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Bass-baritone Derek Welton is a graduate of the University of Melbourne, Australia, holding a Bachelor of Arts degree majoring in German and Linguistics, and of the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, holding Master of Music (Vocal Studies) and Master of Music Performance (Opera Studies) degrees with Distinction.

Derek has performed at the Salzburg Festival, Salzburg Easter Festival, Festspielhaus Baden-Baden, Semperoper Dresden, Hamburg State Opera, Teatro dell’Opera di Roma, Glyndebourne, Opera North, Beijing Music Festival, Opéra de Lille and many other houses in roles including Pangloss/Martin in Candide, Escamillo in Carmen, Vertigo in Gluck’s La rencontre imprévue, Creonte in Haydn’s L’anima del filosofo, Voland in York Höller’s Der Meister und Margarita, Harašta in The Cunning Little Vixen, De Brétigny in Manon, Mozart’s Figaro, Count Almaviva, Don Giovanni, Masetto, Guglielmo, Papageno and Speaker, the Bonze in Madama Butterfly, Mill in La cambiale di matrimonio, Salieri’s Falstaff, King in Sallinen’s The King goes forth to France, Nick Shadow in The Rake’s Progress, Monterone in Rigoletto, Donner in Das Rheingold and Klingsor in Parsifal. Derek’s competition wins include the Emmerich Smola Förderpreis, the Handel Singing Competition and the Australian Youth Aria.

A sought-after concert artist, Derek has performed at venues across the United Kingdom, Germany, Austria, Luxembourg, the USA, Australia and New Zealand in over fifty choral and orchestral works as well as a diverse range of song repertoire. Conductors with whom Derek has worked include Ivor Bolton, Richard Bonynge, James Conlon, Christian Curnyn, Richard Egarr, Richard Farnes, Thomas Hengelbrock, Axel Kober, Gustav Kuhn, Stephen Layton, Kent Nagano, Ilyich Rivas, Stefan Soltesz, Christian Thielemann and Christopher Warren-Green.

Roles for the 2014/2015 season include Escamillo in Carmen under Axel Kober at the Hamburg State Opera, Graf Dominik in Arabella under Christian Thielemann at the Semperoper Dresden and Regolo in the world première of Beat Furrer’s La bianca notte under Simone Young at the Hamburg State Opera. In August 2015, Derek Welton will join the Ensemble of the Deutsche Oper Berlin.

Concerts this season include Bach’s Mass in B minor with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra under Stephen Layton, Bach’s St John Passion with the Auckland Philharmonia under Stephen Layton and with the Academy of Ancient Music under Richard Egarr at the Rheingau Music Festival, the Verdi Messa da Requiem with the Guildhall Symphony Orchestra under Mark Shanahan at the Barbican Hall, Messiah with the Hallé Orchestra under Christian Curnyn and with the Minnesota Orchestra and Houston Symphony Orchestra under Christopher Warren-Green, Haydn’s Nelson Mass at the Royal Concertgebouw and at the Canary Islands Music Festival, as well as Beethoven’s Symphony No 9 with the Singapore Symphony Orchestra under Lan Shui.

Derek features on four recordings: a solo CD of Vaughan Williams with Iain Burnside for Albion Records, as Creonte on Pinchgut Live’s CD of Haydn’s L’anima del filosofo, and as Gralsritter on Deutsche Grammophon’s DVD of Parsifal and Graf Dominik on Unitel Classica’s DVD of Arabella, both with Christian Thielemann.

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Harrison Parrott - biography Derek Welton

Critical acclaim of Derek Welton’s performances includes the following:

‘Outstanding … Derek Welton as Voland, a magically Mephistophelian schemer with a darkly grounded bass’ (Weser Kurier)

‘Derek Welton shone as the devil (in the mysterious form of Voland) with supreme ease, demonic play and baritonal abundance: entirely the likeable, beguiling Mephisto’ (Spiegel Online)

‘Derek Welton … deserved the crown of the evening as the galant black magician Voland … He mastered his role as the devil with powerfully beautiful voice and sophisticated acting.’ (Opernglas)

‘Derek Welton made his successful début at the Hamburg State Opera … was a decidedly cool and casual devil … who could completely convince vocally, with his splendid voluminous and well-supported Heldenbariton’ (Der Opernfreund)

‘As Figaro, meanwhile, Derek Welton showed he is the possessor of a major voice—a bass-baritone of easy power and robust, pleasing timbre’ (Opera)

‘Derek Welton’s tremendous Bonze stood out. This young Australian has star potential’ (Opera)

‘With his mellow baritone and graceful phrasing, Welton makes Creonte more sympathetic … though he musters a fine, ringing sonority for his ‘vengeance’ aria’ (Gramophone)

‘The soloist is the young Australian Derek Welton, whose manly, oaken baritone is sensitively offset by Iain Burnside’s superbly supportive accompaniments.’ (BBC Music Magazine)

‘Welton is an excellent singer, his vibrant baritone perfect for the swaggering nature of some of the songs, while he can scale down tenderly for others’ (International Record Review)

‘Derek Welton sang Donner with a magisterial tone and although I could find no previous Wagnerian roles in his credits it seems likely he could forge a successful career in the Heldenbariton repertory.’ (Opera Britannia)

‘When Welton thundered ‘I will shake the heavens and the earth’, he did pretty much that: every aria he sang had an easy, unforced majesty.’ (The Independent)

‘Smoky toned bass-baritone Derek Welton sang with alluring warmth and resounding power’ (The Australian)

‘A complete artist, odd to find so mature a figure in a youth opera, but one of those performers you can’t take your eyes off when he is onstage.’ (Spectator)

‘It also showcased a number of fine performances, none finer than … the baritone Derek Welton’s virile-voiced, authoritative King.’ (Opera)

‘Derek Welton’s King sings with immense authority while morphing from infantile monarch to loud-mouthed sadist.’ (Financial Times)

‘A voice as rich and dark as the finest chocolate.’ (Herald Sun)

‘A star in the making.’ (The Age)