Melrose is one of the great character singers...

Opera Today

News & Future Plans:

It’s a summer of directors!
First off, there’s Šiškov in Janáček’s From the House of the Dead in Rome directed by Krzysztof Warlikowski, followed by the world premiere of Orgia, directed by Calixto Bieto. It’s composed by Hèctor Parra with a libretto by Calixto from the play by Pier Paolo Pasolini. Then there is another Šiškov in Janáček’s From the House of the Dead, this time directed by Dmitri Tcherniakov at the Ruhrtriennale.
Orgia is a challenging yet beautiful work about the tragic and self-destructive sexual battle between a man and his wife. The opera is commissioned by the Arriaga Theater in Bilbao, the Gran Teatre del Liceu in Barcelona and the Peralada Festival, with the Ensemble Intercontemporain de Paris, conducted by Pierre Bleuse, as the orchestra.
Other upcoming roles and performances include Beckmesser in Die Meistersinger at Teatro Real, Madrid and Pizarro in Beethoven’s Fidelio at the Staastoper Hamburg.

Das Ensemble de Singschauspieler leistet Außerordentliches, allen voran Leigh Melrose als Šiškov, der den dritten Akt zu einem atemberaubenden Geständnis formt.

Die Zeit

Leigh Melrose hat dafür einen ungemein flexiblen Bariton und eine Ausdrucksintensität im Spiel zur Verfügung, dass man sich beinahe in den Nahaufnahmen eines Films wähnt.

Die Duetsche Buehne

Prospero in Thomas Adès' The Tempest at La Scala, Milan

Prospero non è il vecchio canuto, immerso nella consultazione dei suoi libri polverosi come vuole la tradizione teatrale, ma un prestante baritono (Leigh Melrose) dal torso tatuato, spesso impegnato nel registro più acuto, che scatena la tempesta per avere gli odiati usurpatori in proprio potere, ma viene preso di contropiede dalla figlia Miranda (la brava e appassionata Isabel Leonard, già nel cast originale del Met), che non ne rispetta l’autorità…

Il Giornale della Musica

The cast was led by baritone Leigh Melrose, a magnetic Prospero, displaying an impressively voluminous and perfectly controlled, darkly colored voice.

The Opera Critic

Oedipe at Komische Oper, Berlin

The British baritone Leigh Melrose’s searing performance is as much a dramatic feat as it is a musical achievement. Of all the Oedipuses haunting the German capital, his is the most affecting, tragic and believable.

The New York Times

Leigh Melrose, in the fraught title role, gives a remarkable performance, gripping and powerful, consummately emotional yet always in control.


Melrose is an artist totally committed and embodied in his roles, who says the texts with a mad urgency, with an overwhelming internal burn, displaying both an intrinsic fragility and a false assurance that turns into violence. Blind, endowed with a perfect French diction, burning each word, chiseling each breath, taking care of each color as well in the expressionism as in the meditative… he is one of those rare artists who tell the whole truth of a role on stage and who upset an audience. This is the case here, in a striking Oedipus, not only in the violent scenes, but in the desperate lyricism of the last part; simply and authentically fabulous, which brought the room to its knees.


Alberich in ENO's Rheingold

Itchy with ambition and self-loathing, ready to rip off his skin at any moment, Leigh Melrose’s Alberich is an astonishing creation. His transformation from suppliant to megalomaniacal monster is a whole-body reinvention that uses John Deathridge’s English translation as a catapult to fling the character’s rage right into the audience’s face, bending and twisting his handsome baritone into misshapen interest.

The Telegraph

Leigh Melrose has given many outstanding performances at the Coliseum over the years, but none finer than this portrayal of Alberich. Unhinged, despotic, and prone to regular outbursts of violence, he was a dangerous, enigmatic stage presence who actually sang the role without resorting to shouting or barking. His voluminous sound filled the theatre with ease, his diction was perfect, and his curse chilled the blood.


World Premiere of Whiteley at Opera Australia

Artist, rebel, Icon. Brett Whiteley burst onto the international art scene, all golden curls and bravado. He was dynamic, damaged, a big idea and a bold brush. Heroin was both muse and merciless master. Out of this tumultuous life spilled a messy array of brilliant artworks and astonishing self-reflection. In 2019, this Australian icon meets two of Australia’s most popular artists in a brand new work for the Australian stage: Whiteley, by Elena Kats-Chernin and Justin Fleming. Together they’ve created an opera to honour the life and work of a man who could not extricate his talent from his demons.

Casting British baritone and contemporary music specialist Leigh Melrose in the title role was a masterstroke. He sang with resounding strength and incisive clarity in an intensely expressive performance that captured Whiteley’s charismatic charm and his painful, doomed struggle with the darker angels of his nature.

The Australian

With tousled hair and a shambling mix of insouciant brilliance and existential anxiety, baritone Leigh Melrose sang and portrayed the precocious, sometimes unlovable Whiteley with a vocal range from wiry ferocity to ethereal dreaminess, spanning swaggering moments of elan and despair.

Sydney Morning Herald

Melrose is particularly impressive… There is long, languid stretching of the vowels, singing each syllable to its edge, thinning into ethereal transcendence and thickening into anger, and allowing cracking at the manic extremes – as Whiteley did with himself and his work. Melrose’s portrayal is intense and self-consumingly ferocious, and he carries this opera compellingly.


The world premiere at La Scala of Kurtag's Fin de Partie, with further performances in Amsterdam and Valencia and Paris

György Kurtág, whose compositions left an indelible mark on the development of twentieth-century music, had never written an opera. At least, not until he had turned ninety. Applying his bare, concentrated, intensely expressive style to Samuel Beckett’s 1957 austere play, the world premiere was conducted in November 2018 by Markus Stenz and directed by Pierre Audi. Further performances were at Dutch National Opera in February.
György Kurtág

"Shuffling around nervously, Clov (the robustly gruff baritone Leigh Melrose) is characterized in jittery blots of music, as if he consists entirely of punctuation marks."
The New York Times

"...baritone Leigh Melrose also deserves high praise who made Clov's powerless anger truly uncomfortable to behold. Tightly wound and hobbling about savagely, at the end when Clov decides to abandon Hamm, or maybe not, he looked as if he were about to blow up."

Nixon in China - Madrid


El País

Šiškov - Rome

In particular, Leigh Melrose provided a magistral interpretation of the prisoner Šiškov, which was appropriately greeted by warm applause.


Die Soldaten - Madrid

“Leigh Melrose, que se deja la piel como Stolzius, al que confiere una gran entidad escénica y vocal”

El País

Nekrotzar - zürich

As Nekrotzar and with a voice as strong as his acting skills were convincing… Leigh Melrose stood at the pinnacle of an outstandingly gifted cast.


Publicity Photographs

"Musically, it's astonishing. Melrose, giving the performance of a lifetime, charts Wozzeck's disintegration with unflinching veracity and an extraordinary expressive range that veers from lyrical intensity to snarl or eerie falsetto."

Wozzeck – The Guardian

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