Baritone Peter Brathwaite is a graduate of the International Opera School of the Royal College of Music and the Operastudio Vlaanderen, Ghent. He was born in Manchester and graduated with a First Class degree in Fine Art & Philosophy from Newcastle University. In 2021 he was shortlisted for a Royal Philharmonic Society award.
Peter’s engagements in the 2022/23 season include his debut at the Philharmonie de Paris as Stubb in Olga Neuwirth’s The Outcast with Ensemble intercontemporain/Matthias Pintscher/Netia Jones; Melot in a new Tiago Rodrigues production of Tristan und Isolde conducted by Leo Hussain at Opéra national de Lorraine and Théâtre de Caen, and a return to the Royal Opera House Covent Garden to co-create and perform in Insurrection: A Work in Progress. In concert, he performs Britten’s song cycle Tit for Tat with Malcolm Martineau at Snape Maltings, Aldeburgh.
At the Royal Opera House Covent Garden, his roles for the company have included Dad in the world premiere of Jules Maxwell’s The Lost Thing, with Candoco Dance Company; Narrator in the world premiere of Little Bulb’s Wolf Witch Giant Fairy (winner of an Olivier Award 2022), and his critically acclaimed main stage debut as poet and activist Martin Carter in Hannah Kendall’s solo opera The Knife of Dawn. A sought-after interpreter of contemporary music, Peter has given many world premieres. He created the role of Joey in Kris Defoort’s The Time of Our Singing at Théâtre Royal de la Monnaie, Brussels (winner of an International Opera Award 2022); created the role of Paul in Ann Cleare’s The Little Lives at the Munich Biennale with Ensemble Musikfabrik; created the role of Feldspar in Sam Glazer’s Fogonogo, touring to the Elbphilharmonie Hamburg, Philharmonie Luxembourg, Danish National Opera and the Spitalfields Festival in London; created various roles in the world premiere of Song of the Child, a new opera produced by Operaen i Midten Denmark and Riotous Company (performances at Kulturmødet Mors); Billy Bone in Lynne Plowman’s Captain Blood’s Revenge for Glyndebourne on Tour; Luis in Randal Corsen’s Katibu di Shon with the Nederlandse Reisopera at the Stadsschouwburg Amsterdam; Mimoun in Emily Howard’s Zatopek! for Second Movement at Queen Elizabeth Hall with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic (recorded on the NMC label). Peter made his English National Opera debut in the world premiere of Effigies of Wickedness: Songs banned by the Nazis, a co-production conceived by Peter with the Gate Theatre, London.
His roles elsewhere include Elviro Xerxes, Silvano La Calisto, Kaidama Il furioso all’isola di San Domingo, L’incognito L’assedio di Calais, Schaunard La boheme and Christus in a semi staged St John Passion for English Touring Opera; Papageno The Magic Flute for Opera North; L’incognito L’assedio di Calais for Armel Opera Festival, Budapest, Yamadori Madama Butterfly and Marcello La boheme for the Nederlandse Reisopera; Sid La Fanciulla del West for Opera Holland Park and Nelson Porgy & Bess for Opera de Lyon. He sang the title role in Viktor Ullmann’s Der Kaiser von Atlantis with Loud Crowd/CHROMA Ensemble at Bold Tendencies, and Jean in Philippe Boesmans’ Julie at Operastudio Vlaanderen, Ghent.
In concert, he has performed Schubert’s Winterreise at London’s St John’s Smith Square with Roderick Williams (part of Barbara Hannigan’s Momentum); Britten’s The Five Canticles at Leeds Lieder with Mark Padmore, Iestyn Davies and Joseph Middleton; the world premiere of Na’ama Zisser’s Beloved Visitors, a co-curated song cycle based on migrant experiences as Artist-in-Residence of Manchester Jewish Museum; Copland’s Old American Songs with Chineke! Orchestra at the Bath, Bury St Edmunds and Brighton festivals, conducted by Wayne Marshall, and Mozart arias in televised concerts with the Estonian National Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Tonu Kaljuste. Elsewhere, he has appeared as a soloist with the London Philharmonic, Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra and BBC Concert, in venues such as the Royal Albert Hall, Royal Festival Hall, Barbican, Birmingham Symphony Hall and deSingel, Antwerp. Festival appearances include Aldeburgh, Edinburgh International, Brighton, London Handel and Britten100 at BAM, New York. He has appeared at Shakespeare’s Globe as a principal vocalist in Mark Rylance’s What You Will and Sonnet Walks; and returned to premiere music by Orlando Gough in Othello at the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse.
To bring attention to lesser-known works of composers silenced by the Nazi regime, Peter created the multimedia recital Degenerate Music: Music Banned by the Nazis (London Song Festival/Studio Niculescu Berlin/JW3/Manchester Jewish Museum/Schubert Society of Great Britain/BBC Radio 3).
His awards include a Peter Moores Foundation Major Award, an Independent Opera Fellowship, a Churchill Fellowship, and an award from the International Opera Awards Foundation. In 2015, he was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (FRSA). He is the recipient of a Genesis Foundation Kickstart Award (2021). As well as performing, Peter writes and presents for BBC Radio 3. His first book, Rediscovering Black Portraiture, is published by Getty Publications (Spring 2023).
Future seasons see Peter return to the Royal Opera House and La Monnaie, Brussels.