Described as “a magnetic presence” (Opera Magazine) and “a consistent scene stealer” (The New York Times) James is fast gaining international recognition for the versatility of his voice and commanding stage presence. Born in Sussex, he was winner of the 2nd Prize in the 62nd Kathleen Ferrier Awards at Wigmore Hall. He was awarded the 2016 Simon Sandbach Award from Garsington Opera, and the ‘most promising singer’ award at the Dean and Chadlington Singing Competition. James is a former Britten-Pears Young Artist, holds an Independent Opera Voice Fellowship and an International Opera Awards Bursary. James studied at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama with Susan Waters, following a First Class honours degree in music from King’s College London.
A versatile performer, James is increasingly in demand on the concert platform in appearances spanning the breadth of the repertoire right up to the present day with orchestras including the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Philharmonia, Munich Philharmonic, RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra, Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, and several appearances with the BBC Symphony Orchestra including the European premiere of Ross Harris FACE, Berlioz Les nuits d’été, works by Lili Boulanger, and Vaughan Williams Serenade to Music at the Last Night of the Proms. This season highlights include Mozart Requiem with L’Orchestre de chambre de Paris and Douglas Boyd, and Stravinsky Pulcinella both with the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra under Barbara Hannigan and with the CBSO under Kazuki Yamada.
Rapidly gaining recognition in the Baroque repertoire, in 2017 James was awarded the Rising Stars prize by the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, with whom he has performed Jupiter in Handel Semele under Christophe Rousset and Haydn The Creation under Adam Fischer. More recently highlights have included Monteverdi Vespers with Laurence Cummings and the English Concert for Garsington Opera; Handel Il Trionfo del Tempo e del Disinganno(Tempo) with the Freiburger Barockorchester under René Jacobs; Handel Samson (title role) with John Butt and the Dunedin Consort, and Acis & Galatea with Les Arts Florissants. This season and beyond James sings Messiah tours with William Christie and Les Arts Florissants, with Trevor Pinnock and the FBO, and in his US concert debut with Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra; Bach Magnificat with The English Concert; Handel Solomon with Christian Curnyn and the OAE; Purcell King Arthur and The Fairy Queen with the Gabrieli Consort and Players, Bach St Matthew Passion (Evangelist) with the Lahti Symphony Orchestra under Andreas Spering, and a tour of Handel La Resurrezione with Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin, conducted by Bernard Labadie.
Opera credits include his debuts with Staatsoper Berlin in Purcell King Arthur (AKAMUS and René Jacobs); and with the Philharmonia Orchestra and Jakub Hrůša as the Holy Fool Boris Godunovat the Royal Festival Hall; the Ballad Singer Owen Wingrave for the Aldeburgh and Edinburgh International Festivals (under Mark Wigglesworth), Gondolier Death in Venice and Davy in Roxanna Panufnik’s new opera Silver Birchfor Garsington Opera; Vistola Fiume and Pastore La liberazione di Ruggiero for the Brighton Early Music Festival; the Young King in George Benjamin’s Lessons in Love and Violence at St Petersburg’s Mariinsky Theatre; and Sellem in a worldwide tour of The Rake’s Progress under the baton of Barbara Hannigan. Roles in 2020 include Handel Alcina (Oronte, cover) for Glyndebourne Festival Opera, and Il Trionfo del Tempo e del Disinganno (Tempo) for Opéra national de Montpellier under Nathalie Stutzmann.
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