David Ronis was recently appointed 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, Mr. Ronis is a six-time National Opera Association Opera Production Award winner. The most recent of these awards was for his 2015 production of Conrad Susa’s Transformations, which won 1st Prize in Category III. Other recent productions include Cosi fan tutte for Shreveport Opera, Suor Angelica for La Musica Lirica, The Turn of the Screw, Falstaff, Le nozze di Figaro, Albert Herring, and The Magic Flute at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, The Light in the Piazza for Four Seasons Theatre, L’incoronazione di Poppea, Dialogues of the Carmelites, Suor Angelica, La Damoiselle Elue, Postcard From Morocco, Orfeo, 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, 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. During the 2017-2018 season, Mr. Ronis will direct A Kurt Weill Cabaret and La boheme at University of Wisconsin-Madison, and Dido and Aeneas/Coffee Cantata for Madison Bach Musicians.
He is the co-founder and co-director of the Baroque Opera Workshop at Queens College, which recently celebrated it’s eighth successful season. He has also been a faculty member at La Lingua della Lirica in Novafeltria, Italy, the Westchester Summer Vocal Institute, Queens 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, Columbia University Teacher’s College, SUNY Stony Brook, 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.