James Oxley

Tenor

"The control with which tenor James Oxley sung the unaccompanied bars of the opening recitative presaged the beauty of his later solos"

Carla Whalen The Scotsman

"James Oxley is an impeccable musician"

Le Monde

"Opera-goers weaned on Wagner and Verdi traditionally detect a hint of the vegetarian in early music performances, but there was nothing bloodless about James Oxley’s warmly phrased Actéon…"

Rodney Milnes The Times

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James Oxley has appeared at all the major concert halls in London, at Symphony Hall Birmingham and Philharmonic Hall Liverpool, and notable UK concert credits include Missa Solemnis with Heinrich Schiff and the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, Stravinsky Renard with Psappha at the BBC Proms, Haydn Creation and Mozart Great Mass with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra and Handel Alexander’s Feast with Northern Sinfonia and Nicholas McGegan. His engagements have taken him throughout Europe, especially to France where he has worked with Philippe Herreweghe, Hervé Niquet and Christophe Rousset.

Equally at home on the operatic stage he has sung the roles of Lensky and Belmonte at the Opera de Rennes, Lucano in Monteverdi’s L’incoronazione di Poppea at English National Opera, Ferrando Cosi fan tutte and the title role in Candide at the Opera de Rouen, Acis Acis and Galatea at the Reinsberg Festival conducted by Martin Haselböck, and the title role in the high-tenor version of Gluck’s Orphée at Theater Dortmund.

Recent and future highlights include the role of Madwoman Curlew River for Opéra de Dijon, the title in Jephtha with the Krakow Philharmonic Orchestra, Bach’s St Matthew Passion with the Royal Northern Sinfonia and the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra, Mendelssohn’s St Paul with the Three Choirs Festival, Bach’s St John Passion with the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, Bach’s Christmas Oratorio with the Stavanger Symphony Orchestra, Handel’s Messiah with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Bach’s Magnificat with the NDR Hannover, and a revival of Black Cat for Long Beach Opera.  

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

Britten Curlew River (Madwoman)

Opéra de Dijon, Grand Théâtre Dijon (April 2016)

In the role of the Madwoman, James Oxley excels. Graced with a clear and flexible upper register, his voice allows him to play fully on the gender ambiguity. The dialogue between the Madwoman and the flute – with whom he is doubled – provides a high level of intensity and emotion. Moreover, James Oxley’s diction is excellent making the text perfectly intelligible.

Jean-Marc Piriou, bachtrack.com

James Oxley’s Madwoman boasts a staggering expressiveness. Stoic during the account of the death of her son and with a look of loss, his interpretation makes him seem less of a mother who is insane, but rather one who is simply desperate and exhausted by a fruitless search for her lost child.

Damien Dutilleul, Olyrix

James Oxley is a splendid tenor. Creating a painful empathy, he portrays his character in troubled form, bald and in a beautiful long dress. The singing is bare, pure, one of rare truth. The voice, clear and as colourful as could be hoped for, is easy in all registers and in all its emission, with the strength and smoothness which is required by the text. Whether it is the expressive chanting or the melisma in the upper register, James Oxley marvels.

Yvan Beuvard, Forum Opera

In the role of the Madwoman, James Oxley – dressed in a blue evening gown – is imposing in his sobriety and concentration. The singing is never plaintive and his appearance never ridiculous. It is a beautiful performance.

Olivier Mabille, Res Musica

The central role of the Madwoman is assigned to James Oxley, an extraordinary tenor with a sonorous voice who really performs the considerable technical challenges of the score. From the recto tono chanting to the contorted singing in the upper register, everything seems easy. He gives an amazing vividness to his character, despite his appearance: bald and wearing a long dress.

Musicologie.org

Bach St Matthew Passion, Three Choirs Festival

Hereford Cathedral (July 2015)

With players of this quality and a stellar cast of soloists it was always going to be a special evening, but few could have been prepared for the dramatic intensity of evangelist James Oxley’s performance. For three hours he lived the role, singing without a copy, freighting each utterance, first with urgency and then resigned solemnity as his narrative slid towards the inevitability of Golgatha.

Stephen Prichard, The Observer

J.S. Bach’s St Matthew Passion, led by a staggeringly fluent Evangelist, James Oxley.

Roderic Dunnett, bachtrack.com

The Evangelist…exquisitely performed by James Oxley.

Spencer Allman, Hereford Times

Bach St Matthew Passion, Royal Northern Sinfonia / Zehetmair

The Sage Gateshead (April 2014)

The two principal actors in the story, the Evangelist and Christ, were brought vividly to life as real people. James Oxley’s clear-voiced Evangelist was never a detached story-teller; this was a fiercely characterful narrator, who made his opinions clear, particularly his disdain for those such as Judas and Pilate who stumble in the face of moral challenges.

Jane Shuttleworth, bachtrack.com

The choir was in characteristic top form and was joined by strong cast of soloists, not least being tenor James Oxley, who as Evangelist drove the narrative forward with an engaging dynamism.

Gavin Engelbrecht, The Northern Echo

Bach Christmas Music, The King’s Consort

Wigmore Hall (December 2013)

James Oxley’s sequence of arias and recitatives in a Kuhnau chorale-setting was delivered with consummate artistry.

Michael Church, The Independent

Wie Schön Leuchtet Der Morgenstern – Kuhnau’s rich setting of Philipp Nicolai’s 1597 Christmas hymn – showcased the group’s attention to textual nuance, most notably in the case of the solo tenor James Oxley.

Hannah Nepil, Financial Times

Handel Solomon (Zadok), Wiener Akademie

Theater an der Wien (March 2013)

In the male roles tenor James Oxley… had a beautiful voice.

Renate Wagner, Der neue Merker

James Oxley had exemplary diction.

Marion Eigl, Kurier

Bach B Minor Mass, Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra

Auckland Town Hall (October 2012)

English tenor James Oxley gave us a clear, strong Benedictus, singing from memory, floating over the lovely sounds of flautist Catherine Bowie and Eliah Sakakushev von Bismarck's cello.

The New Zealand Herald

Best of all the soloists was tenor James Oxley. Despite the punishingly high tessitura, he delivered a Benedictus both attractively plangent and effortlessly accurate. He joined Macliver for a most beautiful rendition of the Domine Deus duet, pure voices blending exquisitely.

bachtrack.com

Evangelist (St John Passion), Northern Sinfonia, The Sage Gateshead

(April 2011)

James Oxley was a delightful Evangelist, engaging the audience with a real sense of story-telling and clearly relishing the ornamental passages of the recitative.

Jane Shuttleworth, Bachtrack

Evangelist (St John Passion), Dunedin Consort, St Mary’s Metropolitan Cathedral, Edinburgh

(April 2011)

...James Oxley [was] an urgent and vocally compelling Evangelist.

Kate Molleson, The Guardian

Bath Philharmonia: An English Christmas

(December 2010)

It was quite beautifully sung by tenor James Oxley, who found all the reflective intensity which gives the piece its emotional
power. This was a memorable musical experience which provided a quite different insight into the Christmas story that was
profoundly moving.

Peter Lloyd Williams, The Bath Chronicle

Orpheus (Orpheus Projekt), Theater Dortmund

(June 2010)

James Oxley mastered the tenor part outstandingly, word perfect and highly expressive with his charmingly beautiful and flexible voice. (...) Oxley performs impressively throughout, with a never-tiring voice and the demanding physical stamina which the role requires.

Westfälische Rundschau

Oxley has a beautiful, lyrical and high tenor voice (...)

Julia Gaß, Ruhr Nachrichten

RSNO Messiah, Glasgow Royal Concert Hall

(Jan 2010)

the lean and intense tenor James Oxley

Michael Tumelty, Herald Scotland

Acis (Acis und Galatea), Reinsberg Festival / Martin Haselböck

(July 2010)

James Oxley as Acis (…) is musically flawless, confident in style, and displays some stunning acting.

Oliver A. Láng, Kultur

The Lighthouse, (Maxwell Davies), Buxton Festival

(July 2009)

The youthful anguish of James Oxley’s high tenor is a good match for Sandy, spinner of erotic romance (…)

Geoff Brown, The Times

James Oxley Opera Repertoire

BERNSTEIN

Candide (title role)

BRITTEN

The Prodigal Son
The Rape of Lucretia (Male Chorus)

CHARPENTIER

Actéon (title role)

DELIBES

Lakme (Gérald)

FAURÉ

Pénélope (Antinoüs)

GLUCK

Orphée et Euridyce (Orphée)

HANDEL

Acis and Galatea (Acis)
Ariodante (Lurcanio)

MAXWELL-DAVIES

The Lighthouse (Sandy)

MONTEVERDI

L’incoronazione di Poppea (Lucano)

MOZART

Cosi fan tutte (Ferrando)
Die Entführung aus dem Serail (Belmonte)
Idomeneo (Arbace)
Il Re Pastore (Alessandro)

PURCELL

King Arthur

SCHUMANN

Der Rose Pilgerfahrt

STRAUSS

Die Liebe der Danae (Merkur)
Intermezzo (Stroh)

TCHAIKOVSKY

Eugene Onegin (Lensky)

WAGNER

The Flying Dutchman (Steersman)

James Oxley Concert Repertoire

BEETHOVEN

Missa Solemnis

BRITTEN

Serenade for Tenor, Horn and Strings
St Nicholas

HANDEL

Acis and Galatea
Alexander's Feast
Israel in Egypt
Messiah

HAYDN

Creation

LULLY

Alceste

MOZART

Great Mass

PURCELL

Fairy Queen

RAMEAU

Les Indes Galantes

SCHUMANN

Dichterliebe

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