“His voice was projected with ease that allowed it to blossom into an array of beautiful overtones.”(operawire.com)
American-born James Ley is a graduate of the Opera Studies programme at New York’s prestigious Juilliard School, where he was praised for his “pure tone and innocent expressiveness” (Opera Wire) and for his “lovely legato lines with his silvery tenor” (Seen and Heard International).
James Ley begins the 2022/23 season with a debut at the Edinburgh International Festival as the Second Nazarene in Salome with Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Edward Gardner, and continues with his first appearance at Oper Bern as Vaudémont in Iolanta, in a new production by David Bösch led by Chief Conductor Nicholas Carter. He returns to Ferrando (Cosí fan tutte) in a special production of the Da Ponte Trilogy with Les Musiciens du Louvre and Marc Minkowski for performances and a recording in Versailles and sings his first Schumann Das Paradies und die Peri with Orquesta Sinfónica de Navarra under music director Perry So.
The 2021/22 season included house debuts at Gran Teatre del Liceu Barcelona and Opéra National de Bordeaux as Ferrando with Les Musiciens du Louvre under Marc Minkowski. On the concert stage, he debuted with Opéra de Limoges in Beethoven’s Symphony No.9 and with Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunk in Mendelssohn’s Elias.
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 Ley has appeared in Masterclass with Yannick Nézet-Séguin as well as in Carnegie Hall’s SongStudio, with guest teachers including Renée Fleming. He enjoyed several summers at the Internationale Meistersinger Akademie, and James participated in the Festival d’Aix-en-Provence Académie, the Salzburg Young Artist Project, and the Internationale Meistersinger Akademie. For the 2020/21 season he was a member of the Opernstudio of Bayerische Staatsoper Munich as the recipient of an Opera Foundation scholarship, where he sang the Messenger in Aida under Zubin Mehta as part of the Munich Opera Festival.
“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.”
“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.”