Lyric Bass Paul Whelan spent the last 18 months in his native New Zealand where he joined Christchurch City Choir for Handel’s Messiah, and appeared with Christchurch Symphony Orchestra for performances of Mozart’s Requiem. With Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra he sang the role of Rocco Fidelio in concert and with Wellington Opera the role of Commendatore Don Giovanni. Lending his talent to local composer Tim Finn of Crowded House, he appeared as Captain James Cook Ihitai ‘Avei’a – Star Navigator for Opera New Zealand, and also sang the roles of Cadmus and Somnus Semele.
Recent past appearances include his appearance at Théâtre des Champs-Elysées in the role of Commendatore Don Giovanni in the Garsington Opera production on tour; Mícha The Bartered Bride also at Garsington; the role of Timur Turandot at Opera New Orleans; the world premiere of Stuart MacRae’s opera Anthropocene in the role of Captain Ross for Scottish Opera along with the role of Dikoj Katya Kabanova. Recently, Paul Whelan made his house debut at Lyric Opera of Kansas City in the role of Gremin Eugene Onegin winning outstanding reviews. He performed The Creation with the Arctic Philharmonic Orchestra and sang selections from the role of Hagen Götterdämmerung with the Jacksonville Symphony.
In recent seasons, the artist excelled in the roles of Nettuno, Tempo and Antinoo Il ritorno d’Ulisse in patria at The Grange Festival; he sang the role of Sarastro Die Zauberflöte at Hawaii Opera Theatre; appeared as Quince A Midsummer Night’s Dream at Grand Theatre Geneve, and he travelled to Gothenburg Opera for the role of Claudio Hamlet in a new production by Stephen Langridge. Other highlights include the role of Daland Der fliegende Holländer at Hawaii Opera Theatre and New Zealand Opera, Giorgio I Puritani at Boston Lyric Opera and Victorian Opera, Nick Shadow The Rake’s Progress for Opera New Zealand, Banco Macbeth at Opera North (UK), and Titurel Parsifal with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra under Andris Nelsons.
Other career successes include Ramfis Aida at Opera Australia, and Beethoven’s Mass in C at Grant Park Music Festival in Chicago. He sang Jesus in a fully staged performances of St. Matthew Passion in Brisbane and Seneca L’Incoronazione di Poppea in Lille and Dijon. Other notable appearances include Theseus in the new production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream for English National Opera and as Collatinus The Rape of Lucretia for Opera Norway. He appeared at Glyndebourne in two roles: Claggart in a new production of Billy Budd, and Alidoro La Cenerentola. He sang his first Wotan in Das Rheingold with the Auckland Philharmonic to critical acclaim.
Significant roles include the title role Bluebeard’s Castle, Four Villains Les Contes d’Hoffmann, Argante Rinaldo, Apollon in Gluck’s Alceste, a staged production of Bach’s St. John Passion (directed by Deborah Warner), Schaunard in Leoncavallo’s La bohéme, Raimondo Lucia di Lammermoor, Escamillo Carmen, Harry Joy Bliss at Hamburg State Opera, The Assassin Tree at Edinburgh Festival, and Bird of Night for the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden. Concert appearances include Songs of the Fleet, Mountararat Iolanthe, The Dream of Gerontius (Priest and Angel of Agony), St. Matthew Passion, Judas The Apostles, Songs and Dances of Death, Belshazzar’s Feast, Gurrelieder, Sea Drift, Valens in Handel’s Theodora. Paul is a winner of the Cardiff Singer of the World Lieder Prize. Conductors with whom he has collaborated include Sir Simon Rattle, Kent Nagano, Richard Hickox, Yehudi Menuhin, Valery Gergiev, Gary Bertini, and Vassily Sinaisky. 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.