity Music for Kenya in schools, hospitals and orphanages in rural Kenya. In 2015 he 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, part of 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 praise from The Observer, The Times and Time Out. Other projects included a staging of David Lang’s the little match girl passion, performed at Shapes in Hackney Wick, and La Celestina, a site-specific video opera for the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. Oskar's ongoing interest in broadening his skill set 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.