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.
News and features
Andrea Chénier, La bohème, Die Zauberflöte and others on Opera on 3.
Other winners include Daniel Barenboim, Welsh National Opera and the London Philharmonic Orchestra.
The British bass gives a masterclass on the nuances of the human voice.
A masterclass from legendary Wagnerian John Tomlinson, a musical introduction from Antonio Pappano, and the creative team on their production.
What did you think of Keith Warner's production of Alban Berg's dark and tragic opera?
The British conductor and composer speaks about Harrison Birtwistle's mythical opera.