Leigh Melrose

Leigh Melrose, “the emergent specialist of 20th-century opera” (The Financial Times), has carved out a formidable reputation for the performance of new works and dramatic 20th century repertoire. A wonderfully dynamic artist on both the concert and opera platform, his recent performances as Wozzeck with Zürich Opera and Fabio Luisi, Alberich Das Rheingold at Ruhrtriennale with Teodor Currentzis; Friedrich Das Liebesverbot and the Traveller Death in Venice, both at Teatro Real and Ruprecht Fiery Angel at Opern Zürich with Gianandrea Noseda have earned him wide critical and public acclaim.

In the 2019/20 season, Leigh makes his debut at Wiener Staatsoper in the world premiere of Olga Neuwirth’s Orlando and as Alberich The Ring Cycle. He also makes a role debut as Smith Smee Der Schmied von Gent at Opera Vlaanderen, returns to Teatro Real as Tadeusz The Passenger and reprises the role of Clov in György Kurtág’s Fin de Partie at Budapest Spring Festival.

Last season, Leigh made his La Scala debut as Clov in György Kurtág’s world premiere of Fin de Partie, after the play by Samuel Beckett, which was later presented in Amsterdam by Dutch National Opera. He also performed in concert with Rotterdam Philharmonic, returned to Zürich for a role debut as Nekrotzar in a new production of Le Grand Macabre and made two other company debuts: with Teatro dell’Opera Rome as Ruprecht Fiery Angel and with Opera Australia in the title role of a world premiere based on the life of artist Brett Whiteley. Other recent highlights include returns to Teatro Real with two new productions: Cecil Gloriana and Stolzius in Zimmermann Die Soldaten.

Recent debuts include Ruprecht Fiery Angel in Zürich, the title role of Wozzeck in Salzburg, Zürich and at Royal Festival Hall, Golaud Pelléas et Mélisande at Ruhrtriennale Festival, Vlaamse Opera and Les Théâtres de la Ville de Luxembourg Alberich Das Rheingold with Teodor Currentzis at Ruhrtriennale; Friedrich Das Liebesverbot and the Traveller Death in Venice, both at Teatro Real. Other operatic engagements include Papageno for Seattle Opera, Demetrius A Midsummer Night’s Dream for La Monnaie; Ned Keene Peter Grimes for Opera Vlaanderen and Opera Oviedo. Closely associated with English National Opera his roles there included Wozzeck, Escamillo, Sonora, Ned Keene, Tadeusz The Passenger, Papageno, Bormenthal A Dog’s Heart, Count The Marriage of Figaro, Rodolfo in Leoncavallo’s La bohème, the world premiere of Ryan Wigglesworth’s The Winter’s Tale; and Junius The Rape of Lucretia.

One of the most sought-after interpreters of contemporary music, Leigh Melrose has given many world premieres including Dai Fujikura’s Solaris, a co-production between Theatre de Champs Elysees, Opéra de Lille and Opéra de Lausanne; Johannes Kalitzke’s Die Besessenen by Johannes Kalitzke, at Theater an der Wien; Elliot Carter’s On Conversing with Paradise at the Aldeburgh Festival under Oliver Knussen (also nominated for a Gramophone Award for ‘Best Contemporary Album) ; Luca Francesconi’s Quartett at Royal Opera House; and Evan in James MacMillan’s The Sacrifice at Welsh National Opera. Other performances include his debut at the prestigious Maggio Musicale Festival in Florence singing Rihm’s Der maler träumt; title role of Birtwistle’s Gawain with BBC Symphony Orchestra; Matthias Pintscher’s Solomon’s Garden with the Ensemble Intercontemporain in Paris conducted by the composer; Rambo in the Channel 4 television film of John Adams’ The Death of Klinghoffer; Michael Collins in Jonathan Dove’s TV Opera Man on the Moon for Channel 4; Punch in Birtwistle Punch and Judy in Porto; Xenakis’ Ais with the BBC Symphony Orchestra at the BBC Proms and Berlin Festival; Peter Maxwell Davies’ The Martyrdom of St Magnus at the composer’s St Magnus Festival, Orkney, in Edinburgh and Inverness; Maxwell-Davies’ Eight Songs for a Mad King with the Orquesta de Cadaqués in Madrid, the London Sinfonietta at the Queen Elizabeth Hall, BIT20 in Bergen and Arctic Philharmonic Orchestra; Michael Finnissy’s Maldon with the London Sinfonietta at the Queen Elizabeth Hall and the world premiere of Martin Suckling’s Candlebird also with the London Sinfonietta under Nicholas Collon.