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Stafford Dean (Bass-Baritone)

Born: June 20, 1937 - Kingswood, Surrey, England

The English bass-baritone, Stafford Dean, was educated at Epson College and was Opera Scholar at the Royal College of Music in London. He studied with Gordon Clinton and privately with Howell Glynne and Otakar Kraus.

Stafford Dean toured with Opera for All 1962-1963 and 1963-1964. He made his Glyndebourne debut as Lictor in L'lncoronazione di Poppea in 1964; other roles: Le Bailli in Werther, Rochefort in Anna Bolena, Leporello and Don Alfonso. He quickly rose to the status of a leading member of Sadler's Wells Opera/ENO (1964-1970), where he made his debut as Zuniga; other roles: Daland, Sarastro, Padre Guardiano, Sparafucile, Colline, Leporello, Truffaldino, Rocco, Padre Guardiano, and Pluto in Monteverdi's Orfeo. In 1967 he created the role of Samuel Breze in A Penny for a Song by Richard Rodney Bennett. During this early period of his career he also made his Covent Garden debut in 1969 as Masetto in W.A. Mozart's Don Giovanni; other roles: Nightwatchman in Meistersinger, Narbal in Trojans, Figaro, Ferrando in ll Trovatore, Publio in W.A. Mozart's Clemenza‘ di Tito, Bottom, Rangoni in Boris Godunov, Leporello, new production of Lucrezia Borgia (Alfonso d'Este), Benjamin Britten's A Midsummer Night's Dream (Bottom), The Birthday of the lnfanta (Don Estoban).

Stafford Dean is one of the most prominent of England's bass and baritone vocalists, having performed internationally in almost every possible operatic role for that vocal range. He performed his international debut in 1971 as Don Giovanni's Leporello in Stuttgart, Germany, then at the Munich Festival, both in stagings by Gunther Rennert. Since then has specialized mainly in the bass and baritone repertoire of W.A. Mozart. He soon afterwards sang in Hamburg, Berlin. Prague and Bordeaux. His career developed rapidly with appearances in most of the major houses, particularly in the roles of Figaro and Leporello, which he sang in Cologne, Hamburg, Munich, Amsterdam, Vienna, Tokyo, Paris and Aix-en-Provence. He also sang Figaro in Chicago (1975) and at the New York Met (1976). He has performed in North America with the San Francisco Opera, Metropolitan Opera in New York City, Chicago Lyric Opera, and the opera houses of Chicago, Toronto; and in Europe with the opera hgouses of Stuttgart, West Berlin, Frankfurt, Vienna, Paris, Aix-en-Provence, Turin, Barcelona, Geneva, Zürich, Florence and Bonn and many other continental cities. He regularly performed at Covent Garden in later seasons, singing a wide range of roles, including Don Alfonso in W.A. Mozart's Così Fan Tutte, Bottom in A Midsummer Night's Dream, Count Waldner in Arabella, Gessler in William Tell, Bartolo in The Marriage of Figaro, Swallow in B. Britten's Peter Grimes, Narbal in The Trojans, Leporello, Figaro, Rangoni, and Alfonso d'Este in Lucrezia Borgia (with Joan Sutherland). In 1987 he sang the Prime Minister in the British première of The King Goes Forth to France by Aulis Sallinen.

Stafford Dean has also sung with the Scottish Opera, the Welsh National Opera, the Châtelet in Paris and at the Edinburgh Festival. He also sang Don Alfonso at Glyndebourne and Don Pedro in Beatrice and Benedict at English National Opewra (ENO). Roles with Welsh National included Sarastro and a notable performance as Philip II in Don Carlos. His debut with Scottish Opera came in 1970, as Leporello, and he appeared with the company frequently over the next thirty years, in a wide range of parts by a varied list of composers including Monteverdi, W.A. Mozart, L.v. Beethoven, Donizetti, Tchaikovsky, Dvořák and Strauss. He created the double role of Cardinal Beaton and David Riccio in Mary, Queen of Scots by Thea Musgrave in 1977, and he also created the King of Portugal in Inés de Castro by MacMillan in 1996.

Stafford Dean's concert repertoire which he has performed with several of the world's leading orchestras includes the Requiems of W.A. Mozart, Verdi, Dvorák, and Penderecki; L.v. Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 and Missa Solemnis; Haydn's Creation; Berlioz's L'Enfance du Christ and Roméo and Juliet; and Gustav Mahler's Symphony No. 8, Dmitri Shostakovich's Symphony No. 14. He has worked with such conductors as Andrew Davis, Colin Davis, Carlo Maria Giulini, Neville Marriner, and Jeffrey Tate. He was Bass Soloist in world premiere of Penderecki's Requiem (Stuttgart 1984).

TV appearances: Rigoletto (Sparafucile), Flying Dutchman (Daland) BBC, Don Giovanni, Cosi fan Tutte (Glyndebourne), Lucrezia Borgia, Don Giovanni (300th performance as Leporello) Covent Garden; other roles include: Arkel, King Philip, Seneca, Gremin, Kecal and Osmin. He sang Don Pedro in Beatrice and Benedict at the London Coliseum, 1990, Gessler in Guillaume Tell at Covent Garden, 1990, 1992. Of particular note was his performance as Pooh-Bah in the BBC in a filmed version of Gilbert and Sullivan's Mikado in 1982, and his outstanding rendition of the role of Alfonso d'Este in the 1980 Covent Garden production of Donizetti's opera Lucrezia Borgia that was released on film in 1980. While Inés de Castro was televised by the BBC, the tape has never been made available commercially. He also appeared, and Delius' A Village Romeo and Juliet in 1991. Recordings: ldomeneo, Pirro in I Lombardi, A Midsummer Marriage, Monteverdi Madrigals, Rochefort in Anna Bolena, Tiresias in Igor Stravinsky's Oedipus Rex, Trulove in I. Stravinsky's The Rake's Progress, The Beggar's Opera (Decca); Monteverdi Orfeo; L.v. Beethoven's Symphony No. 9; L'Enfance du Christ; the Dark Fiddler in A Village Romeo and Juliet, Abednego in B. Britten's own recording of The Burning Fiery Furnace, Pluto in Il ballo delle ingrate.


Source: International Who's Who in Music & Musicians' Directory (13th Edition, 1992/93); All Music Guide Website (Author: Eugene Chadbourne); Bruce Duffie wEBSITE
Contributed by
Aryeh Oron (March 2017)

Recordings of Bach Cantatas & Other Vocal Works




John Fisher


G.F. Handel: Opera Alcina, HWV 34 [1993, Melisso]

Links to other Sites

Stafford Dean - Biography (AMG)
Stafford Dean (Wikipedia)

Stafford Dean - Biography (IMDB)
Bass Stafford Dean and Mezzo-Soprano Anne Howells - A Conversation with Bruce Duffie

Biographies of Performers: Main Page | A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z
Explanation | Acronyms | Missing Biographies | The Sad Corner


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