Baritone Samuel McDonald has been praised for his singing and artistry which is "warm, expressive [and] first rate..." (Nino Pantano) and "...full of focus, passion, and enough elegance to impart fresh air into Bel Canto..." (GMM, Inc.) His recent awards include 2nd prize in The Barry Alexander International Vocal Competition, local and regional winner of the NANBPWC Vocal Arts Competition and a finalist in The Opera Ebony Benjamin Matthews Vocal Competition, The National Vocal Arts Competition, The Harlem Opera Theater Vocal Competition and The Alltech Opera Scholarship Competition. He continuously receives accolades for his "generous baritone" and "very believable portrayals" (Meche Kroop, Vocedimeche.)
No stranger to contemporary works, Samuel created the roles of The Spirit Robertson (4: A musical drama in response to the four little girls killed in the 1963 Birmingham church bombing) and Mayor Kenneth Gibson (The Three Mayors) with Trilogy Opera. In collaboration with Nashville Opera, he also sang the title role in workshops of Dr. Robert Aldridge's Grammy Award winning opera, Elmer Gantry. He also created the role of WWII hero, Vernon Baker, in the world premiere of Buffalo Soldier in Città della Pieve and Rome Italy with The International Opera Theater. Most recently he sang the role of Marcus in Bonfire: The Opera based on the Tom Wolfe novel The Bonfire of the Vanities.
His concert repertoire includes Kodaly's Missa Brevis, Aldophus Hailstork's Stages, Mendelssohn's Elijah, Faure's Requiem, Mozart's Missa Brevis, Bach's Num kommder Heiden Heiland , Brahms' Ein deutsches Requiem, the NJ Premiere of Howard Goodall's Eternal Light- A Requiem and touring as a member of The American Spiritual Ensemble.
Credits include the title role in Don Giovanni, Marcello (La bohème), Schaunard (La bohème), Guglielmo (Così fan tutte), Alidoro (Cenerentola), Belcore (L'elisir d'Amore), Pandolfe (Cendrillon), Betto (Gianni Schicchi), Chichibio (l'Oca del Cairo), King Arthur (Camelot), Sciarrone (Tosca), Baron Douphol (La Traviata), Jim (Porgy and Bess), Cephus (Treemonisha). Some of his crossover repertoire includes Dreamgirls, Ragtime, Miss Saigon, Aida, Parade, A Grand Night for Singing, Follies and Showboat. He has made appearances at Avery Fisher Hall with the NY Philharmonic, NJPAC, Teatro Valle (Rome, Italy,) The Royal Danish Theater, The West Virginia Public Theater, Carnegie Hall, The Kennedy Center, Bucks County Playhouse and The Kaufman Music Center. He is a graduate of The John J. Cali School of Music and did his graduate studies at Miami University of Ohio. He was a young artist at The Brevard Music Festival, Castleton Music Festival, Prelude to Performance and The Music Academy of the West.