Accessibility links


Sign In

Due to the ongoing effects of closure at the Royal Opera House, information about artists is only updated periodically during this time. We apologise for any inconvenience caused.

Jonathan Summers



Jonathan Summers in action.
Jonathan Summers as The Bailli in Werther, Royal Opera House © 2016 ROH. Photograph by Bill Cooper

Australian baritone Jonathan Summers was a member of The Royal Opera 1976–86. He made his Royal Opera debut in 1977 as Kilian (Der Freischütz). His many roles since include Figaro (Il barbiere di Siviglia), Malatesta (Don Pasquale), Silvio (Pagliacci), Albert and Le Bailli (Werther), Falke (Die Fledermaus), Herald (Lohengrin), Animal Tamer (Lulu), Paolo (Simon Boccanegra), Balstrode (Peter Grimes), Faninal (Der Rosenkavalier), Papageno (Die Zauberflöte), Figaro (Le nozze di Figaro), Ford (Falstaff), Sharpless (Madama Butterfly), Marcello (La bohème), Nabucco and Sebastian (The Tempest).

Summers was born in Melbourne. He worked as a recording engineer with the Radio Division of the Australian Broadcasting Commission while pursuing his singing studies. After winning all the major Australian singing competitions in the early 1970s he moved to London in 1974 to study with Otakar Kraus. He has sung for UK companies including English National Opera, Glyndebourne Festival, Scottish Opera, Opera North and Welsh National Opera and internationally for Metropolitan Opera, New York, Opera Australia, Paris Opéra, Bavarian State Opera, Cologne Opera, Hamburg State Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, La Monnaie, Brussels, and Théatre du Capitole de Toulouse, among others. In 2009 he was awarded the Order of Australia Medal for services to the performing arts.

Summers’s many Verdi roles include Macbeth, Rigoletto, Germont (La traviata), Simon Boccanegra, Renato (Un ballo in maschera), Don Carlos (La forza del destino), Posa (Don Carlos), Iago (Otello) and Falstaff. His other repertory includes Kurwenal (Tristan und Isolde), Amfortas (Parsifal), Scarpia (Tosca), Michele (Il tabarro), Tonio (Pagliacci), Wozzeck, Tomsky (The Queen of Spades), Prus (The Makropulos Affair) and Geppetto (The Adventures of Pinocchio). He has recorded widely.