Douglas Webster as The Celebrant
Throughout his career, Douglas Webster has moved between every genre of American music and is fast winning acclaim as one of America’s most accomplished and versatile singers. He is active on recital, opera and Broadway stages as well as in studio recordings and educational outreach. In a tour spanning two seasons (1999-2001), he performed over 100 concerts in as many cities in 46 states.
Whether in stints with the third national tour of Les Miserables, performances in Don Giovanni, appearances with pops orchestras throughout the United States, or as a teacher and artistic director, Webster has demonstrated a rare talent both in performing and in teaching. Of his talent, Leonard Bernstein once said, “He’s got it all: The highs, the lows, the ‘look’ and the croon.”
Webster made his debut singing the principal role of the Celebrant in Bernstein’s MASS for the composer’s 70th birthday party at the Tanglewood Festival, in Lenox, Mass. Since that time he has become known as the foremost interpreter of that role.
Premiere performances of MASS, which was originally commissioned by Jacqueline Kennedy for the opening of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in 1971, have taken Webster to Italy, Spain and Lithuania. In the United States, he has performed the Celebrant role with orchestras in Denver, Eugene and Portland, Ore., and as part of festivals in Aspen, Colo., and Santa Cruz, N.M. On June 1, 2000, he and his hand-picked cast performed MASS at Paul VI Hall at the Vatican. On the following day, he was received by Pope John Paul II.
Douglas most recently appeared in the role of the Celebrant for the Carnegie Hall premiere in November 2002. This sold-out performance marked the first New York performance of MASS in more than 30 years. Based upon his production experience with MASS, Webster has assembled a cast and crew to help orchestras, festivals and universities in producing their own performances of the work. He will reprise his role as the Celebrant on Nov. 22, 2003, with the Dallas Symphony when it performs MASS as part of the ceremonies marking the 40th anniversary of the assassination of President Kennedy.
As a teacher, he has held master classes across the United States and Canada and in 2001 he joined the faculty of the USC Colorado Music Fest. He is also artistic director of American Singer Seminars – Musical Theater Intensive in Breckenridge, Colo. Now in its fifth year, the program is a venue where young singers can study under the guidance of successful Broadway singers.
Born in Lincoln, Neb., and raised in Colorado, his studies took him to the University of Indiana, Northwestern University, the Banff Centre (Alberta) and France. As a recitalist, he made his New York debut in 1996 at Merkin Concert Hall.