Daniel Beckwith, guest conductor
Daniel Beckwith has served as the guest conductor for MSU Opera Theatre's Spring 2012 production, The Tales of Hoffmann by Jacques Offenbach, and Giacomo Puccini's La Bohème in spring 2014. He will serve as guest conductor for Xerxes by George Frederic Handel in spring 2015.
Beckwith has conducted in many of the major opera houses throughout North America and Europe. With a repertoire that spans the seventeenth through the nineteenth centuries, he has been hailed as one of the most exciting conductors of his generation. Beckwith’s conducting career began in 1991 in an all-Mozart concert with Virginia’s Norfolk Symphony. Only a year later, Houston Grand Opera invited him to conduct Gretry’s rarely performed Zémire et Azor. Many important engagements followed, notably Canadian Opera Company (Monteverdi’s L’Incoronazione di Poppea), Glimmerglass Opera Festival (Rossini’s Le Comte Ory), The Lyric Opera of Chicago (Così fan tutte), Edmonton Opera (Handel’s Guilio Cesare), and The Opera Theatre of St. Louis (Haydn’s Armida).
Beckwith served as assistant to James Levine for six seasons at the Metropolitan Opera and was given his conducting debut with Don Giovanni in 1995 after Levine observed his conducting of a stage rehearsal. On the strength of these performances, Beckwith was engaged for several important debuts conducting the works of George Frideric Handel (Serse, Seattle Opera, Rinaldo, Grand Theâtre du Genève, Theodora, the Glyndebourne Festival).
The operas of Mozart have figured prominently in Beckwith’s career. His return engagement with the Metropolitan Opera, as well as his San Francisco Opera and Portland Opera debuts, was with Don Giovanni. Beckwith’s Australian opera debut in 1998 was with La Clemenza di Tito. His return engagement with the Seattle Opera and his debut with the Washington Opera was with Die Zauberflöte. From 1999 to 2001, he was artistic director of the Lake George Opera Festival, during which time he conducted performances of Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Don Giovanni, Così fan tutte, Madama Butterfly, Il Re Pastore, and Ariadne auf Naxos.
His love of, and affinity for, the Baroque, early classical, and the bel canto repertory has given him the opportunity to perform many of the cornerstone operas of these varying periods: Orphée et Euridice (Utah Opera), Cimarosa’s Il Matrimonio Segreto (Wolftrap Opera Festival); Lucia di Lammermoor (Cincinnati Opera), Il Barbiere di Siviglia (UK’s Opera North, Florida Grand Opera, Wolftrap Opera Festival), La Cenerentola (Kentucky Opera), L’Elisir d’Amore (Fort Worth Opera), L’Italiana in Algeri (Cleveland Opera, Opera Columbus, Chautauqua Opera, Opera Festival of New Jersey), and Handel’s Oreste (The Juilliard School and Spoleto Festival, Italy). The vehicle of his April 2000 New York City Opera debut was a new production of Rameau’s Platée that featured the Mark Morris Dance Group.
His concert appearances have included performances with Boston’s Handel and Haydn Society in a program of Bach, Handel, and the world premiere of Dan Welcher’s JFK: The Voice of Peace; an all-Handel concert with the Juilliard Orchestra at Alice Tully Hall; and orchestral and vocal repertory from Mozart to Wagner with Metropolitan Opera soprano Young Ok Shin at the LG Arts Center in Seoul, South Korea. He made his debut with Chicago’s Music of the Baroque in performances of Handel’s Israel in Egypt. A return to Chicago’s Grant Park Music Festival featured mezzo-soprano Jennifer Larmore in a concert of bel canto rarities; his first appearance at Spain’s Santander Festival with soprano Renée Fleming included orchestral and vocal repertory drawn from the seventeenth to twentieth centuries. In celebration of the Mozart year, Beckwith conducted an all-Mozart orchestral concert for the Princeton Festival. A concert tour with Renée Fleming included debuts with the Hartford Symphony and the Orchestra of St. Luke’s at Carnegie Hall. Recent engagements include a return to Fort Worth Opera, for Giulio Cesare, and Carmen for the Green Mountain Opera Festival.
In demand as a partner in recital, he has appeared in the United States and Europe accompanying artists such as Renée Fleming, Benita Valente, Carol Vaness, Nancy Gustafson, Marilyn Horne, Frederica von Stade, Jennifer Larmore, Denyce Graves, Susanne Mentzer, Jerry Hadley, Ben Heppner, Richard Leech, Nathan Gunn and Samuel Ramey. His television credits (with Fleming) include Good Morning America, The View, and Martha Stewart Living.