HANDEL Admeto at the Göttingen Handel Festival
WEILL Der Aufstieg und Fall der Stadt Mahagonny at Vlaamse Opera
Baritone William Berger, recently described as “one of the best of our younger baritones” by Gramophone magazine, is making a name for himself in concert halls and opera houses on both sides of the Atlantic.
Following two years as a member of the Young Singers Programme at English National Opera, William made his debuts at Liceu Barcelona, Vlaamse Opera, Opera Lucerne, Opéra de Toulon and the Aix-en-Provence, Gottingen and Edinburgh International Festivals. Opera engagements have included the title role of Monteverdi’s L’Orfeo, “Escamillo” in Bizet’s Carmen, all of Mozart’s leading baritone roles, including Count Almaviva, Don Giovanni, Guglielmo, Papageno (Magic Flute for Opéra de Toulon), as well as roles in operas by Handel, Haydn, Puccini, Janáček and Weill.
In concert, William has performed at leading venues including the Royal Albert Hall, Royal Festival Hall, Wigmore Hall, Birmingham Symphony Hall, Zellerbach Hall and Los Angeles’ Disney Concert Hall, with orchestras and ensembles including the London Philharmonic Orchestra, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, English Consort, La Nuova Musica, Cape Town Philharmonic, Handel & Haydn Society, and Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra. Recent and upcoming concert highlights include Durufle’s Requiem with Pacific Symphony; Handel’s Joshua with Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra; Messiah with St. Louis, National, and Phoenix Symphonies; Messiah and Bach’s St. John Passion with St. Paul Chamber Orchestra; Bach’s Mass in B Minor with Ludus Baroque; Mozart’s Requiem with Philharmonie Zuidnederland; Brahms’ German Requiem with Flanders Opera Symphony Orchestra; Handel’s Dettingen Te Deum with Haddo Arts Festival and City of London Choir; a tour as soloist with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra; St. Matthew Passion with the Brabants Orkest in the Netherlands; Haydn’s Creation with the Orquesta Sinfonica del Principado de Asturias in Spain; concerts in Edinburgh with Ludus Baroque including Bach’s Christmas Oratorio and Handel’s Triumph of Time and Truth; and a performance of Baroque chamber music at Paxton Festival.
Recent opera roles include Apollon in Charpentier’s Orpheus with Christian Curnyn and the Early Opera Company at Wigmore Hall, Marcello in La Boheme with Opera Vlaanderen and Opera de Rouen, Bill in Kurt Weill’s Rise and Fall of the City of Mahogany with Opera Vlaanderen, Escamillo in Carmen with Cape Town Opera, Minskman in Jonathan Dove’s Flight with Opera Omaha, the title role in Handel’s Imeneo at the International Handel Festival Gottingen, Handel’s Athalia with Ludus Baroque, “Simon” in Handel’s Judas Maccabeus with Pacific Symphony, and Monteverdi’s Il Combattimento di Tancredi at the Spitalfields Festival.
Berger is also a gifted recitalist and recording artist. His 2016 CD, Duet (Delphian), revives the musically rich tradition of duet singing that reached its zenith in the Victorian age with works by Schumann, Mendelssohn, and Cornelius. In this recording (“Editor’s Choice”, “a small miracle to be cherished, BBC Music Magazine) Berger is joined by soprano Lucy Crowe and pianist Iain Burnside. Berger’s imaginative approach to programming led to the 2012 release of his debut recital disc, Insomnia: A Nocturnal Voyage in Song, on Delphian Records. This sequence of 17 songs, including compositions by Vaughn Williams, Debussy, Faure, Schubert and Wolf, portrays the sleepless night of a man reflecting on the absence of an unnamed lover. It was named as one of the “Top 10 Classical Albums of 2012” by The Guardian, and William’s performance was described as “sweepingly sensual”, “pure gold” (The Arts Desk) and “magnetic” (The Scotsman).
William’s, Hommage a Trois, released in 2013, was described as “one of the most delightful recital discs of the past year” by International Record Review, featured arias by Haydn, Mozart and Cimarosa with Nicholas McGegan and the Scottish Chamber Orchestra and was awarded five stars by Opera Now. William’s discography includes Handel’s Alexander’s Feast for Delphian, Samson and Dettingen Te Deum for Carus, and Poulenc’s Carmelites for Chandos. On DVD, Berger is featured in Admeto for C Major and L’incoronazione de Poppea for Opus Arte. In 2014, William released a CD with Ludus Baroque of Handel’s Triumph of Time and Truth on Delphian Records.
Berger began his singing career at age 10 as a boy chorister in his native South Africa. He went on to study voice, piano, percussion and conducting, and is a graduate and Associate of London’s Royal Academy of Music. He is a recipient of numerous prizes and awards, including the 2010 Ernst Haefliger Competition in Switzerland, the Kathleen Ferrier Society Bursary for Young Singers, the Countess of Munster Trust Scholarship, the Musicians Benevolent Fund Grant and the Ernest Oppenheimer Memorial Trust Award.