Biography

Donald Hartmann

Lauded by critics and beloved by audiences for his stylistic versatility and gift for creating memorable characterizations, bass-baritone Donald Hartmann continues to nurture a career
launched at Germany's Stadttheater Regensburg in 1979. In subsequent years, Dr. Hartmann's 'beautifully shaped, deep, round tones' (Classical Voice of North Carolina) and 'subtle sense of timing' (Greensboro News and Record) have enriched more than seventy-five rôles in productions numbering in excess of 160, prompting Voix des Arts to question whether 'there is any part in his Fact that [he] cannot sing entertainingly.'

In recent seasons, Donald Hartmann has expanded his operatic repertoire with an array of acclaimed rôle débuts including the Sagrestano in Puccini's Tosca with New York City Opera, marking that company's return to Lincoln Center; William Jennings Bryan in Central City Opera's sixtieth anniversary production of Douglas Moore's The Ballad of Baby Doe; Don Magnifico in Rossini's La Cenerentola with Opera Roanoke; Sulpice in Greensboro Opera's production of Donizetti's La fille du régiment; Hajný in North Carolina Opera's performances of Dvořák's Rusalka; and Zaretsky in Tchaikovsky's Yevgeny Onegin with Opera Carolina.

Some of the most admired portrayals in Hartmann's extensive repertoire are his Commendatore in Mozart's Don Giovanni; Dottor Bartolo in both Mozart's Le nozze di Figaro and Rossini's Il barbiere di Siviglia; Raimondo in Donizetti's Lucia di Lammermoor; Pooh-Bah and the Mikado and Major General Stanley, the Sergeant of Police, and the Pirate King in the Gilbert and Sullivan classics The Mikado and The Pirates of Penzance; Luther, Crespel, and Schlémil in Offenbach's Les contes d'Hoffmnn; Marcello, Colline, Benoît, and Alcindoro in Puccini's La bohème, as well as Sharpless and Zio Bonzo in Madama Butterfly and Billy Jackrabbit in La fanciulla del West; and Swallow in Britten's Peter Grimes. His credentials as an interpreter of the operas of Giuseppe Verdi encompass vivid depictions of Monterone in Rigoletto, Barone Douphol in La traviata, and il Re d'Egitto in Aida. In 2009, he created the rôle of Howard in the world première of Libby Larsen's Picnic at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

A frequent presence on North America's stages, Donald Hartmann has appeared with Michigan Opera Theater, Toledo Opera, Opera Delaware, Arizona Opera, Madison Opera, Piedmont Opera, Opera Carolina, North Carolina Opera, and Greensboro Opera. Further engagements have taken him to Florentine Opera, Opéra de Montréal, Pamiro Opera, Montreux Opera Festival, Opera Roanoke, Chattanooga Opera, Nashville Opera, Virginia Opera, and other companies in the United States and Canada.

As engaging on the concert stage and in the recital hall as in the opera house, Dr. Hartmann has amassed broad concert and recital repertoires. With the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, he sang excerpts from Mozart's Die Zauberflöte. In his inaugural performance of music by Richard Wagner, his singing of Wotans Abschied from Act Three of Die Walküre and Hans Sachs's monologue from Act Three of Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg garnered praise for his 'natural delivery and clear diction' (Classical Voice of North Carolina, March 2013). He has been the bass soloist in performances of Mozart's Requiem with Greensboro Symphony Orchestra, Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra, and Macomb Symphony and in Beethoven's Ninth Symphony with the New Mexico, Perrysburg, Livonia, and Macomb Symphonies. He has sung Verdi's Messa da Requiem with the Eastern Philharmonic and the Peabody Symphony and in a special benefit performance conducted by Neeme Järvi. He has also participated in performances of Händel's Messiah, Haydn's Lord Nelson Mass and Die Schöpfung, Rossini's Stabat Mater, Brahms's Ein deutsches Requiem, and Duruflé's Requiem.

In recital, Dr. Hartmann espouses music from four centuries, ranging from sacred and secular cantatas by Johann Sebastian Bach and Alessandro Scarlatti to Twenty-First-Century works. Equally adept at singing French chansons and German Lieder, he also champions Spirituals and standards from Broadway and the Great American Songbook.

Taking part in several renowned vocal competitions, Dr. Hartmann was a second-place finalist in the San Antonio Opera Guild Talent Search. Under the auspices of OPERA!Lenawee, he won the Friedrich Schorr Memorial Prize in Vocal Performance. Subsequently appearing in five OPERA!Lenawee productions, he was that company's first Honored Artist.

Hailing from Greensboro, North Carolina, Donald Hartmann earned his Bachelor and Master of Music degrees at the University of North Carolina campus in his native city, studying first Piano Performance and later Vocal Performance. Receiving his Doctor of Musical Arts degree with honors in Vocal Performance from the University of Oklahoma, he joined the faculty of the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma, where he received the prestigious Regents Award for Superior Teaching. He was also a two-time recipient of the Faculty Artistic Recognition Award during his tenure as Full Professor in Eastern Michigan University's Department of Music and Dance. Dr. Hartmann presently serves as Full Professor of Voice in the School of Music in the College of Visual and Performing Arts at his alma mater, the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.