Intermusica Artists' Management



Intermusica represents Matthew Best worldwide

Director/Head of Vocal & Opera :
Julia Maynard

Artist Manager:
Catherine Chan-Murphy

Assistant to Artist Manager:
Martha Hartman

Matthew Best


“Matthew Best is a noble and eloquent King Marke, his second-act monologue arguably the emotional fulcrum of the whole performance.”

Matthew Best’s career combines a fast-growing international reputation as an exponent of the great Wagner and Strauss roles with a distinctive conducting career featuring a distinguished contribution to the recorded repertory.

Highlights in 2012/13 included a reprisal of his role of Commendatore Don Giovanni for English National Opera, Berlioz Romeo et Juliette with the Warsaw Philharmonic under John Nelson, L’enfance du Christ with the Bergen Philharmonic, St Matthew Passion with The Bach Choir, Tiresias Oedipus Rex with the BBC Philharmonic and King Heinrich Lohengrin for Welsh National Opera.

Other recent highlights include King Marke Tristan und Isolde with the Philharmonia Orchestra under Esa-Pekka Salonen, Bilbao Opera, WNO and with Oper Leipzig for the Hong Kong Arts Festival, King Heinrich Lohengrin for Royal Swedish Opera, Peneois Daphne for Oper Frankfurt and Santa Fe Opera, Swallow Peter Grimes for Royal Opera House, Covent Garden and Opera Oviedo, Sprecher Die Zauberflöte for ROH, Don Pizarro Fidelio with the Rotterdam Philharmonic and Valery Gergiev, and Verdi Requiem with the BBC Philharmonic.

Matthew studied at Kings College, Cambridge, and at the National Opera Studio, and in 1982 won the Decca-Kathleen Ferrier Prize. At the outset of his career, he sang as a principal bass with the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, and as a guest with many other companies. His career reached a significant landmark when he sang the role of Wotan/The Wanderer in Scottish Opera’s new production of Der Ring des Nibelungen, first seen at the Edinburgh International Festival.

His other opera roles include Jochanaan Salome at WNO, La Roche Capriccio for Grange Park Opera, Tsargo Adriana Mater for Santa Fe Opera and Wotan Siegfried for Opéra de Lyon. In the previous seasons he has also sung Kurwenal Tristan und Isolde for La Monnaie, Wotan and Orest Elektra in Stuttgart, title role of The Flying Dutchman for Opera de Rouen, Vairochana in the world premiere production of Jonathan Harvey’s Wagner Dream in Luxembourg, Amsterdam and Paris, Scarpia Tosca, Amfortas Parsifal, Kurwenal, Don Pizarro for Scottish Opera, Count Walter Luisa Miller and Scarpia for Opera North, Wotan, Ramfis Aida, Swallow, King Marke, Commendatore Don Giovanni and Jochanaan for ENO, Cadmus The Bassarids at the Châtelet, Paris and in Cologne, Mr Flint Billy Budd with the London Symphony Orchestra, the CBSO and the Swedish Chamber Orchestra, and Don Pizarro Leonore (early version of Fidelio) under Gardiner at the Proms, Salzburg Festival, Concertgebouw, Amsterdam and the Lincoln Center Festival, New York.

On the concert platform, Matthew recently sang Mendelssohn Elijah and Elgar The Dream of Gerontius, Beethoven Symphony No.9, Shostakovich Symphony No.14, Verdi Requiem, and Berlioz L'Enfance du Christ with major orchestras. His various recordings include Leonore, L’enfance du Christ, Billy Budd, Peter Grimes, The Dream of Gerontius, Falla El Retablo di Maese Pedro, Menotti Martin’s Lie and Rossini Il barbiere di Siviglia.

Current and future highlights in 2013/14 include Swallow Peter Grimes with Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia under Sir Antontio Pappano and in the revival of David Alden’s acclaimed production at ENO and a role in the world premiere of Julian Anderson’s Thebans, also at ENO.

Matthew Best is represented by Intermusica.
February 2014 / 513 words. Not to be altered without permission. Please destroy all previous biographical material.

Opera Repertoire

Bluebeard Duke Bluebeard's Castle
Don Pizarro Fidelio
Don Fernando Fidelio
Rocco Fidelio
Lorenzo I Capuleti ed i Montecchi
Dr Schön / Jack Lulu
Prince Igor Prince Igor
Claggart Billy Budd
Flint Billy Budd
Dansker Billy Budd
Theseus A Midsummer Night's Dream
Sir Walter Raleigh Gloriana
Balstrobe Peter Grimes
Swallow Peter Grimes
Hobson Peter Grimes
Collatinus The Rape of Lucretia
Golaud Pelleas et Melisande
Arkel Pelleas et Melisande
Raimondo Lucia di Lammermoor
Talbot Maria Stuarda
Water Goblin Rusalka
High Priest Alceste
Cadmus The Bassarids
Father Hansel und Gretel
The Forester The Cunning little Vixen
Prus The Makropolous Case
Alfio Cavalleria Rusticana
Comte des Grieux Manon
Don Quichotte Don Quichotte
Publio La Clemenza di Tito
Commendatore Don Giovanni
Sprecher Die Zauberflöte
Sarastro Die Zauberflöte
Boris Boris Godunov
Pimen Boris Godunov
Schelkalov Boris Godunov
Ivan Khovansky Khovanschina
Dosifei Khovanschina
Kutusov War and Peace
Jack Rance La Fanciulla del West
Jake Wallace La Fanciulla del West
Ashby La Fanciulla del West
Scarpia Tosca
Timur Turandot
Alidoro La Cenerentola
Fernando La Gazza Ladra
High Priest Samson et Dalila
King Vladislav Dalibor
Count Waldner Arabella
La Roche Cappricio
Peneios Daphne
Orest Elektra
Barak Die Frau ohne Schatten
Geisterbote Die Frau ohne Schatten
Jochanaan Salome
Nick Shadow The Rake's Progress
Gremin Eugene Onegin
Count Tomsky The Queen of Spades
King Priam King Priam
King Fisher The Midsummer Marriage
Ford Sir John in Love
Amonasro Aida
Ramfis Aida
King Aida
Phillip II Don Carlo Silva Ernani
Padre Guardiano La Forza del Destino
Count Walter Luisa Miller
Banquo Macbeth
Zaccaria Nabucco
Grand Inquisitor Don Carlo
Lodovico Otello
Sparafucile Rigoletto
Monterone Rigoletto
Fiesco Simon Boccanegra
Holländer Der Fliegende Holländer
Hagen Götterdämmerung
Gunther Götterdämmerung
König Heinrich Lohengrin
Hans Sachs Die Meistersinger
Pogner Die Meistersinger
Gurnemanz Parsifal
Amfortas Parsifal
Klingsor Parsifal
Titurel Parsifal
Wotan Das Rheingold
Donner Das Rheingold
Fasolt Das Rheingold
Wotan / Wanderer Siegfried
Landgraf Tannhäuser
Biterolf Tannhäuser
König Marke Tristan und Isolde
Kurwenal Tristan und Isolde
Wotan Die Walküre
Hunding Die Walküre
Kaspar Der Freischütz

Concert Repertoire

St Matthew Passion
St John Passion
Ninth Symphony
Missa Solemnis
L'enfance du Christ
La Damnation de Faust
Romeo et Juliette
Stabat Mater
Dream of Gerontius
The Apostles
The Kingdom
Judas Maccabaeus
and others
The Creation
The Seasons
Stabat Mater
Glagolitic Mass
St Paul
Die Erste Walpurgisnacht
Mass in C minor
and other masses etc

Mass of the Sea
Messa di Gloria
Stabat Mater
Petite Messe Solennelle
Masses etc.
Symphony No.13
Symphony No.14
Oedipus Rex
Stabat Mater
A child of our Time
Belshazzar's Feast

Tiresias Thebans / English National Opera
Cond. Edward Gardner / dir. Pierre Audi

“…the sexually ambiguous Tiresias, expertly sung by the bass, Matthew Best…”
Fiona Maddocks, Observer, May 2014

“The bass Matthew Best’s Tiresias, a figure aptly in drag, was as Wagnerianly resonant as the ominous contra-bass clarinet often accompanying him.”
Paul Driver, Sunday Times, May 2014

“Matthew Best, as Tiresias, a blind prophet, beautifully juggled between fragility and power. The power of the known.”
Lorenzo Belenguer, Huffington Post, May 2014

“…and Matthew Best’s gorgeously upholstered Tiresias are both outstanding”
Guy Dammann, Guardian, May 2014

“…and Matthew Best’s creepily androgynous Tiresias set benchmarks”
Michael White, New York Times, May 2014

“Matthew Best at his most sonorous”
Peter Reed, Classical Source, May 2014

Swallow Peter Grimes / English National Opera
Cond. Edward Gardner / dir. David Alden

“Matthew Best’s excellent Swallow… leave[s] an indelible impression”
George Hall, The Stage, January 2014

Heinrich der Vogler Lohengrin / WNO
cond. Lothar Koenigs / dir. Antony McDonald

“Matthew Best…projecting a sonorous Heinrich…gave another of his typically generous peformances.”
John Allison, Opera, July 2013

“…Matthew Best as Heinrich. His voice is still complex and rich and he conveys a sense of effortless authority that makes his portrayal always convincing.”
Gavin Dixon, Opera Britannia, June 2013

“Matthew Best’s regal Heinrich...”
Fiona Maddocks, Observer, May 2013

“…the fine, rather severe Heinrich, Matthew Best.”
Andrew Clements, Guardian, May 2013

King Marke in Wagner Tristan und Isolde / BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra / City Hall, Glasgow
cond. Donald Runnicles

“…the inimitable Matthew Best, in just a few lines a towering King Mark.”
Michael Turnelty, Herald, April 2013

“Matthew Best as a trenchant King Mark.”
Ken Walton, Scotsman, April 2013

Teresias in Stravinsky Oedipus Rex / BBC Philharmonic / Bridgewater Hall, Manchester
cond. H. K. Gruber

“Matthew Best was the suitably uptight Tiresias”
Tim Ashley, Guardian, March 2013

Commendatore in Mozart Don Giovanni / English National Opera (revival) / dir. Rufus Norris / cond. Edward Gardner
“Matthew Best succeeded in bringing an outstanding presence both vocally and dramatically to his Commendatore: every word was sung with a deeply chilling color and expert inflection, which arguably makes Best unrivalled in London for the excellence of his performance”.
Michael Migliore, Musical Criticism, November 2012

“As the Commendatore, Matthew Best, notwithstanding the black bin liner, was a dignified and imposing corpse. There was something especially horrific about the way in which he died sitting upright on a bench. He stalked Giovanni like Banquo’s ghost and unleashed some truly terrifying sounds as he gatecrashed his victim’s final meal”.
Steve Silverman, Opera Britannia, October 2012

“...fine singing from Best”.
Michael Church, The Independent, October 2012

“Matthew Best [is] a granite-like Commendatore”.
Hugo Shirley, Daily Telegraph, October 2012

“Matthew Best was in suitably sepulchral voice as the Commendatore”.
Barry Millington, London Evening Standard, October 2012

“Matthew Best puts in a mighty vocal performance as the Commendatore”.
Sam Smith, Londonist, October 2012

“Matthew Best [is] an ideal Commendatore”.
Mark Valencia, WhatsOnStage, October 2012

“Matthew Best was an impressive Commendatore...In the closing scene, attended by a chorus of similarly clad bloody spectres, he was grimly eloquent”.
Robert Hugill, Planet Hugill – Classical Music Blog, October 2012

King Marke in Wagner Tristan und Isolde 
Welsh National Opera / cond. Lothar Koenigs
“Matthew Best's exemplary King Marke towered over them, a figure of nobly dignified bearing, focused sound and elegant phrasing”
Rian Evans, Guardian, May 2012

“Matthew Best underpinned the whole drama with a dignified, grave King Marke.”
Hugo Shirley, Daily Telegraph, May 2012

“Matthew Best ... took the honours. His King Marke was dignified and compassionate as well as heroic and noble of tone, bringing an elegant sweep to the long lyrical lines.”
Rian Evans, Opera, July 2012

“The best male singing comes from Matthew Best, a moving, steady-voiced Mark”
Stephen Walsh, The Arts Desk, May 2012

“Matthew Best is drawn as rather an insipid character but there was nothing bland in the singing from this cool and creamy blissful bass”
Mike Smith, Theatre in Wales, May 2012

"Matthew Best was recently seen as König Marke in the Salonen/Philharmonia performances. That performance was very well received - If anything this was even better. Beautifully sung, but never downplaying the anguish of the betrayed uncle and husband, his Act II monologue was a highlight of the evening."
Sebastian Petit, BackStage Pass, May 2012

King Henry in Wagner Lohengrin 
Royal Swedish Opera / cond. Alan Gilbert
“Matthew Best’s orotund bass and authoritative bearing make for an excellent King Henry.”
George Loomis, New York Times, April 2012

“Matthew Best as King Henry sported a monumental bass, thunderous even”
Goran Forsling, Seen and Heard International, April 2012

King Marke in Wagner Tristan und Isolde 
CBSO / cond. Andris Nelsons
“Matthew Best’s familiar Marke…sang with a still-noble tone.”
Hugh Canning, Opera, April 2012

“But it was Matthew Best as the betrayed King Marke who provided the most purely moving moment of the evening.”
Ivan Hewett, Daily Telegraph, March 2012

“And the singers were uniformly magnificent… Matthew Best’s King Marke sorrowingly authoritative.”
Christopher Morely, Birmingham Post, March 2012

“Matthew Best’s König Marke was very fine indeed, resonant with a noble dignity and ultimately great compassion.”
Rian Evans, Classical Source, March 2012

“Matthew Best is an austere and just King Marke”
Marie Torres, Artistikrezo, March 2012

“Matthew Best’s Marke was… noble and profound.”
Didier Van Moere, Concerto Net, March 2012

Swallow in Britten Peter Grimes 
Royal Opera House / cond. Andrew Davis / dir. Francois De Carpentries
“Matthew Best's Swallow… [was] the best of a strong cast.”
Barry Millington, London Evening Standard, June 2011

The Speaker in Mozart Die Zauberflöte
"In keeping with this solemn tone, Franz Josef Selig's Sarastro and Matthew Best's Speaker provided the evening's most consistently impressive solo singing.”
Rupert Christiansen, Daily Telegraph, February 2011

"The firm, resonant bass voices of Franz-Josef Selig and Matthew Best also come to the fore in their magnificent performances as Sarastro and the Speaker of the Temple."
Sam Smith, musicOMH, February 2011

"The smart period feel accommodates several props of scientific advance—the image of the Speaker (an imposing, unflinching Matthew Best) and his astronomical model is a memorable one; and it takes seriously the libretto's deeper concerns, while seeming to question the absolute values of the Enlightenment."
Musical Criticism, February 2011

Commendatore in Mozart Don Giovanni
English National Opera / cond. Kirill Karabits / dir. Rufus Norris

“successful was Matthew Best’s imposing Commendatore.”
Barry Millington, Evening Standard, November 2010

King Marke in Wagner Tristan und Isolde (concert performance)
Philharmonia Orchestra / cond. Esa-Pekka Salonen
“The most moving moment came from Matthew Best, in King Marke’s heart-broken aria of betrayal.”
Ivan Hewett, Daily Telegraph, September 2010

“Matthew Best a noble and eloquent King Marke, his second-act monologue arguably the emotional fulcrum of the whole performance.”
Andrew Clements, Guardian, September 2010

“Matthew Best's King Marke was astoundingly fine.”
Igor Toronyi-Lalic, The Arts Desk, September 2010

“Matthew Best an eloquent, authoritative Marke, painfully anguished in his second-act monologue.”
Lynne Walker, The Independent, September 2010

“Sensation… Matthew Best’s King Mark, a piece of singing so glorious as sound, so moving as drama…huge-toned, black as night, steady as a rock, streaked with grief – provided some of the best Wagner singing I’ve encountered.”
Stephen Jay-Taylor, Opera Britannia, September 2010

“The King Marke of Matthew Best was immediately striking, for the firmness in his tone during Act One, to the softening that took place later on: a commanding account indeed.”
Kevin Rogers, Classical, September 2010

“Matthew Best’s sorrowing, compassionate King Marke sadly bestowing one last blessing on these two people he had loved most in all the world.”
Christopher Morley, Birmingham Post, September 2010

“as King Marke, bass-baritone Matthew Best’s contribution to the proceedings greatly outweighs the size of his role. With his rich, broad voice full of breathtaking detail, his entrance in Act II alters the whole tone of the drama as he sings directly to Tristan. As he throws his arms around his subject, the hurt he feels at being ‘betrayed’ by his friend becomes almost too much to bear, and the episode is one of several over the evening that make an already powerful performance feel truly overwhelming.”
Sam Smith, Music OMH, September 2010

“ excellent King Marke sung by Matthew Best’s powerful bass.”
Hellweger Anzeiger, September 2010

“Matthew Best as King Marke not only has gorgeous vocal material, but also shows this quality in a fine form.”
Christian Schütte,, September 2010

La Roche in Strauss Capriccio
Grange Park Opera / cond. Stephen Barlow / dir. Stephen Medcalf

“Matthew Best as the theatre director La Roche delivers his great aria, Strauss's thinly disguised attack on modernism, with wonderful panache.”
Andrew Clements, The Guardian, June 2010

“Matthew Best, sonorously authoritative as the director La Roche.”
Geoff Brown, The Times, June 2010

“Matthew Best was utterly winning as the bombastic La Roche, delivering his great reposte to the upstarts that are Olivier and Flamand, with sizzling patter and comedic timing. Standing within his mini-theatre he relished every minute of his chance to shine. “
Antony Lias, Opera Britannia, June 2010

“La Roche, is finely taken by Matthew Best – a suitably raffish figure but majestic to excess, as required, in his big solo about the birth of Athene and the fall of Carthage, musically the most original pages in the score.”
Stephen Walsh, The Arts Desk, June 2010

“Performance of the night was from bass Matthew Best as theatre director La Roche. His delivery of the long defence of the art of theatre was masterly.”
Christopher Gray, Oxford Times, June 2010

Peneios in Stauss Daphne
Oper Frankfurt / cond. Sebastian Weigle / dir. Claus Guth

"...the commanding bass of Matthew Best”
Darmstadt im Netz, March 2010

“The reputable Matthew Best sang the role of Peneios magnificently”
Eckhard Britsch, Mannheimer Morgen, March 2010

Tsargo in Kaija Saariaho’s Adriana Mater
Sante Fe Opera / cond. Ernest Martinez Izquierdo / dir. Peter Sellars
“Matthew Best’s compelling singing reveals a sympathetic side to Tsargo”
George Loomis, Financial Times, August 2008

“Tsargo a blunt villain (powerfully sung by Matthew Best)”
Anne Midgette, Washington Post, August 2008

“Matthew Best brings a dense, inky bass to the role of Tsargo, evolving from a louche nonentity to a young man drunk on war to a tragic remnant.”
Scott Cantrell, Dallas Morning News, August 2008

Peneios in Strauss Daphne
Santa Fe Opera / cond. Kenneth Montgomery / dir. Mark Lamos
"Matthew Best lends superb Wotan-like pronouncement to Peneios, Daphne's father, making us wish this role were longer."
D.S. Crafts, Albuqerque Journal , July 2007

"As Peneios, Daphne's father, Matthew Best supplies a richly oiled bass reminiscent of that eminent Wagnerian James Morris."
Scott Cantrell, Dallas News , July 2007

"Matthew Best's towering bass made Daphne's father, Peneios, both authoritative and sympathetic."
Craig Smith, The New Mexican , July 2007

"Matthew Best's strong voice provided character to the role of Daphne's father, Peneios."
Michael Lodico, Ionarts, Washington , July 2007

Commendatore in Mozart Don Giovanni
Scottish Opera / cond. Richard Armstrong / dir. Tim Albery
"The evening's real stars are Maria Costanza Nocentini's Donna Anna and Matthew Best's Commendatore, both as vocally rich and subtle as sure of their stage presence."
Anthony Holden, The Observer, May 2006

"Matthew Best is an imposing Commendatore."
Andrew Clark, Financial Times, May 2006

"The quality of singing was overall a cut above what we might have been used to in previous productions, from Matthew Best's Commendatore to James Rutherford's Leporello."
Sarah Jones, The Scotsman, May 2006

Wagner arias from Tannhäuser, Der Fliegender Holländer and Die Walküre
CBSO / Kazushi Ono
“Matthew Best stayed the course magnificently as Wotan.  He leant into the long echoing vowels which evoked his paternal love for Brünnhilde, powerfully sculpted his final farewell, and searched out Loge’s flames for that last great lullaby of fire.”
Hilary Finch, The Times, October 2005

Priest / Angel of the Agony in Elgar The Dream of Gerontius
Hallé Orchestra / cond. Mark Elder / (BBC Proms)
“Matthew Best was the Priest and the Angel of the Agony, huge-voiced and authoritative.”
Andrew Clements, The Guardian, July 2005

“Matthew Best’s intensity brooked no argument.”
Nick Kimberley, Evening Standard, July 2005

Cadmus in Henze The Bassarids
Théâtre du Châtelet, Paris / cond. Kazushi Ono / dir. Yannis Kokkos
“Matthew Best gave one of the best performances of his career as Cadmus, singing with resonant tone and well-projected text.”
Stephen Mudge, Opera News, July 2005

Scarpia in Puccini Tosca
Scottish Opera / cond. Giudo Ajmone-Marsan / dir. Anthony Besch
“There are still three perfectly valid reasons to see this ageing staging – Elena Zelenskaya’s Tosca, John Hudson’s Cavaradossi and Matthew Best’s Scarpia prove Scottish Opera is still capable of fielding an international quality lineup.  Best’s black-shirted Baron stands rooted in frighteningly shiny thigh boots and has a voice to match: dark, supple and almost indecently suggestive.”
Alfred Hickling, Guardian, November 2004

“Matthew Best’s predictably cold and unflinching Scarpia was rock-like in its implacably self-serving qualities.”
Michael Tumelty, The Herald, November 2004

“Just to look at Matthew Best, dressed in the black uniform of the fascisti, is chilling enough, never mind the obvious associations Scottish audiences will have with his previous Scottish Opera role as Wotan in the Wagner’s Ring Cycle.  Best sends out a subtle ambiguity in his depiction of Scarpia, toying ruthlessly with Tosca’s fragility.  His is not a full-throated performance.  There is a hidden darkness in his voice, which adds mystery to the menace.”
Kenneth Walton, The Scotsman, November 2004

Kurwenal in Wagner Tristan and Isolde
Opéra de Nancy et de Lorraine / cond. Sebastian Lang-Lessing / dir. Andreas Baesler
“Matthew Best is an impassioned Kurwenal.”
Francis Carlin, Financial Times, April 2004

Judas in Elgar The Apostles
City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra / cond. Sakari Oramo
“The collision of Peter and Judas’s betrayals was particularly compelling with this cast of pungently flavoured bass and baritone voices.  Matthew Best as a smouldering Judas gave voice to his darkest despair in his remarkable central monologue.“
Hilary Finch, The Times, October 2003

Wotan in Wagner Der Ring des Nibelungen
Scottish Opera / cond. Richard Armstrong / dir. Tim Albery (Edinburgh Festival)
“Matthew Best’s Wotan will be in demand around the world.”
Jeremy Isaacs, The Herald, September 2003

“Striding majestically through this production, growing in stature and command to the point where he is sorely missed in its final episode, is Matthew Best’s monumental Wotan, as resonant of voice as of stage presence, his languor as the Wanderer reflecting his self-loathing at his own shortcomings.”
Anthony Holden, The Observer, August 2003

“Matthew Best’s Wotan and Peter Sidhom’s Alberich are resonant, nuanced assumptions, the strongest of the singers.”
Paul Driver, Sunday Times, August 2003

“The performances are tremendous, including Matthew Best’s Wotan, moving from insecurity to tragic dignity.”
Tim Ashley, Guardian, August 2003

“Matthew Best as Wotan was so centered, so earnest, so utterly beyond trivial swagger.”
Raymond Monelle, The Independent, August 2003

“Matthew Best’s performance is a wonder of control, vocal power and dignity, with a profoundly interiorised sense of warring loves.“
Robert Thicknesse, The Times, August 2003

“Matthew Best as Wotan-Wanderer grew in conviction – uptight, broken, remote.”
Fiona Maddocks, Evening Standard, August 2003

“The evening belonged to Matthew Best as Wotan, vocally glowing, dignified in his agony, horrified at his weakness.”
Fiona Maddocks, Evening Standard, August 2003

“Matthew Best’s Wotan comes into his own here, exuding restrained, tragic dignity, his voice poised and beautiful.”
Tim Ashley, The Guardian, August 2003

“Crowning it all, Matthew Best’s Wotan is more colossal than ever. (Das Rhinegold)”
Kenneth Walton, The Scotsman, August 2003

“Matthew Best’s performance as Wotan remains monumental.  Against his cheated wife Fricka he withers magnificently.  With the adoring Brünnhilde he plays mercilessly on her love. (Die Walküre)”
Kenneth Walton, The Scotsman, August 2003

King Marke in Wagner Tristan and Isolde
English National Opera / cond. Dietfried Bernet / dir. David Alden
“Matthew Best makes a sonorous King Marke; this is some of ENO's strongest casting in a long time.  The audience, judging by its roars, knows it.”
John Allison, The Times, May 2003

Wotan in Wagner Der Ring des Nibelungen
Scottish Opera / cond. Richard Armstrong / dir. Tim Albery
“Siegfried’s noble antagonist was Matthew Best, the Wanderer of one’s dreams.  He produces floods of sonority in Wagner’s most self-consciously grand role, and has a presence to match, and superb diction.”
Michael Tanner, The Spectator, September 2002

“Matthew Best’s Wanderer was magnificently sung.”
Michael Kennedy, Sunday Telegraph, September 2002

“Matthew Best’s subtle Wotan is a grimly pragmatic, messed-up patriarch who sees his powerbase ineluctably eroding.”
Anna Picard, Independent on Sunday, September 2002

“Then on strides Matthew Best’s magisterial Wotan, shades and a greatcoat amply disguising him as the Wanderer, to lend a reassuringly authentic Wagnerian presence.  As he lopes in and out of Siegfried’s adventures, pure Godfather to the mere mobster of Peter Sidhom’s Alberich, Best’s stage authority and vocal command sustain moments which might otherwise teeter towards strip-cartoon banality.“
Anthony Holden, September 2002

“Matthew Best’s Wanderer has the most authentic Wagnerian profile, exuding authority through his dignified timbre and stage deportment.”
Andrew Clark, Financial Times, August 2002

“Matthew Best, his warm, heavy baritone more authoritative than ever, is a down-at-heel Wanderer in shades.”
Raymond Monelle, The Independent, August 2002

“The encounter of Wotan with Alberich, wonderfully directed and superbly delivered by Matthew Best and Peter Sidhom, is like the meeting of two gangsters in a turf war.  All of the roles are finely honed.  Best’s singing just gets more commanding.”
Andrew Clements, Guardian, August 2002

“Matthew Best’s Wotan was commanding from the outset.”
Brian Hunt, Evening Standard, August 2002

“Matthew Best’s Wotan, as scheming and bullying as ever, was his best performance yet.”
Kenneth Walton, The Scotsman, 27 August 2002

“There is a magnificently august Wanderer from Matthew Best.”
John Allison, The Times, August 2002

Wotan in Wagner Die Walküre
Scottish Opera / cond. Richard Armstrong / dir. Tim Albery
“In Matthew Best, Britain has a vocally impressive, psychologically probing new Wotan.  He plays the ruler of the gods as a speculative intellectual, plunged into depression when reason fails him.  The muted fury of his enormous monologue made Act 2 even more compelling than the opening act.”
Fiona Maddocks, The Observer, August 2001

“Matthew Best presents Wotan as a god who knows he has failed, a vulnerable figure deserving compassion, and his singing attained real nobility.”
Michael Kennedy, Sunday Telegraph, August 2001

“Matthew Best’s voice had those unfathomed, cavernous depths that bespeak infinite wisdom.”
Raymond Monelle, The Independent, August 2001

“Matthew Best’s Wotan is immense, and wracked with considerable self-doubt and frustration.  There are few around who could better this performance, either in heroic stature and stamina or its startling consistency.”
Kenneth Walton, The Scotsman, August 2001

Ford in Vaughan Williams Sir John in Love
Northern Sinfonia / cond. Richard Hickox / CHAN 9928
“The rest of the cast is a roll-call of some of the best British singers of today: Matthew Best is a splendid Ford, his “Pardon me wife” more touching than anything Verdi gives him.”
Michael Kennedy, Sunday Telegraph, July 2001

Scarpia in Puccini Tosca
Florida Grand Opera / cond. Stewart Robertson / dir. Renata Scotto
“Matthew Best, the Scarpia, was outstanding, acting with eerie restraint, an economy of gesture highly effective in conveying the profound cruelty that seethes beneath the placid surface of this man who was the terror of Rome.  He has the dark baritone to cut through the orchestra in the ‘Te Deum’, which was chilling, but also the coldly aristocratic poise to lord it over Spoletta.”
James Roos, The Miami Herald, March 2001

“The great discovery of the evening was debut artist Matthew Best as Baron Scarpia.  This English bass-baritone has a lovely lyric quality in his upper range and a distinctive cutting edge in the middle and lower registers.  He held the audience spellbound with one crescendo after another.  His voice has a special sound; tender in romantic passages yet commanding when it has to be.  He has the class of the late Morley Meredith on stage and the resonance of James Morris.  But it is his own special warm, rich sound that is so attractive; an emerald surrounded by diamonds.  It is a talent we must encourage to these shores before the opera houses of Europe claim more of his time.”
Rex Alan Hearn, Coral Gables Gazette, March 2001

Wotan in Wagner Das Rheingold
English National Opera / cond. Paul Daniel / dir. Michael Walling
“Matthew Best looks set to become the leading British Wotan, and he has a presence and an interpretative intelligence which arouse the highest hopes.  He also has a sonorous and noble vocal instrument.  He has the all-important quality of instilling dignity in any character he portrays, and after decades of collapsed and seedy Wotans that is the biggest blessing a Ring production can have.”
Michael Tanner, The Spectator, February 2001

“Matthew Best’s Wotan is tall, grey, austere – from a distance not unlike a stern Fischer-Dieskau figure.  His voice carves out word and line most expressively, in monumental granite.”
Hilary Finch, The Times, January 2001

“Pride of place goes to Matthew Best’s Wotan, a figure of brooding stature who could dominate any stage.”
Andrew Clark, Financial Times, January 2001

“Matthew Best’s Wotan is triumphant, incredibly powerful and focused.”
Tom Sutcliffe, Evening Standard, January 2001

Wotan in Wagner Das Rheingold
Scottish Opera / cond. Richard Armstrong / dir. Tim Albery
“Matthew Best, who extraordinarily also manages a parallel career as a conductor, cut an imperious figure of stoat-like arrogance as the flawed god, handling the vocal range with skill.”
Fiona Maddocks, The Observer, August 2000

“Matthew Best sounds impressively rich and centered as Wotan.”
Tom Sutcliffe, Evening Standard, August 2000

Berlioz L’Enfance du Christ
Scottish Chamber Orchestra / cond. Richard Hickox
“Matthew Best’s rich bass was both tragic in the role of Herod and warmly sympathetic as the Ishmaelite father.”
Wilma Paterson, The Scotsman, April 2000

“Bass baritone Matthew Best completing the solo quartet was outstanding, whether in the intensely dramatic role of Herod, or as the mellifluous leader of the Ishmaelites who bring succour to the holy family.”
Dundee Courier, April 2000

“Matthew Best used his deep, powerful sound to great effect, first in reflecting the inner fear and anxiety and the overt, terrible anger of Herod, and then as the warm and generous Ishmaelite father.”
Sigurd Scott, Perthshire Advertiser, April 2000

Amfortas in Wagner Parsifal
Scottish Opera / cond. Richard Armstrong / dir. Silviu Purcarete
“Outstanding among the principals was the Amfortas of Matthew Best, whose pithy diction and richly coloured tone made the plight of the wounded guardian of the Grail human and immediate.”
George Hall, Opera News, July 2000

“The need for healing is located, in this account, with hideous precision and intensity in the portrayal of Amfortas, acted and sung unnervingly by Matthew Best, all told the most striking interpreter – or incarnation – of the role I have ever witnessed.”
Michael Tanner, The Spectator, March 2000

“Matthew Best wrings every drop of anguish from Amfortas’ music.”
Hugh Canning, The Sunday Times, March 2000

“I mean no disrespect when I say that I was unprepared for the English baritone Matthew Best’s unforgettable Amfortas.  He sang with intense sensitivity to the meaning of the text, conveying pain and anguish with startling verisimilitude.”
Michael Kennedy, Sunday Telegraph, March 2000

“In a reading based very much on coming to terms with the past, Amfortas’ guilt and agony were more than ever central, and Matthew Best portrayed both with uncomfortable directness.”
Rodney Milnes, The Times, March 2000

“The only member of the cast to transcend these surroundings is Matthew Best, whose proudly declaimed Amfortas becomes a study in self-doubt.”
Andrew Clark, The Financial Times, March 2000

“The basses were first class: Matthew Best is an enthralling Amfortas whose agony becomes the opera’s emotional crux.”
Rupert Christiansen, Daily Telegraph, March 2000

Gurnemanz in Wagner Parsifal
Three Choirs Festival / cond. Richard Hickox
“Matthew Best, for all his youth, has the gravity, wisdom and weight of tone for a magnificent Gurnemanz.”
Barry Millington, The Times, August 1998

Title role in Wagner The Flying Dutchman
English National Opera / cond. Alex Ingram / dir. Stein Winge
“In a highly auspicious house debut, Matthew Best has taken over the title role from Willard White.  Best colours his baritone with a sheen as dark as his oilskins.  Once on stage, Best takes command.  It is a fair bet that Best will be back when Dutchman is next revived.”
John Higgins, The Times, October 1997


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