“His voice was projected with ease that allowed it to blossom into an array of beautiful overtones.”
Tenor James Ley becomes a member of the Opernstudio of Bayerische Staatsoper Munich this season, the recipient of an Opera Foundation scholarship, where his commitments include roles in Dialogues des Carmélites, La bohème, I masnadieri, Ariadne auf Naxos, Reimann’s Lear, and Aida alongside numerous concert and recital presentations.
American-born Ley is a graduate of the Opera Studies programme at New York’s prestigious Juilliard School where he debuted as both Ferrando in Cosí fan tutte and Don Ottavio in Don Giovanni to wide acclaim. As Ferrando, he was praised for his ‘pure tone and innocent expressiveness’ (Operwire.com) and as Don Ottavio, for his ‘lovely legato lines with his silvery tenor’ (seenandheard-international.com). In the current season, James returns to both roles and adds Don Basilio / Don Curzio in Le nozze di Figaro in a special production of the Da Ponte Trilogy with Marc Minkowski and Les Musiciens du Louvre for performances in Bordeaux, Versailles, and Toulouse.
James’ further performing experience to date includes the world premiere of Marius Felix Lange’s Der Gesang der Zauberinsel at Salzburg Festival, Le petit vieillard in L’enfant et les sortilèges with the Juilliard Orchestra conducted by Emmanuel Villaume and, at Wheaton College, Abraham in a staged production of Britten’s Canticle II: Abraham and Isaac and his first Tamino in Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte. In concert, James has performed Handel’s Messiah at Wheaton College, as well as excerpts from Schubert’s Winterreise with Brian Zeger at Alice Tully Hall as part of Juilliard Songfest.
James studies with Edith Wiens and has participated in Masterclasses with Yannick Nézet-Séguin as well as in Carnegie Hall’s SongStudio, with guest teachers including Renée Fleming. In 2018, he participated in the Festival d’Aix-en-Provence Mozart Académie and the Internationale Meistersinger Akademie, and was part of the 2019 Salzburg Young Artist Project.
“The American tenor James Ley sings the difficult passages from Mozart’s La Clemenza di Tito with such strikingly impressive colours, so agile and above all so pleasant that the last prominent mention is reserved for him.”
(Michael Bastian Weiss, Abendzeitung, November 2020)
“Ley was the perfect match for this role as he sang Ferrando with playfulness and a young heart. His voice drew in listeners based on its pure tone and innocent expressiveness.”
“Don Ottavio, James Ley, was more convincing as an ardent lover than an earnest suitor. Although he can spin out lovely legato lines with his silvery tenor, the voice was truly exciting when it bristled with energy and passion.”
“Ley was most memorable as he sang ‘Dalla sua pace.’ His voice was projected with ease that allowed it to blossom into an array of beautiful overtones.”
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