David Ward

Biography

Born: July 3, 1922; Dumbarton   Died: July 16, 1983; Dunedin, New Zealand  
Tall and imposing, this Scotsman progressed in a decade's time from leading roles for lyric bass to the rigors of Wagner's Wotan. During the period in which Hans Hotter gradually withdrew from performances of Wagner's great creation, David Ward shared with the American baritone Thomas Stewart pre-eminence as Wotan, studying the role with Hotter and singing it under Hotter's stage direction. One of many British Isles singers to benefit from Georg Read more Solti's tenure as music director at Covent Garden, he found his association with the conductor a significant enhancement to his career. His full, rounded bass of attractive timbre never was fully at ease in the highest reaches of Wotan, but he compensated with his magisterial authority, smoothly managed legato, and biting enunciation. He was also a credible singer of Verdi's leading bass characters, as well as other French, German, and Russian roles for low voice.

After studying at the Royal College of Music in London, Ward joined the chorus at Sadler's Wells Opera in 1952 and graduated the following year to the rank of soloist, appearing first as the Old Bard in Rutland Boughton's The Immortal Hour and later, as Count Walter in Verdi's Luisa Miller. At its premiere on September 22, 1954, he created the role of Hardy in Lennox Berkeley's Nelson, advancing each season thereafter to ever more important assignments. Aside from standard bass roles such as Méphistofélčs, he undertook his first bass baritone part when he sang Vanderdecken in Der Fliegende Holländer. For his Covent Garden debut in 1960, Ward essayed Pogner, a role well-suited to his flowing voice and dignified manner. Lord Walton in Bellini's I Puritani was the vehicle for Ward's Glyndebourne Festival debut the same year in a production repeated in Edinburgh, starring Joan Sutherland. Bayreuth also beckoned in 1960 and Ward sang his first performances there as Titurel.

In Chicago, Ward made a memorable Lyric Opera appearance as Bluebeard in Bartók's psychologically probing opera, his huge, hulking figure matching the grim darkness of his singing. San Francisco heard his Das Rheingold Wotan in 1967 and in 1969, Ward returned for Sarastro in a Die Zauberflöte (The Magic Flute), populated by several other singers from the United Kingdom, including Margaret Price, Stuart Burrows, and Geraint Evans.

Ward maintained a close relationship with the Royal Opera House until his retirement. Among his Wagner roles, Fasolt and Hunding gave way to Wotan, while his Sir Morosus in Strauss' Die Schweigsame Frau (The Silent Woman), heard in 1961, was followed by his restrained and solicitous Arkel (recorded with Boulez), Rocco, Clement VII in Berlioz's Benvenuto Cellini, Ivan Khovansky, and Don Basilio. Ward made his mark with several Verdi characters, notably a tragic Fillip II, Fiesco, and Zaccaria. For the Scottish National Opera, he sang an acclaimed Boris Godunov. He sang in Italy as well as Germany and America and performed Wotan in multiple Ring cycles at Argentina's Teatro Colón in 1967. His final performance at Covent Garden was as the Grand Inquisitor in Meyerbeer's L'africaine in 1978. By the early '70s, Ward had achieved an interpretive fullness with his Wotan that begged comparison with the century's most respected exponents. His Siegfried Wanderer, in particular, conveyed a sense of wry humor in resignation that was uniquely touching. Read less
Browse 1-16 of 16 Available Recordings
  • 1.
    The Westminster Legacy
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001999302 Release Date: 02/18/2014   Number of Discs: 40
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Franz Joseph Haydn,  Gustav Mahler  ... 
    Performer:  Sena Jurinac,  Lucretia West,  Hans Loeffler,  Frederick Guthrie  ... 
    Conductor:  Hermann Scherchen,  Pierre Monteux,  René Leibowitz,  Erich Leinsdorf  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra,  Vienna State Opera Orchestra,  Vienna Academy Chamber Chorus  ... 
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  • 2.
    Deutsche Motette: German Romantic Choral Music From Schubert To Strauss
    Label: Delphian   Catalog: 34124 Release Date: 08/13/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Strauss,  Robert Schumann,  Franz Schubert,  Johannes Brahms  ... 
    Performer:  Timothy [Bass Vocals] Mirfin,  Helen Massey,  Victoria [Soprano Vocal] Holden,  Charity [Soprano Vocal] Mapletoft  ... 
    Conductor:  David Trendell,  Geoffrey Webber
    On sale! $21.98
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  • 3.
    The Claude Debussy Collection
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 193179 Release Date: 05/01/2012   Number of Discs: 18
    Composer:  Claude Debussy
    Performer:  Gervase de Peyer,  Ann Murray,  Nathalie Stutzmann,  Leslie Caron  ... 
    Conductor:  Charles Munch,  Pierre Boulez,  Michael Tilson Thomas,  Esa-Pekka Salonen
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Symphony Orchestra,  New Philharmonia Orchestra,  Cleveland Orchestra  ... 
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  • 4.
    Wagner: Die Walkure / Leinsdorf, Nilsson, Vickers, London
    Label: London/Decca Grand Opera Series   Catalog: 430391 Release Date: 11/07/2011   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  Birgit Nilsson,  Jon Vickers,  Julia Malyon,  Gré Brouwenstijn  ... 
    Conductor:  Erich Leinsdorf
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra
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  • 5.
    Handel: Messiah / Sutherland, Bumbry, Mckellar, Ward, Boult
    Label: Newton Classics   Catalog: 8802032 Release Date: 11/16/2010   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel
    Performer:  David Ward,  Dame Joan Sutherland,  Grace Bumbry,  Kenneth McKellar
    Conductor:  Sir Adrian Boult,  Richard Bonynge
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  London Symphony Chorus,  Royal Opera House Covent Garden Orchestra  ... 
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  • 6.
    Bellini: I Puritani / Sutherland, Filacuridi, Gui
    Label: Glyndebourne Festival Opera   Catalog: 9-60 Release Date: 10/26/2010   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Vincenzo Bellini
    Performer:  Monica Sinclair,  David Ward,  Ernest Blanc,  Giuseppe Modesti  ... 
    Conductor:  Vittorio Gui
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra,  Glyndebourne Chorus
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  • 7.
    Handel: Messiah / Boult, Sutherland, Bumbry, Mckellar, Ward
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 433003 Release Date: 10/22/2007   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel
    Performer:  David Ward,  Kenneth McKellar,  Grace Bumbry,  Dame Joan Sutherland
    Conductor:  Sir Adrian Boult,  Richard Bonynge
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  London Symphony Chorus,  Royal Opera House Covent Garden Orchestra  ... 
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  • 8.
    Idomeneo, Re Di Creta / Bertocci, Jelden, Maag
    Label: Arts Music   Catalog: 43063 Release Date: 07/18/2006   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
    Performer:  David Ward,  Aldo Bertocci,  Agnes Giebel,  Georg Jelden  ... 
    Conductor:  Peter Maag
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Italian Radio Chorus Rome,  Italian Radio Symphony Orchestra Rome
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  • 9.
    Verdi: Rigoletto / Solti, Moffo, Kraus, Merrill
    Label: Rca Victor Red Seal   Catalog: 70785 Release Date: 10/04/2005   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi
    Performer:  Corinna Vozza,  Mario Rinaudo,  Tina Toscano,  Robert Kerns  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Georg Solti
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  RCA Italian Opera Chorus,  RCA Italian Opera Orchestra
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  • 10.
    The Compact Opera Collection - Wagner: Die Walküre/Leinsdorf
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 470443 Release Date: 08/20/2002   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  David Ward,  Birgit Nilsson,  Rita Gorr,  Julia Malyon  ... 
    Conductor:  Erich Leinsdorf
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra
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  • 11.
    The Voice Of The Baroque - Bartoli, Berganza, Price, Et Al
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 472315 Release Date: 05/14/2002   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Claudio Monteverdi,  George Frideric Handel,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Gottfried H. Stölzel  ... 
    Performer:  Dana Hanchard,  Sylvia McNair,  Bryn Terfel,  Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau  ... 
    Conductor:  John Eliot Gardiner,  Sir Charles Mackerras,  Karl Richter,  Barry Rose  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  English Baroque Soloists,  Scottish Chamber Orchestra,  Munich Bach Orchestra  ... 
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  • 12.
    Westminster - Berlioz: Romeo & Juliette, Etc /Monteux, Et Al
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 471242 Release Date: 11/13/2001   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Hector Berlioz
    Performer:  Regina Resnik,  David Ward,  André Turp
    Conductor:  Pierre Monteux,  René Leibowitz
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  London Symphony Chorus,  Vienna State Opera Orchestra
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  • 13.
    Westminster - Beethoven: Symphony No 9 / Monteux, London So
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 471216 Release Date: 06/12/2001   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Elisabeth Söderström,  Regina Resnik,  Jon Vickers,  David Ward
    Conductor:  Pierre Monteux
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  London Bach Choir
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  • 14.
    Eloquence - Handel: Messiah - Arias & Choruses /Boult, Et Al
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 467401 Release Date: 03/27/2001   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel
    Performer:  David Ward,  Grace Bumbry,  Ralph Downes,  George Malcolm  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Adrian Boult
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  London Symphony Chorus
    CD: $8.99
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  • 15.
    Monteverdi: Il Ballo Delle Ingrate, Etc / Deller, Et Al
    Label: Vanguard   Catalog: 8100 Release Date: 02/27/1996   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Claudio Monteverdi
    Performer:  Honor Sheppard,  Sally Le Sage,  Alfred Deller,  Max Worthley  ... 
    Conductor:  Alfred Deller
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Deller Consort,  London Chamber Players,  Ambrosian Singers
    ArkivCD $16.99
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  • 16.
    Debussy: Pelléas Et Mélisande / Pierre Boulez
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 47265 Release Date: 12/13/1991   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Claude Debussy
    Performer:  George Shirley,  Donald McIntyre,  David Ward,  Yvonne Minton  ... 
    Conductor:  Pierre Boulez
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Opera House Covent Garden Orchestra,  Royal Opera House Covent Garden Chorus
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