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Gusmano in Verdi's Alzira. 
Buxton International Festival
July 2018 
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. 

In the 2019/20 season, James has performed the role of Aristeaus the Man in a new production of Birtwistle's The Mask of Orpheus for ENO. Later this season he will sing the role of Starek in a new production of Jenufa conducted by Vladimir Jurowski at the Royal Opera House Covent Garden and make his debut at the Glyndebourne Festival in a new production of Alcina as well as appearing in the Classical Spectaculars for Raymond Gubbay with the RPO the Royal Albert Hall .

Last season James performed the roles of Alberich in Das Rheingold at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden under the baton of Sir Antonio Pappano, as Papageno in Sir Thomas Allen's production of Die Zauberflöte under the baton of Tobias Ringborg for Scottish Opera as Baron Douphol in Sir David McVicar's production of La Traviata for Welsh National Opera, reprised the role of Horemhab in Phelim McDermott's Olivier Award winning production of Philip Glass' Akhnaten with English National Opera conducted by Karen Kamensek and created the role of the Photographer in the world premiere of Iain Bell's Jack the Ripper, the Women of Whitechapel directed by Daniel Kramer, conducted by Martyn Brabbins

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. Recent highlights include critically acclaimed debuts at the Buxton International Festival as Gusmano in the UK stage premiere by Elijah Moshinsky of Verdi's Alzira conducted by Stephen Barlow, Opera Holland Park as Kyoto in an Olivia Fuchs' award winning production of Mascagni's Iris conducted by Stuart Stratford, Frank in John Copley's Die Fledermaus with WNO and The Commercial Counsellor Intermezzo for Garsington Opera. 

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, 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. Subsequent roles include First Officer in The Death of Klinghoffer for ENO, Chou An-lei in Nixon in China for Irish National Opera with the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra at the Bord Gais Theatre Dublin, Punch Punch and Judy, Theseus Minotaur - both Birtwistle, Stern Anna Nicole by Mark Anthony Turnage,  Johannes Morgen und Abend by Georg Friedrich Haas and N Dionysus and the title role Jakob Lenz - both by Rhim.

Previous seasons' highlights have included 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 Z​ürich and Opéra de Rennes, Papageno Die Zauberflöte for Theater Saint Gallen, Dulcamara in The Elixir of Love for Scottish Opera, Il Conte Le Nozze di Figaro, the title role in Don Giovanni and Danilo in The Merry Widow at the Dublin National Concert Hall for Lyric Opera Ireland. Other notable roles include 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, 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 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, the title role of ElijahFauré, Mozart and Verdi Requiem 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 Last Night of the Christmas Proms and New Year's Proms in 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. He has also sung with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Donald Runnicles and in the Last Night of the Easter Proms for Raymond Gubbay at the Royal Festival Hall with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.

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 and English National Opera and debuts with both Opera North and at Glyndebourne Festival Opera. 

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