After receiving his Bachelor in Fine Arts from Cooper Union, Ira Siff engaged in further musical studies at Juilliard and Hunter College, and studied voice with bel canto and baroque expert, Randolph Mickelson. He made his debut as a tenor in 1970, shifting to soprano counter tenor when he formed the internationally acclaimed opera parody troupe, La Gran Scena Opera Co. in 1981. As Artistic Director and star 'diva' of the company, Madame Vera, Ira performed with his troupe and in solo outings from 1981-2009 in some of the great opera houses, theatres, and festivals of the world, including, Lincoln Center, The Kennedy Center, The Edinburgh Festival, Covent Garden Festival, Liceu Opera House, Theater des Westens Berlin, Munich Theater Festival, Brisbane Festival, the opera houses of Rio and Sao Paulo, and literally hundreds more, plus an annual 'season' in New York for twenty-eight years.
From 2000-2010, Ira worked as a stage director internationally, directing over twenty productions, working with conductors such as James Levine (Così fan tutte, Don Giovanni), Richard Bonynge (Così fan tutte), and Christoph von Dohnányi (Ariadne auf Naxos). In 2007, Ira was appointed Commentator on the Metropolitan Opera Broadcasts, a position he still holds, reaching ten million listeners worldwide every season.
Teaching has always been an important part of his work; Ira has taught privately in New York for over forty-five years, and in Amsterdam for the past nine years. He has given master classes at the Metropolitan Opera Guild, The Martina Arroyo Program, the Mannes School, Hunter College, the conservatories of Den Haag and Amsterdam, including the Dutch National Opera Academy (DNOA), and has been on the faculty of the International Vocal Arts Institute (IVAI) in Israel, Italy and China, The Renata Scotto Opera Academy, Tanglewood Music Center, CANTO Vocal Programs, and the Daniel Ferro Vocal Program. He has written features and reviews for Opera News since 1997.