Roderick Williams is active in the opera house, on the concert platform and in recital, encompassing a repertoire from the baroque to world premieres.
He has enjoyed close associations with Opera North and Scottish Opera, and has also worked for English National Opera and the Royal Opera House Covent Garden. As at home in contemporary music as in the standard repertoire, he has taken roles in the world premieres of Sally Beamish's Monster (for Scottish Opera), David Sawer's From Morning to Midnight and Martin Butler's A Better Place (for English National Opera) and Alexander Knaifel's Alice in Wonderland and Michel van der Aa's After Life (for Netherlands Opera). Further contemporary roles include Jaufre Rudel in Saariaho's L'amour de loin (ENO), Eddie in Mark-Anthony Turnage's Greek (BBC) and roles in Tippett's The Knot Garden (Barbican) and Birtwistle's The Second Mrs Kong (Royal Festival Hall).
He has taken major roles in conductor Richard Hickox's semi-staged performances of opera, including Britten's Gloriana (Aldeburgh, 2003), Walton's Troilus and Cressida and most of the Vaughan Williams operas. Other concert performances include Henze, Strauss, Stravinsky and Wagner (Donner in Das Rheingold for ENO).
He is an accomplished recital artist who can be heard at Wigmore Hall, at many festivals, and on Radio 3, where he has appeared on Iain Burnside's 'Voices' programme. 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. Roderick Williams is also a composer and has had works premiered at the Wigmore and Barbican Halls, the Purcell Room and live on national radio.
The BBC Symphony Orchestra has played a central role at the heart of British musical life since its inception in 1930, and as the flagship orchestra of the BBC provides the backbone of the BBC Proms with at least a dozen concerts each year, including the First and Last Nights. Strongly committed to twentieth-century and contemporary music, it has given the premiere of more than 1,000 works by composers such as Bartók, Britten, Hindemith, Holst, Stravinsky and Shostakovich, and more recently has premiered BBC commissions by Simon Bainbridge, Jonathan Dove, Michael Nyman and Sir John Tavener among others. Its annual season of concerts as Associate Orchestra of the Barbican includes a weekend each January focusing upon a single composer from the twentieth or twenty-first century, most recently James MacMillan, Elliott Carter and Sofia Gubaidulina.
Jiří Bĕlohlávek took up the post of Chief Conductor in July 2006 and David Robertson was appointed Principal Guest Conductor in 2005. The BBC SO works frequently with Conductor Laureate Sir Andrew Davis and Artist-in-Association John Adams. All concerts are broadcast on BBC Radio 3 and a number are televised, giving the BBC Symphony Orchestra the highest broadcast profile of any orchestra in the UK. The BBC SO is committed to innovative education work, with ongoing projects including the BBC SO Family Orchestra and Music Intro, introducing families to concert-going.
The BBC SO has appeared on 34 of NMC’s CDs, including the best-selling recording of Elgar’s Third Symphony.
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Saxton's epic opera merges Christian and Jewish tradition in the myth of the eternal outsider, the Wandering Jew.
The action shuttles through space and time, beginning in a Nazi death camp, going back to Jerusalem during the Roman occupation, then forward to Córdoba in the 11th century and to the Venice carnival in the 18th, and including confrontations with Faust, Mephistopheles, Odin and Kundry en route. Guardian
Commissioned for broadcast by BBC Radio 3, the work features soloists including Roderick Williams, Tim Mirfin, Teresa Cahill and Brindley Sherratt; the BBC Singers and BBC Symphony Orchestra conducted by Andre de Ridder; and post-production from Antony Pitts.
Wandering Jew Roderick Williams baritone
Jesus/Beggar Tim Mirfin baritone
Widowed Mother Teresa Cahill soprano
Fortune Teller Hilary Summers mezzo-soprano
Kundry Louise Winter mezzo-soprano
Faust Jeffrey Lloyd Roberts tenor
Mephistopheles Brindley Sherratt bass
Odin Graeme Danby bass
Old Man Jeremy White bass
Showman Simon Paisley Day
Widowed Mother (spoken) Jennie Stoller
Child 1 Lydia Kalian
Child 2 Rudi Goodman
Solo roles (members of BBC Singers)
Cantor Stephen Charlesworth
Old Man Andrew Murgatroyd
Young Woman Rebecca Lodge
Guard Robert Johnston
3 Roman Soldiers Michael Bundy, Charles Gibbs, Adrian Peacock
Angels of Conscience Elizabeth Poole, Olivia Robinson, Alison Smart
Sound design Antony Pitts, Artem Vassiliev
'This project blew me away ... Saxton's tonal (or modal) musical language ranges from the cinematic spectacular to rapt spirituality' The Times (*****)
'The performance is first rate … a major undertaking that has been realised with great care' Guardian
"Baritone Roderick Williams is impressive in the title role" BBC Music Magazine
"His considerable technique and imagnation make for writing of compelling melody (though not always in the conventional sense) and of richly organic background texture." The Observer
'A near-exemplary presentation of a work that offers much of the substance in it's treatment of an age-old yet continually relevant narrative, and which anyone at all interested in English-language opera needs to hear' International Record Review
'Delicately coloured and lyrical, more meditation than opera' The Observer
Released with support from the Peter Moores Foundation.
Produced in association with BBC Radio 3
The Wandering Jew was recorded for BBC Radio 3 at BBC Maida Vale Studio 1 on 18-19 December 2008 and 12-16 October 2009.
Recording Producer ANN MCKAY
Recording/ Editing Engineer NEIL PEMBERTON
Assistant Recording Engineer ADELE CONLIN
Sound treatment ANTONY PITTS, ARTEM VASSILIEV
BBC SO Leader ANNA COLMAN
Executive Producer COLIN MATTHEWS
CD & booklet design by FRANCOIS HALL
The Wandering Jew is published by G. Ricordi & Co. Bühnen- und Musikverlag GmbH München.
(P) 2011 BBC. The copyright in the recording is owned by the BBC.
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