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Sir Willard White

Bass-baritone

  • One of the best-loved and most versatile opera stars of the last 40 years, Sir Willard White's illustrious career has taken him to the most prestigious opera houses and concert halls throughout the world, collaborating with conductors, directors and orchestras of the highest calibre.

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  • Highlights this season include Trinity Moses Aufsteig und Fall der Stadt Mahagonny for Rome Opera, Arkel Pelléas et Mélisande with the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra and Esa-Pekka Salonen, Ibn-Hakia Iolanta for Lyon Opera and Vodnik Rusalka for Scottish Opera. In future seasons, White returns to the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, Paris Opera, Dutch National Opera and to the Festival d'Aix-en-Provence.


    Recent highlights include Commendatore Don Giovanni at La Monnaie, Wotan Das Rheingold with the Mariinsky Theatre on tour, Trinity Moses Aufsteig und Fall der Stadt Mahagonny and Klingsor Parsifal at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, Ibn-Hakia Iolanta at the Festival d'Aix-en-Provence, Pope Clement VII Benvenuto Cellini for English National Opera; Hercules Alceste at the Teatro Real; Priest in the world premiere of Jörg Widmann’s Babylon at the Bayerische Staatsoper; Tannhäuser at the Royal Danish Opera, Copenhagen; Arkel Pelléas et Mélisande at the Metropolitan Opera, New York; and Gorianchikov From the House of the Dead at the Berliner Staatsoper with Sir Simon Rattle.


    Sir Willard White was born in Jamaica, where he commenced his musical training at the Jamaican School of Music and then went on to the Juilliard School in New York. Since his operatic debut with the New York City Opera in 1974, he has sung regularly at the Royal Opera, Covent Garden, the Metropolitan Opera, New York, English National Opera, San Francisco Opera, the opera houses of Munich, Amsterdam, Berlin, Brussels, Geneva, Hamburg, Los Angeles, Madrid, Paris, and at the Glyndebourne, Aix-en-Provence and Salzburg festivals. In 1989, White performed the role of Othello in Trevor Nunn’s production for the Royal Shakespeare Company, alongside Sir Ian McKellen as Iago and Imogen Stubbs as Desdemona.


    On the concert platform, White sings regularly with the world’s major conductors and orchestras, including the London Symphony, London Philharmonic, BBC Symphony, The Hallé, Royal Philharmonic, Royal Concertgebouw, La Scala, Boston Symphony, New York Philharmonic, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Cleveland orchestras, and Berliner Philharmoniker, and he has appeared as soloist many times at the BBC Proms, including the First and Last Night of the Proms and at the Proms in the Park. He has most recently performed Méphistophélès La Damnation de Faust with the Cleveland Orchestra and at the Verbier Festival with Charles Dutoit; Golaud Pélleas et Mélisande with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra; Bluebeard’s Castle with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra at the Royal Festival Hall, Marke Tristan & Isolde Act II under Gergiev; a concert performance of Pélleas et Mélisande and Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess in concert with the Berliner Philharmoniker and Sir Simon Rattle; and Bluebeard’s Castle with the Los Angeles Philharmonic and Esa-Pekka Salonen.


    Sir Willard White was awarded the CBE in 1995 and was knighted in the Queen’s Birthday Honours in 2004. He is currently President of the Royal Northern College of Music, having succeeded the Duchess of Kent in this role.

    2015-16 season / 534 words. Not to be altered without permission.

Performances

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Season highlights

Trinity Moses Aufstieg und Fall der Stadt Mahagonny for Rome Opera


Arkel Pélleas et Mélisande with the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra and Esa-Pekka Salonen


Ibn-Hakia Iolanta for Lyon Opera


Vodnik Rusalka for Scottish Opera

Concert repertoire

Adès
America


Beethoven
Symphony No.9


Gould
American Salute (When Johnny comes marching home)


Haydn
The Creation


Mendelssohn
Elijah

Opera repertoire

Adams
Joseph El Niño


Bartók
Bluebeard Bluebeard’s Castle


Beethoven
Don Fernando/Rocco Fidelio


Bellini
Giorgio I Puritani
Oroveso Norma


Berlioz
Pope Clement VII Benvenuto Cellini
Mephistopheles La Damnation de Faust
Herod L’Enfance du Christ


Bernstein
Workman 1 On the Town


Britten
Bottom A Midsummer Night’s Dream


Cherubini
Creon Medea


Debussy
Arkel Pelleas et Mélisande


Dove
Homeless Person Death of a Princess


Dukas
Bluebeard Ariane et Barbe-Bleue


Dvorak
Wassermann (Vodnik) Rusalka


Gershwin
Porgy Porgy and Bess


Gluck
Hercules Alceste


Gounod
Mephistopheles Faust


Handel
Polyphemus Acis and Galatea
Somnus Semele


Henze
Title role El Cimarroni


Janacek
Forester Cunning Little Vixen
Gorianchikov From the House of the Dead
Prus The Makropoulos Case


Joplin
Ned Treemonisha


Korngold
Porter Das Wunder der Heliane


Ligeti
Nekrotzar Le Grand Macabre


Martinu
Fotis The Greek Passion


Messiaen
St. Francis Saint Françoise d’Assise


Monteverdi
Seneca l’Incoronazione di Poppea


Mozart
Osmin Die Entführung aus dem Serail
Speaker/Sarastro Die Zauberflöte
Commendatore Don Giovanni
Bartolo Le nozze di Figaro


Mussorgsky
Boris Boris Godunov
Pimen Boris Godunov
Khovansky Kovanshchina


Offenbach
4 Villains Les Contes d‘Hoffmann


Prokofiev
Title role Ivan the Terrible
Tchélio The Love for Three Oranges
Kutuzow War and Peace


Puccini
Timur Turandot


Rimsky-Korsakov
Title role Ivan the Terrible


Rossini
Alidoro La Cenerentola
Mustapha L’Italiana in Algeri
Selim Turco in Italia


Schoenberg
Moses Moses und Aron


Shostakovich
Boris Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk


Strauss
Jokanaan Salome


Stravinsky
Nick Shadow The Rake’s Progress
Tiresias / Creon Oedipus Rex


Tchaikovsky
Gremin Eugene Onegin
Ibn-Hakia Iolanta


Verdi
King/Ramfis Aida
Philip Don Carlos
Falstaff Falstaff
Ferrando Il Trovatore
Maximilian I Masnadieri
Banquo Macbeth
Zaccaria Nabucco
Sparafucile Rigoletto


Wagner
Wotan/Alberich Das Rheingold
Dutchman / Daland Der Fliegende Holländer
Wotan /Hunding Die Walküre
Klingsor Parsifal
Landgraf Tannhäuser
King Marke Tristan und Isolde
Hagen Götterdämmerung


Weill
Trinity Moses The Rise & Fall of the City of Mahagonny


Widmann
Priesterkönig/Tod Babylon


Zemlinsky
Simon Eine Florestinische Tragödie

Sir Willard White was tremendous as Wotan, bringing to the fore all of the thickness in his bass voice to produce a sound possessed of shimmering resonance.

MusicOMH, November 2014

What a joy it was to welcome the massively experienced Sir Willard White as Mephistopheles. His acting was a joy, and his voice as it’s best was miraculous

Seen and Heard International, May 2013

Pity anyone who appears on the same platform as baritone Willard White. He has so much presence he can eclipse an entire symphony orchestra and chorus with a mere twitch of an eyebrow.

Guardian, September 2009

Intermusica represents Sir Willard White worldwide

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

Eleanor Dee
Associate Artist Manager
+44 20 7608 9907
edee@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