Welsh-Irish heldenbaritone Paul Carey Jones was born in Cardiff and studied at The Queen’s College Oxford, the Royal Academy of Music and the National Opera Studio, where he was winner of the National Eisteddfod of Wales’ premier award for young singers, the W Towyn Roberts Scholarship.
In May 2013 he was elected an Associate of the Royal Academy of Music, and he was joint winner of the 2013 Wagner Society Singing Competition. His continuing exploration of the heldenbariton repertoire has been generously supported by The Mastersingers and the Carole Rees Award for Advanced Musical Studies, and his work during the Coronavirus crisis has been supported by the Arts Council of Wales, the Royal Society of Musicians and by the Help Musicians charity.
A burgeoning reputation in the three manifestations of Wotan in Wagner’s Ring cycle has seen him appear to critical acclaim in Das Rheingold (Grimeborn Festival), Die Walküre (Longborough Festival Opera, Gothenburg Opera, Berwick Festival) and Siegfried (Longborough Festival Opera, Grimeborn Festival), as well as covering all three roles for the Royal Opera House.
Other recent career highlights have included his Covent Garden debut in The Nose; his house debuts at Teatro Comunale Bolzano as Dr Schön / Jack the Ripper Lulu, The Icelandic Opera as the Colonel in Daniel Bjarnason’s Brothers, and Opera Holland Park as Lescaut in Puccini’s Manon Lescaut; the title role in the Chinese premiere of Britten’s Noye’s Fludde in Beijing and Shanghai, the Scottish premiere of Philip Glass’ The Trial, and the world premieres of John Metcalf’s Under Milk Wood: An Opera, Stephen McNeff’s The Burning Boy and Stuart MacRae’s Prometheus Symphony.
His future plans include Wotan in the full cycle of Der Ring des Nibelungen for Longborough Festival Opera in the summer of 2024, directed by Amy Lane and conducted by world-renowned Wagnerian Anthony Negus. Elsewhere, he will be returning to perform with Opera Holland Park and the Birmingham Contemporary Music Group, launching world premiere recordings of works by Arwel Hughes and Gareth Glyn, and making a debut concert appearance with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales in Cardiff on St David’s Day 2023.
Paul Carey Jones has appeared as a guest principal artist for opera companies including the Royal Opera Covent Garden, Welsh National Opera, Scottish Opera, Northern Ireland Opera, Opera Holland Park, Wexford Festival Opera, The Icelandic Opera, Teatro Comunale di Bologna, Teatro Rossini di Lugo and Teatro Comunale Bolzano among many others. Roles have included Wotan Das Rheingold, Wotan Die Walküre, Der Wanderer Siegfried, Kurwenal Tristan und Isolde, Donner Das Rheingold, Scarpia Tosca, Marcello La Bohème, Lescaut Manon Lescaut, Macbeth Macbeth, Father Hansel & Gretel, Nick Shadow The Rake’s Progress, Don Alfonso Così Fan Tutte, Figaro Le Nozze di Figaro, Escamillo Carmen, Forester The Cunning Little Vixen and Dr Schön / Jack the Ripper Lulu.
A committed advocate of contemporary music, he has given the world premiere performances of operas, symphonies, songs and song cycles by composers such as Stuart MacRae, John Metcalf, Jonathan Dove, Stephen McNeff, Sadie Harrison, Brian Irvine and Emily Hall. His roles in contemporary operas include Dancing Williams Under Milk Wood (John Metcalf), Richard Nixon Nixon in China (John Adams), Andy Warhol Jackie O (Michael Daugherty), Pacheco Ines de Castro (James Macmillan), Priest The Trial (Philip Glass), the Colonel in Brothers (Daniel Bjarnason), and Jaufré Rudel L’amour de Loin (Kaija Saariaho).
Paul Carey Jones also has an extensive experience as a concert soloist. His oratorio repertoire includes over fifty major works, including Mendelssohn’s Elijah, Brahms’ Ein Deutsches Requiem, Vaughan Williams’ Sea Symphony, Elgar’s Dream of Gerontius, Walton’s Belshazzar’s Feast, Beethoven’s 9th Symphony and Bach’s John and Matthew Passions. As a recitalist he has formed ongoing collaborations with the pianists Llyr Williams, Ian Ryan and Jocelyn Freeman. His debut song album, Enaid - Songs of the Soul with Llyr Williams was released by Sain in 2007.
As a recording artist he also appears on the original cast recording of Under Milk Wood: An Opera for Ty Cerdd Records, as Squire Alworthy on Naxos’ recording of Edward German’s Tom Jones, and as Andy Warhol in Jackie O for Dynamic DVD. His album of contemporary song with pianist Ian Ryan, Songs Now, was released on the Meridian label in 2012, and an album of songs by Clara Schumann and Rhian Samuel, Song Lied Cân, was launched in 2019 by Ty Cerdd, with soprano Katharine Dain and pianist Jocelyn Freeman. In 2022 he created the role of Y Bon Pebr on the world premiere recording of the opera 2117 / Hedd Wyn, with music by Stephen McNeff to a libretto by Gruff Rhys, again for Ty Cerdd Records.
Paul Carey Jones was a member of the late Yehudi Menhuin’s Live Music Now! scheme, whose work he continues to support. He works regularly as an audition panel member, media commentator, competition adjudicator and increasingly as a teacher, coach and mentor. Recent work in these capacities has included engagements for BBC Cymru/Wales, S4C and the Bryn Terfel Scholarship, as well as webinar and podcast appearances for Orchestras Live, Opera Holland Park, and Longborough Festival Opera.
Paul is a shareholder at Cardiff City Football Club, where he has sung live during the pre-match build-up, and is the official Bard of the Lemmings Cricket Club. His other hobbies include mathematics, physics and coding - he is a member of the team which designed the Welsh-language version of the award-winning geolocation app what3words; and crosswords and quizzes - in 1999 he captained the Royal Academy of Music’s pioneering team on the BBC’s University Challenge television quiz show.
Since February 2021 he has been a member of the steering group of the campaigning organisation Freelancers Make Theatre Work, focusing in particular on the impact of Brexit on the UK theatre industry. As a writer, he has contributed articles to Wagner News, The Middle Class Artist, and the Mastersingers Newsletter, as well as to his popular online blog Ranitidine & Tonic. His critically-acclaimed first book, Giving It Away - Classical Music in Lockdown and other fairytales, was published in October 2020.