David Wilson-Johnson proves a “remarkable” King Fisher at the BBC Proms

20 August 2013

Having recently sung the role of Melot in Tristan und Isolde under the baton of Semyon Bychkov, David Wilson-Johnson has made a second appearance at the BBC Proms this season, performing the role of King Fisher in Sir Michael Tippett’s The Midsummer Marriage with the BBC Symphony Orchestra under Sir Andrew Davis. Having recorded the same role over twenty years ago of this rarely performed work, David’s performance has been greeted with five star reviews across the board:

“David Wilson-Johnson gave full value as King Fisher, the wicked businessman who has a heart attack at the end of the piece to serve him right.” – George Hall, The Guardian

“David Wilson-Johnson was vivid as King Fisher, [Bella’s] blustering, overprotective father.”
Hugo Shirley, The Daily Telegraph

“The baritone David Wilson-Johnson gave a vibrant performance as the opera’s nominal villain, King Fisher.” – George Loomis, The New York Times

“David Wilson-Johnson made a sturdy King Fisher.” – Richard Fairman, The Financial Times

“David Wilson-Johnson stepped in at short notice as the hostile, capitalist King Fisher, a role he hadn’t sung for around a quarter of a century. His character was immediately established and he projected the text better than anyone, especially in his long, blustering solo attempting to bribe the friends of Mark and Jenifer.” – Mark Pullinger, Opera Britannia

“David Wilson-Johnson, standing in at a week’s notice as King Fisher, was returning to a role he’d last sung 25 years ago. You couldn’t really tell, Wilson-Johnson gave a masterly performance, full of character. His King Fisher had all the bombast needed and we could hear all the words. This was true of all three singers in the character episodes (Wilson-Johnson, Ailish Tynan and Allan Clayton) and helped to establish the drama. Wilson-Johnson combines singing 20th century music with a career with period ensembles. This shows in his performance where his navigating of the actual notes was nicely accurate and thankfully lacking that element of bluster. Wilson-Johnson is a fine singing actor and his performance was a master-class in how to make character work in a space as big as the Royal Albert Hall.” – Robert Hugill, Opera Today

“Clearly and forcefully sung by David Wilson-Johnson, he blusters and bullies his way through the opera, inevitably moving towards his tragicomic end in Act 3.” – Chris Garlick, bachtrack.com

“David Wilson-Johnson was a late replacement as King Fisher, but you would never have known as he sang with remarkable authority – his tone as full and resplendent as I remember from years’ ago.”
Keith McDonnell, whatsonstage.com

“David Wilson-Johnson, a late replacement and who must now be counted as a veteran, brought great intelligence and engaging enthusiasm to his capitalist villain.” – David Gutman, classicalcourse.com

“A late arrival in the cast, David Wilson-Johnson was an asset too as the puffed-up businessman King Fisher, forceful in voice and gesture.” – Geoff Brown, theartsdesk.com

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