The English baritone, James Rutherford, completed his studies in theology at Durham University. Then he studied singing at the Royal College of Music in London and the National Opera Studio. In 1997 he won second prize in the Kathleen Ferrier Awards and in 2006 won the inaugural Seattle Opera International Wagner Competition.
James Rutherford made his stage debut in September 1999 singing the title role of Verdi's Falstaff with the British Youth Opera at London's Peacock Theatre and was engaged by Opera North for his company debut the following Spring. He has become renowned for his interpretations of German romantic opera. He has sung Hans Sachs in Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg for the Bayreuth Festival (debut 2010, 2011), Wiener Staatsoper, Hamburg Staatsoper, Cologne Opera, San Francisco Opera, Budapest Wagner Festival and Glyndebourne Festival; Wolfram in Tannhäuser for San Francisco Opera; Kurwenal in Tristan und Isolde for Washington National Opera; the title role in Der Fliegende Holländer for the Budapest Wagner Festival as well as Amfortas in Parsifal and Holländer with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and Andris Nelsons.
His Strauss roles include Jochanaan Salome at the Wiener Staatsoper, Berlin Staatsoper and Opéra National de Montpellier; Mandryka in Arabella with the Dutch National Opera, Hamburg Staatsoper and Liceu, Barcelona; Orestes Elektra for Hamburg Staatsoper and the Boston Symphony Orchestra and Faninal in Der Rosenkavalier for Frankfurt Opera. Other appearances include the Royal Opera, Covent Garden, Paris Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Welsh National Opera, English National Opera, Scottish Opera and Opera North.
In 2009 James Rutherford began a major association with the Graz Opera, singing his first Hans Sachs and returning for Barak in Die Frau ohne Schatten, Germont in La Traviata, Iago in Otello, Orestes in Elektra, Scarpia in Tosca and the title roles in Falstaff and Guillaume Tell. Following a guest contract as Lysiart in a new production of Euryanthe in 2015, he began a long-term contract with the Frankfurt Opera. Highlights of his first season include a new production of Der Fliegende Holländer and his first Wotan/Wanderer in complete Ring cycles. Plans for 2016-2017 include Ford in Falstaff and Mandryka at Frankfurt Opera and debuts at Deutsche Oper, Berlin as Wolfram and Stuttgart Opera as Holländer.
James Rutherford also appears as a soloist in concert and oratorio.
James Rutherford has released three solo recordings on the BIS Records label: "Most Grand To Die" (early 20th Century English songs) with pianist Eugene Ast; "Rutherford Sings Wagner" with Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Andrew Litton (2014); and most recently Schubert: Schwanengesang with the pianist Eugene Asti.