Reviews

  • Performance Review – Carmen
  • Voix des Artes – Joseph Newsome
  • January 15, 2017

“One of the foremost accomplishments of Sir Rudolf Bing’s storied two-decade tenure as General Manager of the Metropolitan Opera was the cultivation of a true company of well-trained singers for supporting rôles who could be called upon to step into larger assignments when circumstances so dictated. A rôle like Zuniga in Carmen could therefore be entrusted to singers of the caliber of Osie Hawkins, Norman Scott, and Morley Meredith, a now-extinct boon to MET performances resurrected in Greensboro with the casting of bass-baritone Donald Hartmann as the dragoons’ licentious lieutenant. In his Act One exchange with José, ‘C’est bien là, n’est-ce pas, dans ce grand bâtiment, que travaillent les cigariéres,’ Hartmann goaded his distracted colleague, and with ‘Ce qui t‘occupe, ami, je le sais bien: une jeune fille charmante, qu‘on appelle Micaëla, jupe bleue et natte tombante’ he amusingly provoked José into confessing that his thoughts were occupied by Micaëla. Ordering José to bind Carmen’s hands and conduct her to prison after her fight in the cigarette factory, Hartmann’s singing of ‘C’est dommage, c’est grand dommage, car elle est gentille vraiment!’ was delightful, his Zuniga never more in his element than when personifying hypocrisy. Admonishing Carmen in Act Two for choosing José, a mere soldier, rather than an officer—himself, that is—with ‘Le choix n’est pas heureux; c’est se mésallier de prendre le soldat quand on a l’officier,’ this natural comedian and not the projected supertitle earned the audience’s laughter. Later, acquiescing at gunpoint to Carmen and her cohorts, he bade the performance adieu with his trademark spot-on timing and saturnine timbre. Stating that Hartmann sang well is like saying that oceans are deep, but his Zuniga was a burst of sunlight in Carmen’s smoky world, ever a cad but never a clown.”

***

  • Seduction and Jealousy – Greensboro Opera’s Carmen at Hit
  • CVNC – Peter Perret
  • January 13, 2017
  • Greensboro Opera

“Donald Hartmann sang the comic role of the lieutenant Zuniga, a blustering ineffectual leader with a great booming voice, hopelessly infatuated by Carmen.”

***

  • Brilliant Tosca Production Shocks Again
  • CVNC – Peter Perret
  • October 30, 2016 Winston Salem
  • Piedmont Opera

“Other outstanding voices included the surprisingly robust and warm bass of Donald Hartmann in the role of the Sacristan….”

***

  • BlakesBlog – Reflections on Theater, Opera and Music
  • Central City Opera – Tosca & the Ballad of Baby Doe
  • August 9, 2016

“I have to say that Donald Hartman [sic] was absolutely terrific as William Jennings Bryant [sic]. He commanded the stage, he was the experience politician greeting everyone at the rally and each greeting was different. And his “aria” speech (actually a real speech by the historical Bryant set to music) Good People of Leadville was masterful. He built it slowly until finally the chorus could not help but erupt into cheers and celebration. H is in the one scene only – but he was great! Well Done!”

***

  • Evergreen Baby in Colorado
  • Operatoday
  • James Sohre
  • July 21, 2016

“The featured character William Jennings Bryan was served up with gusto by bass-baritone Donald Hartmann. His characterful, sonorous singing boomed out in the house and his take-no-prisoners campaign persona was the riveting focal point of his scene, as was required.”

***

  • Lean and Mean Tosca in Colorado
  • Operatoday
  • James Sohre
  • July 20, 2016

“Lanky Donald Hartmann was all gangly limbs and orotund delivery as he gave us a Sacristan that was all about the comedic core of the character. His was a well-rounded and thorough embodiment of the doddering meddler…”

***

  • The Ballad of Baby Doew opens Central City Opera season
  • Boulder Daily Camera
  • Kelly Dean Hansen
  • Jul 11, 2016

“Baritone Donald Hartmann stands out in the generous cameo appearance of 1896 presidential candidate William Jennings Bryan.”

***

Greensboro Opera’s ‘La Cenerentola (Cinderella)’ is great fun

By Nicolas Rich Special to News & Record | Posted: Saturday, August 29, 2015 3:28 pm


Donald Hartmann never disappoints as a basso buffo. His Don Magnifico had all the necessary bluster, but was nevertheless precise and controlled, and a source of never ending laughs

Voix des Arts
August 2015

Is it possible that his students in UNCG’s School of Music, Theatre, and Dance are fully cognizant of the treasure that they have before them in bass-baritone Donald Hartmann‘s tutelage? It is one thing to lecture effectively on fine points of operatic interpretation, but this performer’s characterizations are invaluable lessons in the art of combining unflappable musicality with an adroitness upon the stage that can be observed and thus honed but only very rarely taught to those who do not possess it. Hartmann is a consummate charmer who can make slapstick comedy seem like the very definition of sophistication, and Greensboro Opera’s Cenerentola gave him opportunities to impress with both buffoonery and heartwarming sincerity. Hartmann’s singing of Magnifico’s aria ‘Miei rampolli, miei rampolli femminini’ fizzed with vocal wizardry and uproarious bafflement. The singer’s comic timing, reminiscent of Red Skelton at his best, was a marvel throughout the performance, but there was a frivolity that seemed to surprise even him in his assertion that the third daughter attributed to Don Magnifico in the prince’s registry was dead. As with Norina’s browbeating of Donizetti’s Don Pasquale, this can be a sudden, disquieting indication of the game having been carried too far, but the moment in this performance was primarily an egregious affront to Angelina’s dignity. In the subsequent quintet, Hartmann skipped through ‘Nel volto estatico di questo e quello si legge il vortice del lor cervello’ with the cluelessness of a man with just enough gumption about him to be slightly dangerous. Porky Pig would have been proud of Hartmann’s sputtering ‘Signor…Altezza, in tavola, signor…Altezza, in tavola…che…co…chi…sì’ in what Rossini positioned as the Act One finale: one almost expected him to reappear after the number’s close to say, ‘That’s all, folks!’ Hartmann voiced Magnifico’s aria ‘Sia qualunque delle figlie’ with aptly absurd pomposity conveyed by his raven-hued timbre. Propelled by Hartmann’s singing of ‘Senza batter, senza battere le ciglia,’ the duet with Dandini was a grand slam in a game filled with home runs. The softening of Magnifico’s demeanor in the opera’s final scene was in this performance less a begrudging surrender than a return to the sort of man he perhaps was before loss of fortune and life partner metamorphosed him into an embittered father struggling with feisty daughters. Hartmann phrased ‘Alfine, alfine sul bracciale ecco, ecco il pallon tornò’ with breathless excitement, but his jocularity faded as rapidly as his acknowledged daughters’ prospects for making princely matches. His ultimate acceptance of Angelina as his daughter and savior was poignant. Hartmann is the kind of performer who immeasurably enriches the offerings of regional opera companies, and he confirmed anew with his Don Magnifico for Greensboro Opera that his flair for comedic bel canto is major-league-worthy.

 

Scintillating Singing in Greensboro Opera’s La Cenerentola

By William Thomas Walker
August 28, 2015 – Greensboro, NC:

Bass-baritone Donald Hartmann was truly magnificent as the pompous embezzler Don Magnifico. His voice was superbly supported and has full, rich tone. The agility of his delivery of fast passages was remarkable. His comic timing was perfect.

 

La Cenerentola
Opera Roanoke: March,2015

Voix des Arts

Is there any part in his Fach that bass-baritone Donald Hartmann cannot sing entertainingly? Having excelled as the Huntsman in Rusalka and Baron Douphol in La traviata with North Carolina Opera and Sulpice in La fille du régiment with Greensboro Opera, he was again on sterling form in Roanoke as Don Magnifico in La Cenerentola. In the cavatina in Act One, ‘Miei rampolli femminini’, Mr. Hartmann focused his dark, distinctive timbre in an imposing delivery of Rossini’s music, an achievement repeated in the patter and seemingly endless—or so it must appear to the singer—profusion of top Es in ‘Mi sognai fra il fosco e il chiaro’ and in the de facto cabaletta, ‘Per pietà quelle ciglia abbassate’. His pomposity as the newly-appointed court sommelier was side-splitting. In Act Two, Mr. Hartmann sang commandingly both on his own and in ensemble, but the highlight of his performance—and, indeed, of the performance as a whole—was Magnifico’s duet with Dandini. Mr. Hartmann’s dumbfounded grumbling of ‘Senza batter, senza battere le ciglia’ was priceless. Negotiating Rossini’s bravura writing was not without effort for him, but he approached Magnifico’s challenges without hesitation. Receiving Angelina’s tender pardon in the opera’s final minutes, Mr. Hartmann’s Magnifico seemed suddenly transformed from a blustering fool into a touchingly frail old man: unlike many Magnificos, this one ultimately deserved his stepdaughter’s magnanimity.

The Roanoke Times

Their father, Don Magnifico, was a similarly ludicrous — and hilarious — figure from the start. Donald Hartmann lent a comic gravity to the role, and his agile vocal performance complemented his outstanding ability to make the most out of a single prop.


La Traviata
North Carolina Opera: March 2015
Voix des Arts

The obsidian-voiced Donald Hartmann’s Barone Douphol was a convincing roué without too much vaudevillian posturing, and his cavernous, virile tone made him a dangerous, somewhat sinister presence.


La Fille du Régiment
Greensboro Opera: January 2015
Voix des Arts

As Sulpice, UNCG faculty member Donald Hartmann+ enhanced the very positive impression he made with his singing of the Gamekeeper in North Carolina Opera’s 2014 performance of Dvo&rcirc;ák’s Rusalka. Possessing a ruggedly attractive timbre, the bass-baritone evaded the lure of mindless tomfoolery without shortchanging the comedy of his rôle. In Sulpice’s Act One duet with Marie, ‘La voilà! la voilà! mordieu qu’elle est gentille,’ he interacted with the adopted daughter of his regiment with the awkwardness of a father with a daughter on the brink of womanhood, and his hostility towards Tonio was brusque but born of sincere concern. In his scene with Marie and the Marquise at the start of Act Two, he was the very embodiment of ennui, and his singing of ‘Rataplan, rataplan, rataplan’ in their trio was vividly droll. In the subsequent trio with Marie and Tonio, ‘Tous les trois réunis, quel plaisir, mes amis,’ Dr. Hartmann made easy going of his long-held D at the top of the staff, and his outburst of ‘C’est bien morbleu! j’crois qu’si j’osais’ in the final ensemble was terrific. In terms of militaristic prowess, Dr. Hartmann’s was a Sulpice who may not have been on the fast track for promotion, but he took command of every scene in which he appeared with firm singing and well-judged acting.

Opera Lively

Donald Hartmann as Sulpice is a veteran performer in US regional opera companies nationwide spanning three decades, and a favorite of North Carolina stages. He currently serves on the voice faculty at UNC-Greensboro. We’ve heard Mr. Hartmann multiple times, always with solid acting (he is what we’d call a character singer) and very good voice. Yesterday’s performance was one of the best among the ones we’ve seen. He was a major force for the success of the evening, given that Sulpice is a comedic make-it-or-brake-it role for this opera, and he delivered. It is interesting to notice that his operatic debut was exactly with Greensboro Opera, 31 years ago.

Greensboro News and Record

Donald Hartmann, UNCG professor of voice, was a powerhouse in the role of Sergeant Sulpice.
Hartmann is a hugely powerful bass-baritone, and yet he deftly tempered his power in the most tender moments between the Sergeant and Marie.

An Impressive Evening at Aycock Auditorium

Classical Voice of North Carolina: March, 2013

Appearing as soloist for Wahn! Wahn! was Donald Hartmann of the UNCG faculty, a serious presence, and a skilled vocalist producing beautifully-shaped, deep, round tones, displaying a fine instrument, with a natural delivery and clear diction. More familiar, and more dramatic, was the music that closed the first half- Wotan’s Farewell…more advanced, and more expressive…The performance was good enough to make one realize (if one hadn’t before) why Wagnerians make pilgrimages to hear these works.”

 

Tosca, Opera Carolina

Opera News,January, 2013

“Donald Hartmann’s Sacristan was believable as well as comical, and sonorously sung.”

Eugene Onegin, Opera Carolina

Opera News,June, 2012

“The smaller roles were adeptly handled…Daniel [Donald] Hartmann (as Zaretsky). ….were all effective.”


Tosca,
Raleigh, North Carolina

Opera News

Each player was thoroughly choreographed. Sacristan Donald Hartmann was a scrawny fellow with an unholy attitude problem and a flask tucked under his robes.”
Magic Flute, Greensboro, North Carolina

Classical voice of N C

Speaker of the Temple Donald Hartmann’s voice was earnest and richly focused.”

 

OperaDE stages rhapsodizing and riotous “Barber of Seville”

November 14, 2009 Community News

Dr. Bartolo (Donald Hartmann) was described in “Opera News” as ‘one of the best character singers on any opera stage anywhere.” He lived up to the press in this role. His gigantic bass baritone fills The Grand and I think my contacts were vibrating with his timbre. Hartman’s mugging in the comic character he portrays is out of Harpo Marx.”

 

Singing, pratfalls both fine in ‘Barber’

November 2, 2009 The News Journal

As Bartolo, Hartman himself is a fine comedian and his resonant bass makes the silly, delusional prattle of the old doctor all the more humorous.”

 

Trip to the “Barber” brings good results

September 1997 Door County Advocate (Greenbay, Wisconsin)

“Donald Hartmann was an oily, insinuating Don Basilio whose “La Calunnia” had the manic sense of troublemaking essential to the full realization of this snake-like character. His singing, too, was both strong and accomplished.”

 

Toledo Opera offers first-rate theater

May 1997, The Blade

“Tall and thin, Donald Hartmann’s Don Basilio roamed the stage like a hungry, but toothless snake. He would do anything for money but he did it in such a way that he too was endearing.”

 

UNCG Opera Theater Does Gilbert and Sullivan Proud

April 22, 2008 Classical Voice of North Carolina

Bass-baritone Donald Hartmann was equally over-the-top as that master of multi-tasking, Pooh-Bah, the Lord High Everything Else. Each of his many offices needed to be individually “insulted” meaning bribed. His powerful and clearly projected voice was welded to clear enunciation of the text and to a perfect sense of comic timing.”

 

Pirates wows crowd at the last opera of season

April 2001 Chattanooga Times Free Press

Bass Baritone Donald Hartmann was outstanding as the Pirate King, both as a singer and actor…”

 

Sweet but Sharp

February 1998 Nashville

Donald Hartmann as Pooh-Bah brings a large and expressively resonant bass-baritone voice and finely honed acting skills to this archetypal windbag-for-bribing.”

 

Nuances of “Mikado” melodies, libretto shine

November 1995, The Blade (Toledo, Ohio)

“Matching him antic for antic was the Mikado himself, played to the hilt by tall, slim Donald Conrad Hartmann, a dramatic basso indeed.”

 

“La Boheme captures audience with likable characters, beautiful music”

April 30, 2005 Milwaukee Journal Sentinal

Bass/baritone Donald Hartmann is vocally solid and dramatically colorful in the roles of Benoit and Alcindoro.”

 

Love Story

November 2000 Isthmus (Madison, Wisconsin)

“Hartmann is one of the best operatic character actors anywhere. As the landlord Benoit in the first act and as Alemdoro in the second, he played the comedy with stayle and with first-rate singing.”

 

UNM Stage Engaging “La Boheme”

February 1993 Albuquerque Journal

“Hartman was a frequent scene stealer with his lively eyes, elastic face and knack for just the right gesture. He infused his role (Marcello) with convincing inflection, with vocal coloring that underlined meaning. Only Hartmann managed to cut through the orchestra consistently.”

 

Opera Carolina’s Tosca a“Hit” with Three Runs

April 13, 2005 Classical Voice of North Carolina

Many productions use the role of the quarrelsome Sacristan for older baritones whose voices are staring to fray at the edges. It was a pleasure to hear the part fully sung by Donald Hartman, who combined a portrait of a hyperactive fuss box with the benefit of a still-supple voice.”

 

Madison, Wisconsin

August 1998, Opera News

“Donald Hartman’s ripe-voiced Sacristan was delightfully characterized.”

 

Opera!Lenawee comes of age with “Tosca”

April 1995 Daily Telegram

“Opera!Lenawee veteran performer Donald Hartmann, providing the only comic relief in this intense opera, is perfect as the Sacristan. Hartmann blends a tremendous bass-baritone with a great comic timing, and he’s exceptional”

 

Whitewater’s “Tosca” is solid performance

May 1995 Palladium Item

“With gestures, facial expressions and total body language, Donald C. Hartmann does an excellent job of providing comic relief in the role.”

 

Fine Diva, Cast Bring “Madama Butterfly” to Life

February 1994, Albuquerque Journal

“Donald Hartmann, with his strong almost basso profundo tones, was excellent as U.S. Counsel Sharpless, who as the only real hero in the drama, unsuccessfully warns Pinkerton to treat Butterfly well.”

 

Madison Opera “Don Giovanni”

March 4, 2002 Opera News

Bass Donald Hartmann (the Commendatore) waxed believably wroth and sang firmly and securely while defending his daughter’s honor in Act I. He died beautifully. As the statue in Act II, his character was more nearly human than apocalyptic in scale, vocally as well as dramatically.”

 

November 21, 2001 Isthmus (Madison, Wisconsin)

As Il Commendatore, bass Donald Hartmann brought dignity to the role of the man who defends his daughter’s honor in the first act, losing his life to Giovanni’s sword in the process. When he returned as the statue to offer the Don redemption through renunciation, Hartmann added an admirable gravity to both singing and acting.”

 

Mozart’s Enchanting “Figaro”

June 2, 2002 The Monitor (Detroit, Michigan)

Bass-baritone Donald Hartmann excelled in his performance of Antonio the gardener. This was aided also by his imaginative costume and acting behavior.”

 

Montreal’s first Peter Grimes

December 3, 2001 Opera News

Every role was given a distinct, convincing personality, particularly through the commanding voice of Donald Hartmann (Swallow)…”

 

June 5, 2000 The Detroit News

As the coroner Swallow, who presides over the prologue’s inquest into the death of Grimes’ first boy assistant, Donald Hartmann adds a ringing voice…”