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Born in Norwich, JAMES RUTHERFORD (bass-baritone) studied theology at Durham University and singing at the Royal College of Music and the National Opera Studio. He was a BBC New Generation Artist and a prizewinner in many national and international competitions including first prize in the inaugural Seattle Opera International Wagner competition. Early career highlights include Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro at Opera North, Welsh National Opera, Glyndebourne, and the Opéra de Paris. More recently he has concentrated on the dramatic German repertoire and has performed roles in Der Ring des Nibelungen at the Royal Opera House Covent Garden, Oper Frankfurt, and the Lyric Opera of Chicago; Wolfram in Tannhäuser with San Francisco Opera and Deutsche Oper Berlin; and Jochanaan in Salome at the Staatsoper Berlin and Wiener Staatsoper. 

In 2009 James began a major association with Oper Graz, singing his first Hans Sachs in a new production of Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg and returning for Barak in Die Frau ohne Schatten, Germont in La traviata, Iago in Otello, Orestes in Elektra and the title role in Guillaume Tell. He made his debut at the 2010 Bayreuth Festival as Hans Sachs, returning for the same role in 2011. Since the 2015/16 season, James began a new relationship with Oper Frankfurt, and made his role debut as Wotan in the same year to critical acclaim. 

Other recent operatic highlights include multiple returns to Oper Frankfurt, performing the roles of Wotan, Ford in Falstaff, the Herald in Lohengrin, the Speaker in Die Zauberflöte and Mandryka in Arabella; the title role in Der fliegende Holländer at Oper Stuttgart; Jochanaan in Vienna; Hans Sachs in San Francisco, Hamburg, Vienna, and Budapest; Mandryka in Amsterdam and Hamburg; Kurwenal in Tristan und Isolde in Washington; Falstaff at Oper Graz; Orestes at the Teatro Nacional de São Carlos, Lisbon; and Count Monterone in Rigoletto at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden. 

Recent concert engagements for James include Belshazzar’s Feast with the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra at the BBC Proms; a gala concert with the Philharmonia at Ravello Festival; Orestes at Carnegie Hall with the Boston Symphony Orchestra; Adams’ Nixon in China (BBC Proms, Berlin Festival) and Der fliegende Holländer with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and Andris Nelsons, as well as regular returns to the Budapest Wagner Festival for Das Rheingold, Die Walküre, and Die Meistersinger

Highlights of this and future seasons include a return to the Royal Opera House as the Father in Hänsel und Gretel, Wotan at Oper Frankfurt, Deutsche Oper am Rhein, and Teatro Real Madrid; Scarpia in Tosca at Deutsche Oper am Rhein; Elgar’s Dream of Gerontius with the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, and further appearances at Den Norske Opera Oslo and the Budapest Wagner Festival.