Roderick Williams


The British baritone Roderick Williams was born in 1965 in London to a Welsh father and a Jamaican mother. He studied at London’s Guildhall School of Music and – while still completing opera classes there – made his debut as Tarquinius in Britten’s The Rape of Lucretia. He soon became known in particular for his interpretations of Mozart’s major baritone roles, performing at the English National Opera, Opera North, Scottish Opera, and the Royal Opera House in London. Another focus of his artistic work is contemporary music, with credits in stage works by David Sawer, Sally Beamish, Robert Saxton, and Alexander Knaifel. In this area he recently appeared, in March 2015, in Michel van der Aa’s Sunken Garden at the Opéra de Lyon. Williams is a sought-after concert singer who has worked with the Philharmonia Orchestra, the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, the DSO Berlin, the Russian National Orchestra, the Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, and the Bach Collegium Japan. He has sung the role of Christus in Peter Sellars’s staging of Bach’s St. John Passion in performances with Sir Simon Rattle and the Berlin Philharmonic in Berlin and Baden-Baden. In September 2014 Williams was the star guest for the Last Night of the Proms, at which he sang Strauss’s Taillefer and Rule, Britannia at the end. Williams also presented some of his own song arrangements there, for he himself is a successful composer whose works have been heard in London at Wigmore Hall, the Barbican, and the Purcell Room, as well as on radio broadcasts. As a lieder singer he has performed at the Oxford Lieder Festival, the London Song Festival, and the Musikverein in Vienna, and he has recorded an anthology of English song settings. Starting in 2016 he will take on artistic directorship of the Leeds Lieder series.

August 2015