In Memoriam: Nathan Ward

Tenor Nathan Ward, backstage at rehearsal for the world premiere of Steal a Pencil for Me earlier this year. Photo: Opera Colorado/Kelly Maxwell

Two weeks ago, Opera Colorado received the heartbreaking news that depression had taken the life of tenor Nathan Ward, a member of our 2017-18 Young Artist Program. The Young Artists (now known as the Artists in Residence) are in many ways the soul of Opera Colorado. Each season, a new cohort comes to Denver for an eight-month residency, during which these artists serve as the voice of the company at schools, community centers, and on the mainstage. They become an inextricable part of the Opera Colorado family—and we are so thankful to have known Nathan, and to have had him become part of this family last season.

Yes, he was talented; Opera Colorado audiences saw him in all three 2017-18 mainstage productions, as Parpignol in La Bohème, Rudi Acohen in the world premiere of Steal a Pencil for Me, and Bardolfo in Falstaff. But, more importantly, Nathan was kind and thoughtful and generous. He was a lovely human being, and we miss him.

Earlier today, before our final performance of La Traviata, the Opera Colorado team gathered backstage to remember Nathan and to pay our respects with a moment of silence. So, too, do we remember his family and friends, who are in our hearts during this unimaginably difficult time.

There are many wonderful things about this artistic community we inhabit, not the least of which is the compassion that emanates from it. The days since receiving the news have been filled with private outreach and remembrances, through phone calls and emails, outpourings of love on social media, and more. But today we wanted to take a moment to publicly share how we at Opera Colorado knew Nathan. So we’ve compiled some of our favorite photos of his time with us, below. We think you’ll agree that they provide not only a glimpse at his artistry, but also at his gentle, caring spirit.

With love to Nathan, and to all those who knew him,

Opera Colorado

Nathan and mezzo-soprano Katherine Beck at the 2018 Family Day performance of Cinderella. Photo: Opera Colorado/Jamie Kraus
Nathan greeting audience members after the 2018 Family Day performance of Cinderella. Photo: Opera Colorado/Jamie Kraus
Nathan during the sitzprobe for Falstaff in April. Photo: David Budd
Bass-baritone Andrew Hiers (Pistola), Nathan (Bardolfo), and baritone Olafur Sigurdarson (Sir John Falstaff) during Opera Colorado’s May 2018 production of Falstaff. Photo: Opera Colorado/Matthew Staver
Nathan, center, with the 2017-18 Opera Colorado Young Artists. Photo: Andrew Hiers

7 Comments to “In Memoriam: Nathan Ward”

  1. Reading this is heartbreaking. When someone seems to have everything, yet they seem to feel they have nothing — tragedy.

  2. Nathan was loved in California as well. He stayed at my home for a bit, and was kind, compassionate and very talented. He will be missed wherever he has been. Thanks for this great tribute.

  3. Nathan was my student while pursuing his undergraduate degree in Missouri. You describe him perfectly in this moving tribute, and I am so grateful to see the pictures. We here at the University of Missouri loved him very much.

  4. I remember Nathan’s unique vocal sound, especially from Steal A Pencil for Me, and have just learned the sad news. I enjoyed talking with him and learned a great deal about opera from those conversations. I’ll remember O Sole Mio.

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