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John Tomlinson

Bass

Biography

John Tomlinson in action.
John Tomlinson in The Minotaur, The Royal Opera © ROH/Bill Cooper, 2013

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

ROH Collections Item of the Month: Donald Southern’s starry photographs of <em>La bohème</em>

ROH Collections Item of the Month: Donald Southern’s starry photographs of La bohème

15 May 2015

Over 41 years, all the greats – including Plácido Domingo, Kiri Te Kanawa and Luciano Pavarotti – have performed in John Copley’s classic production.

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.

Photos

John Tomlinson as Moses in Moses und Aron

Thomas Allen as Marcello, José Carreras as Rodolfo, Ilona Tokody as Mimì, William Workman as Schaunard and John Tomlinson as Colline in La bohème, The Royal Opera, 1984

Nina Stemme as Isolde and John Tomlinson as King Marke in Tristan and Isolde

John Tomlinson as Wanderer and Gerhard Siegel as Mime in Siegfried

John Tomlinson as The Minotaur in The Minotaur

Gerhard Siegel as the Captain, Simon Keenlyside as Wozzeck and John Tomlinson as the Doctor in Wozzeck

John Tomlinson as Gurnemanz in Parsifal

John Tomlinson with Tony Hall, celebrating 35 years of singing with The Royal Opera after a performance of The Minotaur

John Tomlinson as King Marke in Tristan und Isolde

John Tomlinson as Gurnemanz, Petra Lang as Kundry and Christopher Ventris as Parsifal in Parsifal

John Tomlinson with composer Harrison Birtwistle after The Minotaur, celebrating 35 years performing with The Royal Opera

John Tomlinson celebrating 35 years of singing with The Royal Opera after a performance of The Minotaur

John Tomlinson as the Doctor and Simon Keenlyside as Wozzeck in Wozzeck

Simon Keenlyside as Wozzeck and John Tomlinson as the Doctor in Wozzeck

Emma Bell as Eva and Sir John Tomlinson as Pogner with chorus in Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg

Sir John Tomlinson as Pogner in Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg

Sir John Tomlinson as King Marke in Tristan and Isolde

John Tomlinson as Hagen and Wolfgang Koch as Alberich in Götterdämmerung

John Tomlinson as Hunding in Die Walküre

John Tomlinson as Hagen in Götterdämmerung

Sir John Tomlinson as The Grand Inquisitor in Don Carlo

John Tomlinson as Wotan and Lisa Gasteen as Brünnhilde in Die Walküre

Gerhard Siegel as the Captain and Simon Keenlyside as Wozzeck in Wozzeck

John Tomlinson as The Minotaur in The Minotaur

Sir Thomas Allen with Sir John Tomlinson in Die Meistersinger (2000)

Peter Coleman-Wright as Beckmesser and Sir John Tomlinson as Pogner in Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg

Rainer Trost as Aron and John Tomlinson as Moses in Moses und Aron

John Tomlinson as Colline, Thomas Allen as Marcello, William Workman as Schaunard and José Carreras as Rodolfo in La bohème, The Royal Opera, 1984

John Tomlinson with Antonio Pappano, celebrating 35 years performing with The Royal Opera

John Tomlinson with Kasper Holten, celebrating 35 years performing with The Royal Opera

John Tomlinson as Wotan and Peter Sidhom as Alberich in Siegfried

Simon Keenlyside as Wozzeck and John Tomlinson as the Doctor in Wozzeck

John Tomlinson performing at the Verdi vs Wagner debate as part of Stephen Fry's Deloitte Ignite

John Tomlinson in The Minotaur, The Royal Opera

John Tomlinson

John Tomlinson as Hagen in Götterdämmerung