- Gregory Stapp
Bass Gregory Stapp has performed with scores of opera companies, symphonic orchestras and music festivals in America, as well as in Europe, Mexico Japan and China.
Featured as Sarastro on PBS’s Great Performances: LIVE FROM LINCOLN CENTER telecast of New York City Opera’s Die Zauberflöte, Oscar-winning filmmaker Bruce Beresford directed him as Ashby in the Spoleto Festival’s Italian telecast production of La fanciulla del west.
At Spoleto, festival-founder Gian Carlo Menotti presented Stapp in recital, and then invited him to Scotland for Mr. Kofner in Connecticut Grand Opera’s Edinburgh Festival production of The Consul, directed by the composer.
His thirty roles performed under the auspices of San Francisco Opera include Raimondo in Lucia di Lammermoor, Achillas in Julius Caesar, the Priest in Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk, Lodovico in Otello, Brander in La Damnation de Faust, the Parson in The Cunning Little Vixen and Dansker in Billy Budd, Pluto in Monteverdi’s Il ballo dell’ingrate and Friar Lawrence in Roméo & Juliette.
Widely acclaimed for his spectacular interpretations of Osmin in The Abduction from the Seraglio, such diverse roles as Bluebeard in Duke Bluebeard's Castle, Figaro in The Marriage of Figaro, Falstaff in The Merry Wives of Windsor, Nilakantha in Lakmé, Kecal in The Bartered Bride, Reverend Hale in The Crucible, Don Basilio in The Barber of Seville, the Grand Inquisitor in Don Carlo, Fasolt in Das Rheingold, Sparafucile in Rigoletto, Ferrando in Il Trovatore, Hunding in Die Walküre, the Commendatore in Don Giovanni and Don Quixote in Man of La Mancha have also won him praise.
In 2009, he performed in China with the Shandong Symphony and Kunming Symphony and gave master classes at the Music College of Shandong Teachers University and Kunming University’s Music Conservatory.
Other international engagements have included Ramfis in Aïda for the Centro Internacional de Opera in Guadalajara, Mexico; Verdi’s Requiem with the Osaka Symphoniker; and, for Japan’s Sakai City Opera, a cabaret show, concerts, and master classes, as well as several operatic roles, including Sarastro in a joint Die Zauberflöte with Germany’s Chemnitz Opera.
For Nevada Opera’s Silver Anniversary he created the role of John Mackay in the world premiere of Bern Herbolsheimer’s Mark Me Twain. His Emperor Altoum in Connecticut Grand Opera’s American stage premiere of Busoni’s Turandot and Fasolt in François Rochaix’s production of Der Ring Nibelungen for Seattle Opera drew wide attention to the American bass.
An accomplished recitalist, Stapp has also appeared in concert with the San Francisco Symphony, Sacramento Symphony, Colorado Springs Symphony, Illinois Symphony, Carmel Bach Festival, Bear Valley Music Festival, Mendocino Music Festival, Chestnut Hill Basically Bach Festival, and Philadelphia Orchestra. Noted composer David Garner is composing a song cycle for Stapp, entitled Opening Nights.
In recent seasons, in addition to many assignments for San Francisco Opera, he has sung Sparafucile for Cleveland Opera, Don Basilio for Tulsa Opera, the Commendatore for SFOpera Center/Yountville Lincoln Theater, Balthazar for Trinity Lyric Opera, the King for Sacramento Opera’s Aïda, and Osmin for the Lake George Opera Festival, San Francisco Conservatory of Music and Lyric Opera Cleveland.
San Francisco’s Old First Concerts premiered his Profondo Delights & Laments program with pianist Robert Ashens and the Mondavi Center heard him in Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis Gloria with Jeffrey Thomas and the UC Davis Symphony and Chorus.
Recently, he sang Verdi’s Requiem with Germany’s Junge Kammerphilharmonie Freiburg and Stanford University’s Summer Chorus; Haydn’s Harmoniemesse with the Berkeley Community Chorus & Orchestra; Zechariah in the world premiere of Peter Allen’s The Message of Gabriel; Friar Lawrence and The Mikado for Townsend Opera; and, Bluebeard's Castle with the UC Davis Symphony conducted by Christian Baldini (now on UCTV and YouTube).
Stapp has presented opera talks across the bay area and, from 201012, served on the faculty of Notre Dame de Namur University, where he sang Captain Vasquez in the workshop premiere of Henry Mollicone’s Children of the Sun; Norm in the workshop premiere of Wayne Self’s musical Cadillac; appeared in recital with pianist Daniel Lockert on the Ralston Hall Mansion concert series; taught conducting, music history, voice, and film music history; directed two opera scenes programs; and, conducted The Marriage of Figaro.
Stapp twice won appointment to the San Francisco/Affiliate ArtistsOpera Program, and later was awarded one of the San Francisco Opera Center’s inaugural Adler Fellowships. He received major grants from the Metropolitan Opera Auditions, National Institute for Music Theater, Baltimore Opera Auditions and the William Matheus Sullivan Musical Foundation.
Stapp is currently 2nd Vice President of the American Guild of Musical Artists (AGMA), representing those who create America’s operatic, choral and dance heritage.
Top honors for pleasing the crowd as well as vocalism went to Gregory Stapp as Osmin…Stapp has the vocal wherewithal to execute this demanding role both its tongue-twisting fury and its extremes of range and did it all with an enchanting comic flair.
Joshua Kosman, San Francisco Chronicle 1989
Photograph by Stephen V. Stapp
The leading light was gifted young bass Gregory Stapp as Pasha Selim’s comic overseer Osmin, his voice and musical grasp right as could be.
Robert Commanday, San Francisco Chronicle 1991
Stapp’s six-foot-six-inch figure dominated the stage, as did his big voice, which is a true bass--a welcome change from the bass-baritones we hear so often these days passing as basses. Stapp showed himself capable of descending to the low D the role calls for, and it was a pleasure to hear him handle his low-lying music with ease and richness of tone. His singing of Osmin’s familiar aria in the final act stopped the show.