Baritone Shakti Pherwani is an actor-singer-dancer from Bombay, India with a background in Musical Theater and Opera.
Shakti’s most recent performances include the role of Masetto (Don Giovanni, Mozart) which he sang at the Musikverein in Vienna as part of the Wiener Festspiele in August 2023, accompanied by the Festival orchestra.Earlier that summer, Shakti covered the role of Conte Almaviva in an open-air production of Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro in Saluzzo, Italy directed by Vivien Hewitt and conducted by William Kelley.
In June 2023, Shakti also performed in concerts across the Piedmont region of Italy, singing in venues such as the Palazzo Gallio on the shores of Lake Como, the town of Arona on Lake Maggiore and the prestigious Casa Verdi in Milan.
In the summer of 2022, Shakti sang the role of Marco in Berlin Festspiele’s production of Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi and also studied with baritones Sergei Leiferkus and Marcin Habela at their masterclasses in Greece.
In August 2019 Shakti sang the role of Rizzardo (and also covered the role of Fillippo) in the London Bel Canto Festival’s production of Bellini’s Beatrice Di Tenda with the London City Philharmonic Orchestra. As a Young Artist at the festival, he also performed in the Young Artist Concerts and Masterclasses at the Royal Academy of Music, where he was mentored by coaches such as Bruce Ford, Nelly Miricioiu and Kenneth Querns Langley. Shakti’s performance was appreciated by critics in both the shows’ reviews. Shakti then went on to study and cover the title role in a semi-staged production of Mozart’s Don Giovanni in Lanciano, Italy in early September.
Shakti grew up performing in Broadway style musicals and was introduced to the Bel Canto tradition by complete accident during his exchange year abroad at University in Canada. Upon returning home he sought to train vocally with guidance from the workshops held by the Giving Voice to India program, resolving to further develop his vocal technique and musicianship.
Discovering a knack for foreign languages and a growing affinity for Opera Buffa roles, Shakti has since been the recipient of many scholarships that have helped him to hone his craft through Masterclasses and performance-based training programs with guidance from visiting masters and coaches based in the UK, US and Europe, thus helping him improve the standard of his repertoire and role preparations.
As a soloist, Shakti’s recent Operatic roles include Count Robinson from Cimarosa’s ‘Il Matrimonio Segreto’ which he performed in Scheggino, Italy in the summer of 2018. He also sang a series of character roles in Varna, Bulgaria with coaching from accomplished faculty including the likes of pianist and coach Marek Ruszczynski of the Royal Academy of Music and Royal Opera House. Shakti’s roles included ‘il Fauteuil‘ from Ravel’s L’enfant et les sortilèges, Vincent Jones from Kurt Weill’s Street Scene and Crébillion in Puccini’s ‘La Rondine’ – all sung under the baton of Metropolitan Opera’s Gregory Buchalter.
In the Summer of 2015, Shakti was selected from artists around the world and awarded a full scholarship to become a part of the Caux Artists Program held in Caux, Switzerland.
Back Home in India, Shakti has performed in Giving Voice’s Opera Scenes Concerts and also was a part of the four-city touring production of the Purcell Opera ‘Dido and Aeneas‘ comprising of an all Indian cast in 2014. The following year he sang the role of Ben in Menotti’s ‘The Telephone‘ and ‘Le Fauteuil’ in Ravel’s ‘L’enfant et les Sortilèges‘, which were both part of the Neemrana Music Foundation’s Pocket Operas Concerts.
Shakti was also shortlisted as a finalist for the ‘Young Musician of the Year’ Competiiton held by the Olga&Jules Craen Music Foundation in 2016 . He performed at the Royal Opera House Mumbai in the fully staged Royal Opera Gala which celebrated various famous operatic scenes based in India, later that year as well. In 2018 he also competed at the Akademia ‘Voices of India’ competition.
In addition to music and acting, Shakti also has a background in dance with styles ranging from Bollywood to Argentine Tango and Ballroom. In 2016, he had the honor of performing the Viennese Waltz at the 60th Viennese Opera Ball alongside his debutante dance partner at the Opening Ceremony, marking them both as the first ever Indian couple to make a debut at the Wiener Staatsoper Opernball!