Roderick Williams is one of the UK’s most sought-after baritones and is constantly in demand on the concert platform and in recital, encompassing repertoire from the baroque to world premieres.
Opera engagements have included major roles at leading opera houses worldwide including the Royal Opera House Covent Garden, English National Opera, Dutch National Opera, Dallas Opera, the Bregenz Festival and Oper Köln. He has been involved in many world premieres such as Alexander Knaifel’s Alice in Wonderland, several operas by Michel van der Aa, the title role in Robert Saxton’s The Wandering Jew, and the UK premiere of Sally Beamish’s Judas Passion with the Orchestra of the Age of the Enlightenment.
Recent operatic engagements include Oronte in Charpentier’s Medée, Toby Kramer in van der Aa’s Sunken Garden, Don Alfonso / Cosi fan Tutte and Sharpless / Madam Butterfly for English National Opera, the title role in Eugene Onegin for Garsington Opera, the title role in Billy Budd for Opera North, van der Aa’s After Life at Melbourne State Theatre and at Opera de Lyon, and van de Aa’s Upload for Dutch National Opera, the Bregenz Festival, Oper Köln and at the Park Avenue Armory in New York. He has also appeared as Papageno and as Ulisse / Il Ritorno di Ulisse in Patria for the Royal Opera House, Toby Kramer for Dallas Opera, and Christus / St John Passion in staged performances with the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra and the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, both under Sir Simon Rattle. In 2023 he sang Germont in La Traviata at the St Endellion Festival and recorded the role for a new film by Opera Glassworks in 2023/24.
Recent and future concert engagements include performances with the London Philharmonic Orchestra, London Symphony Orchestra, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, BBC National Orchestra of Wales, BBC Philharmonic, BBC Symphony, Royal Scottish National Orchestra, the Hallé, Britten Sinfonia, City of London Sinfonia, Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Gabrieli Consort, The Sixteen, The King’s Consort, Le Concert Spirituel, Ensemble Orchestral de Paris, Berlin Philharmonic, RIAS Kammerchor, Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, Netherlands Radio Philharmonic, Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra, Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, Bayerische Rundfunk, San Francisco Symphony, Music of the Baroque Chicago, New York Philharmonic, Utah Symphony, Cincinnati Symphony, Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra, Sao Paulo Symphony, Bach Collegium Japan, and Singapore Symphony. He is a regular performer at the BBC Proms, featuring as the soloist in the Last Night in 2014, and most recently appearing in the St Matthew Passion in 2021, and the world premiere of Matthew Kaner’s ‘Pearl’ in 2022. This season’s engagements include tours of Japan with the BBC SO, of Europe with the RIAS Kammerchor, and of North America with Bach Collegium Japan.
He is an accomplished recital artist who can be heard regularly at venues and festivals including Wigmore Hall, Kings Place, LSO St Luke’s, the Perth Concert Hall, Ludlow Song Festival, Oxford Lieder Festival, Howard Assembly Room in Leeds, Bath International Festival, Three Choirs Festival, Aldeburgh Festival, Edinburgh International Festival, the Concertgebouw and the Musikverein. In 2019 he performed all three Schubert cycles at Wigmore Hall. His recital programmes often feature repertoire by British composers, including many new works. He appears frequently on BBC Radio 3 and Radio 4 as both performer and presenter.
His numerous recordings include Vaughan Williams, Berkeley and Britten operas for Chandos, and an extensive repertoire of English song with pianist Iain Burnside for Naxos. Other recent recordings include an award-winning disc of French song with Roger Vignoles for Champs Hill Records, the three Schubert Cycles with Iain Burnside for Chandos, and recordings of Stanford and Somervell with Susie Allan for Somm. He has also recorded Schubert’s Winter Journey in a new translation by Jeremy Samms with Christopher Glynn for Signum. He sang Captain Balstrode / Peter Grimes with the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra for Chandos (Gramophone Recording of the Year 2021). Most recently he recorded his own arrangement of Butterworth’s A Shropshire Lad and other English repertoire with the Hallé and Sir Mark Elder, also for Chandos.
He is an established composer and has recently taken up the role of Composer in Association of the BBC Singers. Commissions include a major work, World without End, for the RIAS Kammerchor and BBC Singers, as well as a commission to celebrate the centenary of the RAF. He was Artistic Director of Leeds Lieder + in April 2016 and Artist in Residence with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra 2020-2022. Currently he is ‘singer-in-residence’ for Music in the Round in Sheffield, presenting concerts and leading on dynamic and innovative learning and participation projects that introduce amateur singers, young and old, to performing classical song repertoire. In 2023 he is Artistic Director of the St Endellion Summer Festival, and Artist in Residence at the Aldeburgh Festival.
In 2016 he won the Royal Philharmonic Society’s Singer of the Year award, and in June 2017 was awarded an OBE for services to music. He also performed at the Coronation of King Charles III in 2023.