Barnaby Rea


"Outstanding Brit, Barnaby Rea, steals the show with his powerful Sparafucile"

Mark Valencia,

"The surprise ace in the pack of Bohemians is Barnaby Rea’s Colline."

Neil Fisher, The Times

"Barnaby Rea’s Second Priest boasts a commanding presence and a rich bass voice."

Andrew Clark, The Financial Times

"Barnaby Rea’s full-voiced Collatinus is outstanding."

Richard Morrison, The Times

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British bass Barnaby Rea is a former Harewood Artist at English National Opera (2013-16) who has recently joined the solo ensemble at Oper Frankfurt.

In the 18/19 season, Barnaby returns to Opera Holland Park to sing the role of Bertrand in Tchaikovsky's Iolanta. At Oper Frankfurt, he undertakes the roles of Soljony in a new production of Péter Eötvös's Tri Sestri, Sciarrone in Puccini's Tosca, Truffaldin in Strauss' Ariadne auf Naxos, Baron Mirko Zeta in Léhar's The Merry Widow, Judge in Smetana's Dalibor, and Bartolo in Mozart's Le nozze di Figaro.

Last season at Oper Frankfurt, Barnaby sang the roles of Hobson in Britten's Peter Grimes, Johann in Massenet's Werther, Commandant in Janáček's From the House of the Dead, Baron Mirko Zeta, and Bosun in Britten's Billy Budd. He also sang Private Willis Iolanthe in his return to English National Opera.

Other recent operatic highlights include Fabrizio Vingradito La Gazza Ladra (Oper Frankfurt), Basilio The Barber of Seville, Colline La Bohème, Lodovico Otello, Nourabad The Pearl Fishers, Ceprano Rigoletto, Second Priest / Second Armed Man The Magic Flute (English National Opera), Colline La Bohème (Opera North), Masetto Don Giovanni, Mother The Seven Deadly Sins (Scottish Opera), Alidoro La Cenerentola, Zaresky/Captain Eugene Onegin, Bonze Madam Butterfly, Rocco I Gioielli della Madonna (Opera Holland Park), Banquo Macbeth (Iford Opera).

Recent and future highlights on the concert platform include Verdi’s Requiem live on BBC Radio 3 with Barry Wordsworth at the Adrian Boult Hall in Birmingham, Mozart’s Requiem at London’s Royal Festival Hall, Vom Tod im Wald and the Mahagonny Songspiel at Kings Place concert hall in London with the Continuum Ensemble and Mother The Seven Deadly Sins at the National Concert Hall in Dublin with the RTÉ Concert Orchestra - all works by Kurt Weill. Barnaby also live recorded Bob Beckett HMS Pinafore at the Edinburgh International Festival under the baton of Richard Egarr.

Barnaby trained at the National Opera Studio where he was supported by Scottish Opera and a Sybil Tutton Award administered by the Musicians Benevolent and before that graduated from the Guildhall School of Music and Drama where he studied on the highly acclaimed opera course and was generously supported by the Countess of Munster Musical Trust, the Musicians Benevolent Fund, the Wingate foundation, the Hope Chest, Serena Fenwick, Towergate and the Worshipful Company of Gold & Silver Wyre Drawers. He continues to study under the guidance of John Evans. Operatic roles towards the end of his time at GSMD included Bottom/Theseus in Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream at the Barbican Theatre, Falstaff in Nicolai’s Die lustigen Weiber von Windsor, Dr. Gibbs in the European premiere of Ned Rorem’s Our Town (GSMD) and Collatinus The Rape of Lucretia (British Youth Opera).

This biography is for information only and should not be reproduced.

Bernstein On the Town (Judge Pitkin, Narrator), BBC Proms

(August 2018)

The rest of the cast had no weaknesses … Barnaby Rea boomed dolefully as long-suffering Judge Pitkin.

Richard Fairman, Financial Times****

A crack ensemble cast brought Broadway to the Royal Albert Hall … a scene-stealing turn from Barnaby Rea as Judge Pitkin.

Alexandra Coghlan, The Independent****

Iolanthe (Private Willis)

English National Opera, London (February 2018)

Barnaby Rea makes much of the guardsman’s aria poking fun at the two-party system

Erica Jeal, The Guardian****

Amongst a strong supporting cast, Barnaby Rea stood out vocally as Private Willis

David Karlin, bachtrack****

Barnaby Rea was a gruffly resonant Private Willis

Flora Willson, Opera Magazine

Private Willis, handsomely sung by Barnaby Rea.

Ashutosh Khandekar, Opera Now

Barnaby Rea has the right poise, too, on belated sentry duty.

David Nice, The Arts Desk*****

there's the same level of class all the way through ENO's perfectly cast all-British company, from Barnaby Rea's subversive Private Willis…

Mark Valencia, WhatsOnStage****

Barnaby Rea is a fine [Private] Willis

Sam Smith, MusicOMH****

Peter Grimes (Hobson)

Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra, Edinburgh (August 2017)

Barnaby Rea is making his mark as Hobson

Andrew Clark, Opera Magazine

Rigoletto (Sparafucile)

English National Opera, London (February 2017)

The other [great performance] comes from Barnaby Rea’s Sparafucile: lean, mean, handsomely sung and lethally creepy.

Tim Ashley, The Guardian

Barnaby Rea’s performance as Sparafucile is pleasingly musical.

Michael Church, The Independent

Barnaby Rea’s Sparafucile – beautifully sung.

Alexandra Coghlan,

Barnaby Rea gave a superlative performance as Sparafucile, his stage presence combining black menace with a sense of griminess that was entirely at home in this production, while his rich, resonant bass made for a thrilling vocal performance.

Dominic Lowe,

Barnaby Rea’s cultured bass as the menacing Sparafucile…gave a masterclass of how opera can be performed in English.

Jim Pritchard,

Barnaby Rea’s Sparafucile…outstanding.

David Gutman, The Stage

In a production that has Sparafucile merging in and out of the shadows like a wraith, Barnaby Rea and his sinuous baritone dominated the scenes he was in.

Peter Reed,

Outstanding Brit, Barnaby Rea, steals the show with his powerful Sparafucile.

Mark Valencia,

La Cenerentola (Alidoro)

Opera Holland Park, London (July 2016)

Barnaby Rea’s sonorous Alidoro, reasonably fluent in his bravura aria, cultivated a conspiratorial rapport with the audience.

Hugh Canning, Opera Magazine

Barnaby Rea’s Alidoro was solemn and majestic, deploying an expansive bass that soared over the orchestra. The little gleam in Rea’s eye made him just that little more human.

Dominic Lowe,

Rea has a good stage presence and a sonorous bass.

Howard Shepherdson, Limelight Magazine

Barnaby Rea is an imposing Alidoro.

Mark Valencia,

Barnaby Rea proves an excellent singer and actor as Alidoro.

Sam Smith,

Barnaby Rea used his resonant bass well as the philosopher Alidore.

Claire Seymour, Opera Today

Barnaby Rea’s grand bass gives him weight and gravitas as Alidoro.

The Stage, George Hall

Barnaby Rea is a sonorous Alidoro.

Clare Colvin, The Express

Rea sang Alidoro with quiet dignity and strength, rising above the chaos he lets loose. Rea delighted us with his big Act One solo, singing with great warmth and charm.

Robert Hugill,

Alidoro, splendidly sung and portrayed here by Barnaby Rea, who delivered a very stylish soliloquy Là del ciel nell’arcano profondo.

Mark Ronan,

Macbeth (Banquo), Iford Arts Festival

The Cloister (June 2016)

Barnaby Rea’s Banquo was most impressive: his is a resonant bass but flexible too and tellingly used here.

Opera Magazine

The Barber of Seville (Don Basilio), English National Opera

London Coliseum (September 2015)

…an unctuously sonorous if unusually young Basilio from Barnaby Rea.

Tim Ashley, The Guardian

Barnaby Rea’s slippery Don Basilio…slot[s] into place with ease.

Geoff Brown, The Times

Bass Barnaby Rea makes a larger-than-life Basilio.

George Hall, The Stage

Barnaby Rea’s excellent Basilio went for his Calumny aria with a will, and continued in the sane baleful vein as a good foil for Dr Bartolo.

Peter Reed, Opera

Barbaby Rea, as Basilio, gave a beautiful account of ‘La Calunnia’.

Colin Clarke,

Barnaby Rea’s slimy Don Basilio…acted as a wonderful foil to Andrew Shore’s crusty, crotchety Dr Bartolo.

Mark Pullinger,

Intermezzo (Singer), Garsington Opera

Wormsley Estate (June 2015)

Barnaby Rea’s sonorous Kammersänger [is] particularly worthy of praise.

Hugo Shirley, Opera

La Bohème (Colline), English National Opera

London Coliseum (November 2014)

…and the surprise ace in the pack of Bohemians is Barnaby Rea’s Colline.

Neil Fisher, The Times

Colline and Schaunard (Barnaby Rea and George Humphreys) exude youthful raffishness.

Michael Church, The Independent

I have often recalled with pleasure Barnaby Rea’s vivid Colline, a part normally done well but here done very well.

Russ McDonald, Opera

There was no weak link and George Humphreys (Schaunard), Barnaby Rea (Colline) and George von Bergen (Marcello) were a very talented trio of personable youthful bohemians – both as singers and committed actors.

Jim Pritchard, Seen and Heard International

Barnaby Rea‘s deep Verdian bass, whose splendid voice was always deployed with subtlety, delicately coloured Colline’s lovely Act lV “Coat” aria with longing and regret.

Geoffrey Mogridge, Opera Britannia

Barnaby Rea delivers Colline’s arietta about selling his beloved overcoat with real subtlety and sweetness.

David Nice,

Otello (Ludovico), English National Opera

London Coliseum (Semptember 2014)

There was strength in depth in ENO’s casting…Barnaby Rea a dignified, sturdy Lodovico.

Mark Pullinger,

The Pearl Fishers (Nourabad), English National Opera

London Coliseum (June 2014)

And the young bass, Barnaby Rea, a new addition to ENO's young artists programme, impressed as nasty high priest Nourabad.

Neil Fisher, The Times

Also on the plus side are Barnaby Rea, a powerful presence as Nourabad.

John Allison, The Telegraph

Barnaby Rea was a powerful Nourabad.

Peter Reed, Opera Magazine

Barnaby Rea was a full voiced Nourabad.

Claire Seymour, Opera Today

Barnaby Rea’s Nourabad deserves a special mention – it’s not a role with a huge amount to do, but he was close to stealing the show when he got a chance.

Kimon Daltas,

Barnaby Rea as Nourabad has little to sing but was imposing in all he did.

Jim Pritchard, Seen and Heard International

Don Giovanni (Masetto), Scottish Opera

Theatre Royal, Glasgow (October 2013)

Barnaby Rea’s borderline abusive Masetto is neatly sketched in.

George Hall, The Guardian

Barnaby Rea’s forceful Masetto projected more character.

Rupert Christiansen, The Telegraph

Barnaby Rea’s lusty Masetto is well cast.

Neil Fisher, The Times

Barnaby Rea can be forgiven a slightly stiff Masetto thanks to his delightful singing.

Neil Jones, Opera Now

Anna Devin as easily seduced peasant Zerlina and Barnaby Rea as her fiance Masetto, add fine voices and strong performances.

Thom Dibdin, The Stage

Barnaby Rea’s Masetto was cheerful on the ear.

Kelvin Holdsworth, Opera Britannia

Madam Butterfly (Bonze) / I Gioielli della Madonna (Rocco)

Opera Holland Park, London (July 2013)

And it’s clear that the show’s French-Japanese movement-director Namiko Gahier-Ogawa has put everyone on stage through some rigorous training in the language of Japanese theatrical gesture: we feel this most intensely with the characterisation of Cio-Cio San’s family, with Barnaby Rea’s magnificently forbidding Bonze, and with the characterisation of Cio-Cio San herself

Michael Church, The Independent

Barnaby Rea's Bonze was something incredible and distinctly memorable for such a small appearance; this is a singer whose career must be watched for his booming voice and clarion tone!

Fritz Curzon, Musical Criticism

Barnaby Rea has an impressive bass voice that can fill the marquee...

Gavin Dixon, Opera Britannia

...and there were excellent contributions from...Barnaby Rea.

Miranda Jackson, Opera Britannia

Rafaello's leading henchmen were Robert Burt and Barnaby Rea... All were admirable, giving strongly characterised performances and creating a superb ensemble.

Robert Hugill, Planet Hugill

Our Town (Ned Rorem), June 2012

Guildhall School of Music and Drama

Barnaby Rea was a fine, sonorous Dr. Gibbs

Neil Fisher, The Times

A Midsummer Night’s Dream, February 2012

Guildhall School of Music and Drama

Barnaby Rea is an outstanding Bottom, surely a bass going places.

Neil Fisher, The Times

Barnaby Rea was an entertaining Bottom with neat comic timing and a warm bass-baritone. It’s a gift of a role and the audience lapped up his antics.

Mark Pullinger, Opera Britannia

Barnaby Rea is splendid as Bottom: his vocal control, musicality and acting ability (including body language in his role as the donkey) are very impressive.

Agnes Kory, Musical Criticism

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