John Dodington, operatic bass (born 3 July 1945 in Toronto, ON). Known for his rich voice and authoritative stage presence, John Dodington performed lead roles with virtually every opera company in Canada and sang as a guest soloist with many orchestras. He was a member of the Festival Singers and the Elmer Iseler Singers, and performed in the Toronto productions of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Phantom of the Opera and Steven Sondheim’s Into the Woods. He began teaching voice in Alliston, Ontario, after retiring in 2011.
Dodington studied under George Lambert at the Royal Conservatory of Music (1965–71) and under Louis Quilico at the University of Toronto (1971–72), where he earned a Bachelor of Music degree in 1972. He then studied in England until 1975 with Otakar Kraus and appeared in performances of Wozzeck during the 1974–75 season at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden. After returning to Canada, he participated in the Vancouver Opera Resident Artist Program (1976–77).
Dodington performed with the Festival Singers, the Vancouver Cantata Singers, the Toronto Chamber Society, the National Arts Centre Orchestra, the Toronto Philharmonic Orchestra, and symphony orchestras in Kingston, Thunder Bay, Vancouver and Winnipeg. He appeared at the Festival of the Sound and the Three Centuries Festival in Elora, Ontario. With the mezzo-soprano Catherine Robbin, he gave recitals at the University of Lethbridge, the Women's Musical Club of Toronto and on tour in British Columbia. The duo was accompanied on occasion by the pianist Jane Coop.
By 1990, Dodington had performed over 100 oratorio and operatic bass roles, the latter with Festival Ottawa and opera companies in Calgary, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Vancouver, Hamilton, Montréal and Victoria. He first appeared with the Canadian Opera Company in 1977 and had sung in 17 of its productions by 1990. He also appeared regularly with Stuart Hamilton’s Opera in Concert series, beginning in 1977. In 1982, he premiered the title role in Derek Holman’s opera, Dr. Canon's Cure, with the Canadian Children's Opera Chorus, and sang the role of the Gamekeeper in the Canadian premiere of Smetana's comic opera, The Two Widows, at the Guelph Spring Festival.
In 1992, Dodington co-founded the New Tecumseth Singers in New Tecumseth, Ontario. He was a member of the Elmer Iseler Singers, and spent seven years in the 1990s as a cast member of the Toronto production of Phantom of the Opera. He also appeared in the Toronto production of Steven Sondheim’s Into the Woods. After retiring in 2011, Dodington began teaching voice in Alliston, Ontario, where he also became the music director at St. John’s United Church.
He is the uncle of CCMA Award-winning singer-songwriter Victoria Banks and soprano Amy Dodington.
A version of this entry originally appeared in the Encyclopedia of Music in Canada.