Matthew Brook

Bass-baritone

"Matthew Brook, who turns anything he sings to gold"

Stephen Pritchard, The Guardian

"Mathew Brook was outstanding. His firm, well-focused voice was ideally suited to the music and his diction was impeccable."

John Quinn, Seen and Heard International

"Matthew Brook’s arias were rare gems of poignant phrasing rested in dramatic accuracy"

Australian Stage

"The monster Polypheme in a monstrously satisfying performance by Matthew Brook: one of the most compelling giants on disc"

BBC Radio 3 CD Review

"Matthew Brook’s virile bass is outstanding"

The Times

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Matthew Brook is known for his honest and open portrayal of characters whether on the opera or concert stage. He leapt to fame with his 2007 Gramophone Award-winning recording of Handel’s Messiah with the Dunedin Consort, followed by equally critically acclaimed recordings of Acis and Galatea and St Matthew Passion. He has appeared as a soloist throughout Europe, Australia, North and South America and the Far East, and has worked with many of the world's leading conductors. He has developed a world-wide reputation for his interpretation of the music of J.S Bach and George Frederic Handel but his musical tastes stretch far beyond this, often performing new commissions.

Other concert repertoire he performs regularly include pieces such as Beethoven Ninth Symphony and Missa Solemnis, Berlioz L’Enfance du Christ, Brahms’ Requiem, Elgar Dream of Gerontius, Haydn Die Schöpfung and Die Jahreszeiten, Mendelssohn Elijah, Tippett A Child of Our Time and Walton’s Belshazzar’s Feast.

Matthew has enjoyed long collaborations with conductors including Sir Andrew Davis, Harry Bicket, Bernhard Labadie, Christophe Rousset, John Nelson, Sir John Eliot Gardiner, Philippe Herreweghe, John Butt, Harry Christophers, Paul McCreesh and the late Sir Charles Mackerras, Sir Roger Norrington and Richard Hickox. He has also collaborated with Richard Tognetti, Sir Mark Elder, Emmanuelle Haïm, Laurence Equilbey, Maxim Emelyanchev, Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla and Christian Curnyn.

In 2023 Matthew made his Opéra national de Paris debut performing the role of Il Re di Scozia in a new Robert Carsen production of Ariodante under Harry Bicket. He has performed roles at Staatstheater Stuttgart, Opera Comique, Göttingen International Handel Festival, The Grand Théâtre de Luxembourg and at the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino. Some of Matthew’s roles have included Polyphemus Acis and Galatea, Aeneas Dido and Aeneas, Papageno Die Zauberflöte, Figaro Le nozze di Figaro, Leporello Don Giovanni, Kouno Der Freischütz, Garibaldo Rodelinda, Ned Keene Peter Grimes, Vicar Albert Herring, Noye Noye's Fludde, John Bunyan and Lord Hategood in Vaughan Williams's The Pilgrim’s Progress, Melchior in Menotti's Amahl and the Night Visitors, Jupiter in Rameau’s Castor et Pollux, Starek and Mayor Jenufa, Antenor and Calkas in Walton’s Troilus and Cressida, Zuniga Carmen, Argenio Imeneo, Claudio Agrippina and Seneca in L’incoronazione di Poppea. He assumed the roles of Don Alfonso and Bartolo under Sir John Elliott Gardiner as part of a big European tour including at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, Salle Pleyel, Paris, Teatro Real, Madrid and Giuseppe Verdi Opera House, Pisa.

Matthew has an extensive discography resulting in many nominations and awards including several Gramophone awards for the music of Handel and Bach and a Grammy nomination for the Mozart Requiem. His recent recording Bach: Ich habe genug with the Dunedin Consort for the Linn label won the choral award in the 2022 BBC Music Magazine Awards. Some other recording highlights include, Handel’s Ariodante with Joyce DiDonato and Il Complesso Barocco for the Erato label under Alan Curtis, Idomeneo with the late Sir Charles Mackerras for EMI, and Counsel Trial By Jury and Friar Tuck in Sullivan’s Ivanhoe with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales for Chandos records. He is also soloist for a BBC television recording of Berlioz’s L’Enfance du Christ under the late Richard Hickox.

Future releases will include a new recording of Handel’s Messiah with John Nelson, the English Concert and Choir and a recording of Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas with David Bates and La Nuova Musica.

Recent highlights include the role of Aeneas in the world premiere of Errollyn Wallen’s Dido’s Ghost co-commissioned by the Dunedin Consort with the Barbican Centre, Edinburgh International Festival, Buxton International Festival and Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra & Chorale, a return to the Edinburgh International Festival for a special performance of Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte with Maxim Emelyanchev and the SCO, and Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony with the Royal Philharmonic under Vasily Petrenko.

This season, Matthew makes his debut with Opera North in David Poutney’s “Masque of Might”, music by Purcell, conducted by Harry Bicket, returns to Grange Park Opera, and gives performances with the Czech Philharmonic, Rotterdam Philharmonic, Philharmonia Baroque, Handel and Haydn Society Boston and closer to home with the Academy of Ancient Music, English Concert, Dunedin Consort, The Hallé and Royal Northern Sinfonia to name a few.

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

CD Recording: Handel Messiah, The English Concert and John Nelson (Erato 5419774160)

(November 2023)

Bass Matthew Brook has great presence as always in his wide-ranging numbers

Lindsay Kemp, Gramophone

CD Recording: Purcell Dido and Aeneas, La Nuova Musica (Pentatone)

(September 2023)

The recording … with Fleur Barron as Dido and Matthew Brook as Aeneas…sizzles with energy.

Berta Joncus, BBC Music Magazine****

Matthew Brook’s Trojan prince is rightly portrayed not just with an air of importance but with chutzpah, which I found quite fitting given the events that follow.

Azusa Ueno, The Classical Review

Purcell Masque of Might (Sceptic, Samuel)

Opera North (October 2023)

…outstandingly stylish singing especially by … Matthew Brook as Samuel

Nicholas Kenyon, The Telegraph

It’s a smash hit… both Xavier Hetherington and Matthew Brook relished their various roles.

Melanie Eskenazi, MusicOMH

Both Matthew Brook and Andri Björn Róbertsson made strong baritone contributions in a variety of cameos.

Martin Dreyer, Opera Magazine

…profoundly moving prison scene with Hetherington and Brook using O, I'm sick of life leading to the chorus' striking rendition of Hear my prayer, O Lord. 

Robert Hugill, Planet Hugill

Mozart The Magic Flute (Speaker of the Temple/1st Priest/2nd Armed Man), Edinburgh International Festival

(August 2023)

Matthew Brook made a terrifically authoritative Speaker.

Simon Thompson, The Times

Matthew Brook … intoned impressively in the temple scenes

Andrew Clark, Opera Magazine

Handel Ariodante (Il Re di Scozia), Opéra national de Paris

Palais Garnier (April 2023)

... a remarkable partner in the person of bass-baritone Matthew Brook in the paternal role (the King). Through his voice, his way of inhabiting the space, it exudes royal dignity and juggles with a rich expressive palette: bonhomie, joy, touching paternal love, despair or inflexible rigor.

Georgiana Hatara, Bachtrack

Then we become acquainted with a King of Scotland of solid maturity (Matthew Brook)

Jean-Luc Clairet, ResMusica

Matthew Brook embodies a King of Scotland of great nobility, with powerfully projected bass.

Yves Jauneau, Forum Opera

The King of Scotland is performed with wise authority by bass-baritone Matthew Brook , whose timbre is justly noble.

Emmanuel Deroeux, Olyrix

Matthew Brook, in the role of the King, portrays a father who is both severe but loving, very hieratic and solemn.

Nathanaël Eskenazy, Première Loge

His father (Matthew Brook), with an impressive presence, paints a noble, jovial and human portrait of the King of Scotland. Agile (what vocalizations!), nuanced, masterful throughout its range.

Benedict Palaux Simonnet, Crescendo Magazine

Handel Messiah, The English Concert & John Nelson

Coventry Cathedral (November 2022)

Matthew Brook’s brilliantly delivered solo (his ‘The Trumpet Shall Sound’)…The bass Matthew Brook was another singer who managed Handel’s perilous semiquaver melismas perfectly (the ‘shake’ passages in ‘This saith the Lord of hosts’, and in ‘Why do the nations so furiously rage together?’)!

Colin Clarke, Seen and Heard International

Bach Mass in B minor, Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, BBC Prom 57

Royal Albert Hall (August 2022)

…much of the performance radiated an uplifting sense of joy. Among the soloists… Matthew Brook an effective bass

Richard Fairman, Financial Times****

Behind the warmly authoritative bass-baritone of Matthew Brook in Quoniam tu solus sanctus, Roger Montgomery’s horn solo proved tender, yearning, wistful… The trumpet-enriched Et resurrexit leapt into thrillingly new life, and Brook’s Et in Spiritum Sanctum had an ardent serenity that mixed well with Katharina Spreckelsen’s beautifully coloured oboe solo.

Boyd Tonkin, The Arts Desk****

Haydn The Creation, Handel and Haydn Society Boston

(May 2022)

The orchestra and Brook vividly portrayed the tiger’s leaps, the nimble stag’s dashing, and the noble steed’s impatient neighing. … “[i]n long dimensions creeps with sinuous trace the worm.” Brook inspired many a smile and chuckle by plumbing the bottom of his vocal range and displaying a wormlike mien. He continued, however, with alacrity into the extroverted aria “Now heav’n in fullest glory”, negotiating its plentiful coloratura with agility and assurance.

Geoffrey Wieting, The Boston Musical Intelligencer

Bach St Matthew Passion (Pilate), Carnegie Hall

(April 2022)

Another standout was Matthew Brook, who during Part I was chameleonic in arias attached to Judas and Peter but in Part II took a solemn turn: first in “Komm, suß Kreuz,” then in “Mache dich, mein Herze, rein,” which he sang soothingly, with the rocking phrases of a lullaby. That aria was all the more moving for how unforced its sentiment was. The “St. Matthew Passion” is more meditation than melodrama, and this reading carried that belief to the final measure — its dissonance barely held, the slightest tension resolving with the grace of the restfulness it’s meant to reflect.

Joshua Barone, The New York Times

CD Recording: Bach Cantatas – Ich habe genug, Dunedin Consort (Linn)

(October 2021)

The soloist is the bass-baritone Matthew Brook, a Dunedin stalwart, who brings a compelling honesty to music and words. …the grainier nature of Brook’s performance, with its moments of vocal vulnerability mixed up in the beauty of it all, has an immediacy that gets to the work’s essence.

Erica Jeal, The Guardian*****

…bass Matthew Brook’s rich tone underlines the anguish and sounds a reassuring solidity in the final triumphant bars.

Oliver Condy, BBC Music Magazine*****

Every element in ‘Ich habe genug’ feels just right - …(the) cathartic fulfilment of divine promise in Matthew Brook’s endearing truthfulness.

David Vickers, Gramophone

Bass Matthew Brook and soprano Joanne Lunn are monumental among the five-piece vocal team. …A truly moving and beautiful disc.

Ken Walton, The Scotsman

Matthew Brook Opera Repertoire

Bernstein

A Quiet Place (Young Sam)

Bizet

Carmen (Zuniga)

Britten

Albert Herring (Vicar)
Noye’s Fludde (Noye)
Peter Grimes (Ned Keene)

Handel

Acis and Galatea (Polyphemus)
Ariodante (Il Re)
Apollo et Dafne (Apollo)
Imeneo (Argenio)
Jephtha (Zadok)
Tolomeo (Eraspe)

Janáček

Jenufa (Starek) (Mayor)

Menotti

Amahl and the Night Visitors (Melchior)

Monteverdi

L'incoronazione di Poppea (Seneca)

Mozart

Don Giovanni (Leporello)
Le nozze di Figaro (Figaro)
Die Zauberflöte (Papageno)

Purcell

Dido and Aeneas (Aeneas)
The Indian Queen (Ismeron)

Puccini

Tosca (Sacristan)

Rameau

Anacréon (Anacréon)
Castor et Pollux (Jupiter)

Sullivan

Trial by Jury (Counsel)
Ivanhoe (Friar Tuck)

Tchaikovsky

Eugene Onegin (Onegin) (Zaretsky)

Vaughan Williams

The Pilgrim’s Progress (John Bunyan) (Lord Hategood) (Watchful)(Obstinate) and (First Shepherd)

Walton

Troilus and Cressida (Antenor, Calkas)

Weber

Der Freischütz (Kuno)

Matthew Brook Concert Repertoire

Bach

Magnificat including interpolations
Masses in A, G, and F
B Minor Mass
St John Passion
St Matthew Passion
Christmas Oratorio
Easter Oratorio
Cantatas including numbers: 13, 18, 27, 32, 52, 56, 62, 66, 70, 78, 82, 85, 106, 110, 132, 140, 150, 151, 152, 158, 161, 164, 165, 182, 211

JC Bach

Wie bist du den O Gott

Buxtehude

Jesu membra nostre

Beethoven

Mass in C
Choral Symphony

Berlioz

L’Enfance du Christ (all bass/baritone roles)

Blow

God spake sometime in visions

Blake

Benedictus

Brahms

Liebeslieder Waltzes
Requiem

Britten

Cantata Misericordium

Burgon

The fall of Lucifer

Carissimi

Jephte

Charpentier

Caecilia Virgo
Elevation
Mass
Te Deum

Dvorak

Mass in D
Requiem
Stabat Mater
Te Deum

Dyson

Canterbury Pilgrims

Elgar

Apostles
Dream of Gerontius
The Kingdom

Faure

Requiem

Finzi

In terra pax
Let us garlands bring
Lo the full final sacrifice

Grieg

Four Psalms

Grier

Around the curve of the world

Handel

Acis and Galatea
Alexander’s Feast
Apollo et Dafne
Dixit Dominus
Esther
Israel in Egypt
Judas Maccabeus
Messiah
Samson
Sing unto the Lord
Utrecht Te Deum

Haydn

Creation
Harmony Mass
Heilige Messe
Maria Therese Mass
Nelson Mass
Pauken Mass
St Nicholas Mass
Seasons

Howells

Requiem

Janacek

Glagolitic Mass
Unvollendete Messe

Joubert

The Magus

Kodaly

Te Deum

Maunder

Olivet to Calvary

Mendelssohn

Elijah
Walpurgisnacht

Mozart

Missa Brevis
Mass in C Minor
Mass in C
Regina Coeli
Requiem Vespers

Monteverdi

Vespers
Book IV Madrigals

Nielsen

Symphony No. 3

Purcell

In guilty night
Ode to St Cecilia
Come ye sons of art

Anthony Powers

Air and Angels

Puccini

Messe di Gloria

Rameau

In convertendo
Thetis

Rossini

Stabat Mater
Petite Messe Solenelle

Stainer

Crucifixion

Schütz

Christmas Story

Stravinsky

Canticum Sacrum
Pulcinella

Tippett

A child of our time

Vaughan Williams

Benedicite
Dona nobis pacem
Sancta Civitas
Fantasia on Christmas Carols
5 Mystical Songs

Walton

Belshazzar’s Feast

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