Panamanian-American baritone Nmon Ford begins a new artistic chapter as the composer, librettist, and title-role performer of House of Orfeus (previously Orfeus, A House Music Opera), which was scheduled for its world premiere at London’s Young Vic Theatre (postponed due to Covid-19). The show will be presented in 2024 as a co-production with Lincoln Center and Opera Carolina. Nmon has enjoyed success in increasingly challenging and dramatic repertoire, most recently in concert with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra in excerpts from Aïda (Amonasro). He made his role and company debut as Crown in the English National Opera/Metropolitan Opera co-production of Porgy and Bess, preceded by his role and festival debut at Lincoln Center’s Mostly Mozart Festival as The Celebrant in Leonard Bernstein’s MASS, Iago (Otello) with the Atlanta Symphony, Jochanaan (Salome) at Pittsburgh Opera, and the Celebrant (MASS) at Salzburg’s Grosses Festspielhaus with the Salzburg Mozarteumorchester. He appeared with the Dallas Symphony in Vaughn Williams’ Sea Symphony, Chicago Opera Theater in the title role of a new production of Ernest Bloch’s Macbeth, Atlanta Symphony at Carnegie Hall (Brahms’ Requiem), St. Louis Symphony (Carmina Burana), and Milwaukee Symphony (Brahms’ Requiem). After performing Mahler’s Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen with Orchestre National des Pays de la Loire (ONPL) conducted by John Axelrod, Nmon was immediately re-engaged by the ONPL for Mahler’s Kindertotenlieder and Fauré’s Requiem.
Nmon made his Italian debut at Teatro delle Muse in Ancona in the title role of a new production of The Emperor Jones directed by Henning Brockhaus and conducted by Bruno Bartoletti (for which he received the Premio Franco Corelli for the outstanding debut of the season), his company debut with Cincinnati Opera as Riolobo in Francesca Zambello’s production of Florencia en el Amazonas, and his role debut as The Traveler in a new production of Death In Venice at Hamburg State Opera. He appeared with Michigan Opera Theater as Zurga in Zandra Rhodes’ production of Les pêcheurs de perles, Teatro Comunale di Bologna in the title role of Pier Luigi Pizzi’s production of Don Giovanni, and the Szeged Open-Air Festival in Hungary as Escamillo (Carmen). Nmon gave his first performances at Italy’s Sferisterio Festival in new productions of Attila and Juditha Triumphans, preceded by Don Giovanni in Ancona. He debuted the roles of di Luna (Il trovatore) with Virginia Opera and Thoas (Iphigénie en Tauride) with Hamburg State Opera, and bowed as Mendelssohn’s Elijah at Washington National Cathedral with the Cathedral Choral Society conducted by J. Reilly Lewis.
In previous seasons Nmon sang both Scarpia (Tosca) and the title role in a new production of Billy Budd with Hamburg Opera; with the Atlanta Symphony conducted by Robert Spano he recorded Jennifer Higdon’s Dooryard Bloom (written for him) and Vaughan Williams’ Serenade to Music for Telarc. He made his Ravinia Festival debut with James Conlon conducting the Chicago Symphony in Shostakovich’s Symphony #13 (“Babi Yar”), which he also performed with Maestro Conlon and the Los Angeles Philharmonic at Walt Disney Concert Hall. Additional engagements include Carmina Burana with the Pittsburgh Symphony, and covering the role of Amfortas with Los Angeles Opera in Robert Wilson’s production of Parsifal starring Plácido Domingo and conducted by Kent Nagano. He received critical acclaim at Spoleto Festival USA as the title role in Don Giovanni, in a production by Günter Krämer conducted by Emmanuel Villaume.
Having begun his musical training in piano at age three, Nmon has since appeared with–in addition to the previously mentioned companies–San Francisco Opera, Teatro Sociale di Rovigo, Utah Opera, Portland Opera, and Opera Memphis in roles such as Iago (Otello), Kurwenal (Tristan und Isolde), Renato (Un ballo in maschera), Amonasro (Aïda), Germont (La traviata), and the High Priest (Samson et Dalila). Other roles include Telramund (Lohengrin), Posa (Don Carlo), and Carlo (Ernani).
Nmon has worked with conductors Louis Langrée, James Conlon, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Leonard Slatkin, Robert Spano, Bruno Bartoletti, Kent Nagano, Marin Alsop, Emmanuel Villaume, John Wilson, John Adams, and Simone Young. His concert appearances include the New York and Los Angeles Philharmonics, Chicago Symphony, Boston Symphony, Philadelphia Orchestra, St. Louis Symphony, Atlanta Symphony, Pittsburgh Symphony, National Symphony, BBC Symphony, BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, Handel and Haydn Society (Boston, MA), and Orchestra of St. Luke’s. He made his New York recital debut under the auspices of the Marilyn Horne Foundation.
In addition to his Grammy-winning Naxos and Telarc releases, Nmon has recorded for Universal Music Group/Decca (Vai DaCapo - Songs of Delight, Billboard Top 20 Classical and Classical Crossover) and Koch International (Villa-Lobos’ Symphony #10, “Amerindia”). His awards include First Place in the Wagner Division of the Liederkranz Foundation of New York Competition, as well as major prizes from the Gerda Lissner Foundation and the George London Foundation. He earned his Master’s and Bachelor’s Degrees in music from the University of Southern California, where he graduated with honors for both degrees.