Clifton Forbis


Professor and Chair of Voice




A dramatic tenor, Forbis is internationally known as a performer of some of the most demanding tenor repertoire in opera and is a leading artist with the world’s major companies. He has performed the role of Siegmund in Wagner’s Die Walküre with the Metropolitan Opera, Canadian Opera Company, National Symphony, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra and Dallas Opera, among others; the role of Tristan in Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde at Opera Geneva, L’Opera Bastille in Paris, the Tokyo Opera, and the Lyric Opera of Chicago; Samson in Saint-Saëns’s Samson et Dalila at the Metropolitan Opera, Bilbao Opera and San Francisco Opera; and the lead role in Verdi’s Otello with the Teatro alla Scala in Milan, Deutsche Oper Berlin, Vienna Staatsoper, Chicago Symphony and Dallas Opera, to name just a few.

In addition, Forbis has given numerous recitals and concerts throughout the U.S. and Europe. Highlights include a concert with Denyce Graves and the Fort Worth Symphony for the opening of the Bass Performance Hall in Fort Worth, and performances of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 with the Chicago Symphony and Boston Symphony, Stravinsky’s Les Noces with the San Francisco Symphony, and Britten’s War Requiem with the Rotterdam Philharmonic, among others. He has worked with dozens of the world’s best-known conductors, including James Levine, Daniel Barenboim, Seiji Ozawa, James Conlon, Claudio Abbado and Sir Simon Rattle.

Forbis attended William Jewell College in Missouri and earned his B.A. in vocal performance from Belmont University in Nashville, Tenn., where he studied with Ted Wylie. He later attended Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, studying with Jack Coldiron, and then transferred to SMU to complete his Master of Music degree in vocal performance in 1990 as a student of Thomas Hayward. Two years later he completed the post-graduate program at the Juilliard School of Music Opera Center in New York, where his principal teacher was Marlena Malas. Since then his primary teachers have been Bill and Dixie Neill in New York; other coaches and teachers have included Nico Castel at the Metropolitan Opera, Riccardo Muti at Teatro alla Scala and Janine Reiss at L’Opera Bastille.

Clifton Forbis