Tenor

Oliver Johnston

Engagements this season and beyond include Dvorak’s American Flag Cantata with the Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra, Carmina Burana with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Handel’s Messiah with the Royal Northern Sinfonia and house debuts at Teatro Real Madrid and Opera di Roma as High Priest Idomeneo.

© Joseph Ford Thompson

Introduction

A graduate from the Royal Academy of Music, Oliver has appeared as Stroh Intermezzo and Fenton Falstaff for Garsington Opera, 2nd Nazarene for the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra under Kirill Karabits, Levko May Night for the Royal Academy of Music, Narraboth Salome and Novice Billy Budd for Opera North and the Aldeburgh Festival, a staged version of Handel’s Messiah with the Opéra and Ballet National de Bordeaux, Vaughan-Williams’ Serenade to Music under Vladimir Jurowski with the London Philharmonic Orchestra (also at the Last Night of the Proms under Sakari Oramo) and Elias for the Kammerakademie Potsdam.

He was awarded 3rd Prize at the All-Russian Nadezhda Obukhova Young Opera Singers’ Competition and was a member of the 2016 Salzburg Young Singers’ Project.


Contact


Performance Schedule

 
  • More info  
    15 Jun 18 VERDI Falstaff
    Garsington Opera

    “Soraya Mafi’s Nannetta and Oliver Johnston’s Fenton are sweetly matched vocally, with Johnston delivering his musings in Act Three in a gorgeously Italianate bel canto.”
    Michael Church, The Independent, 18 June 2018

    “…Oliver Johnston’s lyrical Fenton…”
    George Hall, The Stage, 19 June 2018

    “…pairing beautifully with Oliver Johnston’s plangent tenor as a bashful, endearing Fenton…”
    Charlotte Valori, Bach Track, 18 June 2018

    “Soraya Mafi as the Fords’ daughter Nannetta and Oliver Johnston as her lover Fenton sing the love arias exquisitely.”
    Clare Colvin, The Express, 24 June 2018

    “The young lovers Nanetta and Fenton both shone as performed by Soraya Mafi and Oliver Johnston…”
    Sebastian Scotney, The Arts Desk, 18 June 2018

  • More info  
    19 Apr 18 STRAUSS Salome
    Opera North

    “…the promising young tenor Oliver Johnston sings with honeyed sweetness as the wretchedly infatuated Narraboth.”
    Rupert Christiansen, The Telegraph, 20 April 2018

    “Oliver Johnston’s Narraboth was much more than a cameo, beautifully articulated, with incisive tone…”
    Martin Dreyer, York Press, 20 April 2018

    “…Narraboth, the Syrian Captain of the Guard (sung by Oliver Johnston, a fine lyric tenor)…”
    Richard Wilcocks, Bach Track, 23 April 2018

    “The supporting cast also sang very well, with Heather Lowe and Oliver Johnston standing out as the Page and Narraboth respectively.”
    Andreane Rellou, Nouse, 22 April 2018

    “Oliver Johnston’s Narraboth was much more than a cameo, beautifully articulated, with incisive tone…”
    Martin Dreyer, Opera, May 2018

  • More info  
    16 Sep 17 DOVE Mansfield Park
    Grange Festival

    “…Oliver Johnston’s well-sung… Mr Rushworth…”
    Peter Reed, Classical Source, September 2017

    “The performance is expert… a lively and accomplished cast of mostly young singers…”
    Rupert Christiansen, The Telegraph, 18 September 2017

    “… Oliver Johnston convinced in his sometimes poignant portrayal of the ineffectual and foolish Mr Rushworth who nevertheless does all he can to please his ungrateful, and unaffectionate, wife.”
    Claire Seymour, Opera Today, 18 September 2017

    “…Oliver Johnston’s pithy tenor and outstanding diction…”
    Yehuda Shapiro, Opera Magazine, November 2017

  • More info  
    31 Jul 17 MOZART Die Entführung aus dem Serail
    West Green House Opera

    “… Oliver Johnston is a confident Belmonte investing sincerity and passion in his yearning for Konstanze…”
    Curtis Rogers, Classical Source, 29 July 2017

    “… a jolting charge to the dynamics between Constanze, Belmonte and Selim…”
    Yehuda Shapiro, Opera Magazine, October 2017

  • More info  
    24 Jun 17 BRITTEN Billy Budd
    Snape Maltings, Aldeburgh Festival

    “The excellent Oliver Johnston returned as the tragic Novice…”
    Mark Valencia, Bach Track, 25 June 2017

    “Oliver Johnston stood out as the Novice… In truth, there wasn’t a weak link in this fine collection of (mostly) British singers.”
    Amanda Holloway, Opera Magazine, July 2017

  • More info  
    18 Oct 16 BRITTEN Billy Budd
    Opera North

    “The remainder of the cast is a mixed bag, its best element being the partnership of Oliver Johnston and Gavan Ring, who make something hauntingly beautiful of the duet between the flogged Novice and his compassionate friend.”
    Rupert Christiansen, The Telegraph, 19 October 2016

    “…Oliver Johnston as the flogged novice, created a positive impression …”
    Robert J Farr, Seen and Heard, 14 November 2016

    “A surprisingly memorable and tender moment occurs early on between the novice (Oliver Johnston) and his friend (Gavan Ring). After the novice has been flogged, a beautiful duet between the two, supported by the chorus, is sung with great sensitivity, a moment that’s delicate and truly touching.”
    Charlotte Broadbent, The Reviews Hub, 10 November 2016

    “Oliver Johnston was prominent briefly as the Novice, the one who gets flogged, his voice really notable…”
    Richard Wilcocks, Bach Track, 19 October 2016

  • More info  
    22 Aug 16 PURCELL The Fairy Queen
    Salzburg Festival

    “Die beiden Techniker, von denen einer kurzfristig zum verliebten Esel mutiert, wurden stimmlich überzeugend von Oliver Johnston…”
    Verena Schweiger, Salzburger Nachrichten, 29 July 2016

  • More info  
    10 Mar 16 RIMSKY-KORSAKOV May Night
    Royal Academy Opera

    “As ever, a Royal Academy production offers a showcase for young singers, and once again, they performed very well indeed. Our pair of thwarted and finally united lovers, Oliver Johnston as Levko and Laura Zigmantaite as Ganna, truly excelled…Johnston’s was little short of sensational. The beauty of his voice was matched note for note by idiomatic command. His third-act aria, ‘Sleep my beauty,’ was ravishing: something that would have commanded the attention on the most celebrated of stages, all the more so for its lack of grandstanding. Its wistful sincerity was palpable, considerably more convincing than a few recorded versions to which I have since listened.”
    Mark Berry, Seen and Heard, 10 March 2016

    “The young cast were superb, producing performances which would have not been out of place, indeed would have been admired, on many a professional stage. As the two lovers, Oliver Johnston (Levko) and Laura Zigmantaite (Ganna) shared an excellent rapport and their lyrical duets surged with feeling…”

    Zigmantaite’s
    mezzo-soprano is a big, powerful instrument:
    occasionally she did not seem entirely in control of its power, but she
    did
    demonstrate a good range of colours and flexibility, and produced some
    very
    shapely phrasing. Tenor Johnston was steadier: he has a wide range which
    is
    ringing at the top, and rich at the bottom — and unfailingly beautiful
    of
    tone. He has the heft to rise effortlessly above an orchestra but also a
    tender
    sensibility. Levko’s Act 3 romance — entirely without mawkishness
    — was heart-melting. His was a tremendous performance. – See more at:
    http://www.operatoday.com/content/2016/03/rimsky-korsakov.php#sthash.nqK9ezux.dpuf

    “Tenor Johnston… has a wide range which is ringing at the top, and rich at the bottom — and unfailingly beautiful of tone. He has the heft to rise effortlessly above an orchestra but also a tender sensibility. Levko’s Act 3 romance — entirely without mawkishness — was heart-melting. His was a tremendous performance.”

    The young cast were superb, producing performances which would have not been
    out of place, indeed would have been admired, on many a professional stage. As
    the two lovers, Oliver Johnston (Levko) and Laura Zigmantaite (Ganna) shared an
    excellent rapport and their lyrical duets surged with feeling (many of the
    melodies were drawn from authentic Ukrainian folk material, collected by
    Alexander Rubets). – See more at: http://www.operatoday.com/content/2016/03/rimsky-korsakov.php#sthash.nqK9ezux.dpuf

    Claire Seymour, Opera Today, 10 March 2016

    “Tenor Oliver Johnston is a heroic Levko…”
    Clare Colvin, The Express, 13 March 2016

    “Mezzo Laura Zigamante and tenor Oliver Johnston were the assured lead couple: I’d heard her before, an been much impressed; but Johnston was a revelation – a potential once-in-a-generation singer of enormous charm and presence, with a big, rich, unforced, almost baritone timbre and fabulous high notes.”

    Opera Now, May 2016

    “Levko’s gorgeous lullaby, here gave the tenor Oliver Johnston his big moment; he handled the entire high-lying role with flair, his sound both tightly focused and juicy.”

    Opera, May 2016

  • More info  
    09 Jun 15 STRAUSS Intermezzo
    Garsington Opera

    “In a fine company performance, other singers to stand out included Oliver Johnston’s finely sung – and acted – Stroh…”
    Mark Berry, Opera Today, 12 June 2015

    “…Oliver Johnston create stand-out characters…”
    Mark Valencia, What’s On Stage, 9 June 2015

    “…a beautifully etched vignette by promising tenor Oliver Johnston, one of four young singers who made the Act Two card game so sharp, witty and focused”.
    David Nice, The Arts Desk, 7 June 2015

     

  • More info  
    16 Feb 15 Opera Gala
    Barbican

    “…Johnston’s tender phrasing in a selection from Bernstein’s West Side Story. Johnston demonstrated an engaging expressive range here, including a velvety falsetto. There were smiles – and champagne flutes– all round …”
    James Whittle, The Press, 16 February 2015

  • More info  
    19 Nov 14 PUCCINI Gianni Schicchi
    Royal Academy of Music

    “…Oliver Johnston as Rinuccio are an engaging pair of young lovers…”
    Clare Calvin, The Express, 23 November 2014

    “Among the standout singers to watch for as they come on to the opera circuit are the tenor Oliver Johnston, whose virile young lover Rinuccio made a good match with Cathy-Di Zhang’s sweet toned Lauretta”.
    Stephen Pritchard, The Guardian, 23 November 2014

    “In Gianni Schicchi there was a galaxy of personalities – the glowing tenor of Oliver Johnston making much of Rinuccio…”
    Brian Dickie, briandickie.com, 18 November 2014

    “…Oliver Johnston a fine Rinuccio, making the most of his celebration of Florence.”
    Michael Tanner, Spectator, 13 December 2014

  • More info  
    29 Mar 14 HANDEL Israel in Egypt
    Chichester Cathedral

    “Tenor Oliver Johnston’s brightness of sound with excellent diction throughout was well suited to Handel’s music, most notably in The enemy said, I will pursue”.
    Mark Hartt-Palmer, Chichester Singers, March 2014

  • More info  
    02 Jun 12 ROSSINI Petite Messe Solennelle
    Chichester Cathedral

    “Oliver Johnston’s (tenor) singing was passionate and powerful, making his solo Dominus Deo one of the highlights of the concert”.
    Graham Hewett, Chichester Observer, June 2012

Repertoire

OPERA REPERTOIRE

AUBER
Fra Diavolo (Soldier)

BERKELEY
A Dinner Engagement (Errand Boy)

BRITTEN
Albert Herring (Albert)
Billy Budd (Novice)

GLUCK
Iphigenie en Tauride (Pylades)

HANDEL
Acis and Galatea (Damon and Acis)

MOZART
Die Entfurung (Pedrillo)
Marriage of Figaro (Basilo and Don Curzio)

PUCCINI
Gianni Schicchi (Rinuccio)
La Boheme (Rodolfo)

PURCELL
Fairy Queen

SMETANA
The Bartered Bride (Jenik and Vasek)

STRAUSS
Intermezzo (Stroh)
Rosenkavalier (Wirt)

STRAVINSKY
Rakes Progress (Sellum)

STYLES
Wakening Shadow (Melchior)

VERDI
La Traviata (Guiseppe and Gastone)

CONCERT REPERTOIRE

BACH
Mass in B Minor
Cantatas BWV 36, 61, 147, 201
Magnificat
St John Passion
St Matthew Passion

BEETHOVEN
Mass in C Major
Symphony No.9

BRUCKNER
Te Deum

FINZI
For St Cecilia

GOUNOD
St Cecilia Mass

HANDEL
Coronation Anthems
Messiah
Israel in Egypt

HAYDN
Creation
Nelson Mass
Salve Regine
St Nicolas Mass

LALANDE
De Profundis

MAUNDER
Olivet to Calvery

MENDELSSOHN
Elijah

MOZART
Coronation Mass
Mass in C Minor
Missa Brevis, B flat major
Requiem

RACHMANINOV
All Night Vespers, Op.37

ROSSINI
Petite Messe Solenelle

SCHUBERT
Mass No.2, G major
Mass No.5, A flat major
Mass No.6, E flat major

STAINER
Cruxifiction