Bass-baritone David Pittsinger has sung with the world’s major orchestras under the batons of such conductors as James Levine, Zubin Mehta, Leonard Slatkin, William Christie, Richard Bonynge, Robert Spano, and Nicholas McGegan. His acclaimed portrayal of Emile de Becque in "South Pacific" at the Kennedy Center in 2011 was nominated for a Helen Hayes Award for Outstanding Lead Actor. After summer performances at the Glimmerglass Festival as King Arthur in Lerner & Loewe’s "Camelot," directed by Francesca Zambello, David Pittsinger's 2013-2014 season sees his return to Portland Opera as Jokanaan in "Salome," in a production by Stephen Lawless, conducted by George Manahan. He celebrates Britten’s centenary in a concert staging of "Peter Grimes" with David Robertson and the Saint Louis Symphony, both in Saint Louis and at Carnegie Hall; appears at Washington National Opera as the Speaker in a new production of "The Magic Flute," conducted by Philippe Augin; sings Rachmaninoff’s "The Bells" with the Houston Symphony; and reprises his acclaimed performance as Emile de Becque in Rodgers & Hammerstein’s "South Pacific" at the Riverside Theater in Vero Beach. David Pittsinger is a graduate of the University of Connecticut and the Yale School of Music.
American bass-baritone David Pittsinger is renowned as a stage performer of the greatest distinction for his portrayals in the world’s major opera houses. He made his Metropolitan Opera debut as Trulove in a new production of The Rake's Progress conducted by James Levine. His performances in Britten’s Death in Venice and Handel’s Orlando soon won him further acclaim. Of his Helen Hayes Award-nominated performance as Emile de Becque in Rodgers & Hammerstein’s South Pacific at the Kennedy Center, the Washington Times wrote: “His brilliant, knife-clean bass-baritone voice, impeccable enunciation—even with a French accent—and his authoritative, passionate delivery provide the perfect mix of romance, passion, and traditional masculine bravado. And his vocal delivery of ‘Some Enchanted Evening’ as well as the sorrowing ‘This Nearly Was Mine’ registers extraordinarily high on the three-hanky scale. His Emile is perhaps the definitive interpretation of this role in our time.”
After summer performances at the Bridgehampton Music Festival, David Pittsinger’s 2012-2013 season includes the role of Roy Disney in the world premiere of Philip Glass’s The Perfect American at Teatro Real, directed by Phelim McDermott. He also appears at the Metropolitan Opera as the Marquis de la Force in Dialogues des Carmélites, conducted by Louis Langrée, joins Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos and the Boston Symphony Orchestra for Stravinsky’s Pulcinella and Haydn’s Missa in tempore belli, and sings the world premiere of Scott Eyerly’s Arlington Sons—composed for Mr. Pittsinger and his son Richard, a boy soprano—with Leonard Slatkin and the Pittsburgh Symphony.
At Glimmerglass Opera in summer 2011, Mr. Pittsinger and his wife, soprano Patricia Schuman, sang the world premiere of A Blizzard at Marblehead Neck, an opera by Jeanine Tesori and Tony Kushner, based on the marriage of Eugene O’Neill and Carlotta Monterey. In the 2011-2012 season, Mr. Pittsinger returned to the Metropolitan Opera as the Comte des Grieux opposite Anna Netrebko in Manon, conducted by Fabio Luisi, in a new production by Laurent Pelly that was also be seen live in high definition in cinemas around the world. At San Francisco Opera, Mr. Pittsinger sang The Speaker in The Magic Flute, while audiences at Portland Opera can see his acclaimed portrayal of the Count in Le nozze di Figaro.
After spending the summer as Emile de Becque in the national tour of South Pacific, David Pittsinger began the 2010-2011 season singing both Cadmus and Somnus opposite Cecilia Bartoli in Robert Carsen’s production of Semele, conducted by William Christie at Theater an der Wien. He also portrayed the title role of Don Giovanni at Florida Grand Opera, and returned to the national tour of South Pacific with performances in Washington DC, Toronto, Philadelphia, St. Louis, Providence, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Spokane, and Costa Mesa, among other cities.
David Pittsinger opened the 2009-2010 season of the Metropolitan Opera as Angelotti in a new Luc Bondy production of Tosca, conducted by James Levine, also broadcast live in high definition to movie theaters across the country. Other engagements at the Metropolitan Opera included the Speaker in Julie Taymor’s beloved production of Die Zauberflöte and the murdered king of Denmark in Hamlet (also part of the Met’s Live in HD cinemacast series), conducted by Louis Langrée. At Theater an der Wien, Mr. Pittsinger sang Seneca in Robert Carsen’s production of L’incoronazione di Poppea. After reprising his acclaimed portrayal of Emile de Becque in the national tour of South Pacific, Mr. Pittsinger returned to the Broadway cast of the Tony Award®-winning revival at Lincoln Center Theater, directed by Bartlett Sher.
Mr. Pittsinger began the 2008-2009 season as Emile de Becque in South Pacific at Lincoln Center Theater. He also appeared as Enobarbus in a Carnegie Hall concert performance of Antony and Cleopatra with New York City Opera, sang Count Almaviva in Le Nozze di Figaro with Florida Grand Opera, and made his Madison Opera debut as Mephistopheles in Faust.
In the 2007-2008 season, Pittsinger made a return appearance with the Washington Concert Opera in Bellini’s I Puritani. He then reprised his celebrated Nick Shadow for the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées. His operatic season continued with his role debut as Scarpia in a return to Florida Grand Opera. This production was conducted by Stewart Robertson and directed by Catherine Malfitano. He also sang Cappellio in I Capuleti ed i Montecchi with the Pittsburgh Opera. He finished his season at Los Angeles Opera as Rambaldo in La Rondine under the direction of Marta Domingo. In concert, he sang Handel’s Messiah in Milan under Sir Neville Marriner and made his Dallas Symphony Orchestra debut under Jiří Bělohlávek in Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony and Schoenberg’s Survivor from Warsaw.
David Pittsinger’s wide-ranging repertoire includes a special affinity for the virtuosic music of the baroque. He has been lauded for his performances of Zoroastro in Handel’s Orlando (Glimmerglass Opera under Bernard Labadie and at New York City Opera); as Cadmus and Somnus in a new David McVicar production of Semele at the Theatre des Champs-Elysées in Paris; as Atamante in Piero Cesti’s L’Argia at the Champs-Elysées and Lausanne conducted by René Jacobs; as Harapha in Samson with the Philharmonia Baroque under McGegan and as Melisso in Alcina at San Francisco Opera. His elegant musicianship also puts him in high demand for challenging twentieth century scores including the title role of Massenet’s Don Quichotte at the Klangbogen Festival in Vienna and the Teatro Colon, Buenos Aires; his Nick Shadow in Stravinsky’s The Rake’s Progress has been seen in Paris (Champs-Elysées), Hamburg (a new production by Jürgen Flimm conducted by Ingo Metzmacher), Bordeaux, Lausanne, Cologne, Brussels and at the Wiener Festspiele; his Creon in Stravinsky’s Oedipus Rex has been seen at the Teatro San Carlo di Napoli and on tour in Athens. He has also sung the Count in Schreker’s Der Ferne Klang at the Théâtre Royal de la Monnaie; Rev. Olin Blitch in Carlisle Floyd’s Susannah at the Opera Company of Philadelphia and in Vancouver, and the Nemeses in Britten’s Death in Venice at Glimmerglass Opera. Of the repertoire of the 18th and 19th centuries, he has performed Don Giovanni at the Opera Company of Philadelphia, New York City Opera and Opera Colorado; Don Alfonso in Così fan tutte at the Opera Company of Philadelphia; Rodolfo in La Sonnambula for his debut at the Teatro Massimo in Palermo and a staged production of the Verdi Requiem at English National Opera. Other roles include Selim in Il Turco in Italia (Paris, Brussels and the Teatro Colon), the four Villains in Les Contes d'Hoffmann (Opera Company of Philadelphia), Colline in La Boheme (Metropolitan Opera), Publio in La Clemenza di Tito (a new Willy Decker production at the Paris Opera conducted by Ivor Bolton), Gounod’s Mephistopheles at Seattle Opera, l'Opéra de Montréal, Calgary Opera and the Opera Theatre of St. Louis. David Pittsinger’s dual portrayals of Mephisto earned him the “Artist of the Year” from the Pittsburgh public for both the Gounod and Boito operas.
Orchestral engagements have included the Verdi Requiem with the Los Angeles Philharmonic under Zubin Mehta; Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony under Leonard Slatkin with the National Symphony Orchestra (including Carnegie Hall); Missa Solemnis with the Houston Symphony under Hans Graf and with I Solisti Veneti; Rossini's Petite Messe Solennelle with the Gulbelkian Orchestra in Lisbon, under the direction of Claudio Scimone; Messiah with the Houston Symphony under McGegan, the Baltimore Symphony and the National Symphony Orchestra; the Vienna Philharmonic in performances of Frank Martin’s Golgotha; Berlioz's Roméo et Juliette with l’Orchestre de Lille under Mark Elder, The Rake’s Progress with the West Deutsche Rundfunk, Maria Stuarda conducted by Richard Bonynge and L'Enfance du Christ with John Nelson—both with the National Orchestra Radio France; Bach’s Christmas Oratorio with the Amsterdamse Bach Solisten, Gounod’s Mors et Vita under the baton of Michael Plasson, and the role of Alfonso in Lucrezia Borgia with VARA Radio at the Royal Concertgebouw in Amsterdam (also recorded for Naxos). He has performed at major American summer festivals including Grant Park (Verdi’s Requiem) and Tanglewood (Stravinsky’s Pulcinella conducted by Robert Spano) and has sung Haydn's Creation, Bach's St. Matthew Passion and Cantata 82 (“Ich habe genug”) and Brahms Liebeslieder Walzer at the Bellingham Festival.
Born in Connecticut, David Pittsinger holds a masters degree in vocal performance from the Yale School of Music and was a recipient of the “Outstanding Alumnus Award” at his undergraduate alma mater, the University of Connecticut. Upon graduation, he became a member of the Merola Program at the San Francisco Opera. Mr. Pittsinger can be heard on the Grammy Award-winning Virgin Classics recording of Carlysle Floyd's Susannah and in La Calisto by Cavalli on the Harmonia Mundi label. He lives in Connecticut with his wife and their two children.
"The standout performance [in 'Camelot' at the Glimmerglass Festival] was David Pittsinger’s charismatic, nuanced Arthur, touchingly characterized and nobly voiced. "Steve Smith, The New York Times
"Dominating the show, at least in this reviewer’s opinion, is David Pittsinger as Emile de Becque. Emile is in many ways the most operatic role ever written for a Broadway musical... Mr. Pittsinger fits this substantial résumé, and more. A veteran opera singer himself, his vocal skills are carefully tailored here to fit the mostly-Broadway spirit of the show. His brilliant, knife-clean bass-baritone voice, impeccable enunciation—even with a French accent—and his authoritative, passionate delivery provide the perfect mix of romance, passion, and traditional masculine bravado. And his vocal delivery of ‘Some Enchanted Evening’ as well as the sorrowing ‘This Nearly Was Mine’ registers extraordinarily high on the three-hanky scale. His Emile is perhaps the definitive interpretation of this role in our time."Terry Ponick, The Washington Times
"But wait until you hear the gorgeous ‘Some Enchanted Evening’ and ‘This Nearly Was Mine’ as sung by bass-baritone David Pittsinger, who portrays Emile de Becque, the smooth French wooer of the cockeyed American optimist, Ensign Nellie Forbush. That quadruple bassoon of a voice interpreting the Richard Rodgers melodies—among the most melting ever composed for the theater—is all the seduction that you or Nellie need. Somehow, the effortlessness of Pittsinger’s technique helps in the illusion that the great romance at the core of ‘South Pacific’ truly is operatic in scope."Peter Marks, The Washington Post
"The bass-baritone David Pittsinger made an intimidating Don Giovanni, physically impressive and deploying a voice that radiated power even when he was singing softly. In Là ci darem la mano, he displayed vocal beauty that had a muscular edge, preventing his voice from ever descending into empty prettiness. This was particularly apparent in the mandolin-accompanied serenade Deh vieni alla finestra, where Pittsinger’s husky voice effectively undermined the Don’s would-be sweetness"David Fleshler, South Florida Classical Review