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John Tomlinson

Bass

Biography

British bass John Tomlinson made his Royal Opera debut in 1977 as Fourth Jew (Salome). He has returned regularly to sing with The Royal Opera, his many roles including Wotan, Hunding and Hagen (Der Ring des Nibelungen), Veit Pogner and Hans Sachs (Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg), King Marke (Tristan und Isolde) and Gurnemanz (Parsifal), and the role creations Green Knight (Gawain) and the title role of The Minotaur.

Tomlinson was born in Accrington and read civil engineering at Manchester University and studied singing at the Royal Northern College of Music. He made his Bayreuth Festival debut in 1988 as Wotan (Der Ring des Nibelungen) under Daniel Barenboim and went on to sing for the festival every summer from 1988 to 2006. He has sung for leading international opera houses, including English National Opera and the Metropolitan Opera, New York, and for the Salzburg, Aix-en-Provence, Munich and Glyndebourne festivals. Along with leading Wagner roles for bass and bass-baritone, his repertory has included Boris Godunov, Bluebeard, Baron Ochs (Der Rosenkavalier), Golaud (Pelléas et Mélisande), Claggart (Billy Budd), Philip II and the Grand Inquisitor (Don Carlo), Méphistophélès (Faust), the four villains (Les Contes d’Hoffmann), Boris Ismailov (Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk) and Moses (Moses und Aron).

Tomlinson’s wide discography includes CDs of works by Handel, Mozart, Wagner and Stravinsky and DVDs of The Minotaur, Parsifal and Der Ring des Nibelungen. He was knighted in 2005.

Videos

News and features

BBC Radio 3 broadcasts of Royal Opera performances announced for winter, spring and summer 2014/15

BBC Radio 3 broadcasts of Royal Opera performances announced for winter, spring and summer 2014/15

2 December 2014

Andrea Chénier, La bohème, Die Zauberflöte and others on Opera on 3.

Joyce DiDonato, John Tomlinson and Written on Skin win RPS Music Awards

Joyce DiDonato, John Tomlinson and Written on Skin win RPS Music Awards

14 May 2014

Other winners include Daniel Barenboim, Welsh National Opera and the London Philharmonic Orchestra.

Watch: John Tomlinson on his approach to performance

Watch: John Tomlinson on his approach to performance

26 February 2014

The British bass gives a masterclass on the nuances of the human voice.

Watch: Insights into Parsifal

Watch: Insights into Parsifal

19 December 2013

A masterclass from legendary Wagnerian John Tomlinson, a musical introduction from Antonio Pappano, and the creative team on their production.

Your reaction: Wozzeck

Your reaction: Wozzeck

1 November 2013

What did you think of Keith Warner's production of Alban Berg's dark and tragic opera?

Watch: Ryan Wigglesworth on The Minotaur

Watch: Ryan Wigglesworth on The Minotaur

23 January 2013

The British conductor and composer speaks about Harrison Birtwistle's mythical opera.