"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"
"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"
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.
Mozart The Magic Flute (Speaker of the Temple/1st Priest/2nd Armed Man), Edinburgh International Festival
Matthew Brook made a terrifically authoritative Speaker.
Simon Thompson, The Times
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
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
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
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)
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
CD Recording: Purcell Birthday Odes for Queen Mary, The King’s Consort
…dramatically sung by David de Winter and Matthew Brook…
Anthony Pryer, BBC Music Magazine****
Haydn Creation (Raphael), Academy of Ancient Music
Barbican (September 2021)
…when Matthew Brook’s angel Raphael was in full flow, guiding us through the delights of God’s menagerie with twinkling eyes and infinite humour. Brook was an absolute delight. None of his comrades approached his sparkle…
Geoff Brown, The Times****
Matthew Brook’s Raphael captured the curious mix of lyricism, wonder and drollery in Haydn’s settings of the Genesis stories. His soaring, rhapsodic passages of awe yield to stretches of almost-comic patter as the sheer oddity of God’s handiwork – slitherers, waddlers, creepy-crawlies and all – finds musical shape. It’s not often you hear audience belly-laughs in a canonical masterpiece like this, but Brook got them when he showed how “in long dimension creeps with sinuous trace the worm”.
Boyd Tonkin, The Arts Desk*****
The other angelic roles were well taken by bass-baritone Matthew Brook as Raphael – a model of controlled resonance
Sandra Bowdler, Bachtrack****
Monteverdi, Dunedin Consort at the Lammermuir Festival
In a kind of musical onomatopoeia, Monteverdi’s subtle, yet dynamic music turns, in a moment, from a gorgeous poignancy to an invigorating declaration, announced by the sudden, vocal attack of the fabulous bass baritone Matthew Brook… Throughout the concert, the reverberating depth of Brook’s voice complements and contrasts wonderfully with the magnificent singing of mezzo-soprano Jessica Gillingwater....
Mark Brown, The National (Scotland)
Wallen Dido’s Ghost (Aeneas), Dunedin Consort
Barbican (June 2021)
Dido's Ghost will certainly be welcomed by all singers who have craved the limelight denied to them in the under-characterised original role of Aeneas. Written here for the compelling bass-baritone Matthew Brook, the part is fleshed out to the extent that he even gets the celebrated Lament.
John Allison, The Telegraph
Aeneas himself, Dido-obsessed, clearly needs a psychiatrist, but at least the character finds some succour singing Purcell’s heart-aching setting of Dido’s lament, “When I am laid in earth”. As movingly rendered by Matthew Brook, this was the evening’s peak: the one point where the audience’s emotional involvement could be guaranteed.
Geoff Brown, The Times
…the emotional shell of Aeneas, superbly portrayed and sung by the bass baritone Matthew Brook.
Fiona Maddocks, The Guardian****
But it’s Matthew Brook’s Aeneas who carries the piece. The feckless charmer of Purcell’s origin here becomes wiser and sadder – finally a man worthy of the Lament, which he delivers with heart-stopping vulnerability and tenderness. “Remember me,” he sings. And we will.
Alexandra Coghlan, iNews
…the focus was on Matthew Brook’s Aeneas, his firm baritone successfully setting the path for Rome’s foundation but now completely haunted by regret of a lost love and the shame of his behaviour… Phrases from Dido’s Lament were scattered, but in the end it was Aeneas who got the aria, sung movingly as a broken man, a touch of falsetto here and there, Dido’s ghost and Anna both gone… While it was intriguing to see a Baroque band embracing modern styles, it was the intense commitment of the singers which made this dramatic work so compelling.
David Smythe, Bachtrack****
…there are memorable performances from the strong central cast, with standouts from … Matthew Brook’s conflicted Aeneas”
George Hall, The Stage
Matthew Brook was powerfully affecting as the obsessed Aeneas…
Ivan Hewett, Opera Magazine
Matthew Brook Opera Repertoire
A Quiet Place (Young Sam)
Albert Herring (Vicar)
Acis and Galatea (Polyphemus)
Jenufa (Starek) (Mayor)
Amahl and the Night Visitors (Melchior)
L'incoronazione di Poppea (Seneca)
Don Giovanni (Leporello)
Dido and Aeneas (Aeneas)
Trial by Jury (Counsel)
Eugene Onegin (Onegin) (Zaretsky)
The Pilgrim’s Progress (John Bunyan) (Lord Hategood) (Watchful)(Obstinate) and (First Shepherd)
Troilus and Cressida (Antenor, Calkas)
Der Freischütz (Kuno)
Matthew Brook Concert Repertoire
Magnificat including interpolations
Wie bist du den O Gott
Jesu membra nostre
Mass in C
L’Enfance du Christ (all bass/baritone roles)
God spake sometime in visions
The fall of Lucifer
Mass in D
In terra pax
Around the curve of the world
Acis and Galatea
Olivet to Calvary
Symphony No. 3
In guilty night
Air and Angels
Messe di Gloria
A child of our time
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