Justin Lavender - tenorOriginally encouraged by Benjamin Britten and Peter Pears to abandon nuclear engineering in favour of a musical career, Justin Lavender has since appeared as soloist with many of the world’s great opera companies, conductors and orchestras. His distinguished débuts include The Royal Opera House, Covent Garden as Arnold Guillaume Tell, the Vienna State Opera as Tamino Die Zauberflöte, La Scala, Milan, in the title role Le Comte Ory and Sydney Opera house as Nadir The Pearl Fishers.
Since then, he has sung: Almaviva Il Barbiere di Siviglia, and the title roles Mitridate Mosè in Egitto and Faust for the Royal Opera House; Belmonte Die Entführung aus dem Serail at the Vienna and Berlin State Operas and La Monnaie; Tom Rakewell The Rake’s Progress in Modena, Reggio Emilia, Piacenza, Ferrara and Ravenna; Roméo Roméo et Juliette in Cleveland and El Paso, Texas; Duke Rigoletto under the direction of Richard Bonynge for Florida Grand Opera and for the Opéra de Lausanne; Pierre Bezuhov War and Peace at the Spoleto Festival; title role La Damnation de Faust for Finnish National Opera, in Paris, Giessen, Bordeaux, Biarritz, Erfurt, with the Taiwan National Symphony, and at the Leeds Festival; Baron Hugo in Spohr’s Faust in Cologne; Des Grieux in Massenet’s Manon in New Zealand; Ferrando Così fan tutte opening the new season for the Teatro La Fenice; Maurizio Adriana Lecouvreur Erfurt; Don José Carmen in Malaysia and at RAH; Madama Butterfly and Cavalleria Rusticana in Taipei; Don Ruiz Maria Padilla at the Buxton Festival; Dallapiccola’s Ulisse in Salzburg; Nadir at ENO; Lucia di Lammermoor for the Opéra du Rhin.
His concert career is equally distinguished. He made his BBC Prom début singing the tenor lead in Ethel Smyth’s The Wreckers, now issued on CD. He is particularly well known for his interpretations of Verdi’s Requiem, which he sang at the tercentenary celebrations in St Paul’s Cathedral, and of Elgar’s The Dream of Gerontius, which he has performed with Leonard Slatkin and the Philharmonia. He has also performed Liszt’s Faust Symphony with Mark Elder and the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment in London and Frankfurt, Britten’s Spring Symphony in Tokyo, televised performances of the Stabat Mater with the NHK Symphony under Charles Dutoit, Schnittke’s Faust Cantata with Abbado and the Wiener Symphoniker and with Slatkin and the BBC Symphony, Tchaikovsky’s Iolanta with the Royal Scottish NSO, Mahler’s 8th Symphony at the Royal Albert Hall, oratorios by Rossini, Bach and Mozart for the Jerusalem Symphony, Royal Choral Society’s Easter Messiah and St. Matthew Passion in the Chapel of King’s College, Cambridge.