The Australian-born bass-baritone Derek Welton is already firmly established as a noted interpreter of Wagner and Strauss. After performances as Donner in Das Rheingold with Opera North and as Klingsor in Parsifal at the Beijing Music Festival, he appeared at the Semperoper Dresden as the Herald in Lohengrin. These successes led to critically acclaimed performances in his role début as Wotan in Das Rheingold at the Deutsche Oper Berlin and in his débuts as Klingsor at the Bayreuth Festival and the Bavarian State Opera. In recent seasons he has had great success as Orest in Elektra, which he has sung at the Salzburg Festival, the Vienna State Opera and the Palau de les Arts Reina Sofia.

Closing his 2020/2021 season as Wotan in the new production of Das Rheingold at the Deutsche Oper Berlin, Derek Welton returned to the Bayreuth Festival in Summer 2021 as Klingsor before opening the 2021/2022 season with his début at the Dutch National Opera as Don Estoban in Zemlinsky’s Der Zwerg. He returns to the Deutsche Oper Berlin as Wotan, sings the same role in ‘historically informed’ performances with the Concerto Köln and makes his début at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden and the Bolshoi Theatre, Moscow as the Herald. Later in 2022 he returns to Melbourne to sing Orest with Victorian Opera.

Derek’s début as Wotan in Die Walküre at Theater Dortmund, his début at the Teatro Real Madrid as Herzog von Albany in Lear, a return to the Bavarian State Opera as Klingsor and concert performances as Wotan in Das Rheingold with the London Philharmonic Orchestra and the Wanderer in Siegfried with the Sinfonieorchester Basel were cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Derek Welton was a soloist at the Deutsche Oper Berlin from 2015 to 2020, where he amassed a wide repertory of roles including Klingsor, Der Pförtner (Korngold’s Das Wunder der Heliane), Altair (Die ägyptische Helena), Peter Besenbinder (Hänsel und Gretel), Forester (The Cunning Little Vixen), Prus (The Makropulos Case), Mr Flint (Billy Budd) and Saint-Bris (Les Huguenots). Guest engagements have included Herzog von Albany in Lear at the Salzburg Festival, the Opéra national de Paris and the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, Pandolfe in Cendrillon at the Lyric Opera of Chicago, Creon and The Messenger in Œdipus Rex with the Berlin Philharmonic, the title role of Bluebeard’s Castle at the George Enescu Festival and with the Szczecin Symphony Orchestra, Don Pizarro in Fidelio with the Hallé Orchestra, Voland in York Höller’s Der Meister und Margarita under Marcus Bosch at the Hamburg State Opera, Pangloss in Candide at the Teatro dell’Opera di Roma and Mozart’s Figaro at Glyndebourne.

An accomplished and diverse concert artist, Welton has performed across Europe, North America, Asia and Australasia in over sixty choral and orchestral works as well as a diverse range of song repertoire. Highlights have included Martinů’s The Epic of Gilgamesh with the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra, A Child of our Time with the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, Beethoven’s Symphony No 9 with the Malmö Symphony Orchestra and the Boston Philharmonic Orchestra, the St Matthew Passion with the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra, Bruckner’s Mass in F minor at the BBC Proms, the Mass in B minor with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, the St John Passion with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment and the Academy of Ancient Music, and Messiah with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, the Hallé Orchestra, the Royal Scottish National Orchestra and the Minnesota Orchestra.

Derek Welton’s discography includes performances as Orest in Elektra (Unitel Edition), Der Pförtner in Korngold’s Das Wunder der Heliane (Naxos), the Herald in Lohengrin (Deutsche Grammophon), Creonte in Haydn’s L’anima del filosofo (Pinchgut Live), in the title role of Martinů’sThe Epic of Gilgamesh (Supraphon Records), two recordings as soloist in Beethoven’s Symphony No 9 (Ondine and Brattle Media) and a solo CD of Vaughan Williams songs with Iain Burnside for Albion Records.

Welton holds degrees in Linguistics and German from the University of Melbourne and Music from the Guildhall School of Music and Drama.

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Harrison Parrott - biography Derek Welton