Mr. W. Dwight Coleman
W. Dwight Coleman is currently director of the School of Music at Georgia State University in Atlanta. He is the general/stage director of the nationally recognized Harrower Summer Opera Workshop and resident stage director of the La Musica Lirica Summer Opera Festival in Italy. He has degrees from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and Northwestern University.
Maintaining an active performing career in opera, recital and oratorio, Mr. Coleman has performed leading and secondary baritone roles with the Atlanta Opera, Pensacola Opera, New Orleans Opera, Teatro di Verdi in Busseto, Italy, Skylite Opera, Shreveport Opera, Mississippi Opera, North Carolina Symphony and Milwaukee Symphony. His roles include: Sharpless in Madama Butterfly, Dr. Falke in Die Fledermaus, Silvio in I Pagliacci, Valentin in Faust, Germont in La traviata, Enrico in Lucia di Lammermoor, Ping in Turandot, Peter in Hansel and Gretel, Ford in Falstaff and others. He made his Carnegie Hall debut in 1992 in Ein Deutches Requiem by Brahms and in 1994 he was featured at Avery Fischer Hall in Lincoln Center as baritone soloist in Five Mystical Songs by Vaughan Williams. Other performances include Chanson Madecasses by Ravel with the Musica da Camera in Atlanta; Eight Songs on text by Walt Whitman by Ned Rorem and "I remember long ago" from The Great Gatbsy by John Harbison, with the composers in attendance; Elijah with the Pensacola Symphony and Choral Society; premier performances of Waltzing Through the Endtime with the Atlanta Chamber Players, acclaimed as one of the top three classical performances in Atlanta 2005, and Beethoven's Ninth with the Columbus Symphony Orchestra. In 2008 he premiered First Rain by Nick Demos with the Aris Piano Quartet at the Dimitira International Festival in Thessaloniki, Greece.
As a stage director, Mr. Coleman has directed over 70 operas. His professional credits include original language productions of: La bohème, Le nozze di Figaro, Carmen, Madama Butterfly, Don Pasquale, L'elisir d'amore, Die Fledermaus, Die Zauberflöte, Highway I U.S.A., Impresario, Rigoletto, Suor Angelica, Falstaff, La traviata, Lucia di Lammermoor, Les contes d'Hoffmann and Dialogues of the Carmelites. He has directed premier performances of six contemporary operas: Workshop by Charles Knox and Robert Gay; Test Tube, Bronze Mirror and Bluebeard's Waiting Room by Milton Granger; and Zabette by Curtis Bryant and Mary Bullard. He most recently premiered the full production of The Beautiful Bridegroom by Dan Shore, the winning opera of the National Opera Association Composition Competition, at the 2010 National Convention.
His awards include: Regional finalist in the Metropolitan Opera Auditions in Chicago; Shreveport Opera Singer of the Year; Finalist in the Bel Canto Foundation competition in Italian Opera; winner of the National Opera Association's Opera Production Competition for his production of The Saint of Bleecker Street; winner of the Pro Mozart Society competition to study at the Mozarteum in Salzburg, Austria with Grace Bumbry and Kerstin Meyer; and a Bel Canto grant to study in Busseto, Italy with Carlo Bergonzi and Renata Tebaldi. At Georgia State University, he received the 2000 Torch of Peace Award for promotion of racial harmony; the 2005 Sparks Award, for dedication to service; and the 2007 College of Arts and Science Outstanding Teacher Award. He received a Loridan's Arts Medal in 2009 for his contributions to the arts in Atlanta.
As a recitalist, Derrick Henry, former critic for the Atlanta Journal Constitution stated: "He grabbed one's attention immediately with his imposing, resonate voice and his theatrical manner. What made his recital special was the ability to make a listener identify with the texts' protagonists, to feel their joys and sorrows."