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Sir John Tomlinson

Born in Lancashire, the bass Sir John Tomlinson (Arkel) gained a B.Sc. in Civil Engineering at Manchester University before winning a scholarship to the Royal Manchester College of Music. He has sung regularly with English National Opera since 1974 and with The Royal Opera, Covent Garden since 1977, and has appeared with all the other leading British opera companies. At the Bayreuth Festival, for eighteen consecutive seasons, he sang Wotan, Wanderer, Hagen, Titurel, Gurnemanz, King Marke, Heinrich, and the Dutchman. At festivals and opera houses all over Europe and the USA he has performed a repertoire that includes Hans Sachs (Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg), Landgraf (Tannhäuser), Baron Ochs (Der Rosenkavalier), Boromeo (Palestrina), Orestes (Elektra), Moses (Moses und Aron), Green Knight (world premiere of Sir Harrison Birtwistle’s Gawain and the Green Knight), Claggart (Billy Budd), Rocco (Fidelio), King Philip and Grand Inquisitor (Don Carlos), Sarastro (Die Zauberflöte), Leporello and Commendatore (Don Giovanni), Lindorf, Coppelius, Dr Miracle, and Dapertutto (Les Contes d’Hoffmann), Golaud and Arkel (Pelléas et Mélisande), Boris Timofeyevich Ismailov (Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District), Boris and Pimen (Boris Godunov), the General (The Gambler), Thomas à Becket (Pizzetti’s Assassinio nella cattedrale), and the Minotaur (world premiere of Birtwistle’s The Minotaur). He has sung a large concert repertoire with all the leading British orchestras, throughout continental Europe, and in the USA, and has made numerous recordings on CD and DVD. During the 2011 / 12 season John Tomlinson sings Pogner (Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg) at The Royal Opera, Covent Garden, Baron Ochs (Der Rosenkavalier) at English National Opera, Grand Inquisitor (Don Carlos) at De Nederlandse Opera, Arkel at Gran Teatre de Liceu, Barcelona, and Bluebeard on a European tour. He was awarded a CBE in 1997 and knighted in the Queen’s Birthday Honours of 2005. For Chandos Opera in English he has recorded important roles in Boris Godunov (Highlights), Julius Caesar, Mary Stuart, Der Rosenkavalier (Highlights), Rigoletto, Werther, The Flying Dutchman, The Magic Flute, Bluebeard’s Castle, and Don Carlos, as well as two discs of operatic arias.

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