Hailing from Sussex, James studied at Magdalen College, Oxford, where he sang as an Academical Clerk in the College Choir; at Trinity College of Music and on the Opera Course at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama, graduating in 2008. While at college James won numerous scholarships and competitions, including the Morag Noble Award, the Catto Scholarship and the Principal’s Award for the outstanding student performance of the year.
After graduating James was invited to become a Britten/Pears Scholar and has appeared in numerous performances at the Snape Maltings, notably as Male Chorus in The Rape of Lucretia, conducted by David Parry, and Mathan in Athalia, conducted by Richard Egarr. He has also appeared at the Snape Easter Festival in Mozart’s Requiem conducted by Bernard Labadie and at the Aldeburgh Festival, where he performed Britten’s Sechs Holderlin Fragmente with Malcolm Martineau. This concert was recently broadcast on BBC Radio 3.
Concert appearances have included L’Aumonier in Les Dialogues des Carmelites with Stephane Deneve and the RSNO, Dido and Aeneas with Nicholas McGeegan and the ECO, both at the Edinburgh International Festival. James has performed Messiah at the Royal Albert Hall under Sir David Willcocks as well as with numerous choral societies throughout the UK, including Leeds Philharmonic Society, Bristol Choral Society and at the Hexham Music Festival. Most recently, James performed Britten’s Saint Nicolas with the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra and Chorus and Handel’s Saul with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales under Nicolas Kraemer. He also appeared in London Concert Choir’s recent semi-staged performance of Lerner and Loewe’s My Fair Lady.
James’ operatic roles performed while at college include Don Ottavio (Don Giovanni), Monsieur Triquet (Eugene Onegin), Gonzalves (L’Heure Espagnol), L’Aumonier (Les Dialogues des Carmelites), Duncan (The Albatross), The Singer (Beatrice Cenci) and Le Berger (Oedipus Rex). Roles elsewhere include Male Chorus (The Rape of Lucretia) at the Snape Maltings, Acis (Acis and Galatea) with Edinburgh Studio Opera and Frederic (The Pirates of Penzance) for Haddo House Opera. James has recently been covering roles for Glyndebourne on Tour and Music Theatre Wales.
Recent recital appearances include Schubert songs and Mozart arias at the Wigmore Hall accompanied by Malcolm Martineau and a series of concerts entitled ‘Unexplored Britten’ with pianist Ronald Woodley. A recent studio recording of Britten songs with Malcolm will be available on the Onyx label later this year.