Born in Norwich, James Rutherford studied theology at Durham University and singing at the Royal College of Music and the National Opera Studio. He was a BBC New Generation Artist and a prizewinner in many national and international competitions including first prize in the inaugural Seattle Opera International Wagner competition.
Early career highlights include Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro at Opera North, Welsh National Opera, Glyndebourne and the Opéra de Paris. More recently he has concentrated on the dramatic German repertoire and has performed roles in Der Ring des Nibelungen at the Royal Opera House Covent Garden, Oper Frankfurt and the Chicago Lyric Opera; Wolfram Tannhäuser with San Francisco Opera and Deutsche Oper Berlin; and Jochanaan Salome at the Staatsoper Berlin and Wiener Staatsoper.
In 2009 James began a major association with Oper Graz, singing his first Hans Sachs in a new production of Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg and returning for Barak Die Frau ohne Schatten, Germont La traviata, Iago Otello, Orestes Elektra and the title role in Guillaume Tell. He made his debut at the 2010 Bayreuth Festival as Hans Sachs, returning for the same role in 2011. Since the 2015/16 season, James began a new relationship with Oper Frankfurt, and made his role debut as Wotan in the same year to critical acclaim.
Other recent operatic highlights include multiple returns to Oper Frankfurt, singing the roles of Wotan Der Ring, Ford Falstaff, the Herald Lohengrin, the Speaker Die Zauberflöte and Mandryka Arabella; the title role Der fliegende Holländer at Oper Stuttgart; Jochanaan in Vienna; Hans Sachs in San Francisco, Hamburg, Vienna and Budapest, Mandryka Arabella in Amsterdam and Hamburg, Kurwenal Tristan und Isolde in Washington; Falstaff at Oper Graz; Orestes Elekra at the Teatro Nacional de São Carlos, Lisbon and Count Monterone Rigoletto at the Royal Opera House Covent Garden.
Recent concert engagements for James include Belshazzar’s Feast with the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra at the BBC Proms; a gala concert with the Philharmonia at Ravello Festival; Orestes Elektra at Carnegie Hall with the Boston Symphony Orchestra; Adams’ Nixon in China (BBC Proms, Berlin Festival) and Der fliegende Holländer with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and Andris Nelsons, as well as regular returns to the Budapest Wagner Festival for Das Rheingold, Die Walküre and Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg.
Highlights of this and future seasons include a return to the Royal Opera House as the Father Hänsel und Gretel, Wotan at Oper Frankfurt, Deutsche Oper am Rhein, and Teatro Real Madrid; Scarpia Tosca at Deutsche Oper am Rhein; Elgar’s Dream of Gerontius with the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra and further appearances at Den Norske Opera Oslo and the Budapest Wagner Festival.
Last updated: 28th October 2020