John Chest


"The voice itself is both beautiful and immediately engaging, virile but distinguished by an appealing vulnerability and urgent catch in the timbre."


"The poised intensity of Chest’s presence and delivery complements the dark, rich colours in his voice, but the quicksilver wit of Rossini’s Figaro is also in his armoury..."

Opera Now

"In the title role [of Billy Budd], John Chest sounded tenorishly clear and agile, reserving a fuller, fleshier sound for the ‘Darbies’ solo."


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American baritone John Chest is winner of the prestigious 2010 Stella Maris International Vocal Competition and was a finalist in the BBC Cardiff Singer of the World competition in 2017. He has recently been awarded a Richard Tucker Music Foundation Career Grant. Until September 2016 he was a member of the ensemble at the Deutsche Oper Berlin, where his roles included the title role of Billy Budd in a new production by David Alden, Valentin Faust, Ford Falstaff, Silvio Pagliacci, Figaro Il barbiere di Siviglia, Papageno Die Zauberflöte, Guglielmo Cosi fan tutte, and Il Conte Almaviva Le nozze di Figaro.

Highlights of the 2018-19 season include his house debuts at the Teatro Real Madrid (Valentin Faust) and Den Norske Opera (Belcore L’elisir d’amore), as well as his role debut as Heathcliff in Bernard Hermann’s Wuthering Heights (Opéra national de Lorraine).

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Heathcliff, Wuthering Heights

Opéra national de Lorraine, May 2019

Baritone John Chest is irreproachable, expressing a complete palette of feelings in the role of Heathcliff. The voice goes from chilling darkness to cautious jealousy with an unsettling ease that almost makes the character endearing.

Christian Dalzon,, 5 May 2019 (translated)

John Chest and Marcelo Amaral / Die Schöne Magelone

Alpha Classics; ALPHA421 / release date 11 January 2019

The voice itself is both beautiful and immediately engaging, virile but distinguished by an appealing vulnerability and urgent catch in the timbre. His German is impeccable, too, his way with Tieck’s words natural, engaged and engaging. He’s matched by vivid, supportive playing from the outstanding Brazilian pianist Marcelo Amaral

Hugo Shirley, Gramophone

...his German attentively enunciated, setting out his stall with heroic declamatory zeal. The headstrong optimism of 'Traun!' radiates virile conviction, and the long arc of 'Sind es Schmerzen' unfolds a sensitively shaped trajectory. The operatic heft of ‘Wie soll ich die Freude’ whips up a tortured storm in singer and pianist alike; ‘Verzweiflung’ generates a churning vortex of despair; while ‘Wie schnell verschwindet’ is lovingly cast as a Schubertian refugee refashioned in Brahms’s image

Paul Riley, BBC Music Magazine

Pelléas in Debussy's Pelléas et Mélisande, Glyndebourne Festival Opera

Glyndebourne Festival Opera, July 2018

Christopher Purves and John Chest play off each other as Golaud and Pelléas to wondrous effect. Golaud’s rage and pathos is heartrending, while Chest’s warm baritone pervades the story with a thread of marvellously sustained beauty.

Michael Church, The Independent, July 2018

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