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 Staatsoper, Cologne Opera, San Francisco Opera, Budapest Wagner Festival and Glyndebourne Festival; Wolfram (“Tannhäuser”) for San Francisco Opera; Kurwenal (“Tristan und Isolde”) for Washington National Opera; the title role in “Der Fliegende Holländer” for the Budapest Wagner Festival as well as Amfortas (“Parsifal”) and Holländer with the CBSO and Andris Nelsons.
His Strauss roles include Jochanaan (“Salome”) at the Wiener Staatsoper, Berlin Staatsoper and Opéra National de Montpellier; Mandryka (“Arabella”) with the Dutch National Opera, Hamburg Staatsoper and Liceu, Barcelona; Orestes (“Elektra”) for Hamburg Staatsoper and the Boston Symphony Orchestra and Faninal (“Der Rosenkavalier”) for Frankfurt Opera. 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.
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”), Scarpia (“Tosca”) and the title roles in “Falstaff” and “Guillaume Tell”. Following a guest contract as Lysiart in a new production of “Euryanthe” in 2015, James began a long-term contract with the Frankfurt Opera. Highlights of his first season include a new production of “Der Fliegende Holländer” and his first Wotan/Wanderer in complete Ring cycles.
Plans for 2016/17 include Ford (“Falstaff”) and Mandryka at Frankfurt Opera and debuts at Deutsche Oper, Berlin as Wolfram and Stuttgart Opera as Holländer.
His recordings on the BIS label include a CD of early 20th Century English songs; Wagner arias with Andrew Litton and the Bergen Philharmonic and most recently Schubert “Schwanengesang” with the pianist Eugene Asti.