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Gidon Saks


  • Gidon Saks is in demand internationally for his highly acclaimed interpretations of many bass-baritone roles. 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 2017/18 season, Saks will make his role debut as Richard III in Robert Carsen’s production of Battistelli’s Richard III for La Fenice. He will also return to the role of John Claggart in Britten Billy Budd in David Alden’s production at the Bolshoi Opera, as well as in Daniel Špinar’s production for the National Theatre of Prague.

    Last season Saks sang the Villains in Offenbach Les contes d’Hoffman for the Royal Danish Opera, Claggart in Britten Billy Budd at the Deutsche Oper Berlin, and for the Bolshoi Opera; he also reprised 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’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.

    2017-18 season / 694 words. Not to be altered without permission.


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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


Title role Duke Bluebeard's Castle

Mephisto La Damnation de Faust 

Pizarro Fidelio

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 

Enrico Anna Bolena 

Mephistopholes Faust

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

Title role Don Quichotte

Seneca L'incoronazione di Poppea 

Title role Boris Gudonov

Nemeses Les contes d'Hoffman

Scarpia Tosca

Reimann, A
King of France Lear 

Kecal The Bartered Bride

Title role Sweeney Todd 

Strauss, R.
Orest Elektra
La Roche Capriccio 

Nick Shadow The Rake's Progress

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

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

Kaspar Der Freischütz

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.


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

Isla Mundell-Perkins
Artist Manager, Vocal & Opera
+44 20 7608 9915

Charlotte Firth
Assistant Artist Manager, Vocal & Opera
+44 20 7608 9922

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

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Mark Simpson


HK Gruber


Tim Mead

Piano accompanist

Roger Vignoles