Hailed in a recent interview with The Times as ‘the hottest young baritone on the block’, South African baritone Jacques Imbrailo ‘shows a knack for shape-shifting into characters… and like the best baritones, he can effortlessly steal the limelight from a starry tenor’. Having studied law and then music, Imbrailo commenced post-graduate opera studies at the Royal College of Music in 2003 under Ryland Davies, going on to win the Audience Prize at the 2007 BBC Cardiff Singer of the World competition.
Imbrailo was a member of the Jette Parker Young Artists Programme at the Royal Opera House from 2006-8, where he sang the title role of Owen Wingrave, Demetrius A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Morales Carmen, Marullo Rigoletto, Scythian Iphigénie en Tauride, Flemish Deputy Don Carlos and Wigmaker Ariadne auf Naxos.
In 2010, he made his Glyndebourne Festival debut in the title role of Billy Budd, in Michael Grandage’s acclaimed new production conducted by Sir Mark Elder. His performance won rave reviews, with Andrew Clark of the Financial Times pronouncing him ‘the finest Billy I have heard – lusty, virile, sensitive and moving’.
Other recent operatic engagements include Tarquinius The Rape of Lucretia (Houston Grand Opera); the leading baritone role in Judith Weir’s new commission for the Royal Opera House, Miss Fortune (which premièred at the Bregenz Festspiele); Il Barone di Trombonok Il viaggio a Reims (Royal Opera House); Figaro The Barber of Seville (Welsh National Opera); Count Almaviva Le nozze di Figaro (Opéra de Lille, Welsh National Opera and the Royal Opera House); Malatesta Don Pasquale (Royal Opera House); Guglielmo Cosi fan Tutte (Opera Colorado, Glyndebourne Touring Opera and Opera North); Schaunard La Bohème (Royal Opera House); and a reprise of Billy Budd (de Nederlandse Opera).
Concert performances include Christ The Apostles with the Hallé and Sir Mark Elder at the BBC Proms and Carmina Burana with the New York Philharmonic and Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos, as well as Bach’s St John Passion, Handel’s Messiah, Brahms’ Requiem, Fauré’s Requiem and Duruflé’s Requiem. He has given solo lieder recitals at the Wigmore Hall, St John’s Smith Square and the Het Concertgebouw, Amsterdam, and performed in concert at the Verbier Festival, Royal Albert Hall and Southbank Centre.
Highlights of the 2012-13 season include Pelléas Pelléas et Mélisande for Essen Opera, Billy Budd at Glyndebourne and Tarquinius The Rape of Lucretia in Florence. Further ahead, roles include the title role of Don Giovanni and Valentin in Gounod’s Faust.
Jacques Imbrailo is represented by Intermusica.