Tenor Marcio de Oliveira has been singing with the Handel and Haydn Society for three years. He was a featured soloist in H+H’s December 2013 program “A Bach Christmas,” and he will perform in the “Bach and Byrd” concert.

Any distinct memories of the first H+H performance: Before coming to H+H, I sang in symphonic choirs with the New York Philharmonic and the San Francisco Symphony. In Boston, I thought it would take time to have that experience again. But here was the Period Instrument Orchestra, this orchestra with great passion and energy. I felt like I was back in graduate school [NB: de Oliveira went to the prestigious Westminster Choir College in Princeton], and I was singing my heart out.

[Artistic Director] Harry Christophers always leaves the last ovation for the chorus; it was my first time experiencing that. As soon as the audience clapped for the chorus, there was just an eruption of praise.


What do you like most about performing for H+H: I am proud by the level of professionalism. We show up and everyone already knows all the notes, so we go right away to making music. We’re on time, ready to go, excited.

I really enjoy the buildup to the performance. It can be kind of scary… we rarely go through the entire piece in one go; we make sure we don’t over-rehearse. But working with Harry is wonderful. He has a way about him with his words. Things are going in the right direction.

Favorite composers: Bach, Britten, and Brahms. I really took to Brahms symphonies, playing oboe growing up. I also danced at a studio from a very young age, age 8. I had a lot of stage experience: as a dancer, player, and vocalist. My foundation in dance, meter, and rhythm really helped my transition into instrumental music and opera.

Favorite piece to perform and why: Bach’s St. John Passion. As the Evangelist, it was one of my best singing moments. I love storytelling and the German language. Doing the work for the first time, I received a nice ovation at the end. Being onstage when people are cheering for you… that’s what I live for.

Best musical memory: In 2007, as part of a music festival with 100 singers from all over the world, I was in Stuttgart, Germany for an entire month, all expenses paid. The work we performed was Britten’s War Requiem. That piece changed by life. At the time, we were deep in the Second Gulf War, Americans weren’t popular in Europe, but the music was comforting in some way, pushing us to examine what war was and who Britten was as a pacifist. It was very special to have been performing it.

Hobbies/other passions: Yoga. Most singers will tell you that, mostly because we’re very conscious of our bodies and of keeping them fit.

Something not many people know about you: I took a beginning Arabic class in October, just for fun.

Favorites (share something you love – food, book, movie, etc): I spend my free time when I’m not in the yoga studio doing a lot of language study. I was trilingual from a young age. When I started experimenting with voice, I really took to language, and that’s why I’ve continued with singing, because I could use language. I’d say that I’m conversationally fluent in Portuguese, German, French, and Spanish. I use them sometimes frequently at the Apple Store. You can catch me playing dual-language apps, reading French poems by Apollinaire, and busy with a lot of self-study.