A native of Perth, Scotland, Donald graduated in geography and taught in Scotland whilst studying singing with Joseph Hislop. He joined Scottish Opera in 1976 and Welsh National Opera in 1982. He was Director of National Opera Studio 2001 to 2008 and Head of Opera Studies at RWCMD from 2004 to 2009.
His operatic repertoire of well over one hundred roles ranges from the Baroque to several world premieres, including works by Berio, Eotvos, Manoury and Holt. Notable roles include the title roles in Falstaff, Rigoletto, Flying Dutchman, Don Pasquale, Sweeney Todd and Wozzeck, as well as Golaud, Bottom and Iago. A particular specialist in operetta, he has performed with all the main British opera companies and abroad at The Met, La Scala, Teatro Colon Buenos Aires, Vienna Staatsoper, Salzburg Easter Festival, Chicago Lyric Opera, Paris Opera and the Theatre du Chatelet.
Donald has directed several operas including The Rape of Lucretia and Walton’s Bear for the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, La Gazetta and Patience for the Royal College of Music, as well as PImpinone and The Beautiful Galatea for Buxton Festival. Concert performances particularly include Carmina Burana, which he has recorded twice, as well as a live televised Prom with Richard Hickox.
Donald has recorded extensively. Former director of the National Opera Studio and former Head of Opera Studies at RWCMD. In addition to masterclasses and adjudication he has led several summer schools at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama.