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 Opernhaus Zürich with Gianandrea Noseda have earned him wide critical and public acclaim.
His very busy 2018/19 season starts with a La Scala debut as Clov in György Kurtág’s world premiere of Fin de Partie, after the play by Samuel Beckett, which is later presented in Amsterdam by Dutch National Opera. He also performs in concert with Rotterdam Philharmonic, returns to Zürich for a role debut as Nekrotzar in a new production of Le Grand Macabre under the musical direction of Fabio Luisi and makes 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.
Last season, Melrose made an anticipated debut as Golaud (Pelléas et Mélisande) at Ruhrtriennale Festival, Vlaamse Opera and Les Théâtres de la Ville de Luxembourg. He also returned to Teatro Real with two new productions: Cecil (Gloriana) and Stolzius in Zimmermann’s Die Soldaten. On the concert platform he returned to Philharmonie de Paris with Stravinsky’s Renard and to City of Birmingham Symphonic Orchestra with Carmina Burana.
Recent debuts include Ruprecht (Fiery Angel) in Zürich, the title role of Wozzeck in Salzburg, Zürich and at Royal Festival Hall, 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 Birstwistle 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.
His numerous concert appearances include Walton Belshazzar’s Feast, Berlioz Symphony No.3; Britten Canticles; Noah’s Fludde with BBC Scottish Symphony; Carmina Burana and Beethoven Symphony No.9. At the BBC Proms he has performed Britten Cantata Misericodium with the BBC Symphony Orchestra, De Falla’s La vida breve and Sir Richard Cholmondeley in Gilbert & Sullivan’s Yeomen of the Guard.