Robert Williams has won critical acclaim for his outstanding voice not only in America and Europe, but also in countries as far afield as New Zealand. “An opulent tenor”, said THE CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR. “One of the finest tenors in memory,” stated a New Zealand Critic.
Mr. Williams was born in Kansas City, Mo. and attended the University of Kansas and the Kansas City Conservatory of Music. After also studying voice privately he sang in the Regional Finals of the Metropolitan Opera Auditions. This encouraged him to move to New York City, where he quickly earned a contract as a leading tenor with the New York City Opera, making his debut as the Italian tenor in Strauss’ Der Rosenkavalier and remaining for five years.
Through his connection to the Metropolitan Opera Auditions, he won a contract to sing Rodolfo in La Boheme on a grand tour of New Zealand. In the U.S. he continued his acclaimed performances with the Toledo Opera, the Boston Arts Festival, the St. Louis Festival Opera, the Kansas City Lyric Theater, the New York Grand Opera, and the New Jersey Opera. During his distinguished European career, he sang leading roles at the Staedtische Buehne in Essen and the Deutsche Oper Am Rhein in Duesseldorf, Germany.
Robert Williams performed musicals from the Desert Song to Li’l Abnerwith the Starlight Theater, St. Louis Muny Opera and with numerous stock theaters around the country. He also performed on cruise ships and in Cabaret Theaters in Reno, Nev. and in San Francisco. In recent years Mr. Williams has continued his interest in the American Musical Theater by performing, with his wife, Carolyn Heafner, in TOGETHER WITH MUSIC – a Broadway Retrospective spanning a time period of composers of more than a century.
Recordings include The Happy Prince by George Fisher (son of Avery Fisher) with the Metropolitan Opera Studio and the role of the Duke in Verdi’s Rigoletto with the Kansas City Opera. Mr. Williams has performed in such diverse media as television commercials, movies, operetta, and concert, and also taught voice privately in New York City. He was the recipient of two Martha Baird Rockefeller Foundation Fund for Music grants, and a number of Metropolitan Opera Studio Stipendiums and Scholarships. Mr. Williams won the Best Actor of the Year Award in Kansas City for his interpretation of the Moor in Verdi’s Otello.