An interview with Associate Artist David Shipley

Bass David Shipley has been performing with Classical Opera from the very outset of his career, and became an Associate Artist in 2013. He will be performing with us in ‘Moto di gioia’ at St John’s Smith Square on 4 June:

What’s it like being an Associate Artist of Classical Opera?

I have to say it came as a bit of a surprise when Ian phoned to ask me; you only have to look at the list of singers who have been Associate Artists in the past to realise what an honour it is. My first experience of an opera recording session was with Classical Opera’s CD recording of Mozart’s Apollo et Hyacinthus when I found myself working with much more experienced singers.

Getting to work with some of the best musicians in the business at this early stage of my career is absolutely amazing, and the classical repertoire seems to suit my voice particularly well. I don’t think a young singer, still in training, could ask for a better opportunity.

Favourite opera?

That’s a very difficult one. At the moment I really can’t narrow it down to one. For now, the final Act of Wagner’s Die Walküre is a particular favourite of mine; and the Grand Inquisitor duet in Verdi’s Don Carlo also inspires me.

First opera you ever saw?

My father took me to see an Opera North production of Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream in Leeds when I was about twelve, but the first production to make a really big impression on me was the David McVicar’s production of Die Zauberflöte at Covent Garden.

Earliest musical memory?

There was always music playing in at least one room at home throughout my childhood: it would often be Radio 3, supplemented by classical music of all types on CD, tape or vinyl.

If you could be a character from any opera in real life, who would you be and why? (Not necessarily a bass!)

Papageno in Die Zauberflöte is one of the most amusing characters in opera, who readily wins the heart of audiences. Once he’s sorted his life out and settled down with Papagena, I think he’s a character I’d like to be in real life.

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