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Gidon Saks

Bass-baritone

  • Gidon Saks is in demand internationally for his highly acclaimed interpretation of many bass-baritone roles, shining in particular with the Wagner and German repertoire. Over the span of his successful career to date, his signature roles have included Bluebeard, Nick Shadow The Rake’s Progress, Claggart Billy Budd, Kaspar Der Freischütz, and Hagen Götterdämmerung.

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  • In the 2016-17 season, Saks will return to the role of John Claggart in Britten Billy Budd in David Alden’s production at the Deutsche Oper Berlin, and for his house debut at the Bolshoi Opera. He also reprises the role of Bottom in Britten A Midsummer Night’s Dream for the Festival d'Aix-en-Provence in Beijing, and the title role in Bartok Duke Bluebeard’s Castle with Concerto Budapest and András Keller, opposite Petra Lang as Judith. Saks will close the season with performances of Offenbach Les contes d’Hoffman for the Royal Danish Opera.


    Saks’s “fierce, emotionally ripe performances” (Financial Times) in the title role of Bluebeard’s Castle were recently seen at Komische Oper Berlin under the direction of Calixto Bieito, in Mariusz Trelinski’s production at Teatr Wielki, at the Concertgebouw under Peter Eötvös, at the Festival de Opera de Coruña, and in the production by Patrice Caurier and Moshe Leiser for Angers Nantes Opera. As Nick Shadow The Rake’s Progress he has performed at Opéra National de Paris, Staatsoper Berlin, and Edinburgh International Festival. Last season Saks sang his first Bottom in Britten A Midsummer Night’s Dream at Bergen National Opera, Gyges in Zemlinsky Der König Kandaules at Opera Vlaanderen in a new production by Andrij Zholdak under Dmitri Jurowski, and King of France in Calixto Bieito’s new production of Aribert Reimann Lear under Fabio Luisi for the Opéra National de Paris. Previously for the Opéra National de Paris, Saks has sung John Claggart in Britten Billy Budd, a role he also recorded with the London Symphony Orchestra, which won a Grammy Award for the Best Opera Performance.


    Equally in demand on the concert platform, Saks has performed Creon Oedipus Rex and Hermit Der Freischütz with the London Symphony Orchestra (both recorded for LSO Live); King Marke Tristan und Isolde at Festival de Opera de Coruña; König Heinrich Lohengrin with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra. He has worked with some of the most distinguished conductors of our time including Sir John Eliot Gardiner, Valery Gergiev, Donald Runnicles, Sir Neville Marriner, Daniel Harding, Sir Andrew Davies and the late Sir Colin Davis.


    Other operatic highlights include Fasolt Das Rheingold and Hagen Götterdämmerung for La Fenice (which won an Abbiati Award); Gaspard Le Freyschutz for Opéra Comique and the BBC Proms; Villains Les contes d’ Hoffmann and The Pilgrim’s Progress at Covent Garden, Scarpia Tosca at Bregenz Festival; Kaspar Die Freischütz and Don Pizarro Fidelio for Staatsoper Berlin; Enrico Anna Bolena for Oper Köln; Boito’s Mefistofele for De Nederlandse Opera; Don Pizzaro for Canadian Opera Company, Seneca L’incoronazione di Poppea for La Monnaie, Filippo Don Carlo in Geneva and Palermo; Fafner Siegfried, Hunding Die Walküre, Daland and Musiklehrer Ariadne auf Naxos for Washington National Opera. Saks has also created several roles including George Moscone in Stewart Wallace Harvey Milk directed by Christopher Alden (Houston, New York City and San Francisco). Earlier in his career he performed numerous major roles for English National Opera, Scottish Opera and Welsh National Opera. While with the Canadian Opera Company Saks as an ensemble member he sang Rochefort Anna Bolena with Dame Joan Sutherland, Wurm Luisa Miller, Bluebeard and Boris Godunov.


    He can also be heard in earlier recordings include Abbot Curlew River(Philips) with, the Gravedigger in Weill Silbersee (BMG), the title role in Handel Hercules under Minkowski (Deutsche Grammophon) and Saul with Rene Jacobs, which won a Gramophone Award.


    Saks was born in Israel and brought up in South Africa. He trained at the Royal Northern College of Music, University of Toronto and subsequently Zurich Opera Studio. He was a visiting Professor of Voice at the Conservatoire of Ghent in Belgium. Offstage he is a dedicated director/designer and teacher.

    2016-2017 season / 661 words. Not to be altered without permission.

Performances

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Season highlights

Title Role in Bluebeard’s Castle
Concerto Budapest


Bottom in A Midsummer Night’s Dream
Festival d'Aix-en-Provence at the Beijing Music Festival


Claggart in Billy Budd
Bolshoi Theatre of Russia


Villains in Les contes d’Hoffman
Royal Danish Opera

Claggart in Billy Budd
Deutsche Oper Berlin

Roles/repertoire

Bartók
Title role Duke Bluebeard's Castle


Berlioz
Mephisto La Damnation de Faust 


Beethoven
Pizarro Fidelio


Britten
Claggart Billy Budd
Bottom A Midsummer Night's Dream
Traveller / Elderly Fop / Old Gondolier / Hotel Manager / Hotel Barber / Leader of the Players / Voice of Dionysus Death in Venice 


Donizetti
Enrico Anna Bolena 


Gounod
Mephistopholes Faust


Mozart
Title role / Leporello Don Giovanni
Title role / Almaviva La nozze di Figaro
Don Alfonso Così fan tutte
Papageno Die Zauberflöte


Massenet
Title role Don Quichotte


Monteverdi
Seneca L'incoronazione di Poppea 


Mussorgsky
Title role Boris Gudonov


Offenbach
Nemeses Les contes d'Hoffman


Reimann, A
King of France Lear 


Smetana
Kecal The Bartered Bride


Sondheim
Title role Sweeney Todd 


Strauss, R.
Orest Elektra
La Roche Capriccio 


Stravinsky
Nick Shadow The Rake's Progress


Verdi
Filippo Don Carlo
Fiesco Simon Boccanegra
Wurm Luisa Miller
Title role Attila
Title role Falstaff 


Wagner
Fasolt Das Rheingold
Hagen Götterdämmerung
Heinrich der Vogler Lohengrin
Gurnemanz Parsifal
King Marke Tristan und Isolde 


Weber
Kaspar Der Freischütz


Zemlinsky
Gyges Der König Kandaules

The Master-at-Arms was sung by Gidon Saks with a terrifying, pitch-black voice that was nevertheless capable of a wealth of nuance.

Opera

He’s a brilliant artist. He’s a stage animal. He’s naturally theatrical... he showed a mind-boggling range of styles, from full-bore operatic plumminess to idiomatic mastery of American musical genres. He also has good looks, charisma and a rich voice that can buffet you with gravelly thunder but that he can also scale down to a wistful thread ...he showed that he can easily handle the upper register...

Washington Post

Intermusica represents Gidon Saks worldwide

Julia Maynard
Director / Head of Vocal & Opera
+44 20 7608 9902
jmaynard@intermusica.co.uk

Catherine Chan-Murphy
Senior Artist Manager
+44 20 7608 9903
cchan-murphy@intermusica.co.uk

Martha Hartman
Assistant Artist Manager
+44 20 7608 9921
mhartman@intermusica.co.uk

If you have any queries, please fill in the form below, and we will be in touch soon

All artists

Chansonnier

HK Gruber

Special projects

Charles Hazlewood

Counter-tenor

Tim Mead

Stage director

David Alden

Andreas Homoki

Piano accompanist

Roger Vignoles