2015–16 Season: Hans Sachs in Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg
Baritone James Rutherford made his San Francisco Opera debut in 2007 performing the role of Wolfram von Eschenbach in Wagner’s Tannhäuser. Since winning the inaugural Seattle Opera International Wagner competition in 2006, Rutherford has become renowned for his interpretations of German romantic opera. He has sung Hans Sachs (Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg) for the Bayreuth Festival in 2010 and 2011, Vienna State Opera, Hamburg Opera, Cologne Opera, Budapest Wagner Festival, and in the David McVicar production at the Glyndebourne Festival; Kurwenal (Tristan und Isolde) for Washington National Opera; and the title role in Der fliegende Holländer with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and Andris Nelsons.
In 2009 he began a major association with the Graz Opera, singing his first Hans Sachs and returning for Barak (Die Frau ohne Schatten), Germont (La Traviata), Iago (Otello), Orest (Elektra), and the title role of Falstaff. He has performed Jochanaan (Salome) at the Vienna State Opera, Berlin State Opera, and Opéra National de Montpellier. Other appearances include the Royal Opera, Covent Garden; Paris Opéra; Lyric Opera of Chicago; Welsh National Opera; English National Opera; Scottish Opera; and Opera North.
Recent concert appearances include Adams' Nixon in China (BBC Proms, Berlin Festival), conducted by the composer; Mandryka (Arabella) in Amsterdam and Hamburg; Wotan in Act 3 of Die Walküre (Philharmonia Orchestra) for Wagner's 200th birthday; and an invitation by Prince Charles to sing Hans Sachs at his 65th birthday Wagner gala at Buckingham Palace. Last season, Rutherford sang the title role of Guillaume Tell and Scarpia (Tosca) in Graz, Orest in Hamburg, and Lysiart (Euryanthe) in Frankfurt.
He recently sang Orest with the Boston Symphony Orchestra at Carnegie Hall and Boston’s Symphony Hall. Upcoming performances include his first Wotan in Frankfurt Opera’s Ring cycle. His CD of Wagner arias with Andrew Litton and the Bergen Philharmonic is available on the BIS label.