James Way


"It was the tenor James Way who took the breath away, however, with his immaculate tonal control and the astonishing maturity of his musicianship."

Barry Millington, The Evening Standard

"Tenor James Way offered bravura passagework in a defiant and crisp ‘Thou Shalt Break Them’, and ... impressive mesa di voce in ‘Comfort ye’."

Benjamin Poore, Music OMH

"Of the cast we heard I would say she has picked three knockout performers... James Way as Sellem gave the auction scene more snap, crackle and pop than anyone else achieved."

Richard Morrison, The Times

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Tenor James Way is fast gaining international recognition for the versatility of his voice and commanding stage presence. James is passionate about a career taking in a variety of music as both performer and artistic director. Having followed his initial interest in baroque music through the young artist programmes of Les Arts Florissants and the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment he immediately became in demand as a soloist for conductors including William Christie, Rene Jacobs, Harry Bicket and Trevor Pinnock.

The versatility of his voice means he is equally comfortable in later repertoire and has a particular affinity for the music of Britten and Stravinsky. His performances include Flute in Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream with Dalia Stasevska, The Son in Laurent Pelly's production of Les Mamelles de Tiresias (winner of Best New Opera Production at the 2022 Opera Awards) with Robin Ticciati both for Glyndebourne Festival, Holy Fool Boris Godunov with the Philharmonia Orchestra under Jakub Hrůša and Lechmere Owen Wingrave for Grange Park Opera, and a number of performances of Stravinsky Pulcinella with orchestras including the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra, Swedish Radio Orchestra, Copenhagen Philharmonic with Barbara Hannigan, Scottish Chamber Orchestra and Orchestra Sinfonica de Milano with Alpesh Chauhan OBE.

This coming season’s highlights include Handel’s La Resurrezione with Marc Minkowski, the Young King in George Benjamin’s Lessons in Love and Violence with Orchestre de Paris conducted by the composer, Acis & Galatea (Acis) and L’incoronazione di Poppea (Lucano) with Harry Bicket and the English Concert as well as a recital at the Oxford Lieder Festival with pianist Natalie Burch.

His recent performances include Zadok (Solomon) with Harry Bicket & the English Concert at Carnegie Hall, Lurcanio (Ariodante) with Il Pomo d’Oro, Bach St Matthew Passion with Les Talens Lyriques under Christophe Rousset and as the Evangelist with the Irish Baroque Orchestra and Peter Whelan. As artistic director he has led concerts including Schütz A Christmas Story and Handel 9 German Arias with Rachel Podger in a new English translation by Jeremy Sams at St Martin-in-the-Fields.

In demand as an interpreter of Handel, his performances of Messiah have won praise with orchestras internationally including Handel & Haydn Society Boston, Les Arts Florissants, Freiburger Barockorchester, Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment and Dunedin Consort. His debut as Jupiter in Handel Semele at the Musikverein was the start in a long line of Handel roles including Samson (title role), Acis and Damon Acis & Galatea Tempo Il Trionfo del Tempo e Disinganno, Lurcanio (Ariodante) as well as tenor soloist in Israel in Egypt, Foundling Anthem and L’allegro, il Penseroso ed il Moderato.

James has a growing discography including Handel L’Allegro, il Penseroso ed il Moderato with Les Arts Florissants and William Christie and Stanford Requiem with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, on Hyperion, ‘Songs of Faith, Love and Nonsense,' a disk of Stanford songs recorded with Roderick Williams and Andrew West, Purcell's Fairy Queen with Gabrieli Consort, conducted by Paul McCreesh and King Arthur, which won BBC Music Magazine's Recording of the Year.

James is a former Britten-Pears Young Artist, he is also a laureate of William Christie’s Les Arts Florissants ‘Jardin des Voix’ and the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment’s Rising Stars young artist programmes and was awarded an Independent Opera Voice Fellowship. He was the winner of the Second Prize in the 62nd Kathleen Ferrier Awards at Wigmore Hall.

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

Britten's 'A Midsummer Night's Dream' (Flute)

Garsington / Jun-July 2024

'There are other highly commendable performances in this cast, notably James Way as the cross-dressing Flute, who came closer than anyone to achieving a genuine comic effect as well as having a fine voice.'

Simon Heffer, The Telegraph

'James Way’s Flute, expiring in an extravagant red ballgown, plucks the heartstrings as the dying Thisbe'

Neil Fisher, The Times

'there are delightful cameos from James Way’s Flute, a true prima donna in Thisbe’s flowing red ballgown'

Richard Fairman, Financial Times

BENJAMIN Lessons in Love and Violence

Orchestre de Paris (October 2023)

"La clarté du chant de James Way et son physique juvénile donnent un crédit certain au personnage du Garçon et futur Jeune Roi, le jeune ténor maîtrisant parfaitement le passage en voix mixte exigé par endroits."

"The clarity of James Way's singing and his youthful physique give certain credit to the character of the Boy and future Young King, the young tenor perfectly mastering the passage into mixed voice required in places."

Sonia Hossein-Pour, Forum Opera

"La silhouette fragile de James Way ainsi que sa voix, ronde et juvénile, avec des aigus très clairs, conviennent parfaitement à l’innocence du Jeune Roi : tout comme son chant très naturel, qui surprend d’autant plus quand le personnage se révèle à son tour capable de cruauté."

"The fragile silhouette of James Way as well as his voice, round and youthful, with very clear high notes, suit perfectly the innocence of the Young King: just like his very natural singing, which surprises all the more when the character reveals himself to his turn capable of cruelty."


"Le ténor du jeune Roi/James Way, mis en valeur dans une dernière scène suffocante, n’en est pas moins rayonnant, d’une grande clarté d’élocution, dont le registre flirte avec celui du contre-ténor."

"The tenor of the young King/James Way, highlighted in a last suffocating scene, is no less radiant, with great clarity of speech, whose register flirts with that of the countertenor."

Michèle Tosi, ResMusica

"Le rôle du fils du Roi est admirablement incarné par James Way. L’innocence juvénile du personnage est soutenue par des aigus magnifiquement ronds et purs, à l’instar d’un Evangéliste dans une Passion de Bach. À la fin de l’ouvrage, cette voix semble se corrompre, chargée d’un grain de voix nouveau, jusqu’à la tirade finale, où le ténor expose la vengeance de son père d’une autorité sentencielle, sans pitié."

"The role of the King's son is admirably played by James Way. The character's youthful innocence is supported by magnificently round and pure high notes, like an Evangelist in a Bach Passion. At the end of the work, this voice seems to corrupt, loaded with a new grain of voice, until the final tirade, where the tenor exposes his father's revenge with a sentential, merciless authority."

Nicolas Mathieu, Premiére Loge Opera

"L’autre ténor, le fils du roi, est chanté par James Way, voix claire qui impressionne par sa maîtrise totale lors de sa dernière déclaration quand il reçoit la couronne après cette cruelle leçon d’amour et de violence."

"The other tenor, the king's son, is sung by James Way, a clear voice which impresses with its total mastery during his last declaration when he receives the crown after this cruel lesson in love and violence."

Helene Adam, Cult.News

PURCELL King Arthur

Early Opera Company (September 2023)

If there is a more rousing rendition of ‘Come if you dare’ than Way’s, I have yet to hear it.

Eric McElroy, Opera Today

BRITTEN A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Flute)

Glyndebourne (July/August 2023)

The tenor James Way (Flute) and basses Patrick Guetti (Snug) and Henry Waddington (Quince) stood out among his partners

Roger Parker, Opera Magazine

Solomon (Zadok)

The English Concert, US and European tour, March 2023

In this performance by the open, frank voice of tenor James Way [...] one felt one’s scepticism dropping away.

Ivan Hewett, The Telegraph

It was set alight here in the very first aria by the tenor James Way, whose delivery, combining animation and nuance, is that of a true Handelian.

Barry Millington, The Evening Standard

[The] superlative James Way (Zadok), another one in that endless quarry of magnificent baroque tenors that is the United Kingdom. Way was, without a doubt, the soloist who stood out the most, especially in the third act aria Golden columns, fair and bright , in which the priest Zadok extols the greatness and beauty of the temple ordered to be erected by Solomon.

(translated from Spanish)

Eduardo Torrico, Scherzo

The role was elegantly performed by tenor James Way.

Nicholas Jones, San Francisco Classical Voice

Only the tenor role of Zadok the Priest is heavy on ornamentation, handled gamely [...] on Sunday by James Way.

Zachary Woolfe, New York Times

HANDEL L'Allegro, il Penseroso ed il Moderato

Les Arts Florissants, European Tour (March 2022)

None was livelier than the tenor James Way. Usually presenting the cheerful point of view, he put his bright mark on every note and syllable, even when the syllables formed phrases such as “Stygian”, “Cerberus”, or “Jonson’s learned sock”.

Geoff Brown, The Times

…a team of outstanding soloists…

Barry Millington, Evening Standard

Tenor James Way was a strong presence throughout, singing with good tone, a relish for the text, and an athletic coloratura. In “Haste thee, nymph”, he sang its final line of “laughter holding both his sides”, which Handel sets as “ho-ho-ho-ho-holding”, with shoulder-shaking jollity.

Roy Westbrook, bachtrack

"L’Anglais James Way, de son côté, souligne l’importance du Jardin des Voix, qui dit-il « est indubitablement un programme qui alimente la passion d’interpréter la musique baroque ». Et cela se sent, autant dans sa manière de projeter le son que dans son articulation parfaite. Bref, un interprète qui a trouvé sa voie aussi bien dans ce genre musical que dans Bach et Britten, aussi à l’aise dans l’humour que dans le sentiment."

"The Englishman James Way, for his part, stresses the importance of the Garden of Voices, which he says "is undoubtedly a program that feeds the passion to interpret baroque music". And this is felt, as much in his way of projecting the sound as in his perfect articulation. In short, a performer who has found his way as well in this musical genre as in Bach and Britten, as comfortable in humor as in feeling."

Jean-Marcel Humbert, Forum Opera

HANDEL L'Allegro, il Penseroso ed il Moderato

Les Arts Florissants, European Tour (December 2021)

Handel wrote colourful songs for the tenor, which James Way played with sharp articulation.

Franz Straatman, Opera Magazine.nl

You and the tenor should laugh - also true to the premiere - to the aria "Haste thee, nymph" L'Allegros, in which it actually shook you heartily, just like James Way, with the playful, relaxed, fluid and mischievous lightness of being. Also contagious is his mischievous, clear, winning laissez-faire, which adapts to all counter-arguments, and his dictated, playful plunge into pleasure, to which the choir with its casual or festively strengthened savoir chanter jumped.

Jens Klier, Bachtrack

Among newcomers, the tenor James Way has a powerful and well-placed organ, and above all an extremely clear and precise diction, thanks to which one does not lose a word of the text.

Pierre Degott, ResMusica

BRITTEN Owen Wingrave

Grange Park Opera – film (December 2020)

Tenor James Way shines youthfully as Owen’s friend Lechmere.

Mark Valencia, Bachtrack

James Way offers an innocent rather than brutish Lechmere, honeyed and boyish in tone.

Benjamin Poore, Opera Wire

… here [James Way’s] ardent tenor is just right for Lechmere’s impetuosity and over-enthusiasm, and he captures, too, both the immaturity and remorse that Lechmere displays in Act 2.

Claire Seymour, Opera Today

HANDEL Il trionfo del Tempo e del Disinganno

Opéra Orchestre National de Montpellier (February 2020)

James Way demonstrates expressive qualities in the role of Tempo and vocalises with ease …

Laurent Bury, Forum Opera

James Way is a bright Tempo … completely legitimate and convincing. The voice is very well carried and integrates easily with the whole.

Elodie Martinez, Opera Online

James Way’s Tempo is distinguished by a gallant clarity.

Gilles Charlassier, Toute La Culture

HANDEL Messiah

Freiburg Baroque Orchestra tour (December 2019)

The young tenor James Way … in turn tender, hushed and valiant.

Julian Sykes, Le Temps

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