David Charles Abell


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Conductor David Charles Abell begins Season 2019-20 conducting a new production of La Boheme at Lyric Opera of Kansas City before he travels to Philadelphia to pick up the baton with his own orchestra, The Philly Pops, for his regular December series of Christmas concerts. Early in the New Year, he conducts a series of Gershwin concerts at Kyiv National Theatre of Operetta in Ukraine, and returns to conduct Porgy & Bess in Francesca Zambello’s renowned production at Atlanta Opera. Back in Philadelphia with The Philly Pops, he conducts Sondheim: A 90th Birthday Celebration, after which he joins the creative team at Opera Theatre of St Louis for Die Fledermaus.

Born in North Carolina, David won degrees from Yale University and the Juilliard School, after intensive study of viola, piano and composition; at the age of fourteen he turned his attention to conducting and went on to study with Leonard Bernstein and Nadia Boulanger.

David’s recent projects have included West Side Story at Glimmerglass Festival, Rigoletto and Carmen at Lyric Opera of Kansas City, Porgy & Bess and Die Fledermaus at Cincinnati Opera, Eugene Onegin at Hawaii Opera Theatre and Barrie Kosky’s production of Die Zauberflöte at Opera Philadelphia, as well as Kevin Puts’ acclaimed Silent Night in Kansas City, Cincinnati and Michigan. In the UK, David recently conducted his own new critical edition of Kiss Me, Kate for Opera North and in 2015, he made his debut with English National Opera for its production of Sweeney Todd (starring Bryn Terfel and Emma Thompson), returning in 2017 for an equally-acclaimed Carousel.

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Porgy & Bess, Cincinnati Opera

July 2019

Under the direction of David Charles Abell, the CSO offered a breathtaking ride into and through George Gershwin’s score and never allowed you to forget how very good they are. From the clangorous, percussive overture through gospel and folk-infused numbers all the way to the ringing finale, “Oh Lawd, I’m on my way,” they proved their intimate understanding of the form and flaunted the jazz opera idiom created by Gershwin. This is challenging music that requires a certain amount of swagger to pull off. And the CSO delivered on all counts.

Out and About Nashville, William Shutes, 28 July 2019

Absolutely everything is right here, with a great cast, the excellent Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra led by David Charles Abell, and an attractive staging first seen at the Glimmerglass Festival...Maestro Abell and the CSO delivered a rousing account of Gershwin’s score with its influences of jazz, Gospel, and Spirituals, but never let the volume of sound overwhelm those onstage.

Opera Lively, M. Auer, 29 July 2019

Rigoletto, Lyric Opera of Kansas City

March 2018

This is not easy music. It is performed impeccably. The pit orchestra conducted by David Charles Abell does a wonderful job.

Broadway World, Alan Portner, 4 March 2018

Carousel, English National Opera

May 2017

Musically, it may indeed leave you giddy: the orchestra’s handling of the score, under conductor David Charles Abell, is glorious — delicate, sweeping, witty.

Financial Times, May 2017

The almost excruciating loveliness of the score is brilliantly served by David Charles Abell’s symphony-sized orchestra.

The Independent, May 2017

ENO’s chorus and orchestra are rousingly conducted by David Charles Abell.

The Telegraph, May 2017

There is absolutely magnificent work of the ENO chorus and orchestra (big shout-out to suave conductor David Charles Abell).

Time Out, May 2017

There’s no question that the musical qualities in this show are exemplary with a full-blooded and even fuller-bodied orchestra of 40, visible throughout on a elevated orchestra pit, giving the musical texture and heft under the baton of David Charles Abell.

LondonTheatre.co.uk, May 2017

The joyful wonders of the ENO orchestra, led by David Charles Abell, builds applause that’s worthy of great praise also.

Gay Times, May 2017

One of the delights of a piece like this being presented by English National Opera is the resulting strength of the musical credentials. The ENO chorus is on top form, while the orchestra, standing in a raised pit, is far larger than the purse strings would ever permit for a lengthy West End run of the show. Under the baton of David Charles Abell, who also conducted Fiddler on the Roof at Grange Park Opera in 2015, it enables certain lines to be appreciated in a way that it is difficult for them to be in many other performances of the work.

MusicOMH.com, May 2017

What truly sets this production of Carousel apart is the visual (and aural) prominence afforded to the full ENO Orchestra, sat in their raised pit. The melodies are the finest in the canon and under David Charles Abell’s baton, as the timeless Carousel Waltz plays out it is entirely possible to consider that this may be the classic score’s most glorious realisation on this side of the Atlantic, if not ever.

Jonathan Baz Reviews, May 2017

David Charles Abell's Concert Repertoire

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Concert Repertoire

David Charles Abell's Film, Broadway, Pops Repertoire

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Film Broadway Pops Repertoire

David Charles Abell's Stage Repertoire


Postcard from Morocco






On the Town

A Quiet Place

Trouble in Tahiti

West Side Story




Fiddler on the Roof


Albert Herring

The Turn of the Screw


The Second Hurricane


Lucia di Lamermoor


Tobias and the Angel



Gay (Goberman)

The Beggar's Opera


Porgy and Bess


Hansel and Gretel


Show Boat


Die Lustige Wittwe


Man of La Mancha

Lloyd Webber

Love Never Dies


Le jongleur de Notre Dame



Amahl and the Night Visitors

Maria Golovin


Don Giovanni

Le nozze di Figaro

Der Schauspieldirektor

Die Zauberflöte


La vie Parisienne


Anything Goes

Kiss Me, Kate


The Little Prince

The Water Diviner’s Tale


La bohème

Gianni Schicchi

Madama Butterfly

Manon Lescaut

La rondine

Suor Angelica

Il tabarro



Silent Night





Il barbiere di Siviglia

La Cenerentola

La gazza ladra


Take Flight



A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum

Into the Woods

Pacific Overtures

Sunday in the Park with George

Sweeney Todd


Peter Pan

The Three Musketeers

Strauss, Johann, Jr.

Die Fledermaus

​Strauss, Richard

Ariadne auf Naxos


The Rake's Progress


H. M. S. Pinafore

The Mikado

The Pirates of Penzance


Eugene Onegin



La traviata


Götterdämmerung: Act III


Die Dreigroschenoper



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