John Tomlinson was born in Lancashire. He gained a B.Sc. in Civil Engineering at Manchester University before winning a scholarship to the Royal Manchester College of Music. He was awarded a C.B.E. in 1997 and knighted in the Queen’s Birthday Honours of 2005. He was awarded the Royal Philharmonic Society Music Award for Singer in 1991, 1998 and 2007 and in 2014 their Gold Medal.
John Tomlinson’s engagements include performances at La Scala, Milan, Rome, Barcelona, Geneva, Lisbon, Metropolitan Opera, New York, Chicago, San Francisco, San Diego, Tokyo, Opera Australia, Paris, Amsterdam, Berlin (Deutsche Oper and Deutsche Staatsoper), Dresden, Hamburg, Frankfurt, Munich, Vienna, Antwerp, and Bilbao and the Festivals of Bayreuth (where he sang for eighteen consecutive seasons), Orange, Aix-en-Provence, Salzburg, Edinburgh and the Maggio Musicale, Florence. He has sung regularly with English National Opera since 1974 and with the Royal Opera, Covent Garden, since 1977 and has also appeared with all the other leading British opera companies. His repertoire includes Wotan DAS RHEINGOLD and DIE WALKÜRE, Wanderer SIEGFRIED, Hagen GÖTTERDÄMMERUNG, Titurel and Gurnemanz PARSIFAL, King Marke TRISTAN UND ISOLDE, Heinrich LOHENGRIN, Hans Sachs DIE MEISTERSINGER VON NÜRNBERG, Landgraf TANNHÄUSER, title role and Daland FLIEGENDE HOLLÄNDER, Baron Ochs DER ROSENKAVALIER, Boromeo PALESTRINA, Orestes ELEKTRA, Moses MOSES UND ARON, Green Knight in the world premiere of Harrison Birtwistle’s GAWAIN, Claggart BILLY BUDD, Doctor WOZZECK, Rocco FIDELIO, King Philip and Grand Inquisitor DON CARLOS, Sarastro DIE ZAUBERFLÖTE, Leporello and Commendatore DON GIOVANNI, Lindorf, Coppelius, Dr Miracle and Dapertutto LES CONTES D’HOFFMANN, Golaud and Arkel PELLÉAS ET MÉLISANDE, Boris Timofeyevich Ismailov LADY MACBETH OF MTSENSK, title role, Pimen and Varlaam BORIS GODUNOV, Ivan Susanin A LIFE FOR A TSAR, Fiesco SIMON BOCCANEGRA, Tiresias OEDIPUS, Dosifey KHOVANSHCHINA, The General THE GAMBLER, Thomas à Becket MURDER IN THE CATHEDRAL, Ivan Yaklovlevich, Newspaper Clerk and Doctor THE NOSE, Sergeant of Police THE PIRATES OF PENZANCE and title roles in BLUEBEARD’S CASTLE, OBERTO, MOSE IN EGITTO, Priesterkönig in Jörg Widmann’s BABYLON, and the world premieres of Birtwistle’s THE MINOTAUR, Brett Dean’s LAST DAYS OF SOCRATES and Ghost of Old Hamlet in the world premiere of Brett Dean’s HAMLET, Doctor Charles Conde in Thomas Ades’ EXTERMINATING ANGEL and the title role in THE MIKADO.
John Tomlinson has a large concert repertoire and has sung with all the leading British orchestras and in Germany, Italy, Belgium, Holland, France, Spain, Denmark and the U.S.A. He has made many recordings including Wotan, Wanderer, Hagen, Hans Sachs, Titurel, Don Alfonso COSÌ FAN TUTTE, Leporello, and title roles LE NOZZE DI FIGARO and BLUEBEARD’S CASTLE, Beethoven CHORAL SYMPHONY, MESSIAH, ACIS AND GALATEA and the Verdi REQUIEM. Videos include MARIA STUARDA, PETER GRIMES, GIULIO CESARE, RIGOLETTO, DAS RHEINGOLD, DIE WALKÜRE, SIEGFRIED and THE MINOTAUR.
Engagements in 2020 include Precipice at Grange Park Opera and concerts throughout the country (most of the season was lost to COVID-19) and future performances include returns to English National Opera, Paris Opera, Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, and Metropolitan Opera, New York.