British bass John Tomlinson sings Doctor (Wozzeck) for The Royal Opera in the 2013/14 Season. In the 2012/13 Season, Tomlinson celebrated 35 years performing with The Royal Opera. His recent roles for the Company have included The Minotaur, Hunding and Hagen (Der Ring des Nibelungen), Veit Pogner (Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, following his many acclaimed performances as Hans Sachs), General (The Gambler), King Marke (Tristan und Isolde) and Gurnemanz (Parsifal).
Born in Lancashire, Tomlinson 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 Barenboim, and sang at Bayreuth every year from 1988 to 2006. He has sung for English National Opera, at most of the leading opera houses in Europe, for the Metropolitan Opera, New York, and for the Salzburg, Aix-en-Provence, Munich and Glyndebourne festivals. Along with the main 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). He created the roles of Green Knight (Gawain) and The Minotaur for Harrison Birtwistle at The Royal Opera.
Tomlinson’s discography includes CDs of works by Handel, Mozart, Wagner and Stravinsky and DVDs of The Minotaur, Parsifal and Der Ring des Nibelungen.
News and features
The British bass gives a masterclass on the nuances of the human voice.
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