Robert Macfarlane, obtained his Bachelor of Music degree with Honors in Vocal Performance from the Elder Conservatorium in Adelaide. He subsequently studied Opera Singing at the Hochschule für Musik und Theater (HMT) Leipzig ‘Felix Mendelssohn-Bartoldy’ with Professor Dr. Jeanette Favaro-Reuter, as recipient of the prestigious Thomas Elder Overseas Scholarship (October 2012-July 2013). He undertook extensive study of the Baroque repertoire with tenor Howard Crook and has also studied and performed with world-renowned accompanist Malcolm Martineau. He was also one of the final students of the great tenor Peter Schreier. He was the winner of the Adelaide Critic’s Circle award for best individual performance in 2012 (J.S. Bach's St. John Passion), a finalist in the Lortzing Competition in Germany in 2013, and winner of the Royal Melbourne Philharmonic Aria competition in 2009.
Robert made his European Opera Debut in the virtuosic role of Ircano in Hasse’s Semiramide in Graz and Leipzig in 2014, for which he was highly acclaimed by the Austrian critics. On the opera stage, he has also sung Monostatos (The Magic Flute) for West Australian Opera; Orfeo (Peri’s Euridice) for Woodend Winter Arts Festival; the title role in Rameau's Pygmalion for the Peninsula Festival; Beppe (Pagliacci) and 3rd Jew (Salome) for State Opera of South Australia; Acis (Acis and Galatea) in Malaysia and Singapore; the roles of Echo and Pastore (and understudying the title role) in L'Orfeo with the Australian Brandenburg Orchestra for Brisbane Festival and in Sydney and Melbourne; and he has also performed with Opera Queensland, Pinchgut Opera, Lyric Opera of Melbourne and Co-Opera.
Robert is known internationally for his performances of Bach, in particular the Evangelist of the St. John and St. Matthew Passions. Other acclaimed concert performances include soloist in semi-staged performances of Britten’s St Nicolas with the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra; Mozart Great Mass in C minor at St George's Cathedral, Perth; Handel's Messiah and Solomon; Monteverdi’s Vespers at the Melbourne Recital Centre and the Adelaide Festival; Britten's Serenade and Les Illuminations; recitals of Schubert's Die Schöne Müllerin, Winterreise and Schwanengesang and Schumann's Dichterliebe and Liederkreis with pianist Leigh Harrold, Wolf’s Italienisches Liederbuch with Anthony Legge, and for ArtSong Canberra, Artsong NSW and The Firm in Adelaide.