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.
Born in Chirk, North Wales, David Kempster 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 opera The Silver Tassie. David has since returned to ENO for a number of projects including 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 as Thaos Iphigenie en Tauride, Marcello La Bohème and his hugely successful debut as Iago Otello, encouraging one critic to comment that he had ‘blossomed into a true Verdi baritone’.
Also in the UK, David has appeared at Glyndebourne as Escamillo Carmen and Falke Die Fledermaus, at Opera North as Cecil Maria Stuarda and at Buxton Festival as Nottingham in Roberto Devereux and Miller Luisa Miller.
David made his US debut with Dallas Opera as Sharpless Madama Butterfly and returned there to sing Nottingham Roberto Devereux. He also appeared as Lescaut Manon Lescaut for Florida Grand Opera.
Appearances on the concert platform include Fauré Requiem (BBC National Orchestra of Wales), Carmina Burana (London Concert Orchestra at the Barbican; Hallé; Jersey Symphony Orchestra; National Eisteddfod of Wales), Opera Galas for Raymond Gubbay (Barbican; Bridgewater Hall; Royal Concert Hall, Glasgow), The Dream of Gerontius (Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra; Welsh Proms at St David’s Hall, Cardiff), Judas Maccabeus (London Mozart Players), concert performances of Eugene Onegin ( Hallé/Mark Elder) and Leonore (Schlossfestspiele, Ludwigsburg).
Recent engagements include Peter The Apostles (Hallé Orchestra; BBC Proms), Sharpless Madama Butterfly (Royal Danish Opera), From the House of the Dead and Iago Otello (Opera North), Amonasro Aida (Royal Albert Hall), Lescaut Manon Lescaut, and Nottingham Roberto Devereux for WNO’s ‘The Tudors’ season, Balstrode in the Aldeburgh Festival’s acclaimed production of Peter Grimes on Aldeburgh beach, title role in Guillaume Tell (WNO), Sharpless in Madama Butterfly at the Royal Albert Hall, Conte di Luna Il Trovatore (Scottish Opera) and Sévère in Donizetti’s Les Martyrs for a concert and recording with Sir Mark Elder for Opera Rara.
This season David sings Riccardo I Puritani (WNO), Tuckett’s ‘Elizabeth’ with dancers from the Royal Ballet at the Linbury, Marco Gianni Schicchi at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden and Alfio and Tonio in Cavalleria Rusticana and Pagliacci for Welsh National Opera.
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).