Visiting Opera Stage Director
Visiting Assistant Professor
Department(s)Conducting and Ensembles, Opera
David Ward (opera stage director) is one of America's leading basso buffos, bringing his dazzling patter, his hysterical stage presence and his “shining bass” to productions of comic opera across the country. In over 25 productions of Il barbiere di Siviglia, he has portrayed his critically acclaimed Dr. Bartolo – twice on tour with the New York City Opera National Company, Nevada Opera, Knoxville Opera, Kentucky Opera, Lake George Opera Festival, Des Moines Metro Opera, Intermountain Opera, Bob Jones University, Opera Idaho, Toledo Opera, Virginia Opera, El Paso Opera, Opera Roanoke, Philadelphia's Academy of Vocal Arts and the Aspen Music Festival.
His Don Magnifico in La Cenerentola was heard at the Opening Night of the World Expo 2010 in Shanghai, China, as well as Des Moines Metro Opera, Bob Jones University, University of Nebraska in Lincoln and Lyric Opera of San Antonio. Mr. Ward is also acclaimed for his Donizetti roles: the title role in Don Pasquale at the Lake George Opera Festival, Sulpice in La Fille du Regiment with the New York City Opera National Company, and Dr. Dulcamara in L’Elisir d'amore at Greensboro Opera, Virginia Opera, El Paso Opera, Granite State Opera, Bob Jones University and the Skylight Comic Opera. Opera News wrote of his Dulcamara, “Ward juggled dizzying patter and demanding stage business with aplomb.” Mr. Ward brought his Dulcamara to Hong Kong for China’s Musica Viva in 2011.
Mr. Ward made his New York City Opera debut as Dr. Bartolo in Le nozze di Figaro, a role he also has sung for Des Moines Metro Opera, Roanoke Opera, Nevada Opera, Chautauqua Opera, Opera Idaho, Pensacola Opera and Greensboro Opera. Opera News called his Bartolo “expert.” Other Mozart performances include Osmin in The Abduction from the Seraglio for Anchorage Opera, Don Alfonso in Così fan tutte for the Chattanooga Symphony and Opera Northeast, and the Commendatore in Don Giovanni for Lake George Opera Festival. A versatile bass, Mr. Ward appeared with New York Grand Opera to sing the title role in Falstaff and Fra Melitone in La Forza del Destino. At New York Grand Opera’s Puccini Festival, he appeared as Geronte in Manon Lescaut, also heard at Intermountain Opera, and the Sacristan in Tosca.
His Sacristan has also been heard at Des Moines Metro Opera, Opera Ontario and Opera Delaware, while his Benoit and Alcindoro in La bohème have been heard at Opera Omaha, New Orleans Opera, Chautauqua Festival, San Antonio Opera, Intermountain Opera and with the Tokyo City Symphony in Japan. Mr. Ward sang the title role in Gianni Schicchi for the Chautauqua Festival. A comic specializing in operetta and Gilbert & Sullivan, his Franke in Die Fledermaus has been heard at Opera New Jersey, Opera Nevada, Opera Grand Rapids and Delaware Opera; his ebullient Baron Zeta in The Merry Widow has been seen at Fresno Grand Opera, Sacramento Opera and Mobile Opera. He appeared as Major General Stanley for Opera New Jersey, Pooh Bah for Indianapolis Opera and Sir Joseph Porter in HMS Pinafore for Lake George Opera Festival and Opera East Texas. He has sung the title role in The Mikado for Anchorage Opera and Mobile Opera, while his Dick Deadeye in HMS Pinafore has been seen at Chattanooga Opera and the New York G&S Players. Other operetta roles include Prince Populescu in Countess Maritza, Van Bett in Lortzing's Zar und Zimmerman, Calchas in Offenbach's La belle Hélène, and Froschin Die Fledermaus.
Mr. Ward made his Santa Fe Opera debut in the world premiere of David Lang's Modern Painters. Mr. Ward has also portrayed such roles as Sancho in Don Quichotte (in concert), the Musician Monk in Le Jongleur de Notre Dame, Peter Quince in A Midsummer Night's Dream, and Elder McLean in Susannah. For two seasons Mr. Ward sang Kecal in The Bartered Bride for the New York City Opera Educational Department before thousands of New York City school children. He recently sang the title role in Brundibar for Opera Omaha as part of their educational series on the Holocaust presented to over 10,000 students. With his roots in musical theatre, Mr. Ward played Judge Turpin in Sweeney Todd for Portland Opera and Arizona Opera. He appeared as Benjamin Franklin in 1776! for Utah Festival Opera.
Other musical theatre roles include Pseudolus in A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof, Charlemagne in Pippin, Hajj, the Poet in Kismet and Horace Vandergelder in Hello Dolly. Mr. Ward has appeared in concert with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, Amherst Symphony, Acadiana Symphony, Bronx Chamber Orchestra and Westfield Symphony. He has given masterclasses at New Jersey Opera, University of Nebraska in Lincoln, University of Louisiana in Lafayette, Houston Community College and Amherst College.
A native of Allendale, NJ, and a graduate of the College of Wooster, OH, Mr. Ward lived in New York City for 30 years where he studied voice with Armen Boyajian for over 15 years and Richard Gordon. Mr. Ward is a member of Actors' Equity Association and the American Guild of Musical Artists. Mr. Ward recently served as the Interim Director of the University of Arizona Opera Theater and served as a Visiting Assistant Professor for 2 years. In Tucson he directed Die Fledermaus, Die Zauberflöte, An Evening of Intermezzi: La canterina, L’Ivrogne corrigé and Der Schauspieldirektor, and a Menotti double-bill of The Medium and The Old Maid and the Thief at the UA Opera Theater. Mr. Ward recently received his Master of Music in Vocal Performance/Pedagogy and Opera Directing at the University of Houston’s Moores School of Music, under the direction of Buck Ross and Dr. Timothy Jones. While at the Moores School, Mr. Ward appeared in the title role of Falstaff, made his role debut as Baron Ochs in Der Rosenkavalier and directed mainstage productions of Kirke Mechem’s Tartuffe and Le nozze di Figaro.
In 2012 he joined the directing staff at Opera in the Ozarks where he’s directed The Pirates of Penzance, Cosi fan tutte, La Cenerentola and two touring productions for young people which he wrote: The Opera Games, May the Music be Forever in Your Favor and Cinderella. He also appeared as Madame Armfeldt in A Little Night Music. In 2013 Mr. Ward directed a critically-acclaimed Falstaff for Houston’s Opera in the Heights while teaching for both the voice and opera departments at the Moores School, he returns to Opera in the Heights to direct La Cenerentola in 2016. Ward stage directed H.M.S. Pinafore in 2014 for CLOC (College Light Opera Company in Falmouth, MA) and returned in 2015 to direct Hello, Dolly! and The Gondoliers.