Long before the Rev. Robert P. Mitchell was a “reverend,” he sang opera for over thirty years. He appeared in fifteen productions with New York’s Amato Opera Company alone, and in numerous productions with fourteen other “minor league” companies in the NY-NJ metro area. One of his most prestigious appearances in 1987 occurred as Pinkerton in Madama Butterfly with Opera Classics of New Jersey at the Orrie de Nooyer Auditorium in Hackensack, New Jersey, with Maestro Anton Coppola conducting. The author was the only non-Metropolitan Opera or non-New York City Opera singer in the cast. That performance led to singing with the late Maestro Alfredo Silipini, then Artistic Director of the New Jersey State Opera.
Rev. Mitchell was born in 1939 in the small village of McVeytown, in south central PA. By the time he was ready for school, the Mitchell family had moved to the north central Pennsylvania town of Lock Haven. He grew up there, graduated with honors, and attended both Lock Haven State Teachers College and Mansfield STC before he went to New York City to begin serious operatic studies at the Mannes College of Music. On the day he registered, he met his future wife, who happened to be on the other side of the desk. They married in 1962, and had two sons, three grandchildren (with another on the way), and now live in the scenic Delaware Water Gap region of northeastern Pennsylvania.
In addition to his singing career, Rev. Mitchell worked for The New York State Employment Service, the T. J. Lipton Company, and Scholastic, Inc., the New York-based educational publisher. From 1968 to 1998 he enjoyed a corporate managerial career with Scholastic, first in the Personnel Department, and later in Marketing Systems Management.
He holds a B.S. degree in Voice and Opera from the Mannes College of Music, and a Master of Divinity degree from the New Brunswick Theological Seminary. He and his wife co-pastored a church in the Hudson Valley for seven years following his retirement from Scholastic. He also holds certificates in Direct Marketing from New York University, and is a Certified Interim Minister. He currently serves as Designated Pastor to St. Jacobi Lutheran Church in Shohola, Pennsylvania.