James Cleverton

Genre: Baritone/Bass

Artist Reviews

"Gusmano combines a civilised exterior with a vicious streak and an obsessive jealousy when it comes to Alizara. James Cleverton ably conveyed this, moving his first aria from platitude about peace to obession with Alzira, and turning the screw on Kate Ladner's Alzira in their Act Two duet. Cleverton has developed into a fine Verdi baritone, singing with a shapely sense of well filled line, combining power and flexibility with fearlessness when it comes to the top. Whilst Gusmano's death-bed conversion is a little difficult to make convincing, there is no doubt at all of the beauty with which Cleverton sang the aria, convincing us with sheer expressive technique. I certainly hope to hear James Cleverton in further Verdi roles."

Gusaman, Alzira, Verdi - Buxton International Festival - Robert Hugill 2018

"The outstanding performances come from Cleverton and Yun. The latter has an easy ring at the top of his voice and a restless dramatic energy. Cleverton, handsome-sounding and wonderfully subtle, really convinces both as the stiff-backed dictator of the opening scenes and the man of conscience at the close."

Gusaman, Alzira, Verdi - Buxton International Festival 2018 - Tim Ashley, The Guardian

"James Cleverton was a splendid Gusmano, proud and lyrical in his opening “Eterna la memoria”, martial in its cabaletta and dramatically arresting throughout. The duet with Zamoro, leading to trio, quartet, sextet and the impressive chorus that brought the first act to an exciting climax was one of the highlights of the evening."

Gusmano, Alzira Verdi - Buxton International Festival 2018- Colin Davison - The British Theatre Guide

"Arac stands out for his spoof Handel song, magnificently delivered by James Cleverton."

Arac, Princess Ida - Gilbert & Sullivan Royal National G & S co. Harrogate 2017- Tully Potter Daily Mail

"James Cleverton was watchable and sonorous as the theatre’s writer-in-residence Bussy."

Bussy, Zaza - Opera Holland Park 2017 - David Karlin Bachtrack

"James Cleverton is outstanding as the insidious pimp Kyoto"

Kyoto, Iris - Opera Holland Park 2017

"James Cleverton is all too convincing as the odious pimp Kyoto"

Kyoto, Irish - Opera Holland Park 2016 - Opera Magazine

"James Cleverton sings strongly as Kyoto, the power broker of the red light district."

Kyoto, Iris - Opera Holland Park 2016 - The Financial Times

"James Cleverton’s high-lying baritone never gets lost in the thick orchestration and he easily dominated the big scene in which he displays poor Iris to the Yoshiwara street. I enjoyed the careful calibration of his acting as the character initially appears an almost jolly panderer and only reveals his black-hearted brutality in stages."

Kyoto, Iris - Opera Holland Park - Opera Britannia


British baritone James Cleverton studied at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama (now the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland) and Zürich Opera’s International Opera Studio.

Season 2022/23 saw James make his debut for Glyndebourne Festival Opera as Astolfo in Handel’s Alcina and his Opera North debut as Baron Douphol in La Traviata. He also returned to Scottish Opera to create the role of Marco in a new production of Gianni Schicchi by Sir David McVicar and to the Royal Opera House to sing the role of Johann in Werther under the baton of Sir Antonio Pappano.

Recent highlights include the role of Alberich in Keith Warner’s production of Das Rheingold at the Royal Opera House Covent Garden, Papageno in Sir Thomas Allen’s production of Die Zauberflöte for Scottish Opera, Frank in
Die Fledermaus for WNO and Gusmano in Verdi’s Alzira directed by Elijah Moshinsky for the Buxton International Festival. James made his ENO debut as Robert J. Oppenheimer in Dr Atomic by John Adams and has subsequently created the role of Horemhab in Phelim McDermott’s critically acclaimed production of Akhnaten, as well as performing the role of Kallenbach in his production of Satyagraha. He also created the role of Aristeaus the Man in a new production of Birtwistle’s The Mask of Orpheus directed by Daniel Kramer, conducted by Martyn Brabbins.

Performances on the concert platform include his Spanish debut singing the European Premiere of Roberto Sierra’s Missa Latina with the Coro y Orqesta Nacional at the Madrid National Concert Hall under the baton of Karen
Kamensek, concert performances of Wozzeck with Sir Donald Runnicles and the BBCSSO, and Madam Butterfly at the Bridgwater Hall with Sir Mark Elder and the Hallé Orchestra, Messiah with the Royal Choral Society and Carmina Burana at the Royal Albert Hall, Fauré’s Requiem and Haydn’s Harmoniemesse at the Cadogan Hall with the RPO, Messiah and Brahms Requiem with the CBSO at the Birmingham Symphony Hall and Beethoven’s 9th Symphony at St John’s Smith Square.

James has been a regular principal for the National G&S Company since appearing as the Pirate King in The Pirates of Penzance for the D’Oyly Carte Opera Company at the Savoy Theatre, with roles including Giuseppe Gondoliers, Strephon IolantheCaptain Corcoran HMS Pinafore, Grosvenor Patience and Florian Princess Ida.

Future plans include returns to the Royal Opera House Covent Garden, Scottish Opera and Welsh National Opera.


For Oratorio and Concert Repertoire please scroll down:

Oratorio and concert rep
Composer Work
Bach J. S.  B Minor Mass
Christmas Oratorio
St John Passion
St Matthew Passion
Beethoven Missa Solemnis
Symphony No 9
Berio The Cries of London
Brahms Liebeslieder Waltzes
Bruckner Te Deum
Cherubini Grand Mass
Durufle Requiem
Dvorak Stabat Mater
Te Deum
Elgar Dream of Gerontius
Faure Requiem
Goodall Eternal Light
Gounod Messa Solenelle
Handel Acis and Galatea
Alexander’s Feast
Israel in Egypt
Haydn Creation
Creation Mass
Nelson Mass
Mahler Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen
Mendelssohn Elijah
Erste Walpugisnacht
Mozart Coronation Mass
Mass in C Minor
Orff Carmina Burana
Puccini Messa di Gloria
Rossini Petite Messe Solenelle
Stabat Mater
Schubert Mass in G
Stainer Crucifixon
Stanford Songs of the Fleet
Songs of the Sea
Tippet A Child of our Time
Vaughan-Williams Dona Nobis Pacem
Five Mystical Songs
Songs of Travel
Verdi Requiem
Weill Berlin Requiem
Artist: James Cleverton
Label: Ann Ferrier Artists
Genre: Baritone/Bass
People: La Nostra Patria, Featuring James Cleverton & Jonathan Antoine

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