After serving for two years in an interim capacity, David Ronis was recently appointed as the inaugural Karen K. Bishop Director of Opera, an endowed chair, at the Mead Witter School of Music, University of Wisconsin-Madison. Previously he taught at the Aaron Copland School of Music, Queens College/CUNY, Hofstra University, and Wagner College. A sought after director, his 2009, 2011, and 2014 productions of Monteverdi’s L’Orfeo, Argento’s Postcard From Morocco, Dialogues of the Carmelites and Albert Herring won prizes in the National Opera Association Opera Production Competition. Other recent productions include Le nozze di Figaro, Transformations (Conrad Susa), and The Magic Flute at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, a semi-staging of Rameau’s Pygmalion for Madison Bach Musicians, The Light in the Piazza for Four Seasons Theatre, L’incoronazione di Poppea, Suor Angelica, La Damoiselle Elue, The Magic Flute, Le Nozze di Figaro, and Dido and Aeneas at Queens College, Rigoletto and Gianni Schicchi for the Queens Symphony Orchestra, Acis and Galatea at the Mason Gross School of Music, Rutgers University, Così fan tutte for OSH Opera, From Berlin to Potsdam: A Kurt Weill Cabaret for the Crane School of Music at SUNY Potsdam, and a portion of Gregg Wramage’s Death in Summer at Manhattan School of Music, part of their annual “From Page to Stage” series. Mr. Ronis is also the co-director of the Baroque Opera Workshop at Queens College. During the 2015-2016 season, he will direct Le Nozze di Figaro and Transformations (Conrad Susa) at University of Wisconsin-Madison, and Light in the Piazza for Four Seasons Theatre.
He is the co-founder and co-director of the Baroque Opera Workshop at Queens College, which recently celebrated it’s seventh successful season. He has also been a faculty member at La Lingua della Lirica in Novafeltria, Italy, the Westchester Summer Vocal Institute, the Maryland Summer Center for the Arts and serves on the Board of Directors of the National Opera Association.
A specialist in teaching integrative acting and movement techniques for singers, Mr. Ronis is a frequent master class teacher and clinician. He has given master classes and workshops at institutions including Manhattan School of Music, Cincinnati College-Conservatory, the Seagle Colony, Opera New Jersey, Vassar College, Texas Christian University, University of Dayton, University of Evansville, Princeton University, and the Southern Louisiana Chapter of the National Association of Teachers of Singing.
Mr. Ronis sang over 50 character tenor operatic roles with more than 30 companies in Europe and Asia, and the U.S. Highlights of his opera career include performances of the Witch in Hansel and Gretel, the Four Servants in Les Contes D’Hoffmann, Prince Orlovsky in Die Fledermaus, Basilio and Curzio in Le Nozze di Figaro, and Goro in Madama Butterfly, with opera companies in Nice, Hong Kong, Atlanta, Tulsa, Milwaukee, Salt Lake City, New Orleans, Houston, Louisville, Columbus, Tampa, Rochester, Grand Rapids, and the New York City Opera National Company, among others (see Résume). He also performed in Leonard Bernstein’s A Quiet Place/Trouble in Tahiti at La Scala Milan and the Vienna State Opera, with the composer conducting.
In concert, Mr. Ronis appeared as soloist at New York’s Carnegie, Avery Fisher, and Alice Tully Halls, with L’Opéra Français de New York, with the Musica Sacra Chorus in a Kurt Weill Festival, and with Hermann Prey in the Schubertiade series at the 92nd Street Y. Other concert credits include performances with the Milwaukee and New Haven Symphonies, the Aspen Music Festival, and at the Festival dei Due Mondi in Spoleto, Italy and Charleston, South Carolina. He has been the cantorial soloist for the High Holy Days at Temple Emanuel in Grand Rapids, Michigan since 1987.
A member of Actors’ Equity Association and the Screen Actors Guild, Mr. Ronis has performed in both musical and spoken theater productions in New York City, Los Angeles, and throughout the U.S. In 1995, he made his musical theater debut in the Los Angeles production of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast. He continued in the show’s subsequent national tour, playing the roles of Monsieur D’Arque and Lumiere, the candlestick. On camera, he has appeared in independent and industrial films and been featured in nationally televised commercials and print advertisements.
Mr. Ronis received his B.F.A. degree from Purchase College of the State University of New York and the M.A.L.S. (Master of Arts in Liberal Studies) in Opera Studies, an interdisciplinary research degree, from Empire State College/SUNY. He also studied at the Conservatoire Américain in Fontainebleau, France, then under the direction of the legendary teacher, Nadia Boulanger. Additionally he received the Anthony Gishford Award to attend the Britten-Pears School in Aldeburgh, England, where he worked with the late Sir Peter Pears.