British baritone Benedict Nelson has established an international reputation through his intelligent musicality and elegant interpretations. Praised for his sensitivity and ease on stage, Nelson is equally at home on the recital and concert platform as he is on the operatic stage. During his time as one of the inaugural Harewood Artists at English National Opera, Nelson sang a number of leading roles including title role Billy Budd in a new production by David Alden, Figaro The Barber of Seville, Valentin Faust, Demetrius A Midsummer Night’s Dream in a new production by Christopher Alden and Belcore The Elixir of Love.
Highlights of the 2017/18 season include Donnacha Dennehy’s acclaimed The Second Violinist for Wide Open Opera, title role in Monteverdi Il ritorno d’Ulisse in patria on tour in the United States with Circa Contemporary Circus, and Henry Cuffe in Britten Gloriana for Teatro Real. In concert he will sing Orff Carmina Burana with the Gulbenkian Orchestra, Peter Maxwell Davies’ Eight Songs for a Mad King with the Aurora Orchestra, and recitals at the Oxford Lieder Festival.
Recent operatic highlights include the title role in Monteverdi Il ritorno d’Ulisse in patria for English Touring Opera, a successful role debut as The Count in The Marriage of Figaro at ENO, Aeneas Dido and Aeneas at the Teatro Regio di Torino, as well as with the Balthasar Neumann Ensemble at the Salzburg Festival and for the Verbier Festival alongside Angelika Kirchschlager as Dido, Ned Keene Peter Grimes for Opéra de Lyon and Opera North, Algernon Moncrieff in Barry’s The Importance of Being Earnest at the Royal Opera House and at Lincoln Center, Stranger The Lady from the Sea for the Edinburgh International Festival and Scottish Opera, title role Don Giovanni, Marcello La bohème, Sid Albert Herring, Christian Un ballo in maschera, Tarquinius Rape of Lucretia for Opéra Angers-Nantes, and The Tender Land for Opéra de Lyon.
Concert highlights include Vaughan Williams’ Sea Symphony with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra and Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, Walton Belshazzar’s Feast with the Halle under Rory MacDonald, the Southbank Sinfonia, and the Oxford Bach Choir; Britten Noye’s Fludde with La Maîtrise de Radio France, Orff Carmina Burana with the Gulbenkian Orchestra and the Royal Philharmonic, Handel Messiah with Orchestra de Cadaqués, Brahms Ein deutsches Requiem with the Hallé, Weill Das Berliner Requiem with L’Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, Bach B Minor Mass with the Aurora Orchestra, Brander Damnation de Faust with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra under Dutoit, Helmsman Tristan und Isolde with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra conducted by Donald Runnicles, Melot and Steuermann Tristan und Isolde with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Britten Canticles at Aldeburgh and the ROH and the world premiere of a new piece by Mark Anthony Turnage in Derry as part of the City of London Festival.
He has performed at many prestigious concert venues including Wigmore Hall, Cadogan Hall, Royal Albert Hall, King’s Place, Snape Maltings, St John’s Smith Square and St Martin-in-the-Fields under conductors including Sir Neville Marriner, Sir Roger Norrington, David Parry, Thomas Zehetmair, Andris Nelsons and Paul McCreesh. He has previously appeared with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra, Utah Symphony Orchestra for his US concert debut, Basel Chamber Orchestra, RTÉ Orchestra and the Orchestre de l’Opéra de Rouen.
Nelson’s recital highlights include his debut recital at the Wigmore Hall in 2013 and Britten Songs and Proverbs of William Blake at Snape Maltings with Malcolm Martineau (recorded in 2010 and released by Onyx to critical acclaim), a recital with Roger Vignoles in Madrid, performances at the Norwich chamber music festival, the Oxford Lieder festival, and the closing recital of the Leeds Lieder Festival with Graham Johnson.
Born in London, Nelson studied at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and the National Opera Studio, and at the age of 23, won second prize in the Kathleen Ferrier Awards.
Donnacha Dennehy’s The Second Violinist
Wide Open Opera
title role Il ritorno d’Ulisse in patria
Circa Contemporary Circus
Henry Cuffe Gloriana
Orff Carmina Burana
Davies’ Eight Songs for a Mad King
Pilate/ arias St John Passion
Pilate/ arias St Matthew Passion
L’enfance du Christ
Dream of Gerontius
Dettingen Te Deum
Petite Messe Sollenelle
Songs of the Sea
Songs of the Fleet
5 Mystical Songs
Serenade to Music
Dona Nobis Pacem
Zurga Les pêcheurs de perles
Title role Billy Budd
Tarquinius, Junius Rape of Lucretia
Ned Keene Peter Grimes
Title role Owen Wingrave
Sid, Vicar Albert Herring
Demetrius A Midsummer Night’s Dream
Belcore L’elisir d’amore
Frank / Fritz Die tote Stadt
title role Il ritorno d'Ulisse in patria
Title role, Masetto Don Giovanni
Il Conte, Figaro Le Nozze di Figaro
Papageno Die Zauberflöte
Guglielmo Cosi fan tutte
Le Baron de Gondremarck La vie Parisienne
Aeneas Dido and Aeneas
Marcello, Schaunard La Bohème
Figaro Barbiere di Siviglia
Dandini La Cenerentola
Don Parmenione L'occasione fa il ladro
Nick Shadow The Rake’s Progress
Title role Eugene Onegin
Giovanni, the serial seducer, played and sung by the compelling Benedict Nelson as a raging bull without scruples or limits... I found the result gripping enough to root me to my seat for the frenetic hour that the show lasts.
Benedict Nelson, a hugely talented baritone with a smoothly elegant mahogany timbre, complemented by an intense and reflective musicality …he feels the music deeply and wants to honour it. His breath control is immaculate, his sense of phrase imaginative, his stage presence handsome and unaffected.
New York Times
Mr. Nelson captured Billy’s boundless physical energy and decency while conveying the gullible nature that keeps Billy from seeing the malevolence of Claggart, the master-at-arms, until too late. Like many fine British singers before him, Mr. Nelson made the words matter... the honesty and directness of Mr. Nelson’s singing won me over