Audio Recording from the Wonder and Friends Benefit Concert on 2.22.22 @ 7pm
A few highlighted questions derrick answered during the audience Q+A:
“For the parents here who have children who are interested in music, what specifically can they do to nurture that interest and keep it going?”
“Well, Wonder is good place to start! Answer their questions, listen to the practicing. Practicing is not the fun part to do or to listen to. The fun part to do is what we did tonight. But the practice is necessary to have that. Practice kids. Practice, practice, practice, practice, practice. Parents: allow them to practice, encourage them to practice. Come to their concerts. Cheer them on. That’s my advice.”
“What is the performance you are most proud of?”
“That’s a really hard question and a really interesting one because it’s not what you’d think. Because I tend more towards thinking I’m the most proud of a performance like tonight because I think it makes a bigger difference than when I stand on the stage in the opera house. That’s an honest answer.”
Derrick Ballard has established himself in Europe as a versatile singer with numerous dramatic bass-baritone roles in his repertoire, such as Holländer, Wotan, Hans Sachs, Kaspar, Jochanaan and Scarpia.
In 2021-22, he sings Zaccaria in Nabucco as well as Kaspar and Eremit in Der Freischütz, both at the Staatstheater Mainz, and he makes his debut with the BBC Symphony Orchestra as Lautsprecher in Der Kaiser von Atlantis by Viktor Ullman in London’s Barbican Hall.
Derrick Ballard studied at the University of Denver and continued his training with Mark Oswald in New York. He began his career as an apprentice with Santa Fe Opera and in the renowned Merola Opera Program of San Francisco Opera. In addition, he has won several prizes at the Metropolitan Opera Auditions.
During his time in Mainz, he has appeared regularly as a guest at the Oper Leipzig (Scarpia, Kaspar), the Hessisches Staatstheater Wiesbaden (Scarpia, Hans Sachs, Holländer), the Staatsoper Hannover (Kezal), the Staatsoper Hamburg under Kent Nagano (Nazarener in Salome), the Theater Bremerhaven (Pizarro in Fidelio), the Theater Detmold (Hans Sachs) and he took over performances on short notice at the Theater Chemnitz (Hans Sachs) and the Theater an der Wien – Kammeroper (Mephisto). In the summer of 2021, he made his successful debut as Baron Ochs at Garsington Opera.
He had already performed more than 50 roles in the US before making his European debut in 2005 as Biterolf in Tannhäuser at Berlin’s Staatsoper Unter den Linden. Subsequently, he joined the house ensembles of the Staatstheater Kassel (2005 to 2009), the Oldenburgisches Staatstheater (2009 to 2011) and Munich’s Staatstheater am Gärtnerplatz (2010 to 2012), where his repertoire included Figaro in Le nozze di Figaro, Mustafà in L’italiana in Algeri, Dulcamara in L’elisir d‘amore, Leporello in Don Giovanni, Raimondo in Lucia di Lammermoor, Sarastro in Die Zauberflöte, Kaspar in Der Freischütz, Kezal in Die verkaufte Braut, Forester in Cunning Little Vixen, Méphistophélès in Faust and Wotan in Die Walküre.
Guest engagements at that time brought him to the Oper Leipzig (bass soloist in Pax Questuosa), the Oper Graz (König Heinrich in Lohengrin, Gessler in Guillaume Tell), the Aalto-Theater Essen (Dulcamara, Prince Gremin in Eugen Onegin), the Staatstheater Mannheim (Dulcamara), the Staatstheater Cottbus (bass soloist in Mahler’s 8th), the Theater Bremen (Sarastro) as well as the Staatsoper Hannover, the Deutsche Oper am Rhein and the Theater Dortmund (all as Mustafà).
Derrick Ballard has also triumphed with baroque repertoire in roles such as Joas in Il Gedeone (Staatstheater Kassel), Achilla in Giulio Cesare (Florentine Opera Milwaukee), the title roles in Handel’s Hercules (Aalto-Musiktheater Essen, Staatheater Kassel, Theater Gera) and Saul (Staatstheater Oldenburg). In 2011, he performed in An Occasional Oratorio at the Händel-Festspiele Halle.