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Sir Willard White

Bass-baritone

  • One of the best-loved and most versatile opera stars of the last 40 years, Sir Willard White's illustrious career has taken him to the most prestigious opera houses and concert halls throughout the world, collaborating with conductors, directors and orchestras of the highest calibre.


    Highlights of the 2023/24 season include Bartolo in Mozart Le nozze di Figaro in a new production for the Bayerische Staatsoper and creating the role of Priest in the world premiere of Hèctor Parra Justice for the Grand Théâtre de Genève, alongside il Re in Verdi Aida for the Royal Danish Opera. On the concert platform, White will perform Méphistophélès in Berlioz La Damnation de Faust with the RTVE Symphony Orchestra.

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  • Recent highlights include il Re in Aida for the Royal Danish Opera, Dikoj in Janáček Kát'a Kabanová for Opéra National de Lyon, A Blind Ballad Singer and Recorder of Norwich in Britten Gloriana for English National Opera, Monterone in Verdi Rigoletto for Opera North, Porgy in Gershwin Porgy and Bess and the title role in Bartók Bluebeard’s Castle for Hungarian State Opera, Seneca in Monteverdi L'incoronazione di Poppea for the Wiener Staatsoper, Jupiter in Offenbach Orpheus in the Underworld for the English National Opera, Luther and Crespel in Offenbach Les contes d'Hoffmann at La Monnaie, Trinity Moses in Weill Aufstieg und Fall der Stadt Mahagonny at the Festival d'Aix-en-Provence, Gorjantchikov in Janáček From the House of the Dead at the Opéra national de Paris, Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, La Monnaie and Opéra National de Lyon, Thibaut d'Arc in Tchaikovsky The Maid of Orleans at Theater an der Wien, Créon in Cherubini Médée at the Grand Théâtre de Genève, Publio in Mozart La clemenza di Tito for Dutch National Opera, Teatro dell'Opera di Roma, the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden and at the Salzburg Festival, Cadmus in Henze The Bassarids at the Salzburg Festival, Commendatore in Mozart Don Giovanni at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, Parson / Badger in Janáček The Cunning Little Vixen with the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra and Sir Simon Rattle, Schigolch in Berg Lulu for the English National Opera and Teatro dell'Opera di Roma, Doktor in Berg Wozzeck for Dutch National Opera and Arkel in Debussy Pelléas et Mélisande with the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra and at the Metropolitan Opera.


    Sir Willard White was born in Jamaica, where he commenced his musical training at the Jamaican School of Music and then went on to the Juilliard School in New York. Since his operatic debut with the New York City Opera in 1974, he has sung regularly at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, the Metropolitan Opera, New York, English National Opera, San Francisco Opera, the opera houses of Munich, Amsterdam, Berlin, Brussels, Geneva, Hamburg, Los Angeles, Madrid, Paris, and at the Glyndebourne, Aix-en-Provence and Salzburg festivals. In 1989, White performed the role of Othello in Trevor Nunn’s production for the Royal Shakespeare Company, alongside Sir Ian McKellen as Iago and Imogen Stubbs as Desdemona.


    On the concert platform, White sings regularly with the world’s major conductors and orchestras, including the London Symphony, London Philharmonic, BBC Symphony, the Hallé, Royal Philharmonic, Royal Concertgebouw, La Scala, Boston Symphony, New York Philharmonic, Los Angeles Philharmonic and Cleveland orchestras and the Berliner Philharmoniker, and he has appeared as soloist many times at the BBC Proms, including the First and Last Night of the Proms and at the Proms in the Park. Highlights include Walton Belshazzar’s Feast at the Philharmonie de Paris, Tiresias and Messenger in Stravinsky Oedipus Rex with Esa-Pekka Salonen and the Philharmonia Orchestra at the Royal Festival Hall, Méphistophélès in La Damnation de Faust with the Cleveland Orchestra and at the Verbier Festival with Charles Dutoit, Golaud in Pélleas et Mélisande with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the title role in Bluebeard’s Castle with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra at the Royal Festival Hall and the Los Angeles Philharmonic and Esa-Pekka Salonen, Marke in Wagner Tristan und Isolde Act II under Gergiev, and a concert performance of Pélleas et Mélisande (Arkel) and Porgy and Bess (Porgy) in concert with the Berliner Philharmoniker and Sir Simon Rattle.


    Sir Willard White was awarded the CBE in 1995 and was knighted in the Queen’s Birthday Honours in 2004. 

    2023/24 season / 700 words. Not to be altered without permission.

Performances

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Concert repertoire

Adès
America


Beethoven
Symphony No.9


Gould
American Salute (When Johnny comes marching home)


Haydn
The Creation


Mendelssohn
Elijah

Opera repertoire

Adams
Joseph El Niño


Bartók
Bluebeard Bluebeard’s Castle


Beethoven
Don Fernando/Rocco Fidelio


Bellini
Giorgio I Puritani
Oroveso Norma


Berlioz
Pope Clement VII Benvenuto Cellini
Méphistophélès La Damnation de Faust
Herod L’Enfance du Christ


Bernstein
Workman 1 On the Town


Britten
Bottom A Midsummer Night’s Dream


Cherubini
Creon Medea


Debussy
Arkel Pelleas et Mélisande


Dove
Homeless Person Death of a Princess


Dukas
Bluebeard Ariane et Barbe-Bleue


Dvorak
Wassermann (Vodnik) Rusalka


Gershwin
Porgy Porgy and Bess


Gluck
Hercules Alceste


Gounod
Mephistopheles Faust


Handel
Polyphemus Acis and Galatea
Somnus Semele


Henze
Title role El Cimarroni


Janacek
Forester Cunning Little Vixen
Gorianchikov From the House of the Dead
Prus The Makropoulos Case


Joplin
Ned Treemonisha


Korngold
Porter Das Wunder der Heliane


Ligeti
Nekrotzar Le Grand Macabre


Martinu
Fotis The Greek Passion


Messiaen
St. Francis Saint Françoise d’Assise


Monteverdi
Seneca l’Incoronazione di Poppea


Mozart
Osmin Die Entführung aus dem Serail
Speaker/Sarastro Die Zauberflöte
Commendatore Don Giovanni
Bartolo Le nozze di Figaro


Mussorgsky
Boris/Pimen Boris Godunov
Khovansky Kovanshchina


Offenbach
4 Villains Les Contes d‘Hoffmann


Prokofiev
Title role Ivan the Terrible
Tchélio The Love for Three Oranges
Kutuzow War and Peace


Puccini
Timur Turandot


Rimsky-Korsakov
Title role Ivan the Terrible


Rossini
Alidoro La Cenerentola
Mustapha L’Italiana in Algeri
Selim Turco in Italia


Schoenberg
Moses Moses und Aron


Shostakovich
Boris Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk


Strauss
Jokanaan Salome


Stravinsky
Nick Shadow The Rake’s Progress
Tiresias / Creon Oedipus Rex


Tchaikovsky
Gremin Eugene Onegin
Ibn-Hakia Iolanta


Verdi
King/Ramfis Aida
Philip Don Carlos
Falstaff Falstaff
Ferrando Il Trovatore
Maximilian I Masnadieri
Banquo Macbeth
Zaccaria Nabucco
Sparafucile Rigoletto


Wagner
Wotan/Alberich Das Rheingold
Dutchman / Daland Der Fliegende Holländer
Wotan /Hunding Die Walküre
Klingsor Parsifal
Landgraf Tannhäuser
King Marke Tristan und Isolde
Hagen Götterdämmerung


Weill
Trinity Moses The Rise & Fall of the City of Mahagonny


Widmann
Priesterkönig/Tod Babylon


Zemlinsky
Simon Eine Florestinische Tragödie

We are pleased to find in this rarely performed work Sir Willard White as narrator, with a powerful bass baritone voice whose diction, authority, charisma, magnificent projection and depth of timbre, unaltered by the years, we savor.

News.dayFR, June 2023

…the superlative Willard White still gives a lesson in vocal class…

Concertonet.com, May 2023

Sir Willard has such presence, he dominates the scene

The Opera Critic, January 2022

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Intermusica represents Sir Willard White worldwide

Julia Maynard
Deputy Chief Executive / Head of Vocal & Opera
+44 20 7608 9902
jmaynard@intermusica.com

Zara Fyfe-Williams (on maternity leave)
Artist Manager, Vocal & Opera



Billie Allin
Assistant Artist Manager, Vocal & Opera
+44 20 7608 9903
ballin@intermusica.com

If you have any queries, please fill in the form below, and we will be in touch soon

All artists

Chansonnier

HK Gruber

Counter-tenor

Tim Mead

Harpsichord

Richard Egarr

Piano accompanist

Roger Vignoles

Saxophone

Jess Gillam

Contralto

Avery Amereau