James Rutherford

Introduction

Since winning the inaugural Seattle Opera International Wagner competition in 2006, James Rutherford has become renowned for his interpretations of German romantic opera. He has sung Hans Sachs (“Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg”) for the Bayreuth Festival (2010, 2011), Wiener Staatsoper, Hamburg Opera, Cologne Opera, Budapest Wagner Festival and Glyndebourne Festival; Wolfram (“Tannhäuser”) for San Francisco Opera; Kurwenal (“Tristan und Isolde”) for Washington National Opera, and the title role in “Der Fliegende Holländer” with the CBSO and Andris Nelsons.

In 2009 he began a major association with the Graz Opera, singing his first Hans Sachs and returning for Barak (“Die Frau ohne Schatten”), Germont (“La Traviata”), Iago (“Otello”), Orestes (“Elektra”) and the title role in “Falstaff”. He has performed Jochanaan (“Salome”) at the Wiener Staatsoper, Berlin Staatsoper and Opéra national de Montpellier. Other appearances include the Royal Opera, Covent Garden, Paris Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Welsh National Opera, English National Opera, Scottish Opera and Opera North.

Recent concert appearances include Adams’ Nixon in China (BBC Proms, Berlin Festival) conducted by the composer; Wotan “Die Walküre” Act 3 (Philharmonia) for Wagner’s 200th birthday; and an invitation by Prince Charles to sing Hans Sachs at his 65th birthday Wagner gala at Buckingham Palace.

Last season he sang Mandryka (“Arabella”) in Amsterdam and Hamburg. In the 2014/2015 season season he sings Tell ("Guillaume Tell") and Scarpia ("Tosca") in Graz, Orestes in Hamburg, and Lysiart ("Euryanthe") in Frankfurt. His CD of Wagner arias with Andrew Litton and the Bergen Philharmonic is now out on the BIS label. 

This is for information only. For a full and up to date biography please contact Phillippa Cole

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News & Features

Repertoire

OPERA REPERTOIRE

BRITTEN
Peter Grimes: Balstrode*
A Midsummer Night's Dream: Bottom

JANACEK
The Cunning Little Vixen: Forrester

PUCCINI
Tosca: Scarpia

ROSSINI
Guillaume Tell: Tell

R.STRAUSS
Salome: Jokanaan
Elektra: Orestes
Die Frau ohne Schatten: Barak
Arabella: Mandryka

STRAVINSKY
The Rake's Progress: Nick Shadow

VERDI
La Traviata: Germont Pere
Otello: Iago
Falstaff: Falstaff

WAGNER
Rienzi: Orsini
Der fliegende Holländer: Holländer
Tannhäuser: Wolfram
Lohengrin: Herald
Tristan und Isolde: Kurwenal
Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg: Hans Sachs
Das Rheingold: Wotan*
Die Walküre: Wotan*
Siegfried: Wanderer*
Götterdämmerung: Gunther
Parsifal: Amfortas*

WEBER
Euryanthe: Lysiart

* roles in preparation

CONCERT REPERTOIRE

BACH, J.S
Magnificat
Christmas Oratorio
Mass in B minor
St. Matthew Passion
St. John Passion
Various Cantatas

BACH, J.C
Magnificat

BEETHOVEN
Mass in C
Missa Solemnis
Symphony no.9

BERLIOZ
La Damnation de Faust

BRAHMS
Ein Deutsches Requiem
Liebeslieder Waltzes Op 52

BRITTEN
War Requiem

BRUCH
Das Lied von der Glocke

BUTTERWORTH
A shropshire Lad

BUXTEHUDE
Magnificat

CHARPENTIER
Te Deum

DELIUS
Mass of Life
Sea Drift

DVORAK
Te Deum

DYSON
Sweet Thames run softly

ELGAR
Dream of Gerontius
The Kingdom
Starlight Express
The Apostles
The Kingdom
Light of Life
Coronation Ode

FAURE
Requiem

GARDNER
Burns Sequence

GOUNOD
Messe Solennelle

HANDEL
Deborah
Dixit Dominus
Messiah
Chandos Anthem No.9
Susanna
Triumph of Time and Turth
L'Allegro e il Penseroso
Apollo e Dafne

HAYDN
Creation
The Seasons
Maria Theresa Mass
Missa Cellenis
Stabat Mater
Paukenmesse

HOLST
Christmas Day

MAHLER
Das Knaben Wunderhorn
Kindertotenlieder*
Ruckertlieder*
Symphony No. 8*

MENDELSSOHN
Elijah
Psalm 115
Paulus*

MONTEVERDI
Vespers 1610
Magnificat

MOZART
Mass in C minor
Coronation Mass
Requiem
Solemn Vespers
Mass in F

MUSSORGSKY
Songs and Dances of Death

PERGOLESI
Magnificat

PUCCINI
Messa di Gloria

PURCELL
Te Deum
Jubilate
Come ye Sons of Art
Welcome all the Pleasures

ROSSINI
Petite Messe Solenelle
Stabat Mater

SCHUBERT
Mass in G
Mass in E flat
Magnificat
Psalm 92
Tantum Ergo in E flat

STAINER
Crucifixion

STANFORD
Songs of the Fleet

STRAVINSKY
Oedipus Rex

TELEMANN
Don Quichotte

TIPPETT
Negro Spirituals
A Child of our Time

VALLS
Missa Scala Aretina

VAUGHAN WILLIAMS
Epithalamion
Fantasia on Christmas Carols
Mass in G minor
Sancta Civitas
Sea Symphony
Serenade to Music
Songs of Travel
Hodie
Five Mystical Songs

VERDI
Requiem

WALTON
Belshazzar's Feast

WEILL
Die Siebe Todsunden

ZEMLINSKY
Maeterlinck Lieder
Lyrische Symphonie*

*In preparation

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Audio

Schedule

Opernhaus, Graz

ROSSINI: Guillaume Tell

Conductor: Pier Giorgio Morandi
Director: Stephen Lawless

Guillaume Tell: James  Rutherford
Arnold Melcthal: Yosep Kang
Walter Furst: David McShane
Melcthal: Konstantin Sfiris
Jemmy: Tatjana Miyus / Nazanin  Ezazi
Gesler: Derrick Ballard
Rodolphe: Manuel von Senden
Ruodi: Taylan Reinhard / Martin Fournier
Leuthold: Umut Tingür
Mathilde: Olesya Golovneva / Margareta Klobučar
Hedwige: Dshamilja Kaiser

Opernhaus, Graz

ROSSINI: Guillaume Tell

Conductor: Pier Giorgio Morandi
Director: Stephen Lawless

Guillaume Tell: James  Rutherford
Arnold Melcthal: Yosep Kang
Walter Furst: David McShane
Melcthal: Konstantin Sfiris
Jemmy: Tatjana Miyus / Nazanin  Ezazi
Gesler: Derrick Ballard
Rodolphe: Manuel von Senden
Ruodi: Taylan Reinhard / Martin Fournier
Leuthold: Umut Tingür
Mathilde: Olesya Golovneva / Margareta Klobučar
Hedwige: Dshamilja Kaiser

Opernhaus, Graz

ROSSINI: Guillaume Tell

Conductor: Pier Giorgio Morandi
Director: Stephen Lawless

Guillaume Tell: James  Rutherford
Arnold Melcthal: Yosep Kang
Walter Furst: David McShane
Melcthal: Konstantin Sfiris
Jemmy: Tatjana Miyus / Nazanin  Ezazi
Gesler: Derrick Ballard
Rodolphe: Manuel von Senden
Ruodi: Taylan Reinhard / Martin Fournier
Leuthold: Umut Tingür
Mathilde: Olesya Golovneva / Margareta Klobučar
Hedwige: Dshamilja Kaiser

Opernhaus, Graz

ROSSINI: Guillaume Tell

Conductor: Pier Giorgio Morandi
Director: Stephen Lawless

Guillaume Tell: James  Rutherford
Arnold Melcthal: Yosep Kang
Walter Furst: David McShane
Melcthal: Konstantin Sfiris
Jemmy: Tatjana Miyus / Nazanin  Ezazi
Gesler: Derrick Ballard
Rodolphe: Manuel von Senden
Ruodi: Taylan Reinhard / Martin Fournier
Leuthold: Umut Tingür
Mathilde: Olesya Golovneva / Margareta Klobučar
Hedwige: Dshamilja Kaiser

Opernhaus, Graz

ROSSINI: Guillaume Tell

Conductor: Pier Giorgio Morandi
Director: Stephen Lawless

Guillaume Tell: James  Rutherford
Arnold Melcthal: Yosep Kang
Walter Furst: David McShane
Melcthal: Konstantin Sfiris
Jemmy: Tatjana Miyus / Nazanin  Ezazi
Gesler: Derrick Ballard
Rodolphe: Manuel von Senden
Ruodi: Taylan Reinhard / Martin Fournier
Leuthold: Umut Tingür
Mathilde: Olesya Golovneva / Margareta Klobučar
Hedwige: Dshamilja Kaiser

Opernhaus, Graz

ROSSINI: Guillaume Tell

Conductor: Pier Giorgio Morandi
Director: Stephen Lawless

Guillaume Tell: James  Rutherford
Arnold Melcthal: Yosep Kang
Walter Furst: David McShane
Melcthal: Konstantin Sfiris
Jemmy: Tatjana Miyus / Nazanin  Ezazi
Gesler: Derrick Ballard
Rodolphe: Manuel von Senden
Ruodi: Taylan Reinhard / Martin Fournier
Leuthold: Umut Tingür
Mathilde: Olesya Golovneva / Margareta Klobučar
Hedwige: Dshamilja Kaiser

Opernhaus, Graz

ROSSINI: Guillaume Tell

Conductor: Pier Giorgio Morandi
Director: Stephen Lawless

Guillaume Tell: James  Rutherford
Arnold Melcthal: Yosep Kang
Walter Furst: David McShane
Melcthal: Konstantin Sfiris
Jemmy: Tatjana Miyus / Nazanin  Ezazi
Gesler: Derrick Ballard
Rodolphe: Manuel von Senden
Ruodi: Taylan Reinhard / Martin Fournier
Leuthold: Umut Tingür
Mathilde: Olesya Golovneva / Margareta Klobučar
Hedwige: Dshamilja Kaiser

Opernhaus, Graz

ROSSINI: Guillaume Tell

Conductor: Pier Giorgio Morandi
Director: Stephen Lawless

Guillaume Tell: James  Rutherford
Arnold Melcthal: Yosep Kang
Walter Furst: David McShane
Melcthal: Konstantin Sfiris
Jemmy: Tatjana Miyus / Nazanin  Ezazi
Gesler: Derrick Ballard
Rodolphe: Manuel von Senden
Ruodi: Taylan Reinhard / Martin Fournier
Leuthold: Umut Tingür
Mathilde: Olesya Golovneva / Margareta Klobučar
Hedwige: Dshamilja Kaiser

Opernhaus, Graz

ROSSINI: Guillaume Tell

Conductor: Pier Giorgio Morandi
Director: Stephen Lawless

Guillaume Tell: James  Rutherford
Arnold Melcthal: Yosep Kang
Walter Furst: David McShane
Melcthal: Konstantin Sfiris
Jemmy: Tatjana Miyus / Nazanin  Ezazi
Gesler: Derrick Ballard
Rodolphe: Manuel von Senden
Ruodi: Taylan Reinhard / Martin Fournier
Leuthold: Umut Tingür
Mathilde: Olesya Golovneva / Margareta Klobučar
Hedwige: Dshamilja Kaiser

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PRESS INTERVIEWS

Click here for a link to Opernwelt online magazine interview Wagner tut gut, December 2010
and here for a link to the published version as a pdf file

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Press

CD: James Rutherford Sings Wagner

BIS Records AB

Click on the following link to read review in German online publication, Pizzicato Remy Franck, Pizzicato, 8th April 2014
"he sings Wagner’s text with as much clarity as he does the notes. His rugged Dutchman will be welcome in the theatre, as will his Wotan, whose Farewell is accompanied with climactic grandeur by Litton’s players."
Hugh Canning, The Sunday Times, 18 May 2014
"this disc ... acts as an admirable ‘sampler’ of the work of a singer whose assumption of the Wagnerian mantle is assured and highly idiomatic."
Paul Corfield Godrey, Music Web International
"Depuis longtemps nous n'avions entendu une voix capable de communiquer aussi simplement la vérité de personnages si éminemment complexes." Sylvain Fort / N°163 de Classica / June 2014
“The Norfolk-born bass-baritone’s voice, on this showing, is close to ideal - chocolate-dark and rich in tone, with a deceptive effortlessness and security that shows up many more famous exponents.”
BBC Music Magazine / Michael Scott Rohan / July 2014

Wagner: Die Walküre Act III, 22 May 2013

Royal Festival Hall, London

"James Rutherford's Wotan was full and visceral of voice"

Martin Kettle, The Guardian, 23 May 2013
"Although the act requires seven other singers, it is a confrontation between Brünnhilde and her father Wotan, sung here by James Rutherford. There was cruelty in Rutherford’s voice, anguish and dismay in Bullock’s. 
Both sang with weighty authority"
Nick Kimberley, The Evening Standard, 23 May 2013
"To say that over time Rutherford should develop into a great Wotan would be true but slightly unfair, because from the moment that he stepped out from behind his lectern for ‘Leb’ wohl, du kühnes, herrliches Kind!’, never to return for the rest of the act, he already felt like one. His performance of ‘Der Augen leuchtendes Paar’ was enough to bring tears to the eyes"
Sam Smith, Music OMH, 24 May 2013

CD Most Grand to Die

BIS1610

"Rutherford […] displays the warm and gentle approach that is needed most of the time and then he produces exquisite singing. With a full range of well-applied dynamics, he is able to employ his robust operatic voice as needed and also harness it gorgeously for the tender passages. […] this performance (Songs of Travel) is deeply engaging and comes to a deeply affecting conclusion as Rutherford reduces his voice to a vibrato-free hush on the final line ”And I have lived and loved, and closed the door.” Rutherford rapturous singing of the beautiful long lines brings you magically into the night of those “that suffer long” who may in sleep “know some little joy”. 
This is one of the best available anthologies of 20th Century English songs." 

American Records Guide, January/February 2013, R Moore

Wagner: Meistersinger / November 2012

Vienna State Opera

"I can think of no better Sachs than James Rutherford, charismatic and extraordinarily young for the role, but sailing through it effortlessly with his velvety baritone." Musical America, 30 November 2012

Verdi: La Traviata Recording, April 2012

Graz Opera

'James Rutherford (Bayreuth's Hans Sachs) and Italian tenor Giuseppe Varano (as a nerdy, speccy Alfredo straight out of Brad in The Rocky Horror Show) are intensely involved and in good vocal shape.'

Mike Ashman / Gramophone / April 2012

Elgar: The Dream of Gerontius / Gardner / CBSO, April 2012

United Kingdom

12th April 2012, Symphony Hall, Birmingham
'James Rutherford was in his customary commanding, authoritative form as the Priest despatching Gerontius into the afterworld, and as the awesome Angel of the Agony interceding for him as judgement approaches.'

Christopher Morley / Birmingham Post / 13 April 2012
'Baritone James Rutherford brought Part One to an exultant close with his deeply mellow, resounding Priest filling the Symphony Hall, backed by a rhythmically insistent CBSO chorus.'

Andrew H. King / Bachtrack / 16 April / 5 stars
14th April 2012, Barbican Centre, London
'James Rutherford, authoritative in the bass roles, completed a top-flight team of soloists.'

Barry Millington / The Evening Standard / 16 April 2012

Otello, January 2012

Graz Opera

"James Rutherford als Orest ist nicht weniger als eine Luxusbesetzung auf Weltklasseniveau, sein viriles Timbre tönt wie in Ehrfurcht gebietende delphische Bronze gegossen."


Harald Haslmayr / Die Presse / 22 January 2012
"Mit dem Orest, den er markig, kraftvoll und nobel singt, hat James Rutherford eine weitere Paradepartie erobert."

Ernst Naredi-Rainer / Kleine Zeitung / 22 January 2012
"Orest, dieser wieder von James Rutherford, souverän und zum Teil aus dem Zuschauerraum gesungen und somit bewußt als Nichtinsasse herausgestellt."

Peter Skorepa / Neue Merker / 22 January 2012
"James Rutherford ist ein nobel timbrierender Orest"

Helmut Christian Mayer / Kurier / 22 January 2012
"James Rutherfords stimmkräftiger Orest ist eine Bank"

Martin Gasser / Kronen Zeitung / 22 January 2012
"James Rutherford, ein als Harlekin oder Hofnarr kostümierter Jago, singt diesen sehr kraftvoll, mit reichem Tremolo in der Tiefe."

Helmut Christian Mayer/ Kurier / 3 October 2011
James Rutherford (momentan Bayreuths Hans Sachs) gelingt eine raffinierte, in jeder Nuance durchdachte Darstellung jenes Erzbösewichtes, der eben nicht notwendig ein ölig-schwarzes Gangster-Timbre benötigt, um zu überzeugen.

Die Presse / 5 October 2011

Recordings