Rolfe-Johnson debuterade 1973 med English Opera Group och sjöng året därpå i Glyndebourne. Han har gjort sig bemärkt i Mozartroller både i Salzburg och på La Scala, där han har sjungit titelpartiet i Lucio Silla. Han sjunger också partier som Lenskij och Fenton.
Life and career
Born in Tackley in Oxfordshire, Rolfe Johnson studied with Ellis Keeler and Vera Rosza at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. He first appeared in opera in thechorus and in small roles at the Glyndebourne Festival between 1972 and 1976. His major operatic debut was in Iolanthe in 1973 with the English Opera Group.
In the course of a long and varied career he performed in Handel’s oratorios, sang the role of Evangelist in J. S. Bach’s St John Passion and St Matthew Passion, and sang solos in Haydn’s The Seasons and The Creation. Operas he recorded include Mozart’s The Magic Flute, Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Mikado, Mozart’s Idomeneo andLa clemenza di Tito, and Britten’s Peter Grimes as well as appearing in the latter’s War Requiem, amongst many others. Many of these recordings were made under the multi-award English conductor John Eliot Gardiner, including Monteverdi’s Ulysses and Orfeo. Other recordings include many important conductors as Charles Mackerras, Neville Marriner and many others.
He performed at the world’s major opera houses, including the English National Opera, Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, La Monnaie in Brussels, La Scala, Milan, theMetropolitan Opera, New York, the Vienna State Opera, and the Paris Opera.
He sang Polixenes in the world premiere of Philippe Boesmans’ adaptation of Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale.
Aside from opera, he appeared in concert with the world’s major symphony orchestras, such as the New York Philharmonic and Boston Philharmonic, and conductors, such as Mstislav Rostropovich and Seiji Ozawa. He also gave song recitals with Graham Johnson, many of which were recorded; he was a founder member of Graham Johnson’s The Songmakers’ Almanac. In 1988 he re-launched the Gregynog Festival, remaining its artistic director until 2006.
He was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire in the 1992 Queen’s Birthday Honours.
He died of Alzheimer’s disease on 21 July 2010.
- Obituary in The Guardian
- Obituary in New York Times
- Obituary in The Telegraph
- Antony Rolfe-Johnson sings an aria from Messiash
Anthony Rolfe - Johnsontenor