David Kempster was born in Wales. He is a rarity in the UK, a ‘true Verdi baritone’, with a growing number of Italian roles to his name and with recent successes as Guillaume Tell and Balstrode in Peter Grimes, David continues to go from strength to strength. He is the baritone of choice for Welsh National Opera and has worked at Covent Garden and with houses in Europe and the US.
David Kempster was born in North Wales and studied at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester.
David joined English National Opera as a Principal Baritone in 1998, where his many roles included Marcello La Bohème, Lescaut Manon Lescaut, Conte di Luna Il Trovatore, Poacher Cunning Little Vixen and Teddy Foran in the world premiere of Mark Anthony Turnage’s The Silver Tassie. David has since returned to ENO as Escamillo Carmen, Sharpless Madama Butterfly, Agamemnon La Belle Hélène and most recently Belcore Elixir of Love. A long and productive relationship with Welsh National Opera has seen David appear in the title role as Don Giovanni, Guillaume Tell and Nabucco, Nottingham Roberto Devereux, Riccardo Forth I Puritani, Thaos Iphigenie en Tauride, Marcello La Bohème and his hugely successful role debut as Iago Otello. Most recently, David appeared as Alfio / Tonio in WNO’s double bill of Cavalleria Rusticana / I Pagliacci in celebration of the company’s 70th anniversary.
Elsewhere in the UK, David has appeared at Glyndebourne as Escamillo Carmen and Falke Die Fledermaus; at Opera North as Iago, and Cecil Maria Stuarda; at Aldeburgh Festival as Balstrode in their acclaimed outdoor production of Peter Grimes, and at Buxton Festival as Nottingham, and Miller Luisa Miller. In the US, David made his debut as Sharpless with Dallas Opera, returning to sing Nottingham. He has also appeared as Lescaut Manon Lescaut for Florida Grand Opera. Recent performances include Marco Gianni Schicci at the Royal Opera House Covent Garden, Sharpless Madama Butterfly for the Royal Danish Opera and Riccardo Forth I Puritani for Den Jyske Opera. David also appeared at the Royal Ballet in Will Tuckett’s production of Elizabeth at the Linbury Studio, which was filmed for Sky Arts.
On the concert platform, David has performed with leading orchestras, including Fauré Requiem with BBC National Orchestra of Wales, Orff’s Carmina Burana with London Concert Orchestra, Elgar’s The Apostles with the Hallé and Dream of Gerontius with Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, and Handel’s Judas Maccabeus with the London Mozart Players. He has appeared at the BBC Proms, National Eisteddfod of Wales, the Welsh Proms and the Machynlleth Festival. Recent performances include Peter The Apostles at the BBC Proms, and concert performances of Aida at the Royal Albert Hall, Eugene Onegin (Hallé/Mark Elder) and Leonore (Schlossfestspiele, Ludwigsburg). His recordings include Sévère in Donizetti’s Les Martyrs for Opera Rara, chosen as Album of the Year at the 2016 International Opera Awards.
This season, David appears as Don Giovanni for Opera Theatre Company Dublin, as Igor Prince Igor for Chelsea Opera Group at Cadogan Hall, and returns to WNO as Sharpless Madama Butterfly on tour in the UK and Dubai.
Promoters please note: if you wish to include this biography in a concert programme etc, please contact Hazard Chase to make sure you receive the most up to date version.
Email: Caroline Challis
Mascagni: CAVALLERIA RUSTICANA (Welsh National Opera)
“What heat and dynamism there was in this nun-heavy picture postcard was provided by David Kempster’s sharp-eyed Alfio… Kempster husbanded his resources carefully, delivering a tautly nuanced portrait of the calipered, bitter Tonio in Pagliacci.” Anna Picard, The Times (May 2016)
“David Kempster handles his four personae with customary aplomb” Rian Evans, The Guardian (May 2016)
Sir Mark Elder conducts the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment – cast includes Joyce El-Kyoury, Michael Spyres and David Kempster
OPERA RARA (2015)
Elgar – THE APOSTLES
With the Hallé Orchestra and Choir, conducted by Sir Mark Elder with Rebecca Evans (soprano), Alice Coote (mezzo), Paul Groves (tenor), Jacques Imbrailo (baritone), David Kempster (baritone) and Brindley Sherratt (bass)
HALLÉ CONCERTS SOCIETY (2012)
SOLO SONG RECITAL
David Kempster (baritone) sings a selection of songs from around the world with Heather Bills (piano) and A Bryn Parri (piano).