New Zealand Bass-Baritone, James Ioelu has performed on stages in America, United Kingdom and Australasia. Recent roles include Colline, La Boheme, with Iford Arts Festival, Marchese La Triviata with NZ Opera, King Toante, Oreste with NZ Barok, Montano, Otello with the APO, and the title role in Don Pasquale Merola Opera festival, San Francisco. He was also a soloist with Auckland Choral’s performance of The Messiah and most recently a soloist at the Virginia Zeani Festival, Romania.
Permanently based in the UK, James completed a masters in classical voice at the Manhattan School of Music, New York after which he joined one of the UK’s most prestigious apprenticeship programmes, the National Opera Studio – highlights among his NOS appearances include a programme of contemporary scenes directed by Graham Vick and conducted by Mark Shanahan; scenes from Mozart/Da Ponte operas directed by Giles Havergal and conducted by Aleksander Markovic with the Opera North orchestra, a Masterclass with distinguished conductor Nicola Luisotti at the Royal Opera House, an evening concert of German song curated by Iain Burnside, an evening concert of English Song with Susan Bullock and in particular an evening with Dame Kiri Te Kanawa where the critics described his voice as having “a wonderful Tito Gobbi resonance”.
He has enjoyed competition successes including winning the NZ Aria Competition and New Zealand Young Performer of the Year. He also placed runner up in the prestigious Joan Sutherland and Richard Bonynge Bel Canto Competition, and runner up in the Sydney Eisteddford Aria Competition.
Since moving to London, James has enjoyed the support and mentorship of the Kiri Te Kanawa Foundation and Dame Kiri who has personally taken an interest in his career. He is very grateful for her generosity and time.