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Paul Whelan - Basso Cantante

Basso Cantante Paul Whelan begins the 2013-14 Season with his debut in two new roles: Nick Shadow The Rake's Progress and Daland Der fliegende Holländer, both for NBR Opera New Zealand. He travels to the UK to join Opera North in its new production of Macbeth in the role of Banco, and continues to the US to make his debut with Boston Lyric Opera as Giorgio I Puritani, also a new production. 

Recent successes include his return to Opera Australia as Ramfis Aida, and an appearance at Grant Park Music Festival in Chicago for Beethoven's Mass in C. He sang Jesus in fully staged performances of St. Matthew Passion in Brisbane, and appeared as Seneca in a new production of L'Incoronazione di Poppea in Lille, Dijon and at Glyndebourne Festival Opera. Other notable appearances include Theseus in the new production of A Midsummer Night's Dream for English National Opera, Collatinus The Rape of Lucretia for Opera Norway as well as Bach's St. Matthew Passion for the Leeds International Concert Season. Additionally he appeared at Glyndebourne in two other roles: Claggart in their new production of Billy Budd, and Alidoro La Cenerentola. He sang his first Wotan in Das Rheingold with the Auckland Philharmonic to critical acclaim.

Other significant engagements include the title role in Bluebeard's Castle with NBR Opera New Zealand; Four Villains Les Contes d'Hoffmann at Southern Opera; Argante in Handel's Rinaldo in Munich; Apollon in Gluck's Alceste at the Dresden Festival; a staged production of Bach's St John Passion (directed by Deborah Warner), Schaunard in a new production of Leoncavallo's La bohème, Raimondo Lucia di Lammermoor all at English National Opera; Escamillo Carmen at Welsh National Opera; and Harry Joy Bliss at Hamburg State Opera and world premieres of The Assassin Tree by Stuart MacRae in a joint production with the Royal Opera House and the Edinburgh Festival, and Bird of Night by Dominique Legendre, also for the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden. 

Concert appearances include Stanford's Songs of the Fleet with Ulster Orchestra, Mountararat in Gilbert and Sullivan's Iolanthe with San Francisco Symphony, The Dream of Gerontius (Priest and Angel of Agony) which he sang at Grant Park Music Festival in Chicago, in Berlin, Salisbury and in New Zealand; the bass soloist in Mozart's Coronation Mass with Eugene Symphony Orchestra; a return to the London Bach choir for St Matthew's Passion at the Festival Hall; the world premiere of Terra Incognita, a symphonic cantata for bass soloist and choir written for the artist by Gareth Farr and performed by the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra.

Other orchestral engagements include St. Matthew Passion with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and London Bach Choir, Judas The Apostles at Leeds Festival, Mussorgsky's Songs and Dances of Death with the Ulster Orchestra recorded for BBC Radio 3; Walton's Belshazzar's Feast with the Orquesta Sinfonica de Madrid (broadcast live), a series of concerts with Sir Charles Mackerras and the Sydney Symphony Orchestra; Schoenberg's Gurrelieder at the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow, Delius's Sea Drift in Osaka, Valens in Handel's Theodora with Scottish Chamber Orchestra, also presented in Winterthur, Switzerland.

Conductors with whom he has collaborated include Sir Simon Rattle, Kent Nagano, Richard Hickox, Yehudi Menuhin, Valery Gergiev, Gary Bertini, and Vassily Sinaisky; he has given recitals at Wigmore Hall, The Purcell Room, Cardiff's St David's Hall, Cheltenham Festival, BBC Pebble Mill, Perth Festival and at the Chátelet Theatre in Paris. Recordings include A Midsummer Night's Dream with the London Symphony Orchestra under Sir Colin Davis (Philips), Kurt Weill's Silber See under Markus Stenz (BMG); recordings with the BBC Philharmonic for Chandos and with the BBC Scottish Symphony for Hyperion.

"...the quartet of soloists also impressed... Finest of all was baritone Paul Whelan, whose solos rang out with warmth and power.",  Murray Black, The Australian May 04, 2012 --- "...The scene of the death of Seneca, played here by the impeccable Paul Whelan, one of the highlights of the "Coronation of Poppea.",  Patrice Demaily, Nord Eclair, March 15, 2012 --- "...Paul Whelan was an impressive young Wotan - his final confrontation with Alberich had the glow of truth and humanity.",   William Dart, New Zealand Herald. August 1 2011 --- "...a voice of great strength yet exceptional beauty",  Music OMH 26 November 2010 --- "...made a first class contributio... austere and authoritative",  Music OMH 26 November 2010 --- "...gushing vocal richness to match his height.",  The Stage; Tuesday 12 October 2010 --- "Paul Whelan gives Alidoro plenty of vocal and moral authority",  Guardian, George Hall, Monday 11 October 2010 --- "Paul Whelan shone as Alidoro, bringing a grand vocal and physical presence",  Opera Magazine, November 2010 --- "...his Claggart was a more subtle interpretation than the part might have had right to expect.",  Mark Berry, Boulezian, Billy Budd, Glyndebourne Festival Opera, 22 June 2010 --- "Musically and dramatically detailed, his interpretation truly made the words tell.",  Mark Berry, Boulezian, Billy Budd, Glyndebourne Festival Opera, 22 June 2010 --- "...There was no stronger portrayal on stage.",  Mark Berry, Boulezian, Billy Budd, Glyndebourne Festival Opera, 22 June 2010 --- "Paul Whelan sang the role, magnificently."  George Hall, The Stage 25/02/2008 --- "the part was taken by Paul Whelan, it is good to make mention of the (very tall!) Whelan's excellence.",  Scene and Heard, Musicweb international 27/02/2008 --- "Sung very well by Paul Whelan",  Richard Morrison, The Times 20/02/2008 --- "Clive Bayley's lost voice made a first night star of understudy Paul Whelan, who sang wonderfully from the wings as his oily chaplain, Raimondo, vividly acted out the religious hypocrisy that seals Lucia's doom.",  Anthony Holden, The Observer, 24/02/2008 --- "...the chaplain Raimondo, having lost his voice early on, hammed his part from the stage with his understudy, the excellent Paul Whelan, singing from the wings.",  Barry Millington, The Evening standard, 27/02/2008 --- "Paul Whelan, who had come to rescue of an indisposed Clive Bayley part-way through the first night, deputised once again and delivered a solidly sung account and a disturbing dramatic one.",  Alexander Campbell,   --- "The Weary Priest/King was beautifully sung by the statuesque Paul Whelan",  'Opera' October 2006 --- "Paul Whelan sounded in sonorous voice. Vocally this was a very happy occasion". 'Opera' October 2006 --- "...basso cantante Paul Whelan-a fine dramatic singer with a powerful stage presence...",  Time Magazine --- "Whelan must surely be destined for a distinguished career as a Wagner singer. As Amfortas, he was searingly intense both vocally and physically, making unexpected use of his height and long limbs to convey the character's suffering",  The Listener --- "“Unlike many bass voices, Whelan’s is a wonderously flexible, agile instrument, as surely pitched at one end of the register as the other, with kaleidoscopic tone colourings and an ability to sustain a legato line that most other basses would give their eye tooth to emulate.",  Western Mail Australia --- "Paul Whelan's Amfortas shows dignity and grace, with excellent singing. His distress from his wound conveyed with moving and emotionally affecting subtlety, in a very fine assumption of the role- a pointer I am sure to further Wagnerian roles",  New Zealand Opera News --- "...Paul Whelan delivers a superb vocal performance as the refined count Almaviva...",  London Sunday Times --- "...a very impressive Paul Whelan...",  Scottish Mail --- "...Paul Whelan with his creamy baritone voice was delightful...",  The Edinburgh Evening News --- "...Paul Whelan's towering bass acted as a magnificent anchor...",  The Scotsman --- "..richly impressive, stentorian-toned...",  The Australian --- "...Paul Whelan was magnificent...",  Opera Now --- "...A rare treat...",  The Evening Standard --- "...towering over them in physique and vocal powers is the splendid Paul Whelan...",  Surrey Comet Group --- "...sensitive,resonant deep baritone...",  Financial Times --- "...wonderfully clear diction as benefits a Cardiff Singer of the World...",  Time Out --- "...Paul Whelan makes a striking Jesus, the tallest figure and the strongest voice...",  Times Literary Supplement --- "“…imposingly sung by Paul Whelan…”",  Opera Magazine --- "“They sang superbly—particularly Paul Whelan as the Count, with his creamy baritone voice.",” Opera Magazine --- "“…excellent group of soloists, Paul Whelan was the best of all of them",…” Corriere Della Sera --- “"Paul Whelan used his towering stage presence and dramatic authority to capture the mercurial mood-shifts of his character.",” The New Zealand Herald --- "“mellifluous” Rupert Christiansen",  The Daily Telegraph --- “…"a towering figure, charismatic yet strangely vulnerable, who inspires profound pity with his beautiful singing and the quiet dignity of his presence…”",  Hugh Canning The Sunday Times --- "“Who could not be instantly involved with Whelan’s relaxed manner, his arresting phrasing, and softly beautiful tone?...the soloists, all very good, where cast into Paul Whelan’s long shadow….",  New Zealand Press --- "“...he is a graceful, lanky, boyishly handsome man who commands the stage. His voice is robust and pleasant…”",  The New York Times --- "“Powerfully sung in magnificent baritone…testosterone personified, this was strong meat indeed…”",  The Bulletin --- "“…sung formidably by the marvellous New Zealand-born baritone Paul Whelan…”",  Telegraph --- “"His robust and eloquent voice described the essence of the character.",” The National Business Review --- "“…wholly operatic, richly atmospheric, and sung with melancholy eloquence by Paul Whelan…”",  The Scottish Herald --- "“Paul Whelan magnificently gets to grips with the text’s ominous tread through love betrayal and murder…”",  The Daily Telegraph -
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