Noted for his “rich baritone” (Minneapolis Star Tribune), and for “enthrall(ing)” audiences with his “resonant vocals” and “charismatic” stagecraft (Opera Canada), David Klassen has established himself as one of Manitoba’s busiest baritones, performing, teaching, and directing. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in vocal performance from the University of Manitoba and a Master’s degree in vocal performance from the University of Minnesota. His operatic performance highlights include an award-winning performance of the title role in Mozart’s Don Giovanni, the Minnesota premier performance as Valmont in Susa’s Dangerous Liaisons, Demetrius in Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Georg in the world premier of Michael Matthews’ Prince Kaspar.
Mr. Klassen’s versatility as a performer has brought him to the stage throughout the Canadian Prairies, New York, Minnesota and beyond. He has been featured as a soloist on the Opera, Oratorio and Concert stages, including engagements with Manitoba Chamber Orchestra, Royal Winnipeg Ballet, Saskatoon Opera, Brandon Chamber Players, The Chamber Players of Saint Paul, Manitoba’s Mennonite Community Orchestra and numerous appearances with the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra including a performance of Rossini’s “Largo al Factotum” for a Canada Day audience of thirty thousand. His list of repertoire is equally diverse, from Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana to Handel’s Messiah, Papageno in Mozart’s The Magic Flute and numerous roles with the Winnipeg Gilbert and Sullivan Society.
Mr. Klassen has been busy in recent years with several projects, including a touring group of three baritones with colleagues Mel Braun, David Playfair, and pianist, Laura Loewen. Other performing projects include a 2014 Fringe Festival production of StarBach’s Coffee Cantata with Manitoban soprano Naomi Forman (which was later invited to perform at the Ottawa Chamber Music Festival), and a Golden West Radio-sponsored tour of favorite sacred music partnering with local choirs along the way.
Mr. Klassen maintains a busy schedule performing, teaching and adjudicating across western Canada. As a professional singer and teacher, he has studied languages with renowned diction coaches including Pierre Vallet (New York Metropolitan Opera), and Nico Castel. He has worked with clinicians from across the United States and Canada, including Judith Forst, Wendy Neilson, Benjamin Butterfield, John Fanning, Margo Garrett, Lorna Haywood, Jean Barr and Kenneth Griffiths among others.
Currently residing in Manitoba, Mr. Klassen continues to work at creating performance opportunities for young singers and fellow artists alike, recently establishing “The Collaboration Project of Manitoba”, a series designed to bring Manitoban artists of all disciplines together in concert form. In 2015, he was nominated for CBC’s “Manitoba Future 40” award for his work as a singer and university educator in the province, and in his home city of Steinbach where he has been acknowledged numerous times as one of the region’s greatest contributors to the Arts. He currently holds teaching positions at the University of Manitoba Marcel A. Desautels Faculty of Music and Providence University College.