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James Laing (Counter-tenor)

Born: England

The English counter-tenor, James Laing, was born into a musical family and in childhood studied singing and oboe. He studied at Uppingham School and He sang as a choral scholar at the cathedrals of Truro and Chelmsford and in the Trinity College Choir of Cambridge. He furthered his studies at the Royal College of Music with Robin Blaze. He was selected by OPERA NOW as amongst ĎWhoís Hotí for his performance as Nerone Agrippinaat the London Handel Festival. His broadcast work includes Sports Personality of the Year for BBC TV, In Tune for Radio 3 and Midweek for Radio 4.

James Laing's operatic engagements have included performances for the Royal Opera, London; Classical Opera; English National Opera; English Touring Opera; Garsington Opera; Glyndebourne Festival Opera; Grange Park Opera; Opera Holland Park; Opera North; and the Sächsische Staatsoper Dresden, his repertoire including Apollo in Benjamin Britten's Death in Venice, Oberon in B. Britten's A Midsummer Nightís Dream, Giuliano Eliogabalo, Nerillo in Ormindo, The Refugee in Flight, Raphael in Tobias and the Angel, Orfeo in Orfeo ed Euridice, Tolomeo in George Frideric Handel's Giulio Cesare, Medoro in Orlando, Bertarido in Rodelinda, Zephyrus in Apollo and Hyacinthus, Ascanio in Ascanio in Alba and Zelim in La verita in cimento. Roles created include Hamlet in The Firework Makerís Daughter, Coachman / Fox in The Adventures of Pinocchi and Cheshire Cat in Aliceís Adventures in Wonderland.

Concert engagements have included performances with the Academy of Ancient Music, Britten Sinfonia, Irish Chamber Orchestra, Hallé Orchestra, Royal Northern Sinfonia. International engagements have included Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra, Toronto, Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir, Les Agrémens, Israel Camerata Orchestra Jerusalem, Nederlandse Bachvereniging, Kristiansand Symphony Orchestra, Polski Chór Kameralny, National Orchestra of Spain and Atlanta Symphony Orchestra.

He appeared in Other Shakespearean Dreamers at The Liceu, Barcelona, and also in Jonathan Millerís production of J.S. Bach's St Matthew Passion (BWV 244) at the National Theatre.

Highlights of 2015-2016 included Voice of Apollo in Death in Venice at the Opéra de Nice, Tirinto in Imeneo at the Göttingen Festival, Medoro in Orlando for Welsh National Opera, further performances as Cheshire Chat in Aliceís Adventures in Wonderland for Opera Holland Park, J.S. Bach's Magnificat (BWV 243) with the Arion Baroque Orchestra, Montréal, and the Britten Sinfonia, J.S. Bach's St Matthew Passion (BWV 244) with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra and G.F. Handel's Messiah with the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra. Current engagements include creating Peter in Daniel Bjarnssonís Brødre for Den Jyske Opera and returns to English National Opera as Armindo in Partenope and Terry in Marnie.

James Laing's performance with Opera North in The Adventures of Pinocchio is now available on Opus Arte Blu Ray / DVD and his recording of Tobias and the Angel is available on Chandos CD (and was selected as a Gramophone CD of the Month for September 2010).

Please do not use any part of this biography for programmes. Please visit James Black Management for contact details and more information.

Source: James Black Management Website; Royal Opera House Website
Contributed by
Aryeh Oron (October 2016)

Recordings of Bach Cantatas & Other Vocal Works




Alexander Weimann


BWV 243

Links to other Sites

James Laing - Countertenor (James Black Management)
James Laing ó People (Royal Opera House)

James Laing on Facebook

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Explanation | Acronyms | Missing Biographies | The Sad Corner


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Last update: Monday, May 29, 2017 11:04