Matthew Durkan

Harewood Artist at the English National Opera

© Pablo Strong


Winner of the 2014 Stuart Burrows International Voice Award and a finalist in the 2014 Kathleen Ferrier Competition, Matthew is a recent graduate of the National Opera Studio.

A Harewood Artist at the English National Opera, his roles for the company in the 2017/18 season include Demetrius A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Fiorello The Barber of Seville and Malcolm Fleet in the world premiere of Nico Muhly’s Marnie.

His roles at ENO have also included Ormonte Partenope, Marullo Rigoletto and Yamadori Madam Butterfly. Elsewhere, he has sung Masetto in a new production of Don Giovanni for the Opéra de Rouen Haute Normandie, and in Versailles, the role of Captain in Hartmann’s Simplicius Simplicissimus for Independent Opera at Sadler’s Wells and Melisso Alcina and Elviro Serse for Longborough Festival Opera.


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    11 Jun 18 HANDEL Acis and Galatea
    English National Opera

    “The young soloists are excellent, particularly the men…Matthew Durkan finds real tenderness in the role of Polyphemus.”
    Nick Kimberley, Evening Standard, 12 June 2018

    “Alexander Sprague’s preening Acis is a great contrast to Matthew Durkan’s pitiable, lumbering Polyphemus, his mournful baritone a highlight of the show.”
    Tim Bano, The Stage, 12 June 2018

    “Durkan’s performance leans Polyphemus the air of Shakespeare’s taunted and much-maligned Malvolio, inducing a pang of sympathy.”
    Nick Breckenfield, Classical Source, 11 June 2018

    “Polyphemus (Matthew Durkan) is less mythic monster than socially awkward and romantically inept colleague, cruelly humiliated and ostracised by his co-workers and even the conductor; he makes the cardinal mistake of being the first one to arrive, alone, to the party, fidgeting with his beer accompanied by the nervously hyperactive opening Sinfonia. Durkan’s voice, which channels both vulnerability and fury, was a vehicle for considerable pathos, and his giant on the tragic side of Handel’s tragicomedy.”
    Benjamin Poore, Bachtrack, 12 June 2018

    “Though this Polyphemus was no monstrous Cyclops, Matthew Durkan injected some beguiling darkness into his baritone.”
    Claire Seymour, Opera Today, 13 June 2018

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    02 Mar 18 BRITTEN A Midsummer Night's Dream
    English National Opera

    “Five members of ENO’s Harewood Artists Programme took part, including Soraya Mafi (excellent as Tytania), with fine performances also from Eleanor Dennis (Helena), Matthew Durkan (Demetrius), David Webb (Lysander) and Andri Björn Róbertsson (Theseus).”
    Barry Millington, Evening Standard, 2 March 2018

    “Matthew Durkan was a solid Demetrius.”
    Erica Jeal, Opera, May 2018

    “With several ENO Harewood artists in the cast…Matthew Durkan and Eleanor Dennis (memorable as Malcolm and Laura Fleet in ENO’s recent Marnie) shone as Demetrius and Helena.”
    Fiona Maddocks, The Guardian, 11 March 2018

    “Clare Presland as Hermia, David Webb as Lysander, Matthew Durkan as Demetrius and Eleanor Dennis as Helena made a lovely, well-characterised group of lovers…”
    Robert Hugill, Planet Hugill, 3 March 2018

    “Tenor David Webb and baritone Matthew Durkan were a persuasively lyrical pair of lovers as Lysander and Demetrius respectively…”
    Mark Valencia, Whats On Stage, 2 March 2018

    “Eleanor Dennis’s spitfire Helena ensures that the weather in the parallel relationships of the young lovers – Clare Pressland, David Webb, and Matthew Durkan being the others…”
    Michael Church, Independent, 2 March 2018

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    16 Mar 17 HANDEL Partenope
    English National Opera

    “Durkan made the most of his spiky beard and camp characterisation in the under-written role of Ormonte.”
    Hugh Canning, Opera, May 2017

    “What gives the evening consistency are the cast’s excellent vocal skills, which enable them to tackle Handel’s virtuosic writing with aplomb … Matthew Durkan is resolute as Partenope’s loyal supporter, Ormonte.”
    George Hall, The Stage, 16 March 2017

    “Matthew Durkan showed the best control of the coloratura in the bass role of Ormonte.”
    David Karlin, Bachtrack, 16 March 2017

    “Matthew Durkan display[s] comic flair as the fall guy Ormonte.”
    Rupert Christiansen, The Telegraph, 16 March 2017

    “Matthew Durkan fills out the lesser role of Ormonte, Partenope’s manservant, with a cavalcade of bearded camp.”
    Mark Valencia, What’s on Stage, 16 March 2017

    “[a] burly deliciously camp Ormonte (Matthew Durkan)”
    Cara Chanteau, The Independent, 17 March 2017

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    08 Feb 17 VERDI Rigoletto
    English National Opera

    “Matthew Durkan’s Marullo added to the unpleasantness of the Duke’s ‘court’.”
    Peter Reed, Classical Source, 02 February 2017

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    03 Aug 16 HANDEL Alcina
    Longborough Festival Opera

    “Matthew Durkan dressed as a real magician complete with top hat offered good solid support to the more emotionally entangled characters.”
    Roger Jones, Scene and Heard, 01 August 2016

    “Matthew Durkan (Melisso) held up [his] relatively small role with vigour and assurance.”
    Roger Parker, Opera, October 2016

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    20 May 16 PUCCINI Madam Butterfly
    English National Opera

    “Matthew Durkan’s dignified Yamadori, achieves [its] proper impact.”
    George Hall, The Stage, 18 May 2016

    “Matthew Durkan’s Yamadori impressed among the minor roles.”
    Mark Pullinger, Bachtrack, 17 May 2016

    “Matthew Durkan executes Prince Yamadori’s scene very well, entering proud and haughty but leaving heart broken. In between, there is a split second in which he stares into Cio-Cio-San’s eyes that makes us feel that this whole affair might turn out very differently, but alas this moment of potential ‘reprieve’ proves to be over just as soon as it has begun.”
    Sam Smith, MusicOHM, 18 May 2016

    “There is notable work, too, from Matthew Durkan as Prince Yamadori.”
    Mark Vallencia, What’s on Stage, 17 May 2016

    “Matthew Durkan was excellent as Prince Yamadori, a regal presence in red and gold.”
    John Wald, Opera Britannia, 20 May 2016

    “Matthew Durkan successfully took on Yamadori for the first time.”
    Russ McDonald, Opera, August 2016

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    10 Mar 16 MOZART Don Giovanni
    Opéra de Rouen Haute Normandie

    “Beau garçon, Matthew Durkan lui donne correctement la réplique en Masetto.”
    Brigitte Cormier, Forumopera, 26 February 2016

    “Masetto, malgré son apparence d’un jeune viveur, obéit toujours à sa belle. Matthew Durkan, basse britannique, forme un beau couple vocal avec Zerlina par contraste.”
    Victoria Okada, ResMusica, 06 March 2016

    “Matthew Durkan…campe un Masetto balourd à souhait, mais attachant.”
    Olyrix, 26 February 2016

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    30 Sep 15 ROSSINI The Barber of Seville
    English National Opera

    “British baritone Matthew Durkan, making his ENO debut (a former member of ENO Opera Works and, from 2015/16, a member of the ENO Harewood Artists’ Scheme). Durkan is a fine, fresh Fiorello and on present evidence promises much.”
    Colin Clarke, Seen and Heard International, 30 September 2015

    “Fiorello, confidently played by baritone Matthew Durkan.”
    Claire Seymour, Opera Today, 05 October 2015

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    03 Aug 15 HANDEL Xerxes
    Longborough Festival Opera

    “Matthew Durkan’s comical servant Elviro serving as a wisecracking janitor.”
    Richard Bratby, Birmingham Post, 29 July 2015

    “Matthew Durkan played Elviro, one of the few genuinely comic roles which Handel wrote and Durkan clearly has a great gift for comedy. He was able to use his stature to brilliant comic effect [and] made Elviro a charming oaf, and gave us some finely characterful singing along the way, as well as making a hilarious appearance in drag.”
    Robert Hugill, Planet Hugill, 01 August 2015



A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Demetrius)

L’elisir d’amore (Belcore)
Acis & Galatea (Polyphemus)
Partenopr (Ormonte)
Serse (Elviro)

Così fan tutte (Guglielmo)
Don Giovanni (Masetto)
Die Zauberflöte (Papageno)

La bohème (Schaunard)
Gianni Schicchi (title role)
Madama Butterfly (Yamadori)

Il barbiere di Siviglia (Fiorello/Figaro)

Eugene Onegin (title role)

Street Scene (Frank Maurrant)


Cantata BWV 4: Christ lag in Todesbanden
Mass in G minor


Stabat Mater

Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen

Coronation Mass
Mass in C Minor

Messa di Gloria

Dona Nobis Pacem
Five Mystical Songs