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New York City Opera countertenor David Walker, a 1988 Lafayette graduate, will sing arias by Handel and songs by de Falla, Duparc, and Mozart at 8 p.m. Tuesday, January 23, in Lafayette’s Williams Center for the Arts. The concert honors Walker’s accomplishments as a Metropolitan Opera competition winner, and highlights his Carnegie Hall concert debut on January 26, when he will be singing the same program as at Lafayette.

Tickets cost $10 and may be ordered by calling the Williams Center box office at 610-330-5009.

Winner of the 1998 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, the 1998 Sullivan Foundation Award, and a 1999 ARIA grant, Walker has been praised for his “honeyed” and “firm but sweet” voice, his “verbal incisiveness,” and his ability to bring “elegance and feeling” to the music he sings. The magazine Opera Now featured Walker in its 1998 article about important young opera singers. He has excelled in opera, oratorio, and orchestral performances, including a highly acclaimed rendition of Arsace in Partenope with New York City Opera, which led the New York Times to exclaim, “Mr. Walker is a poised and cultivated artist.” Notes Opera News: “David Walker’s countertenor has a lyrical hue — sweet, tender, yet full and secure…”

After graduating from Lafayette with a bachelor of arts in engineering, Walker returned home to Florida to begin a business career. In 1989, he became tenor-section leader at the Cathedral Church of St. Luke in Orlando. He was named the church’s business manager in 1990 and began getting solo work as a tenor in central Florida. While taking voice lessons that year, he was surprised to discover that he was a countertenor — the highest male voice range. “At first, I was upset,” he told Opera News. “I didn’t want to be limited to a repertoire of Purcell and lute songs. But then I realized there’s so much more incredible stuff I can do.”

In 1994, Walker left his job at the church and began studying for his master’s degree in music and vocal performance at Florida State University. His repertoire earned him opera roles throughout the country, and he gained an established reputation in just a few years.

In the spring of 1998, Walker performed the role of Alessandro in Handel’s Tolomeo with the Gottingen Handel Festival under the baton of Nicholas McGegan. He then returned to Glimmerglass Opera in the summer of 1998 as Armindo in Handel’s Partenope, and made his New York City Opera debut in the fall of 1998 in the leading countertenor role of Arsace in Partenope. His other engagements in the 1998-99 season included performances of Messiah with both Boston Baroque and the Richmond Symphony; Ottone in L ‘Incoronazione di Poppea with Opera/Columbus; the Sandman in Hansel and Gretel with New York City Opera; and the Page in Wolf-Ferrari’s Sly with the Washington Opera. He also performed as soloist in Bach cantatas in the inaugural concerts of the New York Collegium, conducted by Gustav Leonhardt, in both New York City and Boston.

Walker’s engagements in the 1999-2000 season included: a return to Glimmerglass Opera as L ‘Humana fragilita and Pisandro in Il ritorno d’Ulisse in patria; his debut with Opera North in the title role of Handel’s Radamisto; a return to Boston’s Handel & Haydn Society as Athamas in Semele; performances and a recording on Decca Records of Handel’s Rinaldo with the Academy of Ancient Music in London, Zurich, and Cologne; his debut with Florida Grand Opera as Tolomeo in Giulio Cesare; a return to Boston Baroque for performances of Messiah; and performances of Carmina Burana with the Columbus Symphony Orchestra.

The 2000-2001 Performance Series at Lafayette is cosponsored, in part, by grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, Mid Atlantic Foundation for the Arts, and New England Foundation for the

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