Following a brilliant 2014, when as Baron Scarpia in both Opera Australia’s premier season of John Bells’ Tosca and with West Australian Opera, as well as resoundingly successful debuts as Jokanaan (Salome) for SOSA and Iago (Otello) for Opera Queensland, a most satisfying 18 months was topped off with the awarding to Douglas McNicol of the Adelaide Critics Circle Best Individual Performer Award in all genres of live performance, for his revival of the role of Iago with State Opera of South Australia.
Recent engagements include the roles of Sharpless in Madama Butterfly, Harasta in Cunning Little Vixen, Tonio in I Pagliacci, Leporello in Don Giovanni (for which he received a Helpmann Award nomination as Best Male Performer in a Supporting Role in opera), Verdi’s Requiem and the Puccini Spectacular all for State Opera of South Australia, Horatio in Brett Dean’s Hamlet for Adelaide Festival, the title role in Gianni Schicchi and Don Bartolo in Il Barbiere di Siviglia for West Australian Opera, as well as Faure’s Requiem with West Australian Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Simone Young. This year, he is also director of State Opera of South Australia’s production of Madeline Lee by John Haddock.
After studying music and drama at Flinders University in South Australia and voice at the Elder Conservatorium, Douglas spent a year as a member of Opera Queensland’s Young Artist Program before undertaking extensive vocal study in Europe. He began his professional singing career in 1981 at the State Opera of South Australia, making his debut with The Australian Opera, now Opera Australia, in 1991. A recidivist finalist for Helpman and Green Room awards, Douglas has also won the Australian Singing Competition, The National Opera Festival Award, and is a Churchill Fellow.
An engagement to sing the role of Scarpia in 2006 was an outstanding success and began a move towards more dramatic repertoire including such roles as Amonasro, Pizarro and Jokanaan.
Douglas’ continuing repertoire includes The Four Villains (The Tales of Hoffmann), Jokanaan, Pizarro (Fidelio), Verdi’s Iago, Amonasro (Aida), Don Carlo (La Forza del Destino), Rigoletto, Ford (Falstaff), Puccini’s Scarpia (Tosca), Jack Rance (La Fanciulla del West), Sharpless (Madama Butterfly,(available on DVD), Mozart’s Leporello (Don Giovanni), Count Almaviva (Le Nozze di Figaro), The Speaker (The Magic Flute), Don Alfonso (Così fan tutte), Peter (Hansel and Gretel), Jupiter (Orpheus in the Underworld), as well as Don Bartolo (Il Barbiere di Siviglia), Escamillo (Carmen),Dr Falke (Die Fledermaus), and Pooh Bah (Mikado).
Regarded as one of Australia’s most versatile and experienced baritones, notable engagements include the world premiere seasons of Richard Meale’s Voss 1986 (Adelaide Festival), and Richard Mills’ The Love of the Nightingale 2007 (Perth International Arts Festival). He has gained a reputation for excellence in contemporary opera, performing such roles as the Lieutenant in John Haddock’s opera, Madeline Lee for Opera Australia, Owen Hart in the Australian premiere of Dead Man Walking, Captain Gardiner Moby Dick (SOSA) and Roy Disney in Phillip Glass’ The Perfect American (OQ / Brisbane Festival).
Other successful engagements have included the roles of Giorgio Germont (La Traviata), Mozart’s Don Giovanni, Figaro and Papageno, Marcello (La Bohème), Zurga (The Pearl Fishers), Valentin (Faust).
During his career he has worked for all the major opera companies and orchestras in Australia and New Zealand. with the Melbourne, Adelaide, Queensland, Tasmanian and West Australian Symphony Orchestras, and the Australian Chamber Orchestra as well as performing concerts in Italy and the UK, and as a guest artist at ‘Opera Under The Stars’ in Broome.
In concert and oratorio Douglas has a wide repertoire, performing in works such as Bach’s Magnificat, Christmas Oratorio, Mass in B Minor, St John and St. Matthew Passions, Purcell’s The Tempest, Berlioz The Childhood of Christ, Beethoven’s Symphony No.9, the Fauré, Brahms and Mozart Requiems, Handel’s Acis and Galatea, Messiah, Mendlesohn’s Elijah and The Bells by Rachmaninov.
Douglas McNicol resides in Adelaide, South Australia.