American tenor Bruce Ford is acknowledged internationally as one of the finest singers of his generation. His exceptionally demanding repertoire is highlighted by many of the most challenging Mozart and bel canto roles, which have brought him consistent acclaim throughout North America and Europe. Numerous major opera houses have revived unjustly neglected works especially for him.
Considered to be gifted with equal vocal and acting talents, Ford appears frequently at many renowned European houses, such as La Scala, Milan, Bologna, Naples, Genoa, Florence, Amsterdam, Brussels, Zuerich and Geneva. He is also a favorite at the Royal Opera House/Covent Garden, the Paris Opera, and the Salzburg, Edinburgh, Glyndebourne, and Pesaro festivals. In America he has won praise at the Metropolitan Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Dallas Opera and San Francisco Opera. He is a celebrated concert artist, and has documented much of his repertoire in a constantly expanding discography.
For more than a decade Ford has been instrumental in the re-evaluation of many bel canto operas, both on disc and in live performances. Widely regarded as one of today's most authoritative Rossini interpreters, he enjoys a close association with the Rossini Opera Festival in Pesaro. His roles there since 1990 have included Agorante in RICCIARDO E ZORAIDE, the title role of Rossini's OTELLO, Antenore in ZELMIRA, and Almaviva in IL BARBIERE DI SIVIGLIA. This last-named work -- the opera he has performed most frequently in his career to date -- was the vehicle for his debuts at Covent Garden, the Metropolitan Opera, Los Angeles Opera and Dallas Opera. He has also sung Rossini's MAOMETTO II and LA DONNA DEL LAGO at La Scala, the latter his house debut and conducted by Riccardo Muti. Lindoro in L'ITALIANA IN ALGERI has been a success for the tenor in many major Italian houses, as well as in Paris, Strasbourg, Tel Aviv, Oviedo and at Covent Garden (where he partnered Marilyn Horne in her final performances in a Rossini opera). Covent Garden audiences have also heard Ford as Rossini's Otello and as Osiride in MOSE IN EGITTO. Graham Vick's highly praised production of ERMIONE at Glyndebourne Festival Opera starred Ford as Oreste (and he has since taken the role of Pirro at Dallas Opera). In addition to the title role of OTELLO in Rossini's version of Shakespeare's tragedy, he has also sung Rodrigo in that work - his debut role at San Francisco Opera, where he later returned as Almaviva. He performed Argirio in TANCREDI in Venice and Rinaldo in ARMIDA at the Edinburgh Festival in the fall of 2001.
Ford's command of bel canto style embraces Bellini and Donizetti: He has sung Elvino in LA SONNAMBULA and Orombello in BEATRICE DI TENDA in Catania; Edgardo in LUCIA DI LAMMERMOOR under Sir Charles Mackerras at the Edinburgh Festival and at the Amsterdam Concertgebouw; and Ernesto in DON PASQUALE in his Lyric Opera of Chicago debut. He is due to sing the role of Gennaro in Donizetti's LUCREZIA BORGIA at the Minnesota Opera in January of 2004.
Many Mozart operas are closely associated with Ford. La Scala has heard him as Belmonte in DIE ENTFUEHRUNG AUS DEM SERAIL, and he has triumphed at Covent Garden as both Ferrando in COSI FAN TUTTE and in the highly challenging title role of MITRIDATE, RE DI PONTO (a portrayal also heard at the Salzburg Festival and in Amsterdam, and to be reprised in London in the summer of 2005). In 1999 Ford added another Mozartean king to his repertoire -- the title role of IDOMENEO -- at the Opera National de Lyon (his debut in that theater), having previously sung COSI FAN TUTTE at the Opera National de Paris. He will portray the King of Crete again in a new production at the 2004 Maggio Musicale Fiorentino. He performed and recorded (for the Astree label) the title role in IL SOGNO DI SCIPIONE at the Montreux Festival 2000. One of Ford's earliest leading roles in America was Tamino in DIE ZAUBERFLOETE at The Minnesota Opera. He returned to Glyndebourne as Don Ottavio in DON GIOVANNI, which was also a highly successful role in Salzburg in 1999. The tenor has recently added yet another new Mozart role: the title role of Mozart's LA CLEMENZA DI TITO at Covent Garden in September 2002.
Handel opera has entered his stage repertoire for the first time with that composer's most challenging tenor role, Bajazet in TAMERLANO, in Graham Vick's new production at the 2001 Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, which received great critical and audience acclaim. He will sing his first Cellini in Berlioz' BENVENUTO CELLINI at the BBC Proms in August of 2003.
Concert works have brought Ford successes in many of the world's most important musical centers, among them La Scala, the Edinburgh Festival, the Barbican in London, and the Amsterdam Concertgebouw. The tenor's distinction in the art-song repertoire has been demonstrated in solo recitals at London's St. John's, Smith Square, Washington's Kennedy Center, Brussels Theatre de la Monnaie and both Alice Tully Hall and Weill Recital Hall in New York. Appearances at Avery Fisher Hall and Carnegie Hall are in his future calendar
Ford has amassed a large discography, ranging from familiar roles (IL BARBIERE DI SIVIGLIA in English for Chandos, LUCIA DI LAMMERMOOR for Sony Classics) to much rarer repertoire. His aria recital on the Opera Rara label, entitled "Romantic Heroes," features works of Donizetti, Mercadante, Meyerbeer, Pacini, Ricci, and Rossini. In addition, they have released a Rossini compilation album entitled "Bruce Ford - Serious Rossini". The tenor enjoys a close association with Opera Rara, which issued his performance of the title role of Rossini's OTELLO to coincide with his performances of the role at Covent Garden. Other complete operas with Opera Rara include Pacini's CARLO DI BORGOGNA (Carlo), Rossini's ZORAIDA DI GRANATA (Almuzir), Donizetti's ROSMONDA D'INGHILTERRA (Enrico), Mayr's MEDEA IN CORINTO (Giasone), Meyerbeer's IL CROCIATO IN EGITTO (Adriano), Rossini's RICCIARDO E ZORAIDE (Agorante), Pacini's MARIA REGINA D'INGHILTERRA (Fenimoore), Donizetti's MARIA DE RUDENZ (Enrico), and Rossini's ELISABETTA, REGINA D'INGHILTERRA (Leicester); Meyerbeer's MARGHERITA D'ANJOU (Duca de Lavarenne) is due out in the fall of 2003. He appears on several collaborations with other artists: "Rossini: Three Tenors," "Rossini Gala", "Bella Immagin' ", "Ferme tes yeux...", "100 Years of Italian Opera"; and three volumes of 19th-century Italian songs in the SALOTTO series. The most recent release is Mercadante's ZAIRA (Nerestano) in the new 'Essential' Opera Rara series. Among his other recordings are a solo disc (Great Operatic Arias) and THE BARBER OF SEVILLE as well as a selection of operetta arias ("Bruce Ford sings Viennese operetta") for Chandos'opera-in-English series (a second solo disc is due out in the summer of 2003); on the ARTS label he appears in Handel's MESSIAH, Bertoni's ORFEO, and Rossini's ARMIDA, all under the baton of Claudio Scimone; and Ford's first French role on disc (on DECCA) is Horace in Auber's LE DOMINO NOIR, under Richard Bonynge.
Ford's appearances on video include two of Britain's most remarkable productions of recent years, Covent Garden's MITRIDATE and Glyndebourne's ERMIONE, both directed by Graham Vick. In 1995, the audience at Washington's Kennedy Center (including President and Mrs. Clinton) and a television audience of millions heard the tenor perform for the Kennedy Center Honors, when the award was presented to Ford's colleague, Marilyn Horne.
A native of Lubbock, Texas, Bruce Ford studied at West Texas State University and Texas Tech University. While a member of Houston Opera Studio, Ford made his professional debut as the Abbé in Houston Grand Opera's ADRIANA LECOUVREUR. His Houston performances during this period also included LA DONNA DEL LAGO (alongside Marilyn Horne) and the world premiere of Floyd's WILLIE STARK with HGO, and L'HEURE ESPAGNOLE with HOS. Bruce Ford's initial European engagement came at the opera of Wuppertal, Germany. During his two seasons there, his repertoire included the leading tenor roles in several rarely heard works (Rameau's DARDANUS, Cornelius's DER BARBIER VON BAGDAD), as well as Belmonte in DIE ENTFUEHRUNG AUS DEM SERAIL and Ramiro in LA CENERENTOLA. He broadened his dramatic and stylistic range further with two seasons at the Nationaltheater in Mannheim, followed by four seasons at Duesseldorf's Deutsche Oper am Rhein. Throughout his years in Germany, his successes also included operettas by Lortzing, Johann Strauss, Heuberger, Milloecker, Lehar, and Kalman. While with the ensemble at Mannheim, he journeyed outside Germany to sing Argirio in Rossini's TANCREDI at the 1986 Wexford Festival. That engagement helped to point the way decisively toward the bel canto repertoire, in which Ford continues to make a distinguished contribution internationally.