British bass John Tomlinson made his Royal Opera debut in 1977 as Fifth Jew (Salome). He has returned regularly to sing with The Royal Opera, his many roles including Wotan, Hunding and Hagen (Der Ring des Nibelungen), Veit Pogner and Hans Sachs (Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg), King Marke (Tristan und Isolde) and Gurnemanz (Parsifal), the role creations Green Knight (Gawain) and the title role of The Minotaur, both for Harrison Birtwistle, Boris Ismailov (Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk), General (The Gambler), Ivan Iakovlevitch/Newspaper Clerk/Doctor (The Nose) and Doctor Carlos Conde (The Exterminating Angel). He returns in the 2018/19 Season to sing Varlaam (Boris Godunov).
Tomlinson was born in Accrington, read civil engineering at Manchester University and studied singing at the Royal Northern College of Music. He made his Bayreuth Festival debut in 1988 as Wotan (Der Ring des Nibelungen) under Daniel Barenboim and went on to sing at Bayreuth every summer from 1989 to 2006. He has sung for the world’s leading opera houses, including the Metropolitan Opera, New York, La Scala, Milan, Deutsche Oper Berlin and Berlin State Opera, the opera companies of Pairs, Munich, Dresden and Geneva, all the major British companies and at the Glyndebourne, Aix-en-Provence, Salzburg and Munich festivals. Along with leading Wagner roles for bass and bass-baritone, his repertory has included Boris Godunov, Bluebeard, Baron Ochs (Der Rosenkavalier), Golaud (Pelléas et Mélisande), Claggart (Billy Budd), Philip II and the Grand Inquisitor (Don Carlo), Méphistophélès (Faust), the four villains (Les Contes d’Hoffmann), the title role of Ivan Susanin, Jacopo Fiesco (Simon Boccanegra), Tommaso Becket (Assassinio nella cattedrale), Boris Ismailov and Moses (Moses und Aron).
Tomlinson’s wide discography includes CDs of works by Handel, Mozart, Wagner and Stravinsky and DVDs of The Minotaur, Parsifal and Der Ring des Nibelungen. He was knighted in 2005.