Scottish baritone Donald Maxwell made his Royal Opera debut in 1987 as English Archer (The King Goes Forth to France) and has returned regularly to The Royal Opera since, his many roles including Herald (Lohengrin), Gunther (Götterdämmerung), Faninal (Der Rosenkavalier), Krušina (The Bartered Bride), Fritz Kothner (Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg), Lockit (The Beggar’s Opera), Alcindoro (La bohème), Hortensius (La Fille du régiment) and Second Priest (Die Zauberflöte). In the 2015/16 Season he sings Sacristan (Tosca) for The Royal Opera and Dai Great Coat (In Parenthesis) for Welsh National Opera at the Royal Opera House.
Maxwell was born in Perth and studied geography at Edinburgh University and singing with Joseph Hislop. He is a former member of Scottish Opera and Welsh National Opera, and has sung leading roles with all the major British opera companies and with international companies including the Metropolitan Opera, New York, La Scala, Milan, Vienna State Opera and Paris Opéra. His repertory has included many key baritone and bass-baritone roles, including Count Almaviva (Le nozze di Figaro), Don Alfonso (Così fan tutte), Figaro (Il barbiere di Siviglia), Pizarro (Fidelio), Don Pasquale, Rigoletto, Iago (Otello), Falstaff, the Dutchman (Der fliegende Holländer), Escamillo (Carmen), Marcello (La bohème), Sharpless (Madama Butterfly), Scarpia (Tosca), Jack Rance (La fanciulla del West), Baron Zeta (Die lustige Witwe), Golaud (Pelléas et Mélisande), Eisenstein (Die Fledermaus), Athlete (Lulu) and Wozzeck. His many character roles include Fra Melitone (La forza del destino), Somarone (Béatrice et Bénédict), Pooh-Bah (The Mikado) and Doolittle (My Fair Lady).
Maxwell was Artistic Director of Buxton Festival (1999) and has been Director of the National Opera Studio (2001–08) and Head of Opera Studies at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama (2004–09). He regularly sings in concert, on television and radio and in recordings.