One of the best-loved and most versatile opera stars of the last 40 years, Sir Willard White’s illustrious career has taken him to the most prestigious opera houses and concert halls throughout the world, collaborating with conductors, directors and orchestras of the highest calibre.
Highlights this season include Klingsor Parsifal at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden; the role of Priest in the world premiere of Jörg Widmann’s Babylon at the Bayerische Staatsoper; Méphistophélès La Damnation de Faust with Opera de Rouen; Hercules Alceste at the Teatro Real; Timur in a concert performance of Turandot with Scottish Opera; and a new production of Benvenuto Cellini for English National Opera. Future engagements include Commendatore Don Giovanni at La Monnaie, returns to the Royal Opera House, the Festival d’Aix en Provence and Opéra de Lyon, and La Damnation de Faust in Verbier and with the Cleveland Orchestra and Charles Dutoit.
Willard White was born in Jamaica, where he commenced his musical training at the Jamaican School of Music and then went on to the Juilliard School in New York. Since his operatic debut with the New York City Opera in 1974, he has sung regularly at the Royal Opera, Covent Garden, the Metropolitan Opera, New York, English National Opera, San Francisco Opera, the opera houses of Munich, Amsterdam, Berlin, Brussels, Geneva, Hamburg, Los Angeles, Madrid, Paris, and at the Glyndebourne, Aix-en-Provence and Salzburg festivals. In 1989, White performed the role of Othello in Trevor Nunn’s production for the Royal Shakespeare Company, alongside Sir Ian McKellen as Iago and Imogen Stubbs as Desdemona.
More recent engagements include Trinity Moses in a new production of Aufstieg und Fall der Stadt Mahagonny at the Teatro Real, Madrid and subsequently the Bolshoi Theatre; Bluebeards Castle with the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra (Salonen); Pelleas et Melisande at the Metropolitan Opera, New York; From the House of the Dead at the Deutsche Staatsoper, Berlin; La Damnation de Faust at the Tanglewood Festival, Fidelio at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden; A Midsummer Nights Dream with English National Opera, and at the White Nights Festival in St. Petersburg, a concert performance of Pelleas et Melisande (Dutoit) au Verbier Festival, as well as recitals throughout Europe, including performances of his programme Robeson Re-Explored.