Opera Singer Sir John Tomlinson
Opera Singer Sir John Tomlinson
Opera Singer Sir John Tomlinson

Welcome to the website of an opera singer who started to study singing seriously fifty years ago and who is still studying singing to this day on a daily basis. Still learning new material, rehearsing new productions, working with different directors, conductors and composers, and enjoying the colleagueality of gifted singing-actors, all with the intention of bringing vibrant performances of great music to appreciative audiences. That’s the ultimate purpose of the work, and if you have been a member of my audience on occasion, I hope you left the theatre at the end of the evening glad you had taken the considerable trouble to be there.

I owe my enthusiasm for singing to the Lancashire community and family I grew up with, where we regularly sang round the piano at home, and where many members of my extended family were singers, conductors, organists and pianists; all strictly amateur of course, and proud of it. As a teenager, I was told that I had an unusually ‘strong’ voice, and at age 21 (after graduating as an engineer – the sensible alternative), I made the decision to attempt to become a professional singer, and was taken on by the Royal Manchester College of Music, where I discovered a whole new world, and where I began the long process of learning and development that continues to this day. That was back in 1967, and the resulting performances in my (mainly opera) singing career since then are listed in the Archive on this site. I owe such a lot to so many gifted and generous musicians, teachers, directors, conductors and colleagues, and now in the closing decade of my career, I try when I can to put something back by working with young singers. In fact, at the Manchester College where I began, I have just made a commitment to visit regularly for masterclasses and workshops with the singing students over the next three years.

This website does what IT does best – store and order information, in this case over a 50 year period. The archive is unusually extensive, and lists all my performances (around 3,000) of all roles (around 200) on all stages in all years, with a wealth of photographs from as far back as 1966. Many pictures include other singing colleagues you will enjoy being reminded of. There are yet more historical photos, some of higher resolution and down-loadable, in the photo archive; and every recording (around 80) I ever made appears in the discography. What a website cannot do is tell all the stories behind this information. Sometime in the future, I’ll take on the task of putting pen to paper and writing all about it. If you enjoy this site, perhaps you will join the audience of a forthcoming performance where I hope to be able to live up to this hype! I thank you for visiting today.

(photo: The Minotaur by Harrison Birtwistle)

SCHEDULE 2016

updated 18th May
14, 18, 21, 24, 26, 30 March, 5 AprilBoris Godunov – Modest Mussorgsky
Role of Varlaam
Royal Opera House, Covent Garden
23, 26, 30 May, 2, 4, 8 JuneOedipe – George Enescu
Role of Tiresias
Royal Opera House, Covent Garden
7 JuneDer Freischütz by Carla Maria von Weber
Roles of Narrator, Hermit, Samiel
Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment
Royal Festival Hall
28 July, 1, 5, 8 Augustworld premiere of Exterminating Angel by Thomas Adès
Role of Doctor Charles Conde
Salzburg Festival
20, 24, 27 October, 1, 4, 9 NovemberThe Nose by Dmitri Shostakovich
Roles of Ivan Yaklovlevich, Khosrev-Mirza, Newspaper Clerk, Doctor
Royal Opera House, Covent Garden
14 NovemberRecital; Michelangelo in SongPenrith, Cumbria
17 NovemberRecital; Michelangelo in SongRoyal Northern College of Music
8 DecemberChristmas Concert for MS SocietySt Paul’s Cathedral
11 DecemberSchwanengesang by Franz SchubertWigmore Hall
20, 21, 22 DecemberDie Walküre Act 1 by Richard Wagner – Berliner PhilharmonikerPhilharmonie, Berlin

SCHEDULE 2017

updated 18th May
9, 11m+e, 16, 18m+e, 23 February, 4m+e, 9 , 11 MarchThe Pirates of Penzance – Arthur Sullivan
Role of Sergeant of Police
English National Opera, London Coliseum
24, 27 April, 1, 3, 6, 8, 13 MayThe Exterminating Angel – Thomas Adès
Role of Doctor
Royal Opera House, Covent Garden
11, 13, 17, 21, 24, 27, 30 JuneHamlet – Brett Dean
Role of Ghost of Old Hamlet
Glyndebourne