Personal life and education
Although he sang in a skiffle group while in secondary school, Rendall originally had no intention to sing opera professionally. He was "discovered" while working at the BBC, sorting records for Desert Island Discs. A producer for the show heard him singing "Questa o quella" from Rigoletto while working, and suggested he study professionally.
Rendall entered the Royal Academy of Music in 1970, and the Salzburg Mozarteum in 1973. He won a Young Musician of the Year Award from the Greater London Arts Association in 1973 and received a Gulbenkian Fellowship in 1975. In May 1978 he sang the tenor part of Anton Bruckner's Te Deum under the baton of Herbert von Karajan during a performance at Musikverein Hall of Vienna with Vienna Philharmonic.
At Covent Garden Rendall sang the roles of the Italian Singer in Der Rosenkavalier, Almaviva in The Barber of Seville, Des Grieux in Manon, Matteo in Arabella, Rodrigo in La donna del lago, Flamand in Capriccio, and the Duke in Rigoletto. After making his Metropolitan Opera debut in 1980 as Don Ottavio in Don Giovanni, he returned to perform Lensky in Eugene Onegin, Matteo in Arabella, Ferrando in Cosi fan Tutte  and the title role of Idomeneo.
He also performed with the English National Opera from 1976 to 1992, with the New York City Opera, San Francisco Opera, and many other opera companies in the United States, Great Britain, Ireland, France, Italy, Georgia, Japan, Denmark, and Germany.
Rendall was involved in a peculiar onstage incident in 1998 when he accidentally stabbed baritone Kimm Julian in the death scene of I Pagliacci during a rehearsal with the Florentine Opera. The switchblade-style knife that the Milwaukee opera company used failed to collapse, and the baritone received a 3-inch-deep (76 mm) cut into his abdomen. Julian recovered and police cleared Rendall of any wrongdoing. He suffered injuries from a collapsing stage set during an April 2005 performance on stage in Copenhagen, and his career was subsequently curtailed. Rendall returned to performance in June 2013.
Rendall is married to the British lyric mezzo-soprano Diana Montague.
Rendall's recordings include Berlioz, Requiem in 1979 conducted by Michael Gielen, Maria Stuarda with Charles Mackerras and the English National Opera in 1982 and La rondine with Lorin Maazel and the London Symphony Orchestra in 1985.
- Mozart: Così fan tutte (Alain Lombard recording)
- The Metropolitan Opera Centennial Gala, Deutsche Grammophon DVD, 00440-073-4538, 2009
- "David Rendall, tenor: from skiffle to La Scala" Ottawa Citizen 11 July 1978, at 45.
- Intermusica, David Rendall biography[permanent dead link], July 2009.
- "Today: Leading Events The Week's Concert" New York Times, 16 March 1980, at D41.
- Lloyd Schwartz, "Stars are born" Boston Phoenix 30 April 1985.
- John Rockwell, Opera: "Arabella" in Season's Debut at the Met 22 February 1984.
- Inc., Inmagic. "Metropolitan Opera Association". Retrieved 10 January 2017.
- Donal Henahan "Opera: The Met's First "Idomeneo" This Season" New York Times 18 January 1986.
- Tom Strini & James H. Burnett III, "Baritone stabbed at rehearsal is out of hospital, and opera" Milwaukee Journal Sentinel 6 November 1998, at B1.
- "Unkindest cut for opera singer", Irish Times 7 November 1998.
- Sue Fox, Interview: "David Rendall" Sunday Times (London) 24 July 2005.
- "Drama of the opera takes a real life turn" Birmingham Post 7 November 1998.
- Bill Mouland & Briony Warden, "A knife at the Opera: Singer is stabbed as stunt with trick dagger goes wrong" Daily Mail (London) 7 November 1998.
- Cary Spivak & Dan Bice, "Opera stabbing wasn't first flash of trouble for either player" Milwaukee Journal Sentinel 11 November 1998, at 2A.
- Anita Singh (6 August 2010). "Injured opera star sues over set collapse". Telegraph. Retrieved 25 October 2014.
- "David Rendall's London return announced" (Press release). Inverne Price Music Consultancy. 23 February 2013. Archived from the original on 25 October 2014. Retrieved 25 October 2014.