Paul Whelan

Bass-baritone

"New Zealand-born bass baritone Paul Whelan brought a dark, brooding intensity to the role of Christus..."

Laura Kate Wilson, Bachtrack

"La palme […] de la révélation musicale [revient] à Paul Whelan qui incarne un Sénèque rectiligne et revêtu d’une autorité naturelle."

Sébastien Foucart, Concertonet

"Paul Whelan was an impressive young Wotan - his final confrontation with Alberich had the glow of truth and humanity"

William Dart, New Zealand Herald

"Paul Whelan incrane un Sénèque noble et convaincant."

Michel Le Naour, ConcertClassic.com

"Paul Whelan... delivered a solidly sung account and a disturbing dramatic one (as Raimondo at ENO)."

Alexander Campbell, Classical Source

"...the befuddlement of a sensationally headstrong, young King Mark (Paul Whelan, whose wondrous tone resounds from top to bottom of his register)."

The Arts Desk

"Paul Whelan mediated charm with chill as Nick Shadow, the smoothest of villains. Forceful in solo work, he was seductively watchable, enticing the hapless Tom to ignominy and death."

William Dart, NZ Herald

"Paul Whelan is a stalwart and focused Banquo."

Hilary Finch, The Times

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Paul Whelan begins the 2017-18 season at the Lyric Opera of Kansas City in the role of Gremin Eugene Onegin. He travels to Norway for performances of Haydn Creation with the Norwegian Arctic Philharmonic Orchestra. Back in the US Mr. Whelan sings the role of Hagen in selections from Götterdämmerung with the Jacksonville Symphony.

In recent seasons, bass-baritone Paul Whelan stepped into the roles of Nettuno, Tempo and Antinoo Il ritorno d'Ulisse in patria at The Grange Festival for which he received enthusiastic reviews. He recently added the role of Sarastro Die Zauberflöte to his repertoire which he sang at Hawaii Opera Theatre; in Geneva he joined the Grand Theatre for their new production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream as Quince, and he appeared at Gothenburg Opera for the role of Claudio Hamlet in a new production by Stephen Langridge for which he won sterling reviews.

Recent highlights include the role of Daland Der fliegende Holländer at Hawaii Opera Theatre and New Zealand Opera, Giorgio I Puritani at Boston Lyric Opera and Victorian Opera, and his role debuts as Nick Shadow The Rake’s Progress for Opera New Zealand, Banco Macbeth at Opera North in the UK, and Titurel Parsifal with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra under Andris Nelsons.

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

Eugene Onegin, Lyric Opera of Kansas City

October 2017

...the magnanimous Gremin (Paul Whelan) and humorous Triquet (Steven Cole), making for a solid, authentic performance. 

The Kansas City Star, Libby Hanssen, 1 October 2017

Outside of the principal quartet, the cast is filled with marvellous vocal talents. Paul Whelan, bass, demonstrates that one can appear in a single scene and still steal the show. His aria as Prince Gremin (“All men surrender to Love’s power”) is sweet and tender, while his bass notes are strong and resonant.

KC Metropolis, Anthony Rodgers, 1 October 2017

What threw Act III for a loop was Paul Whelan’s Prince Gremin: He was such an appealing figure that his famous “Lyubvi vse vozrastï” aria, sung with a gorgeously inflected basso, made us feel that Tatyana had made quite a good choice. Instead of the dumpy dotard that Gremin is often made out to be, Paul was not just the tallest but perhaps the most appealing man onstage, and arguably the best actor. Even though Tatyana was indeed “settling,” she didn’t marry just for fame-and-fortune after all: Gremin is a decent guy, and actually not that bad-looking!

Kansas City Independent, Paul Horsley, 2 October 2017

New Zealand-born bass-baritone Paul Whelan, who made his Lyric Opera debut with his first Prince Gremin, was notable for his sure-footed technique and comfortable embrace of the character.

Kyle MacMillan, Opera News USA, October 4, 2017

Smith towers over most of the cast until he encounters Paul Whelan as Prince Gremin. Whelan’s height and lovely bass-baritone voice felt like an extra twist of the knife for Onegin. Tatyana has replaced him so completely.

Marie Warner, Perform Ink Kansas City, October 2, 2017

Il ritorno d'Ulisse in patria

The Grange Festival, June 2017

There’s strong work from her three deplorable suitors – most notably a vocally resplendent Antinoo from Paul Whelan, who like one or two other cast members collects three roles over the course of the evening.

The Stage, George Hall, 8 June 2017

...other stand-out performances include those by Paul Whelan...

The Independent, Michael Church, 12 June 2017

Paul Whelan's saturnine Antinoo did sterling work.

What's on Stage, Mark Valencia, 8 June 2017

The other singers made an excellent team...the excellent bass-baritone of Paul Whelan particularly notable in the multiple roles of Time, Neptune and the leading suitor Antinous.

Mark Ronan, 8 June 2017

Hamlet, Gothenburg Opera

April 2016

King Claudius (Paul Whelan) gave a convincing portrait of a two-faced politician; … Outwardly charming and statesmanlike, he was privately more brutal and depraved, as shown in the Act 2 duet with Gertrude. Mr Whelan’s vocal delivery heightened this contrast, with the smooth, rounded sound of Act 1 giving way to a crueller, angrier bass in the Act 2 duet.

Seen and Heard International, Niklas Smith, 20 April

Paul Whelan was imposing as Claudius.

Opera Now, Andrew Mellor, June 2016

King Claudius (Paul Whelan) is an example of regal authority and temperament.

Carlhåkan Larsén, Opus, 11 April

Bass-bariton interpreted the role of King Claudius. His interpretation is a very credible one, and his dark voice reaches all corners of the hall.

Thorvald Pellby Petterson Sverige Radio, 9 April

Vocal splendour from Paul Whelan as King Claudius.

Afton Bladet, Lennart Bromander, 12 April

A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Grand Theatre Geneve

December 2015

Paul Whelan’s portrayal of Quince was wonderfully sonorous.

Klaus Kalchschmid, Klassikinfo.de, 21 November 2015

I Puritani, Victorian Opera

July 2015

Excellent singing also from Paul Whelan as Elvira's kindly uncle, Sir Giorgio...

Michael Shmith, The Sydney Morning Herald (3 July 2015)

Solid support was provided by baritone and bass Nathan Lay and Paul Whelan, ....“Cinta di fiori” was lovingly done with the repeated ascending and descending intervals carefully placed.

Simon Holden, Bachtrack.com (4 July 2015)

The other men were admirable too, especially Paul Whelan (Giorgio Valton), an immensely tall young New Zealander who recently sang the role for the first time with the Boston Lyric Opera. His long Act One duet with Elvira and the aria ‘Cinta di fiori’, which precedes her Act Two mad scene, were highlights of the evening.

Peter Rose, Australian Book Review (6 July 2015)

New Zealand Bass Paul Whelan as Sir Giorgio had a commanding presence. He delivered us a multi-faceted statesman – assured and confident at the same time as tender and loving to Elvira. His voice is rich and sonorous with great power; his character assertive and secure.

Gregory Pritchard, Concertonet.com (July 2015)

As Elvira’s warm and fair-minded uncle, Sir Giorgio Valton (not much sense of a rigid Cromwellian Puritan there), Paul Whelan gave a resonant account of his arias and ensembles. His character drives much of the political element of the opera, but is really more important in providing an occasion for wonderful music. His duets with Elvira’s other suitor, the jealous Sir Ricardo (Nathan Lay) and his brother, Lord Gualtiero (Jeremy Kleeman) were splendidly sung by all three.

Heather Levistone, Classic Melbourne, (7 July 2015)

As Elvira's uncle Sir Giorgio Valton, bass-baritone Paul Whelan's experience in the role showed, portraying a compassionate and trusted mediating force with exemplary diction and a fireside-warmth of tone.

Opera Chaser (4 July 2015)

Jeremy Kleeman and Paul Whelan offered strong vocal characterisations as the Governor-General and his brother.

Peter Burch, The Australian (6 July 2015)

Other standout performances came from Nathan Lay as the Puritan Sir Riccardo and Paul Whelan as Elvira’s uncle Sir Giorgio. Lay’s rich lower register complemented Whelan’s warm tone remarkably well, especially in the second act.

Michael Hammelmann, Cutcommon.com (July 2015)

Parsifal, CBSO

May 2015

Paul Whelan’s Titurel, sung from high above the orchestra near the organ, was especially powerful.

David Karlin, Bachtrack

The soloists were outstanding, every one an experienced, totally assured Wagner singer and the drama was fiercely etched...

Andrew Clements, The Guardian

Paul Whelan was a sonorous Titurel.

Alexander Campbell, Classical Source

This was an outstanding cast ... Paul Whelan’s sepulchral Titurel...

Anna Picard, The Spectator

The Flying Dutchman, Hawaii Opera Theater

February 2015

Bass-baritone Paul Whelan (Daland, Senta’s father)... in (his) HOT debut, delivered (a) fine performance as well.

Ruth Bingham, Honolulu Pulse

I Puritani, Boston Lyric Opera

May 2014

His voluminous bass-baritone was expressively sympathetic in their scenes together.

Angelo Mao, Boston Classical Review

Whelan’s instrument was remarkably clear throughout its range; he provided, both aurally and visually, a sweet, powerful and awkward opposition to Coburn’s natural grace. His giddy excitement at her happiness balanced his sorrow at her madness.

Joseph E. Morgan, The Boston Musical Intelligencer

Paul Whelan is a commanding presence as Sir George Walton, Elvira’s sympathetic uncle, stalwart in his “Liberty Duet” with Richard.

Jeffrey Gantz, The Boston Globe

Luckily bass-baritone Paul Whelan (another rising star) was given a bit more rein as Elvira's commanding uncle, and used it to full advantage; with Cook's help he made the opera's famous "Liberty Duet" sternly rousing.

Thomas Garvey, The Hub Review

Bass Paul Whelan, singing the role of her uncle and supporter Giorgio, sang with force and intelligence as well, his voice pushed to equally demanding extremes. His aria "Cinta di fiori," at a pivotal moment in act two, had real passion.

Keith Powers, Milford Daily News

Macbeth, Opera North

February 2014

Paul Whelan is a stalwart and focused Banquo.

Hilary Finch, The Times

The minor parts are strongly cast, headed by Paul Whelan's authoritative Banquo.

Ron Simpson, What’s on Stage

Paul Whelan’s rich baritone and his attention to fine details turn his Banquo into a major presence.

Richard Wilcocks, Bachtrack

Paul Whelan’s tall, charismatic Banquo... comes into his own during his supernatural second coming, nonchalantly discarding his jacket, shirt and waistcoat in front of a terrified Macbeth.

Graham Rickson, The Arts Desk

Paul Whelan as Banquo and Jung Soo Yun as Macduff, added huge depth of feeling to their characters with their glorious voices

Richard Trindler, Yorkshire times

The tall and imposing figure of New Zealand bass Paul Whelan in his Opera North debut creates a richly sonorous Banquo in his opening duet with Macbeth and really comes into his own as the Ghost of Banquo.

Opera Britannia

Excellent singing is showcased throughout. Bela Perencz is an imposing Macbeth with a stunning voice that soars across the theatre and he is equally matched by Paul Whelan as Banquo.

Malcolm Wallace

Paul Whelan sings Banquo with a rich baritone voice.

Gavin Englebrecht, The Northern Echo

This ambitious and imaginative production is blessed with two powerful leads [...] and notable performances from Paul Whelan.

Paul Hindle, Nottingham Post

The Rake’s Progress, Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra

August 2013

Paul Whelan mediated charm with chill as Nick Shadow, the smoothest of villains. He was seductively watchable, enticing the hapless Tom to ignominy and death.

William Dart, NZ Herald

Wagner Concert, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic

June 2013

... a sensationally headstrong, young King Mark (baritone Paul Whelan, whose wondrous tone resounds from top to bottom of his register).

Roderick Dunnett, The Arts Desk

Paul Whelan's Concert Repertoire

BACH

St Matthew Passion
St John Passion
St John Passion
Cantatas - Ich Habe Genug

BARBER

Dover Beach

BRAHMS

Requiem

DELIUS

Sea Drift
Requiem

DVORAK

Stabat Mater
Requiem 

ELGAR

Dream of Gerontius
The Apostles

HANDEL

Messiah
Saul
Judas Maccabeus
Theodora

HAYDN

Nelson Mass
Pauken Mass
Theresian Mass
The Creation

MAHLER

Des Knaben Wunderhorn

MENDELSSOHN

Elijah

MOZART

Requiem
Mass in C Minor


MUSSORGSKY

Songs and Dances of Death

RACHMANINOFF

The Bells

ROSSINI

Petite Messe Solennelle
Stabat Mater

SCHOENBERG

Gurrelieder

STANFORD

Songs of the Fleet

SZYMANOVSKY

Stabat Mater

VAUGHAN WILLIAMS

Fantasia on Christmas Carols
Dona Nobis Pacem

VERDI

Requiem

WALTON

Belshazzar's Feast

Paul Whelan’s Operatic Repertoire

BARTOK

Bluebeard's Castle (Bluebeard)

BEETHOVEN

Fidelio (Don Pizarro)*

BELLINI

I Puritani (Sir Giorgio)

BERLIOZ

Damnation de Faust (Mephistopheles)

BRITTEN

Billy Budd (Flint; Claggart)
The Rape of Lucretia (Collatinus)

DEAN

Bliss (Harry Joy)

DEBUSSY

Pelleas et Melisande (Golaud)*

DONIZETTI

Lucia di Lammermoor (Raimondo)
Maria Stuarda (Talbot)

FLOYD

Susannah (Blitch)*

HANDEL

Saul (title role)
Rinaldo (Argante)
Theodora (Valens)

MASSENET

Don Quichotte (title role)

MONTEVERDI

L'incoronazione di Poppea (Seneca)

MOZART

Cosi fan tutte (Don Alfonso)*
Don Giovanni (title role)
Die Zauberflöte (Sarastro)
Le Nozze di Figaro (Figaro)

MUSSORGSKY

Boris Godunov (title role)*

OFFENBACH

Les contes d'Hoffmann (Four Villains)

RACHMANINOFF

The Miserly Knight (title role)

ROSSINI

La Cenerentola (Alidoro)

STRAVINSKY

The Rake's Progress (Nick Shadow)

TCHAIKOVSKY

Eugene Onegin (Prince Gremin)

VERDI

Aida (Ramfis)
Macbeth (Banco)

WAGNER

Das Rheingold (Wotan)
Der fliegende Holländer (Daland)
Parsifal (Titurel)
Tristan und Isolde (King Marke)

* in preparation

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