David Shipley


"...David Shipley impressed, resonant and full of authority as the mysterious Monk loitering in the candled cloisters."


"Around them is a host of superbly characterised figures, notably David Shipley’s deep-voiced and black-hearted suitor Antinous"

The Times

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British bass David Shipley is a graduate of the Jette Parker Young Artists Programme at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden. His roles for The Royal Opera include Nightwatchman Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, Antinoo Il ritorno d’Ulisse in patria, Zuniga Carmen, Arthur and Officer III The Lighthouse, Captain Eugene Onegin, Sciarrone Tosca, Guccio Gianni Schicchi, High Priest of Baal Nabucco, Second Armed Man Die Zauberflöte, and Dr Grenvil La traviata.

In the 2023/24 season he sings Bottom A Midsummer Night’s Dream for Teatro Carlo Felice Genova, followed by performances at the Royal Opera House Muscat (Oman), Pietro Simon Boccanegra for Opera Rara and Timur Turandot for his debut at Opernhaus Zürich.

Recent operatic highlights include he sings Sparafucile Rigoletto (Theater Basel), Somnus Semele (Komische Oper Berlin) , John Pinney, Alexander Morris, Pin-Striped Man Will Todd’s Migrations (Welsh National Opera), Bottom A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Scottish Opera); Dr Grenvil La Traviata (The Royal Opera House, Covent Garden); Harapha Samson (The English Concert at London Handel Festival); Sarastro Die Zauberflöte (Glyndebourne Festival Opera); Sparafucile Rigoletto (Scottish Opera and his US operatic debut at Houston Grand Opera); Truffaldino Ariadne auf Naxos (Théâtre des Champs-Elysées and Festival d'Aix en Provence); Prince Tokmakov Ivan the Terrible and Monk Don Carlo (Grange Park Opera); Lieutenant Ratcliffe Billy Budd (Teatro Dell’Opera di Roma); Colline La bohème, Pistola Falstaff and Zuniga Carmen (Verbier Festival); Sandoval Le duc d’Albe (Vlaanderen Opera); Commendatore Don Giovanni (The Mozartists); and Bartolo Le nozze di Figaro (Amersham Music Festival).

Concert highlights include Bach’s St Matthew Passion with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 with Oxford Philharmonic Orchestra, Beethoven’s Mass in C (Al Bustan Festival, Beirut); Bach’s Mass in B Minor, Monteverdi’s Orfeo at the BBC Proms, and Monteverdi’s Vespers and Handel’s Dixit Dominus at the Salzburg Festival (all with the Monteverdi Choir under Sir John Eliot Gardiner); and Tirésias on the London Symphony Orchestra’s critically acclaimed ‘LSO Live’ recording of Stravinsky’s Oedipus Rex. Elsewhere, he has performed at venues including Paris’s Salle Pleyel, Barcelona’s L’Auditori, the Kölner Philharmonie, Kings Place, Cadogan Hall, the Barbican, Christ Church Spitalfields, and the Royal Albert Hall, and with ensembles and conductors including the London Symphony Orchestra, The Mozartists, Sir Antonio Pappano, Sir John Eliot Gardiner, Sir Andrew Davis and Sir Mark Elder.

Shipley is a graduate of the opera course at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, where he studied with Janice Chapman. He previously studied at the Royal Academy of Music, where he was awarded first-class BMus (Hons) and MA degrees, as well as a DipRAM. In 2008 he won the Kathleen Ferrier Bursary for Young Singers.

This biography is for information only and should not be reproduced.

St Matthew Passion (Jesus)

BBC National Orchestra and Chorus of Wales, St David’s Hall Cardiff, April 2022

David Shipley was a deeply felt Jesus, the pleas “Mein Vater!” particularly evocative.

Rian Evans, The Guardian ****

David Shipley’s portrayal of Jesus was both stern and deeply emotional.

Nation Cymru

La Traviata (Doctor Grenvil)

Royal Opera House, April 2022

David Shipley’s Doctor Grenvil is worthy of note, a fabulous voice...

Colin Clarke, Seen and Heard

David Shipley was a compassionate Doctor Grenvil.

Mark Valencia, What's on Stage

A Midsummer Night's Dream (Bottom)

Scottish Opera, February 2022

Led by David Shipley’s vividly sung and expertly crafted Bottom, the theatrical amateurs don’t miss a trick.

George Hall, The Stage *****

Vibrantly sung, David Shipley’s Bottom crafted his role superbly, dominating the amateur theatrical group and with his ass’s head, seriously amusing as Tytania’s mistaken love.

David Smythe, Bachtrack *****

…the mechanicals are a hilarious, motley team, their eventual “play within a play” a perfectly-timed comedy, with David Shipley’s Bottom a shining lead.

Ken Walton, The Scotsman *****

…Nick Bottom, a spectacular tour-de-force by David Shipley who dominates his every scene with total clarity.

Nicholas Kenyon, The Telegraph ****

David Shipley’s bass is almost too rich for Bottom, but he channels it marvellously into the comedy.

Simon Thompson, The Times ****

[Francis Flute’s] co-Rustics, led by David Shipley as the winningly bumptious weaver Nick Bottom made merry in their last act entertainment, to much audience laughter.

Fiona Maddocks, The Guardian

"A play with three strands to it (the fairy world, four young lovers and six tradesmen who are amateur actors) it is the latter group which brings the comedic element. Led by David Shipley's gently humorous Bottom, the moments of laughter may have been predictable but at the same time were somehow reassuring in their familiarity."

Carol Main, The List ****

The rustics’ play, which Britten reimagines as an opera-within-the-opera is a point where audience goodwill can start to falter, coming as it does after the two-hour mark. Here, however, it emerges triumphant due to the sure-footed comic timing of the motley crew of rustics led by David Shipley’s larger-than-life Nick Bottom.

Rowena Smith, The Guardian ***** (Edinburgh performances)

...David Shipley’s bumptious but jovial Nick Bottom...

Hugh Canning, The Times (Edinburgh performances)

Ivan the Terrible (Prince Tokmakov)

Grange Park Opera, June 2021

..the finest vocal performance comes from David Shipley, the young former Royal Opera/Jette Parker bass, as Olga’s presumed father, Prince Tokmakov

Hugh Canning, Sunday Times​

Singing nobly as Prince Tokmakov, David Shipley takes the latest step on a promising career trajectory

Richard Fairman, Financial Times

David Shipley was in sovereign voice as Prince Tokmakov

Melanie Eskenazi, Music OMH

…the highest compliment I can give to Carl Tanner as her rebellious sweetheart Tucha, and David Shipley (a real clarion of a bass) as her father, is that I initially assumed that they, too, were Russian

Richard Bratby, The Spectator

…others in a male-dominated cast excel, especially David Shipley as the mayor of Pskov. A charismatic performance from a young man who will go far.

David Mellor, Daily Mail

David Shipley’s velvety tones grace her honourable adoptive father

Yehuda Shapiro, The Stage

David Shipley’s authoritative bass was well suited to Prince Tomakov

Mark Pullinger, Bachtrack

David Shipley as Prince Tokmakov was perhaps slightly too young for the role but compensated with some spectacular bass singing and the sort of commanding stage presence needed for the governor. He managed to be proper but sympathetic too.

Robert Hugill, Opera Today

Clive Bayley is in fine voice as Stalin / Ivan the Terrible, as is David Shipley as the sympathetic Prince Tokmakov.

Vera Liber, British Theatre Guide

David Shipley is excellent as Prince Tokmakov, the Mayor of Pskov who has to cope with the monster in his midst

Christopher Walker, London News Online

…David Shipley gave firm and velvety voice to her father, the upright Prince Tokmakov.

Yehuda Shapiro, Opera Magazine

The Magic Flute (Sarastro)

Glyndebourne, November 2020

David Shipley’s youthful, nobly sung Sarastro [...] was balm for the ears.

Hugh Canning, The Times, 8 November 2020

Sarastro (David Shipley, his plush bass tones alluring)

Opera Magazine, January 2021

Rigoletto (Sparafucile)

Houston Grand Opera, October 2019

The cast is finely rounded with bass David Shipley's chasm-deep Sparafucile, the very picture and sound of opportunistic assassin...

D.L. Groover, Houston Press, 19 October 2019

Musically speaking, “Rigoletto” is an excellent showcase for the lower registers... British bass David Shipley, as assassin-for-hire Sparafucile, deliver fine performances...

Chris Gray, Houston Chronicle, 21 October 2019

Mozart's Requiem

BBC National Orchestra of Wales, Royal Albert Hall, August 2019

David Shipley’s sonorous-yet-edgy bass was the clearest of all, and, when accompanied by Donal Bannister’s superbly nuanced trombone solo, made for an excellent ‘Tuba mirum’.

Barry Creasy, musicOMH, 7 August 2019

David Shipley controlled bass was sonorous and precise. The four soloists were expressive and showed beautiful control, especially during the 'Recordare'.

Aliya Al-Hassan, BroadwayWorld, 8 August 2019

Each brought a special flavour and colour to the ensemble... David Shipley as a robust, intrepid sheet-anchor of a bass.

Boyd Tonkin, The Arts Desk, 8 August 2019

Don Carlo (Monk/Charles V)

Grange Park Opera, June 2019

David Shipley is the Monk/Charles V, whom he invests with authority

Valeria Vescina, Seen and Heard International, 8 June 2019

David Shipley made a strong impression as the monk at the start and the ghost of Charles V at the end

Mark Ronan, The Article, 10 June 2019

David Shipley was aptly firm voiced and other-worldly as the Monk / Charles V

Robert Hugill, Opera Today, 10 June 2019

...David Shipley impressed, resonant and full of authority as the mysterious Monk loitering in the candled cloisters.

Mark Pullinger, Opera magazine, August 2019

Il ballo delle ingrate (Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, cond. Christian Curnyn)

Kings Place, 10 January 2019

bass David Shipley nobly resonant as Pluto

Richard Fairman, Financial Times

L'enfant et les sortilèges (London Symphony Orchestra cond. Simon Rattle)

Royal Albert Hall, August 2018

The Proms surtitles came into their own and prompted many a chuckle, although singers like the underused Elizabeth Watts and David Shipley sang in exemplary French and with such clarity that in their case they were only needed for translation purposes.

Mark Valencia, Bachtrack, 19 August 2018

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