David Mayfield has enjoyed a varied career including the areas of opera singer, conductor, vocal coach-accompanist, clinician, and instructor in diction, vocal literature, and opera history. A Chicago native who studied in Wisconsin and Texas, he had his professional debut with the chorus of Lyric Opera of Chicago. In New York, he coached at the Actor’s Studio of the New School and is a recital coach at Manhattan School of Music, where he has taught since 2000. For New Jersey City University he has taught undergraduate and graduate diction, graduate vocal literature, and opera history; coached voice; and conducted The Magic Flute, The Medium/The Telephone, Trouble in Tahiti, Dido and Aeneas, and evenings of Baroque opera scenes, in addition to curating surveys of French and American vocal music. His students include winners of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions and have appeared with San Francisco Opera, Santa Fe Opera, Glimmerglass, Houston Grand Opera, Opera Theater of St. Louis, and Martina Arroyo’s Prelude to Performance.
His performance experience includes Lyric Opera of Chicago, Utah Festival Opera, The Dallas Opera, Wildwood Festival, Opera Illinois, New Orleans Opera, Opera El Paso, State Repertory Opera (NJ), Virginia Opera, Fort Worth Opera, and a tour with New York City Opera, among others; his repertoire ranges from Aïda and Tosca to Hin und Zurück and The Face on the Barroom Floor. He has been conductor or assistant for Le Nozze di Figaro, Die Entführung aus dem Serail, Don Giovanni, Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Carmen, Hansel and Gretel, Giulio Cesare, Dido and Aeneas, Les Contes d’Hoffmann, Die Fledermaus, The Mikado, H.M.S. Pinafore, Patience, The Student Prince, and Fiddler on the Roof, among others. In addition, he has played harpsichord continuo for Don Giovanni, Dido & Aeneas, Le Nozze di Figaro, L’Elisir d’Amore, and Il Barbiere di Siviglia, and acted as chorusmaster for operas including Otello, La Bohème, Carmen, The Mikado, and Les Contes d’Hoffmann.
He is a graduate of Beloit College (Performing Arts; Musical Directing for the Theater) and University of North Texas (MM); he also attended Northwestern University and won a scholarship to the Blossom Festival at Kent State University; he has been a guest artist for residencies at University of Minnesota-Duluth numerous years, giving recitals, masterclasses, opera workshop coaching (Il Mondo della Luna, Le Nozze di Figaro), and classes in ornamentation, and has been a guest clinician at Song Festival at Grace University and University of Nebraska in Omaha and Waldorf College in Iowa; he has been a featured speaker for the New Jersey chapter of the National Association of Teachers of Singing.
His influences include Nicola Rescigno, founder of Lyric Opera of Chicago and The Dallas Opera; Roberto Benaglio, chorus master of La Scala, Milan, who knew Puccini and Toscanini; Fiora Contino, who studied with Nadia Boulanger, often played chamber music with Francis Poulenc, and also knew Toscanini well; Donald Palumbo, chorusmaster of the MET Opera, Chicago Lyric, and Salzburg Festival, and John Wustman, dean of American collaborative pianists.
Recent years have seen his return to the Phoenicia International Festival of the Voice as assistant conductor/chorusmaster for a production of L’Elisir d’Amore set in Ghana, having previously served as chorusmaster (Otello, La Bohème) and music director (The Medium, La Cambiale di Matrimonio). He is currently writing a book on the relationship between singing diction and vocal technique.