Canadian bass John Relyea made his Royal Opera debut in 2002 as Colline (La bohème), and has since returned as Cadmus/Somnus (Semele), Raimondo Bidebent (Lucia di Lammermoor), Banquo (Macbeth), Nick Shadow (The Rake’s Progress), Bertram (Robert le diable) and Zaccaria (Nabucco).
Relyea grew up in Toronto, where he studied piano and guitar, and began singing lessons with his father, bass-baritone Gary Relyea. He went on to further vocal studies at the Curtis Institute of Music. He now regularly sings for leading opera companies worldwide, including the Metropolitan Opera, New York, San Francisco Opera (where he is a former Adler Fellow and alunmnus of the Merola Opera Program), Lyric Opera of Chicago, Canadian Opera Company, Paris Opéra, Bavarian State Opera, Vienna State Opera and the Mariinsky Theatre. His repertory includes Figaro (Le nozze di Figaro), the title roles of Attila, Don Quichotte, Aleko and Duke Bluebeard’s Castle, Don Alfonso (Lucrezia Borgia), Henry VIII (Anna Bolena), Don Basilio (Il barbiere di Siviglia), Giorgio (I puritani), Méphistophélès (Faust and La Damnation de Faust), Escamillo (Carmen), the four villains (Les Contes d’Hoffmann), Caspar (Der Freischütz), Herrmann (Tannhäuser), King Marke (Tristan und Isolde), King René (Iolanta) and Collatinus (The Rape of Lucretia).
Relyea performs widely in concert, with orchestra including the Philadelphia Orchestra, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Cleveland Orchestra, New York Philharmonic, the Philharmonia, Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra and the Berlin Philharmonic. His awards include the 2009 Beverly Sills Artist Award.
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Watch: ‘Verdi felt the people of his own nation needed a voice’ – Why Nabucco remains politically potent
Stars of Daniele Abbado’s production discuss why Verdi's Biblical epic was politically potent in his own time, and why it remains relevant today.