"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
In recent seasons, bass-baritone Paul Whelan 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 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.
Other past successes include the artist’s return to Opera Australia as Ramfis Aida, and an appearance at Grant Park Music Festival in Chicago for Beethoven’s Mass in C. He sang Jesus in fully staged performances of St. Matthew Passion in Brisbane, and appeared as Seneca in a new production of L’Incoronazione di Poppea in Lille and Dijon. Other notable appearances include Theseus in the new production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream for English National Opera, Collatinus The Rape of Lucretia for Opera Norway as well as Bach’s St. Matthew Passion for the Leeds International Concert Season. Additionally, he appeared at Glyndebourne in two other roles: Claggart in their new production of Billy Budd, and Alidoro La Cenerentola. He sang his first Wotan in Das Rheingold with the Auckland Philharmonic to critical acclaim.
Paul is a winner of the Cardiff Singer of the World Lieder Prize.
This biography is for information only and should not be reproduced.
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
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
Paul Whelan’s portrayal of Quince was wonderfully sonorous.
Klaus Kalchschmid, Klassikinfo.de, 21 November 2015
I Puritani, Victorian Opera
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)
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
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
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
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.
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.
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
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
... 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
St Matthew Passion
Dream of Gerontius
Des Knaben Wunderhorn
Songs and Dances of Death
Petite Messe Solennelle
Songs of the Fleet
Fantasia on Christmas Carols
Paul Whelan’s Operatic Repertoire
Bluebeard's Castle (Bluebeard)
Fidelio (Don Pizarro)*
I Puritani (Sir Giorgio)
Damnation de Faust (Mephistopheles)
Billy Budd (Flint; Claggart)
Bliss (Harry Joy)
Pelleas et Melisande (Golaud)*
Lucia di Lammermoor (Raimondo)
Saul (title role)
Don Quichotte (title role)
L'incoronazione di Poppea (Seneca)
Cosi fan tutte (Don Alfonso)*
Boris Godunov (title role)*
Les contes d'Hoffmann (Four Villains)
The Miserly Knight (title role)
La Cenerentola (Alidoro)
The Rake's Progress (Nick Shadow)
Eugene Onegin (Prince Gremin)
Das Rheingold (Wotan)
* in preparation