British baritone Benedict Nelson is one of the most exciting singers of his generation and has attracted comparisons to Gerald Finley and Simon Keenlyside among others. As one of the inaugural Harewood Artists at English National Opera, Nelson has sung a number of leading roles there including title role Billy Budd in a new production by David Alden, Figaro The Barber of Seville, Valentin Faust, Demetrius A Midsummer Night’s Dream in a new production by Christopher Alden and Belcore The Elixir of Love.
In the 2015/16 season, Nelson sings Aeneas Dido and Aeneas at the Teatro Regio di Torino, as well as with the Balthasar Neumann Ensemble at the Salzburg Festival and on tour throughout Germany. He will also reprise the role of Algernon Moncrieff in Barry’s The Importance of Being Earnest at the Barbican, and at the Rose Theater at Lincoln Center in New York. In concert, Nelson can be heard in Vaughan Williams’ Sea Symphony with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra in Edinburgh and Glasgow, and in recital he will appear at the Norwich chamber music festival, and at the Oxford Lieder festival.
Recent operatic highlights include a successful role debut as The Count in The Marriage of Figaro at ENO, Ned Keene Peter Grimes for Opéra de Lyon and Opera North, the role of Algernon Moncrieff in the UK premiere of Barry’s The Importance of Being Earnest at the Royal Opera House, Stranger The Lady from the Sea for the Edinburgh International Festival and Scottish Opera, Aeneas Dido and Aeneas for the Verbier Festival alongside Angelika Kirchschlager as Dido, Count Almaviva and Figaro Le nozze di Figaro, Silvano Un ballo in Maschera for Opera Holland Park, Masetto and Title role Don Giovanni, Marcello La bohème, Sid Albert Herring, Christian Un ballo in maschera, Tarquinius Rape of Lucretia for Opéra Angers-Nantes, and The Tender Land for Opéra de Lyon.
Recent concert highlights include Britten Noye’s Fludde with La Maîtrise de Radio France, Orff Carmina Burana with the Gulbenkian Orchestra, Handel Messiah with Orchestra de Cadaqués, Faure Requiem with the RPO, Brahms Ein deutsches Requiem with the Hallé, Weill Das Berliner Requiem with L’Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, Bach B Minor Mass with the Aurora Orchestra, Brander Damnation de Faust with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra under Dutoit, Helmsman Tristan und Isolde with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra conducted by Donald Runnicles, Melot and Steuermann Tristan und Isolde with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Britten Canticles at Aldeburgh and the ROH and the world premiere of a new piece by Mark Anthony Turnage in Derry as part of the City of London Festival.
He has performed at many prestigious concert venues including Wigmore Hall, Cadogan Hall, Royal Albert Hall, King’s Place, Snape Maltings, St John’s Smith Square and St Martin-in-the-Fields under conductors including Sir Neville Marriner, Sir Roger Norrington, David Parry, Thomas Zehetmair, Andris Nelsons and Paul McCreesh. He has previously appeared with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra, Utah Symphony Orchestra for his US concert debut, Basel Chamber Orchestra, RTÉ Orchestra and the Orchestre de l’Opéra de Rouen.
Nelson’s recital highlights include his debut recital at the Wigmore Hall in 2013 and Britten Songs and Proverbs of William Blake at Snape Maltings with Malcolm Martineau (recorded in 2010 and released by Onyx to critical acclaim), a recital with Roger Vignoles in Madrid and the closing recital of the Leeds Lieder Festival with Graham Johnson.
Born in London, Nelson studied at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and the National Opera Studio, and at the age of 23, won second prize in the Kathleen Ferrier Awards.
Photograph: Paul Wilkinson