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Leigh Melrose


  • Leigh Melrose, “the emergent specialist of 20th-century opera” (The Financial Times), has carved out a formidable reputation for the performance of new works and dramatic 20th century repertoire. A wonderfully dynamic artist on both the concert and opera platform, his recent performances as Wozzeck with Zürich Opera and Fabio Luisi, Alberich Das Rheingold at Ruhrtriennale with Teodor Currentzis; Friedrich Das Liebesverbot and the Traveller Death in Venice, both at Teatro Real and Ruprecht Fiery Angel at Opern Zürich with Gianandrea Noseda have earned him wide critical and public acclaim.

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  • In the 2019/20 season, Melrose makes his debut at Wiener Staatsoper in the world premiere of Olga Neuwirth’s Orlando and as Alberich The Ring Cycle. He also makes a role debut as Smith Smee Der Schmied von Gent at Opera Vlaanderen, returns to Teatro Real as Tadeusz The Passenger and reprises the role of Clov in György Kurtág’s Fin de Partie at Budapest Spring Festival.

    Last season, Melrose made his La Scala debut as Clov in György Kurtág’s world premiere of Fin de Partie, after the play by Samuel Beckett, which was later presented in Amsterdam by Dutch National Opera. He also performed in concert with Rotterdam Philharmonic, returned to Zürich for a role debut as Nekrotzar in a new production of Le Grand Macabre and made two other company debuts: with Teatro dell’Opera Rome as Ruprecht Fiery Angel and with Opera Australia in the title role of a world premiere based on the life of artist Brett Whiteley. Other recent highlights include returns to Teatro Real with two new productions: Cecil Gloriana and Stolzius in Zimmermann Die Soldaten.

    Recent debuts include Ruprecht Fiery Angel in Zürich, the title role of Wozzeck in Salzburg, Zürich and at Royal Festival Hall, Golaud Pelléas et Mélisande at Ruhrtriennale Festival, Vlaamse Opera and Les Théâtres de la Ville de Luxembourg Alberich Das Rheingold with Teodor Currentzis at Ruhrtriennale; Friedrich Das Liebesverbot and the Traveller Death in Venice, both at Teatro Real. Other operatic engagements include Papageno for Seattle Opera, Demetrius A Midsummer Night’s Dream for La Monnaie; Ned Keene Peter Grimes for Opera Vlaanderen and Opera Oviedo. Closely associated with English National Opera his roles there included Wozzeck, Escamillo, Sonora, Ned Keene, Tadeusz The Passenger, Papageno, Bormenthal A Dog’s Heart, Count The Marriage of Figaro, Rodolfo in Leoncavallo’s La bohème, the world premiere of Ryan Wigglesworth’s The Winter’s Tale; and Junius The Rape of Lucretia.

    One of the most sought-after interpreters of contemporary music, Leigh Melrose has given many world premieres including Dai Fujikura’s Solaris, a co-production between Theatre de Champs Elysees, Opéra de Lille and Opéra de Lausanne; Johannes Kalitzke’s Die Besessenen by Johannes Kalitzke, at Theater an der Wien; Elliot Carter’s On Conversing with Paradise at the Aldeburgh Festival under Oliver Knussen (also nominated for a Gramophone Award for ‘Best Contemporary Album) ; Luca Francesconi's Quartett at Royal Opera House; and Evan in James MacMillan’s The Sacrifice at Welsh National Opera. Other performances include his debut at the prestigious Maggio Musicale Festival in Florence singing Rihm’s Der maler träumt; title role of Birtwistle's Gawain with BBC Symphony Orchestra; Matthias Pintscher’s Solomon’s Garden with the Ensemble Intercontemporain in Paris conducted by the composer; Rambo in the Channel 4 television film of John Adams’ The Death of Klinghoffer; Michael Collins in Jonathan Dove’s TV Opera Man on the Moon for Channel 4; Punch in Birtwistle Punch and Judy in Porto; Xenakis’ Ais with the BBC Symphony Orchestra at the BBC Proms and Berlin Festival; Peter Maxwell Davies’ The Martyrdom of St Magnus at the composer’s St Magnus Festival, Orkney, in Edinburgh and Inverness; Maxwell-Davies’ Eight Songs for a Mad King with the Orquesta de Cadaqués in Madrid, the London Sinfonietta at the Queen Elizabeth Hall, BIT20 in Bergen and Arctic Philharmonic Orchestra; Michael Finnissy’s Maldon with the London Sinfonietta at the Queen Elizabeth Hall and the world premiere of Martin Suckling’s Candlebird also with the London Sinfonietta under Nicholas Collon.

    His numerous concert appearances include Walton Belshazzar’s Feast, Berlioz Symphony No.3; Britten Canticles; Noah's Fludde with BBC Scottish Symphony; Carmina Burana and Beethoven Symphony No.9. At the BBC Proms he has performed Britten Cantata Misericodium with the BBC Symphony Orchestra, De Falla’s La vida breve and Sir Richard Cholmondeley in Gilbert & Sullivan’s Yeomen of the Guard.

    2019-2020 season / 711 words. Not to be altered without permission


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Season highlights

Clov Fin de Partie
Teatro alla Scala & Dutch National Opera

Ruprecht The Fiery Angel
Teatro dell'Opera di Roma

Nekrotzar Le Grand Macabre
Opernhaus Zurich

Title role Brett Whiteley
Opera Australia

Concert highlights

Escamillo Carmen
City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra / Sakari Oramo

Pintscher Solomon’s Garden
Ensemble Intercontemporain

Sir Peter Maxwell Davies The Martyrdom of St Magnus
St Magnus Festival, Orkney; Edinburgh; Inverness

Sir Peter Maxwell Davies Eight Songs for a Mad King
Orquesta de Cadaqués, Madrid; London Sinfonietta / Queen Elizabeth Hall

Michael Finnissy Maldon
London Sinfonietta / Queen Elizabeth Hall

Martin Suckling Candlebird
London Sinfonietta / Nicholas Collon (world premiere)

Belshazzar’s Feast, Berlioz Symphony No.3
BBC Symphony Orchestra

Britten Canticles
Gran Teatre del Liceu; with Roger Vignoles / Southbank Centre / Wigmore Hall

Orff Carmina Burana
Royal Festival Hall; Birmingham Symphony Hall; RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra / Usher Hall

Beethoven Symphony No.9
Orquesta de Cadaqués / Sir Neville Marriner

Britten Cantata Misericodium
BBC Symphony Orchestra / BBC Proms

Opera highlights

Title role Wozzeck
Salzburg; English National Opera (new productions)

Papageno Die Zauberflöte
Seattle Opera; Opera Zuid

Demetrius A Midsummer Night’s Dream
La Monnaie

Escamillo Carmen
Royal Albert Hall

Figaro Il Barbiere di Siviglia
New York City Opera

Silvio I Pagliacci
Welsh National Opera

Various Death in Venice
Gran Teatre del Liceu

Marcello La bohème
Opera Zuid

Sid Albert Herring
Salzburger Landestheater; Opéra Comique; Opéra de Rouen

Ned Keene Peter Grimes
Vlaamse Opera; Opera Oviedo; English National Opera; BBC Proms

Title role Eugene Onegin
Longborough Festival Opera

Tadeusz The Passenger; Papageno; Escamillo; Bormenthal A Dog’s Heart; Count Marriage of Figaro; Rodolfo in Leoncavallo’s La bohème; Junius The Rape of Lucretia
English National Opera

Concert repertoire

The Wound Dresser


Symphony No.3 ‘Romeo et Juliette’


War Requiem

On Conversing with Paradise

American Songs I & II with orchestra


Four Serious Songs

Alexander’s Feast

Masses and The Seasons

Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen
Rückert Lieder

Eight Songs for a Mad King


Requiem and Masses

Songs and Dances of Death

Carmina Burana

Primosch, James
Songs for Adam

Schoeck, Othmar
Lebendig Begraben, Op.40

Vaughan Williams
Sea Symphony
Songs of Travel
Five Mystical Songs

La Déesse Athéna

Opera repertoire

Rambo The Death of Klinghoffer
Jack Hubbard Dr Atomic

Title role Wozzeck

Mercury, Greek Captain & Chorèbe Les Troyens
Mercutio & Paris Romeo et Juliette

Punch Punch & Judy

Escamillo Carmen
Morales Carmen
Zuniga Pearl Fishers

Ned Keane Peter Grimes
Title role Billy Budd
Sid Albert Herring
English Clerk Death in Venice
The Traveller Death in Venice
Demetrius A Midsummer Night’s Dream
Junius & Tarquinius Rape of Lucretia

Title role Pelleas et Melisande*

Belcore L’elisir d’amore
Malatesta Don Pasquale

Mike Collins Man on the Moon
Steward Flight

Valentin Faust

Fritz Die tote Stadt

Rodolfo La Boheme
Silvio Pagliacci

Evan The Sacrifice

Maxwell Davies
The Tempter The Martyrdom of St Magnus
Eight Songs for a Mad King

Papageno Die Zauberflote
Count Le Nozze di Figaro
Figaro Le Nozze di Figaro
Guglielmo Cosi fan tutte
Title role Don Giovanni*

Marcello La Boheme
Schaunard La Boheme
Frank Edgar

Figaro Il Barbiere di Siviglia

Title role Eugene Onegin
Yletski Queen of Spades

*in preparation

Like Ablinger-Sperrhacke, and Woldt, Melrose is one of the great character singers in their voice types... Melrose has an instinctive understanding of Wozzeck’s almost inability to conform to social niceties. His grittiness created a Wozzeck that worked well with Luisi’s approach to the opera

Opera Today, October 2015

Musically, it's astonishing. Melrose, giving the performance of a lifetime, charts Wozzeck's disintegration with unflinching veracity and an extraordinary expressive range that veers from lyrical intensity to snarl or eerie falsetto.

Guardian, October 2015

Leigh Melrose was outstanding as Alberich

Die Welt, September 2015

Intermusica represents Leigh Melrose worldwide

Maria Mot
Associate Director, Vocal & Opera
+44 20 7608 9904

Charlotte Firth
Assistant Artist Manager, Vocal & Opera
+44 20 7608 9922

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Mark Simpson


HK Gruber


Tim Mead

Piano accompanist

Roger Vignoles