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David Lawton

Professor; Opera studies, Music History and Theory lawton
Co-director of the Opera Workshop

David Lawton is a frequent guest conductor in regional American opera companies. Recent engagements include Mark Adamo‚Äôs¬† Little Women¬†for OperaDelaware, in May 2008,¬† La traviatafor Occasional Opera in NYC in November 2009, and¬† Der Freisch√ľtz¬†for the same company in November 2010. In addition to the productions listed above, his credits include the Teatro comunale di Modena in Italy ( La traviata), The Washington Opera ( Don Carlo), Cincinnati Opera ( Rigoletto), Tulsa Opera (the American premiere of Verdi‚Äôs¬† Le Trouv√®re), the Berkshire Opera Company ( La finta giardiniera), Brooklyn Opera Society ( Cos√¨ fan tutte), and National Grand Opera ( Rigoletto¬†and¬† La traviata).¬† As Resident Conductor for Opera on the Sound he conducted productions of¬† Rigoletto,¬† La traviata,¬† Carmen,¬† Madama Butterfly,¬† Cavalleria rusticana,¬† Pagliacci,¬† Hansel and Gretel,¬† Die Fledermaus¬†and¬† Don Pasquale. He has long associations with OperaDelaware, where he serves as Artistic Consultant, and with Summer Opera Theatre, where he was Resident Conductor from 1989-2002. For OperaDelaware, in addition to the repertoire listed above, Maestro Lawton has conducted¬† Stiffelio, La traviata,¬† Aida,¬† Macbeth¬†(1865 version),¬† Don Giovanni,¬† Un ballo in maschera, and¬† Les Contes d‚ÄôHoffman¬†(Oeser edition). For Summer Opera, he has also led productions of¬† Maria Stuarda,¬† Roberto Devereux,¬† Anna Bolena,¬† Cos√¨ fan tutte,¬† La Cenerentola, and¬† The Impresario/Pagliacci.

Lawton serves as Artistic Director of Stony Brook Opera at the State University of New York at Stony Brook, where he has also been both Chairman and Director of Graduate Studies in the Department of Music. At Stony Brook he has conducted full productions of a varied repertoire that includes rarely performed operas from the eighteenth century to the present:  Giulio Cesare and  Tamerlano (Handel),  Iphigénie en Tauride (Gluck ), La Canterina (Haydn),  Medea (Benda),  Abu Hassan (Weber),  La Cambiale di Matrimonio (Rossini),  Die lustigen Weiber von Windsor (Nicolai),  Béatrice et Bénédict (Berlioz),  El Retablo de Maese Pedro (Falla),  Mavra (Stravinsky),  The Wandering Scholar (Holst), and musical theater works such as  The Threepenny Operaand A  funny thing happened on the way to the forum. As founder and Music Director of the Long Island Opera Society, Lawton conducted concert performances of Verdi’s  Macbeth (1847 version),  Il Corsaro (American premiere, with Carlo Bergonzi in the title role), and Donizetti’s  Maria Padilla (American premiere).

Born and raised in Berkeley, California, Lawton received his AB in Music from the University of California. After studying conducting in Italy with Nino Sanzogno at La Scala, and with the celebrated composer Luigi Dallapiccola in Florence, Lawton received the Ph. D. degree from U.C. Berkeley in 1973 with a dissertation on Verdi’s early operas. A noted Verdi scholar, David Lawton is volume editor for  Il trovatore,  Le trouvère, and  Macbeth in the critical edition of the  Works of Giuseppe Verdi, a joint publication of the University of Chicago Press and the Casa Ricordi, Milano. His critical edition of Verdi’s  Macbeth was awarded the Claude Palisca Prize for the best scholarly edition by the American Musicological Society at its national meeting in Los Angeles on November 4, 2006. His articles on Verdi have been published by W.W. Norton and the University of California Press, and in such journals as  Studi verdiani,  19 th Century Music ,  The Journal of the American Musicological Society,  The Musical Quarterly,  The Opera Quarterly, and the  Verdi Newsletter. He is fluent in Italian, German, French, and competent in Russian. 

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