David Ireland, bass-baritone

Who or what inspired you to pursue a career in music?

Entertaining audiences. Getting a reaction from a group of people, positive or negative, is always special; it’s my main reason for performing.

Who or what have been the most important influences on your musical life and career?

I’ve met lots of performers since I started my career in 2017 that have been influential and inspirational on an artistic level. However, the real influences have been the performers who have nailed the idea of a work/life balance: entertaining people by evening, living an actual life by day.

What have been the greatest challenges of your career so far?

I’ve had plenty of challenges; musical (Harrison Birtwistle’s ‘Mask of Orpheus’), dramatic (Colline in ‘La bohème), and vocal (illness can really make being a singer tough!), but they keep me learning about myself and my job, and stop me from ever becoming complacent!

Which performances/recordings are you most proud of?

We took ‘Don Giovanni’ to Paris with Garsington Opera. It was a semi-staged version of the show we’d already performed 10 times, but this one felt particularly special.

My professional debut was also a really proud moment – having to step into Alan Opie’s shoes, due to illness, as Bartolo in the ‘Barber of Seville’ at English National Opera. It was a real baptism of fire!!

Which particular works do you think you perform best?

I’ve been singing Leporello’s Catalogue Aria from ‘Don Giovanni’ for many years now, and I love playing around with it in so many different ways. There are also loads of Rossini buffo roles, like Don Magnifico, that I love performing and really click with, though they’re usually cast a lot older.

How do you make your repertoire choices from season to season?

Honestly? If someone offers me work, it won’t damage me to do the role, and it doesn’t clash with something else, I’ll do it! If I could choose to sing Mozart for the whole season, though, I probably would…!

Do you have a favourite concert venue to perform in and why?

The Coliseum (home to English National Opera) is a stunning theatre and I absolutely love singing there, but the loveliest place I’ve ever sung HAS to be the FOYER of the Opéra National de Lorraine in Nancy, France. I performed a pre-show recital there and it was an absolute joy. Marble, gold leaf, chandeliers and the dream acoustic.

What is your most memorable concert experience?

It has to be the Bartolo step in for ENO!!

As a musician, what is your definition of success?

A happy life, working consistently and still enjoying it.

What do you consider to be the most important ideas and concepts to impart to aspiring musicians?

Be yourself, know how you work, and never forget that being a musician is about your enjoyment and the entertainment of others. You don’t always need to take everything too seriously…!

Where would you like to be in 10 years’ time?

Still working, still smiling.

What is your idea of perfect happiness?

PJs and puppies.

What is your most treasured possession?

My fiancée’s engagement ring

What is your present state of mind?

Focussed, excited, relaxed.

David Ireland takes the lead role in Welsh National Opera’s production of Mozart’s ‘The Marriage of Figaro’ in Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff (21st, 23rd and 28th February), then touring (until 6th May)



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