Johann in Werther
con. Antonio Pappano
Royal Opera House, Covent Garden
Gusmano in Verdi's Alzira.
Buxton International Festival
Photo: Richard Hubert Smith
Described in the Guardian as "Outstanding, handsome sounding and wonderfully subtle", British baritone James Cleverton studied at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama (now the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland) and Zürich Opera's International Opera Studio.
Season 2022/23 saw James make his debut for Glyndebourne Festival Opera as Astolfo in Handel's Alcina and his Opera North debut as Baron Douphol in La Traviata. He also returns to Scottish Opera to create the role of Marco in a new production of Gianni Schicchi by Sir David McVicar and to the Royal Opera House to sing the role of Johann in Werther under the baton of Sir Antonio Pappano.
Recent highlights include the role of Alberich in Keith Warner's production of Das Rheingold at the Royal Opera House Covent Garden, Papageno in Sir Thomas Allen's production of Die Zauberflöte for Scottish Opera, his critically acclaimed debuts at the Buxton International Festival as Gusmano in the UK stage premiere by Elijah Moshinsky of Verdi's Alzira and Opera Holland Park as Kyoto in Olivia Fuchs' award winning production of Mascagni's Iris.
James made his Royal Opera House, Covent Garden debut as Gregorio Romeo et Juliette under the baton of Daniel Oren and his ENO début as J.Robert Oppenheimer in John Adams' Doctor Atomic conducted by Lawrence Renes. Excelling in the field of contemporary music, James made his début with the Salzburger Festspiele in Alban Bergʼs Lulu under the baton of Marc Albrecht, with further notable engagements including the role of the Protector in George Benjamin's Written on Skin and Pablo in the UK premiere of Adès's Exterminating Angel - both at the Royal Opera House. For ENO, he created the role of Horemhab in Phelim McDermott's critically acclaimed production of Akhnaten and subsequently performed the role of Kallenbach in his production of Satyagraha. He also created the role of the Photographer in the world premiere of Iain Bell's Jack the Ripper, the Women of Whitechapel and performed the role of Aristeaus the Man in a new production of Birtwistle's The Mask of Orpheus both directed by Daniel Kramer and conducted by Martyn Brabbins.
After making his WNO debut as Frank in John Copley's production of Die Fledermaus other notable appearances include his Scottish Opera debut as Dulcamara in The Elixir of Love, the roles of Marcello in Francesca Zambello's La Bohème and Sharpless Madama Butterfly both at the Royal Albert Hall, Count Asdrubale in Rossini's La Pietra del Paragone for Opernhaus Zürich and Opéra de Rennes, Papageno Die Zauberflöte for Theater Saint Gallen, , Il Conte Le Nozze di Figaro, Baron Douphol in La Traviata both for the Royal Opera House and WNO, the Commercial Counsellor in Intermezzo for Garsington Opera, the title role in Don Giovanni and Danilo in The Merry Widow at the Dublin National Concert Hall for Lyric Opera Ireland.
Other roles include La Mettrie in the world première of Keyner Nit by Steinauer in Luzern and Zürich, John Sorel in Menottiʼs Der Konsul for Zürich Opera and the title role in Schweitzerʼs Jakob von Gunten at the Theater Saint Gallen, the First Officer in The Death of Klinghoffer for ENO, Chou An-lei in Nixon in China for Irish National Opera and creating the role of Daedalus in the world premiere of The Flight of Icarus (Zev Gordon) for the Birmingham Contemporary Opera Group, Ford Falstaff for Grange Park Opera, Silvio I Pagliacci for English Touring Opera and for the Vietnamese National Opera in Hanoi, Escamillo Carmen at the Spier Festival in South Africa, Second Apprentice and cover of the title role in Bergʼs Wozzeck for ENO, the Forester Cunning Little Vixen for the Oundle International Festival, Siskov From the House of the Dead, Germont La Traviata, Aeneas Dido and Aeneas, Enrico Lucia di Lammermoor, Eisenstein and Falke Die Fledermaus, Malatesta Don Pasquale, Schaunard La Bohème and the title role in Eugene Onegin.
Recent highlights on the concert platform include his Spanish debut singing the European premiere of Roberto Sierra's Missa Latina with the Coro y Orqesta Nacional at the Madrid National Concert Hall under the baton of Karen Kamensek, a concert performance of Wozzeck with Donald Runnicles and the BBCSSO, a concert performance of Madam Butterfly with Sir Mark Elder and the Halle, Carmina Burana at the Royal Albert Hall and Haydn's Harmoniemesse at the Cadogan Hall - both with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Messiah and Brahms Requiem with the CBSO at the Birmingham Symphony Hall, Beethoven's 9th Symphony at St John's Smith Square and Mozart by Candlelight with the London Mozart Players at the Barbican.
James also regularly appears as guest soloist in the Classical Spectacular gala concerts for Raymond Gubbay with the RPO at the Royal Albert Hall, the Royal Festival Hall, the Bridgewater Hall, Liverpool Philharmonic Hall, Birmingham Symphony Hall with the Manchester Concert Orchestra, and at the Hogmanay New Year's Eve Gala with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra at the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall.
James has performed many of the major Gilbert and Sullivan baritone roles for both The D'Oyly Carte Opera Company and the International Gilbert and Sullivan Company most notably appearing as the Pirate King in The Pirates of Penzance in a run at the Savoy Theatre in London's West End.
Current recordings include the role of Arrostino in Cellier's The Mountebanks with the BBC Concert Orchestra, Sir John Copeland in Rodgers and Hart's Dearest Enemy (New World Records), and the White Rabbit in the original cast recording of Will Todd's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (Signum Records). He also makes an appearance as the Mandarin Turandot alongside Tom Cruise in Mission Impossible Rogue Nation.
Future plans include returns to the Royal Opera House Covent Garden, Scottish Opera and Welsh National Opera and Messiah at the Royal Albert Hall with the Royal Choral Society and the RPO.