Anthony Rolfe Johnson (tenor)
One of this country's most distinguished singers, Anthony Rolfe Johnson sang with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra under Solti, the Boston Symphony under Ozawa, the New York Philharmonic under Rostropovitch and Masur, the Cleveland Orchestra under Rattle and the Berlin Philharmonic under Levine. Conductors with whom he worked also include Giulini, Harnoncourt, Rozhdestvensky, Eliot Gardiner, Mackerras, Dorati, Tennstedt, Boulez, Haitink and Abbado.
He has a vast range of recordings to his name, reflecting his
worldwide reputation as an interpreter of Bach, Handel, Haydn, Mozart
and Britten. He was acclaimed for his recordings of the great Handel
oratorios, the Evangelist in both the St.
John Passion and the St.
Matthew Passion, and many award-winning recordings which include
Haydn's Die Jahreszeiten and Die Schöpfung,
Mozart's Die Zauberflöte, Idomeneo and La
Clemenza di Tito, and Britten's War Requiem. He recorded
the title roles in Oedipus Rex under Welser-Moest for EMI, in Samson
under Harnoncourt for Teldec and in Peter Grimes under Haitink
for EMI; Tom Rakewell (The Rake's Progress) under Ozawa for
Philips; Florestan (Fidelio) under Mackerras for Telarc and
Captain Vere (Billy Budd) under Nagano for Erato. [Note: The recordings shown later on this
webpage were selected because they had images of the tenor on the cover.]
He made his international operatic debut as Fenton at the Glyndebourne Festival. In London his roles included Don Ottavio, Tamino, Ferrando, Belmonte, Essex (Gloriana), The Male Chorus (The Rape of Lucretia), Florestan (Fidelio) and the title roles in Monteverdi's Ulysses and Orfeo at the London Coliseum and Jupiter (Semele), Oronte (Alcina) and Don Ottavio at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden. He sang the title role in Idomeneo at the Salzburg Festival under Ozawa, the Vienna State Opera under Harnoncourt, the Paris Opera under Minkowski and the Metropolitan Opera under Levine. He has sung Aschenbach in Geneva, Edinburgh and the Met; and Peter Grimes at the Savonlinna and Glyndebourne festivals, in Tokyo, Munich and at the Met. At the Monnaie in Brussels his roles included Oedipus Rex, Peter Quint, Pelléas, and Polixenes in the world premiere of Wintermärchen, and with the Netherlands Opera he sang Ulysses in Amsterdam, New York and Sydney.
Anthony Rolfe Johnson was made a C.B.E. in the 1992 Queen's
-- Biogarphy from the
Hyperion Records website (with additions).
© 1988 Bruce Duffie
This conversation was recorded in Chicago on November 19, 1988. Portions were broadcast on WNIB the following year, and again in 1990, 1992, 1995 and 2000. This transcription was made in 2015, and posted on this website at that time. My thanks to British soprano Una Barry for her help in preparing this website presentation.
To see a full list (with links) of interviews which have been transcribed and posted on this website, click here.
Award - winning broadcaster Bruce Duffie was with WNIB, Classical 97 in Chicago from 1975 until its final moment as a classical station in February of 2001. His interviews have also appeared in various magazines and journals since 1980, and he now continues his broadcast series on WNUR-FM, as well as on Contemporary Classical Internet Radio.You are invited to visit his website for more information about his work, including selected transcripts of other interviews, plus a full list of his guests. He would also like to call your attention to the photos and information about his grandfather, who was a pioneer in the automotive field more than a century ago. You may also send him E-Mail with comments, questions and suggestions.