Return to Opera Workshop
Vernon Hartman is Founder and President of Impresario Productions, LLC, an independent production company serving all aspects of the arts industry. To this task he brings over thirty-five years of experience as performer, director, producer, and administrator. For the better part of two decades Mr. Hartman was a stalwart at the Metropolitan Opera, where his many appearances included Figaro in Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Eisenstein in Die Fledermaus, Count Almaviva in Le Nozze di Figaro, Valentin in Faust, Silvio in I Pagliacci, Ping in Turandot, Mercutio in Romeo et Juliette, Lescaut in Manon Lescaut and Redburn in Billy Budd. He has produced and directed opera and musical theater for nearly thirty organizations both here and in Europe, and holds or has held such titles as Producer of Opera, General/Artistic Director, Executive/Coordinating Producer and Artistic Advisor for numerous opera companies, orchestras, and presenter houses. In the last four seasons Mr. Hartman has overseen productions of La bohème and Tosca for the Rockford (IL) Symphony, L'elisir d'amore with The University of Massachusetts – Amherst, Teatro Comunale Cagli in Italy, Opera Santa Barbara and Greensboro Opera, Porgy and Bess and The Pirates of Penzance for the Evansville (IN) Philharmonic, Il Tabarro/Suor Angelica/Gianni Schicchi and Le Nozze di Figaro at the Teatro Bramante in Urbania, Italy, Die Fledermaus at Kent State University and The University of Massachusetts-Amherst, Carmen for Opera Santa Barbara and the Fox Valley Symphony, La Traviata for Greensboro Opera, Falstaff for Teatro Comunale Cagli, and Rigoletto with Greensboro Opera and the Dubuque Symphony.
His other producing/directing credits include Cosi Fan Tutte (Toledo), Dialogues of the Carmelites (Carnegie-Mellon University), Die Fledermaus (Durham, Evansville, Trenton), Don Giovanni (Birmingham, Poughkeepsie), Il Trovatore (Green Bay, Trenton), Cavalleria/Pagliacci (Poughkeepsie, Green Bay), Carmen (Evansville), La Traviata (Poughkeepsie), Carmina Burana (Evansville), Madama Butterfly (Trenton, Evansville, Poughkeepsie), Faust (Trenton), Otello, Trouble in Tahiti and Turandot (all in Tampa).
His guest appearances as a singer have taken him throughout Europe and North America. Highlights include creating the role of defense attorney Fred Moore in the world premiere of Anton Coppola’s epic Sacco and Vanzetti for Opera Tampa; Pentheus in a major revival of H. W. Henze’s The Bassarids at Madrid’s Teatro Real, a co-production with Semper Oper, Dresden; Amonasro in Aida for Opern Air Gars in Austria; Scarpia in Tosca in Bergen, Norway, a co-production of the Bergen Philharmonic and West Norwegian Opera; Carmina Burana for the National Symphony; Ralph Vaughn-Williams’ Sea Symphony with the West Virginia Symphony; the world premiere of a new work (The Passion according to King David by Richard O. Faulk) with members of the Houston Symphony; and a series of Christmas concerts with both the Riverside Symphonia and the Norddeutsche Rundfunk in Hannover. Mr. Hartman has sung leading roles with most of North America’s top regional opera companies including Atlanta, Austin, Boston, Carolina, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Dallas, Dayton, Des Moines, Fort Worth, Grand Rapids, Greensboro, Hawaii, Knoxville, Long Beach, Milwaukee, Montreal, Minnesota, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Providence, San Diego, Santa Barbara, Seattle, Tampa, Utah and Virginia.
An active concert artist, Mr. Hartman has appeared at Carnegie Hall as Pentheus in H. W. Henze’s The Bassarids (Christoph von Dohnanyi conducting) and in the much-publicized revival of William Bolcom’s massive Songs of Innocence and Experience conducted by Leonard Slatkin. His New York Philharmonic appearances include Bernstein’s Songfest, Copland’s Old American Songs and “A Tribute to Lenny”, concerts celebrating the 75th anniversary of Leonard Bernstein’s birth and coinciding with the release of the BMG/RCA Red Seal recording of Songfest featuring Mr. Hartman and conducted by Mr. Slatkin. He has sung with many of North America’s foremost orchestras and festivals including those of St. Louis, New York, Cleveland, Washington, Pittsburgh, Blossom, Houston, Cincinnati, Baltimore, Grant Park, Montreal, Minnesota, West Virginia, Erie, Cherry Hill, Great Woods, Indianapolis, Riverside (NJ), San Antonio, Springfield, Evansville, Kalamazoo, Amherst, Lakeland, Wichita, Stamford, Waukesha and Dayton.
M r. Hartman returned to his original calling, musical theater, tackling Emile de Becque in South Pacific (alongside Tony Award nominees Susan Egan and Gary Beach) for Sacramento Music Circus, later repeating the role opposite former Olympian and Tony nominee Cathy Rigby at Houston’s Theatre Under the Stars. Much in demand for master classes, lectures and other educational activities, Mr. Hartman recently spoke at Teachers College, Columbia University, discoursing on “The Performer’s Perspective,” and he conducted seminars and master classes at Kent State University, Ashland University, Clarke College, Southwest Texas State University, Birmingham-Southern College, The University of Evansville, Bowling Green State University and The Governor’s School for the Arts at Old Dominion University.
Mr. Hartman was born in Dallas, Texas and raised at San Marcos in the central Texas hill country. He attended Southwest Texas State University and North Texas State University and received an Artist’s Diploma from the Academy of Vocal Arts in Philadelphia. After extensive experience as an athlete, professional musician and broadcaster, he made his professional stage debut at Fort Worth’s Casa Mañana in South Pacific, followed by his operatic bow with the Fort Worth Opera in Salome. He first drew attention as Rigoletto with Shreveport Opera at age 22, and soon was touring with Western Opera Theater as Mozart’s Figaro and Olin Blitch in Susannah. Following a debut as Silvio in I Pagliacci, Mr. Hartman spent five years with the New York City Opera, including two coast-to-coast tours as Germont in La Traviata, before joining the roster of the Metropolitan Opera (for Rossini’s Figaro) in 1981. His European debut was Guglielmo in Cosí fan Tutte at the 1977 Spoleto Festival.