Julian Close

Julian Close

Noted as having “a rich voice that appears to come from the centre of the earth,” as well as, simply, “a voice to die for,” Julian Close stands as one of the most critically acclaimed Basses in the UK, having performed at several esteemed opera houses and venues throughout his career including The Metropolitan Opera, The Royal Opera House at Covent Garden, English National Opera, Welsh National Opera, The Royal Albert Hall, Barbican Centre, The Bridgewater Hall, Opera North UK, Scottish Opera and the Wexford, Buxton, Longborough, and English Bach Festivals in a wide range of roles. He has also made numerous television and radio broadcasts for the BBC.

Last season, Mr. Close made his long-awaited house début at the Royal Opera House at Covent Garden as the 2nd armed man in The Magic Flute. This summer, 2021, he performed in Rosenkavalier for Garsington Opera Festival and as Death in Savitri with the Leeds Opera Festival.  2020 and 2021 engagements were to include returns to the Metropolitan Opera for Tristan und Isolde, Fidelio, and Lulu, returns to the Longborough Festival and English National Opera for their productions of Die Walküre, and Wagner’s Ring Cycle with the Lyric Opera Chicago.

Calendar

Event Date
Dec 31
to
Jan 29
Rigoletto
(Sparafucile)
The Metropolitan Opera
New York, New York
Event Date
May 13
to
May 31
Hamlet
(Ghost)
The Metropolitan Opera
New York, New York
May 28
to
Jun 11
Rigoletto
(Sparafucile)
The Metropolitan Opera
New York, New York

Artist Bio

Noted as having “a rich voice that appears to come from the centre of the earth,” as well as, simply, “a voice to die for,” Julian Close stands as one of the most critically acclaimed Basses in the UK, having performed at several esteemed opera houses and venues throughout his career including The Metropolitan Opera, The Royal Opera House at Covent Garden, English National Opera, Welsh National Opera, The Royal Albert Hall, Barbican Centre, The Bridgewater Hall, Opera North UK, Scottish Opera and the Wexford, Buxton, Longborough, and English Bach Festivals in a wide range of roles. He has also made numerous television and radio broadcasts for the BBC.

Last season, Mr. Close made his long-awaited house début at the Royal Opera House at Covent Garden as the 2nd armed man in The Magic Flute. This summer, 2021, he performed in Rosenkavalier for Garsington Opera Festival and as Death in Savitri with the Leeds Opera Festival.  This season he will return to the Metropolitan Opera for Rigoletto and Hamlet.

2020 and 2021 engagements were to include returns to the Metropolitan Opera for Tristan und Isolde, Fidelio, and Lulu, returns to the Longborough Festival and English National Opera for their productions of Die Walküre, and Wagner’s Ring Cycle with the Lyric Opera Chicago.

More recently, Mr. Close joined The Metropolitan Opera for their productions of Das Rheingold and Götterdämmerung, Otello, Pelleas et Melisande, and Rigoletto, as well as made his house début at Opéra de Montréal as Fasolt in Das Rheingold. He also performed the role of Don Juan in From the House of the Dead with Welsh National Opera and the role of Wotan in the third act of Die Walküre with New Palace Opera. Additionally, Mr. Close performed the role of Hunding in Die Walküre with Saffron Opera Group, Fafner in Das Rheingold with Minnesota Opera, and Ramfis in Aïda with Pacific Symphony. He first joined the roster of the Metropolitan Opera in 2011 for their production of Der Ring des Nibelungen and has returned as a performer subsequently every season. Additional recent engagements include Hunding in a concert performance of Die Walküre with The Chandos Orchestra; Don Basilio in Il barbiere di Siviglia with the Longborough Festival; Verdi’s Requiem with the Eaton Christchurch Choir in Norwich; and a return to Welsh National Opera for Moses und Aron and Nabucco. He also returned to Opera Project for Madama Butterfly and joined Opera Rara for Donizetti’s Les Martyrs at Royal Festival Hall.

Prior engagements include Angelotti in Tosca, Truffaldino in Ariadne auf Naxos, Osmin in Die Entführung aus dem Serail, Athlete in Lulu, and Bonze in Madama Butterfly all with Welsh National Opera; Lodovico in Otello for the BBC Philharmonic; Bonze in Madama Butterfly and Commendatore in Don Giovanni with Opera Project UK; King Marke in Tristan und Isolde and Landgraf in Tannhaüser with the Northern Wagner Orchestra; Fafner in both Das Rheingold and Siegfried with the Longborough Wagner Festival, a role he also covered with the Metropolitan Opera. He also covered Lord Fortune in Miss Fortune for the Royal Opera, Covent Garden.

Favorite engagements from past seasons include: Wotan in Das Rheingold, Hagen in Götterdämmerung, Pogner in Die Meistersinger, Titurel in Parsifal, Steffano Colonna in Rienzi, der Letzte der Tribunen, Dosifey in Mussorgsky’s Khovanschina, Vodník in Rusalka, Il Grand Inquisitor in Don Carlo, Penios in Daphne, Pistola in Falstaff, Quince in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Sarastro in Die Zauberflöte, Zuniga in Carmen, Mayor in Jenůfa, Collatinus in The Rape of Lucretia, Timur in Turandot, Colline in La bohème, Prince Gremin in Eugene Onegin, Luther and Crespel in Les contes d’Hoffmann, Sparafucile in Rigoletto, Ramfis in Aïda, Loredano in I due Foscari, Nourabad in Les pêcheurs de perles, and Black Bob and Tom in Let’s Make an Opera.

Also a successful concert artist, Mr Close’s orchestral repertoire includes Bach’s St. Matthew Passion, St. John Passion, Magnificat, and Lutheran Mass; Beethoven’s Mass in C; Dyson’s Canterbury Pilgrims; Elgar’s The Dream of Gerontius and Caractacus; Judas in The Apostles; Fauré’s Requiem; Haydn’s Creation; Mahler’s Symphony No. 8; Mozart’s Requiem, C Minor Mass, and Vesperae Solennes; Puccini’s Messa di Gloria; Rossini’s Stabat Mater; Verdi’s Requiem; as well as Weber’s Second Mass in G Minor and Stravinsky’s Les Noces with the Michael Clarke Dance Company (Barbican Centre & The Lincoln Center, New York ).

Updated September 1, 2021.

Press

"...godlike authority...” – Harmony

Die Walküre – “Julian Close, a habitual Hagen and Fafner, was making his debut as Wotan, and it was a stunner. His huge, black marble voice ruled the platform and had an edge like a spear. Every word was effortlessly audible. Already this was an assumption with godlike authority.”

"...Julian Close was stupendous..." – The Irish Times

Don Giovanni – “As the Commendatore, Julian Close was stupendous, the sort of bass who could sing Fafner the Dragon without the amplifying megaphone dictated by Wagner.” –

"...an immensely moving and dignified performance...“ – Seen and Heard International

Tristan und Isolde – “King Marke’s monologue often seems to halt the progress of the drama, but as sung by the vastly experienced Julian Close it proved the emotional highpoint of all we heard. His deep voice was extraordinarily handsome, and the abiding decency of the character he created – and his obvious engagement with the King’s innate decency – elicited sympathy for Marke’s despair. The tenderness Close brought to describing Isolde as ‘Dies wundervolle Weib’ was heartbreaking and throughout he gave an immensely moving and dignified performance“

"...musically rich...” – The Arts Desk

Lulu – “The enormous cast has hardly a weakness. Especially memorable are Julian Close’s Acrobat, a role hard to define but musically rich.”

"...voice that appeared to come from the centre of the earth...” – Harry Mottram

Eugene Onegin – “Julian Close as Prince Gremin and his voice that appeared to come from the centre of the earth.”