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Roderick Williams

Baritone Roderick Williams began to establish his operatic career in the mid-'90s. A Mozart specialist at first, he has developed a varied repertory and has also written a substantial body of music for chorus and piano. Williams was born in 1965 in London. His father was of Welsh background, his mother Jamaican. He attended Oxford University as a choral scholar and then took a job as a music teacher. It was not until he was 28 that he began to study operatic singing full-time at the Guildhall School of Music in London. While a student there, he made his debut in Benjamin Britten's The Rape of Lucretia as Tarquinius, and he has continued to sing several major Britten roles regularly. Major prizes in the early '90s -- a top prize at the Great Grimsby International Singing Competition in 1992, a second prize in the 1994 Kathleen Ferrier Competition, and others -- put him on the map, and he began to land major roles, at first, especially in northern Britain. He sang the Count in Mozart's Le nozze di Figaro at Opera North in Leeds in 1998 and sang a series of roles, from Mozart to Puccini, at the Scottish Opera. Williams' international debut came in Israel, in Massenet's Werther, in 1998. He has since appeared in many international houses, often in concert performances of operas. He has been a fixture at the Proms concerts since the mid-'90s. In 2002, Williams made his recording debut with mezzo-soprano Sarah Connolly on Voices: Volume 1, a collection of songs by Schoenberg, on the Black Box Classics label. Williams is an accomplished recitalist, and his own choral compositions have been performed at the Barbican, Wigmore Hall, the Purcell Room, and other prestigious British venues. In 2016, he became the president of the venerable Three Choirs Festival Society, and the following year, he was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire. In 2020, he became president of the Thames Concerts series in London. Williams has a large catalog of recordings on Naxos, Champs Hill, Signum, and other labels; in the year 2017 alone, he appeared on seven separate recordings and on six in 2021. The year 2022 saw Williams release Mirages: The Art of French Song with accompanist Roger Vignoles on the Champs Hill label, and he appeared on the fourth and final volume of a series on the Albion label devoted to the folk song settings of Ralph Vaughan Williams. By that time, he had issued some 60 recordings on which he was a featured artist, and he had credits on many others.
© James Manheim /TiVo
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