Hailed by Rupert Christiansen in the Daily Telegraph as Best Newcomer in his “Opera Highlights of 2009”, British baritone Benedict Nelson is one of the most exciting singers of his generation and is attracting comparisons to Gerald Finley and Simon Keenlyside among others.
Born in London, Nelson studied at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and the National Opera Studio. In 2007 Benedict won second prize in both the Kathleen Ferrier awards and the Guildhall Gold Medal at the young age of 23.
Still only 26, Benedict has amassed a considerable number of operatic roles, including Aeneas (Dido and Aeneas), Count Almaviva and Figaro (Le nozze di Figaro), Masetto and Don Giovanni (Don Giovanni), Sprecher (Die Zauberflöte), Marcello (La Bohème), Demetrius (A Midsummer Night’s Dream), Sid (Albert Herring), Don Parmenione (L’Occasione fa il ladro), Baron Gondremarck (La Vie Parisienne), Christian (Un ballo in maschera), Morales (Carmen) and Tarquinius and Junius (Rape of Lucretia).
A protegée of Sir Thomas Allen and a Samling Foundation scholar, Benedict is equally enthusiastic about orchestral repertoire and recently made his debut with the BBC Symphony Orchestra under Jiří Bělohlávek singing the Brahms’ Requiem. He has also performed in a variety of prestigious venues including the Wigmore Hall, Cadogan Hall, the Royal Albert Hall, King’s Place, Snape Maltings, St John’s Smith Square and St Martin-in-the-fields under conductors such as Sir Neville Marriner, David Parry, Bernard Labaie and Thomas Zehetmair.
Other recent performances have included his debut recital at the Cheltenham Festival, Britten’s Songs and Proverbs of William Blake at Snape Maltings with Malcolm Martineau (recorded in 2010), Silvano (Un Ballo in Maschera) for Opera Holland Park, Morales (Carmen) at the Royal Albert Hall, concerts with the Classical Opera Company, Messiah at St Martin in the Fields and Bach Passions with various UK Choral Societies.
Highlights of the 2009-10 season included Ping Turandot at English National Opera, The Tender Land Opéra de Lyon, and the world premiere of The Lion’s Face at the Linbury Studio, Covent Garden and on tour.
This season Benedict sings Valentin (Faust) and Demetrius (A Midsummer Night’s Dream) for ENO, Tarquinius (Rape of Lucretia) for Opera Nantes, and makes his debut with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra under Andris Nelsons and with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra under Andrew Litton.
© Chris Gloag