Osborn performs several shows through Tulsa Opera
Cherokee Nation citizen and opera singer performs in Theatre Tulsa’s production of “Newsies.” Osborn joined the Tulsa Opera organization that has helped him develop as an artist and give him a chance to perform in different Oklahoma opera productions. COURTESY
CN citizen and opera singer Steven Osborn performs in Theatre Tulsa production of “Into the Woods,” which is one of several performance opportunities afforded to Osborn since his membership into the Tulsa Opera organization last year. COURTESY
TULSA - Since he was 15 years old, Cherokee Nation citizen Steven Osborn knew he wanted to become an opera singer after a high school choir teacher took the choir to a look-in opera dress rehearsal.
Since September 2017, Osborn has been a member of the Tulsa Opera organization and has gained several performance opportunities.
After graduating from Broken Arrow High School, he went on to study vocal music performance in college. In 1998, he was named the Tulsa winner and a regional finalist for the mid-west district of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions.
“It’s kind of a prestigious thing to win. I was a finalist for the region, and that was kind of the biggest thing I had done at the time and had started auditioning professionally,” Osborn said.
Osborn is a bass-baritone vocalist and said as a young singer in his 20s he found it difficult to get work because he could not compete with more mature bass-baritone vocalists.
“I was in my 20s and I was a bass-baritone. That’s very young for a bass-baritone. So you can’t compete with someone in their 40s or 50s that’s a bass-baritone, there’s just a maturity of the voice that comes with age. So I went a different direction and had a career in food and beverage,” he said.
After working at the Tulsa Hard Rock Hotel & Casino from 2008 until 2015, he and his wife unexpectedly became the guardians of two children, and he had to quit his job to become a stay-at-home parent.
He said with the extra time, he was able to start singing again and met CN vocal teacher Barbara McAlister in January 2017.
“Barbara is obviously a very accomplished singer, she’s sung all over the world. So she has a lot of experience and really knows what she’s doing as far as singing and performing. She’s helped me. I’ve developed kind of a different technique than what I was singing when I was younger because my voice has changed a little bit. She’s given me a lot of direction and encouragement. Put me in touch with different people that can help me,” Osborn said.
McAlister reflected Osborn’s sentiment and said she liked him as soon as she met him.
“The minute I met him I liked him a lot and has incredible energy that radiated from him. Even more so now that he loves what he’s doing and it shows in his face,” she said.
McAlister is an accomplished professional singer who was inducted into the Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame and has performed internationally. She is now a vocal teacher through the CN’s Department of Education. She helped Osborn gain access into the Tulsa Opera.
Osborn said he is in the young artist program with the Tulsa Opera, which helps artists grow, fosters their singing and gives them an opportunity to perform more.
“It really just helps the performer develop and perform. It helps develop their experience,” he said.
Osborn has performed in several shows in the past year including in the Tulsa Opera Chorus, “Rigoletto” with Oklahoma City’s Painted Sky Opera, Theatre Tulsa productions of “Into the Woods” and “Newsies,” and recently in Tulsa Opera’s one-man show “Music! Magic! Opera!” through the Kennedy Center of the Arts “Any Given Child Program.”
Osborn’s newest performance will be in “The Barber of Seville” where he plays the character of Fiorello. His first performance is slated for Oct. 19 and 21.
Osborn said the CN and McAlister have helped him and other Cherokees realize their music potential.
“I think there is a lot of unrealized talent, I should say, in the Cherokee Nation. I would really like to see a little more support maybe in the future with not necessarily Native music or vehicles, but the support of Native artists performing all kinds of music and theater. I would like to see the support of Cherokee citizens performing a wide range of music and other things,” he said.