The Austrian baritone, George Nigl, as the former soprano soloist of the Wiener Sängerknaben, has been familiar with music, and especially the Viennese Classic, from his boyhood. When his voice changed it was evident that he would develop into a baritone; he became a student of Hilde Zadek. Quite early on his career Nigl started to expand the range of music in his repertoire, and today he is internationally renowned both as a specialist for Old Music and as a highly proficient interpreter of New Music; nevertheless he also regularly performs works of the late 18th and the 19th century as well as Classic Modernism. His extraordinary talent as an actor already became apparent during his schooldays and led to early performances at the Vienna Burgtheater.
When asked to name his favorite opera parts, Georg Nigl comes up with three without a moment´s hesitation: Monteverdi´s Orfeo, W.A. Mozart´s Papageno, and Alban Berg´s Wozzeck, all of them human characters with an inherent brokenness. He has sung Mozartian opera roles in France, Germany, Switzerland, Italy and Austria. Among his most important roles are Papageno, Don Alfonso (with Thomas Hengelbrock 1999 and 2000 at the Sommerfestspielen Baden-Baden) and Don Giovanni (in the production of Tobias Moretti in 2002).
Georg Nigl's ability to lend a highly specific personality in terms of both voice and expression to certain roles accounts to a large extent for his success at major opera venues, e.g. the Scala in Milan, Staatsoper Unter den linden Berlin, Théâtre de la Monnaie in Brussels, Festival Aix-en-Provence, Salzburg Festival and Wiener Festwochen. On opera stages the baritone collaborates regularly with distinguished directors such as Andrea Breth, Frank Castorf, Jürgen Flimm and Peter Mussbach, and at both opera and concert venues he performs under renowned conductors like Daniel Barenboim, Daniele Gatti, Michael Boder, René Jacobs, Nikolaus Harnoncourt, Jordi Savall, Thomas Hengelbrock and Giovanni Antonini.
In 1994 George Nigl began working with Nikolaus Harnoncourt with performances at the Wiener Festwochen (Haydn's L'anima del filosofo in 1994, Schubert's Alfonso und Estrella in 1997) and the Styriarte Graz (Offenbach's La Grande Duchesse de Gerolstein in 2003). He subsequently received invitations to work with other period-instruments ensembles, amongst others from Christophe Coin, Thomas Hengelbrock (W.A. Mozart's Cosi fan tutte in 1999, Der Winterkönig in 2004), Jordi Savall as well as Giovanni Antonini and Luca Pianca with its Il Giardino Armonico (Monteverdis L'Orfeo in 1999, Haydn's Agrippina in 2000).
Georg Nigl has become one of the most sought-after singers in the performance of contemporary music. This is documented by numerous world and local premieres such as as Greek by Mark-Anthony Turnage (Jeunesse Festival 1995), Gloria vom Jaxtberg by HK Gruber (Wien modern 1996), Luci miei traditrici by Salvatore Sciarrino (Wiener Festwochen and Schwetzinger Festspiele 1998), Nacht und Die Schöne Wunde by Georg Friedrich Haas (Bregenzer Festspiele 1998 and 2003), Un re in ascolto by Luciano Berio's (Grand Théâtre de Genève 2002), Massacre by Wolfgang Mitterer (Wiener Festwochen 2003), Landschaften mit entfernten Verwandten by Heiner Goebbels (Grand Théâtre de Genève, Berliner Festwochen, Holland Festival 2003), Lost highway by Olga Neuwirth (steirischer herbst 2003, Stadttheater Basel 2004). Other of new opera parts are the title roles in Pascal Dusapin's Faustus the last Night (A Story of Faustus) (debuts at the Staatsoper Unter den Linden Berlin, and at the Opera House Lyon (director: Peter Mussbach), 2005-2006), Passion and Wolfgang Rihm's Jakob Lenz.
As a lied singer Georg Nigl has performed with lutenist Luca Pianca and pianist Gerard Wyss all over Europe and in the USA. His partners in Brahms’s Die schöne Magelone were Sir Peter Ustinov and Anne Bennent. Moreover, he has been very successful with his own series of lied recitals at the Wiener Konzerthaus, in which he followed the tracks of the lied through five centuries.
Highlights of Georg Nigl's 2005-2006 season included the leading role in Don Giovanni under Thomas Hengelbrock, and J.S. Bach’s Johannes-Passion (BWV 245) with Markus Stenz and Gürzenich-Orchester Köln at the Kölner Philharmonie. In addition, he performed in concerts at the Parco della Musica Rome, the Wiener Konzerthaus, the Wiener Musikverein, the Bregenzer Festspiele and at the Klangspuren Festival in Schwaz. In 2008-2009 season Luca Pianca and Georg Nigl launched the Bach-Kantaten Abonnement-Zyklus at Wiener Konzerthaus.
Numerous radio and TV recordings as well as DVD and CD releases under the ECM, col legno and Naïve labels. Highlights in the coming season include a cycle at the Vienna Konzerthaus with performances of Bach cantatas, together with Luca Pianca, Wolfgang Mitterer and their Ensemble Claudiana, as well as Monteverdi’s Orfeo at the Milan Scala under the baton of Rinaldo Alessandrini and the stage direction of Robert Wilson.