Ana James

Lyric coloratura soprano Ana James was born in Dunedin, New Zealand and was a member of the Jette Parker Young Artist Programme at the Royal Opera House Covent Garden from 2005 to 2007. She made her Royal Opera debut as Barbarina Le Nozze di Figaro, and subsequently sang Frasquita Carmen, Flower Maiden Parsifal, Elisa Il Re Pastore, Une Soeur Cyrano de Bergerac, Croyble Thais , Cerpetta La Serva Padrona and 1st Unborn Child Die Frau ohne Schatten.

Elsewhere she has sung Donna Anna (Opera Holland Park/Glyndebourne Festival Opera/Diva Opera), Pamina Die Zauberflölte (Glyndebourne on Tour), Konstanze (Iford/Rio de Janiero), Miss Wordsworth Albert Herring (Tolouse), Gretel Hänsel und Gretel (New Zealand Opera), and Violetta (Opera Project). She has also sung Frasquita Carmen with the Russian National Orchestra under Mikhail Pletnev in Moscow, Adele Die Fledermaus with London Lyric Opera at Cadogan Hall, Musetta La Boheme with the Puccini Festival on tour in Abu Dhabi, and Felice in Wolf-Ferrari’s I quattro rusteghi with the European Opera Centre/Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra.

Ana James’s concert repertoire includes Handel’s Messiah, Mendelssohn’s Elijah, Mozart’s Exsultate Jubilate, C Minor Mass, Requiem, Mahler’s Symphony No 4, Orff’s Carmina Burana, Fauré’s Requiem, Bach’s St Matthew and St John Passions. She has performed in concert throughout New Zealand, on tour in China with the World Orchestra of Spain, and in venues such as the Royal Festival, Queen Elizabeth, and Barbican Halls in London, Usher Hall in Edinburgh, and at the Musashino Civic Cultural Hall, Tokyo. In 2011 she sung in a concert of extracts from Haydn Operas with the Classical Opera Company at the Wigmore Hall, and represented the Royal Opera House in a special concert at Buckingham Palace celebrating “Youth and Arts”. She was recently soloist in a New Year’s Day concert for Raymond Gubbay at the Barbican. She has recorded Ygraine Ariane et Barbe-Bleue (Telarc) and taken part in the S4C TV documentary “Sopranos”.

A graduate of the Benjamin Britten International Opera School, Royal College of Music London, she studies with Lillian Watson. A winner of several scholarships and competitions, she is the inaugural recipient of the Dame Kiri Te Kanawa Foundation Scholarship. Ana James also studied with Marlena Kleinmann Malas at the Manhattan School of Music, New York.

“Le public toulousain a encore en mémoire la magnifique Miss Wordsworth d’Ana James, lors de la création à Toulouse d’Albert Herring en 2013. Nous retrouvons cette soprano ici dans un rôle un rien plus exposé puisqu’il s’agit de celui de Lucia. Bravant les multiples difficultés de cet emploi périlleux, Ana James nous donne à entendre une héroïne d’une parfaite tenue vocale : timbre lumineux, ambitus profond, souplesse dans la vocalise, vaillance dans les éclats. Musicienne hors pair, elle agrémente ses reprises d’ornementations virtuoses bien venues. Loin des Lucia « rossignolesques », elle impose ici une interprétation de haut niveau, intensément dramatique.” Lucia di Lammermoor/Diva Opera, Festival de la Vézère, August 2015

“….in the final act, her dynamic range was used to her best ability. The softness of James’ voice as she drew her character closer to a final burst of energy before her death was controlled and moving.” (La Traviata/Opera Project) bachtrack, June 2013

“…things take off when Ana James’s glorious Felice arrives…” (I Quattro Rusteghi, RLPO) Guardian, March 2012

“Ana James…is a bright flexible soprano, capable of the flashiest embellishments” (Classical Opera Company, Wigmore Hall) Opera Magazine, February 2011

“Soprano Ana James had a tough job tackling the most gymnastic of Haydn’s vocal writing at short notice when Rebecca Bottone had to withdraw…as the evening progressed she grew in stature, excellent in ‘Non turbar quand’io mi lagno’ from L’isola disabitata and leaving us desloate as Euridice’s life slips away in L’anima del filosofo.” (Classical Opera Company, Wigmore Hall) Observer, January 2011

“Ana James, a late substitute for Rebecca Bottone, distinguished herself in the fluent melancholy of ‘Placidi ruscellati’ from La Fedelta Premiata.” (Classical Opera Company, Wigmore Hall) Telegraph, January 2011

“The pick of the voices are Ana James’ compact and flexible soprano for a class-conscious and supervindictive [Donna]Anna…” (Don Giovanni, Opera Holland Park) Sunday Times, July 2010

“Ana James sang Donna Anna with imperious confidence, having a fine attack to high notes, a good pianissimmo and pleasing legato phrasing in ‘Non mi dir.” (Don Giovanni, Opera Holland Park) Opera Britannia, July 2010

“Ana James’ Donna Anna makes her presence felt with a highly creditable ‘Non mi dir’.” (Don Giovanni, Opera Holland Park) The Independent, June 2010

“Among the soloists, Ana James as Adele, delivered possibly the outstanding performance of the evening. She was a member of the Royal Opera’s Jette Parker Young Artist Programme and its influence showed throughout. She gave an accomplished, dramatically expressive performance, playing a sassy, very funny Adele, with some superb singing, especially in her final big moment, during Act III.” (Die Fledermaus, London Lyric Opera) MusicWeb International, June 2009

“Best of all was Ana James, who sang Pamina beautifully and intelligently, making her role – quite properly – the opera’s true centre of gravity.” (Die Zauberflöte, Glyndebourne on Tour) Opera, December 2008

“Ana James sings elegantly as Pamina” (Die Zauberflöte, Glyndebourne on Tour) The Daily Telegraph, October 2008

“Ana James’s Pamina is sung with immaculate control and considerable artistry” (Die Zauberflöte, Glyndebourne on Tour) The Guardian, October 2008

‘The talented Ana James sang beautifully and the harmony was gorgeous throughout the duets.’ (Hansel & Gretel – New Zealand Opera) Bay Of Plenty Times, August 2008

‘Ana James’ (Gretel) opening aria was brilliantly characterised…James captivated the audience with her clear and charming voice exceptionally matched with her character’s naiveté.’ (Hansel & Gretel – New Zealand Opera) Capital Times, July 2008

“Former Young Artist Ana James sang with just the firmness and beauty of tone which one imagines her great mentor, Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, must have had when she sang one of the Flowermaidens thirty-seven years ago on this very stage.” (Parsifal, Royal Opera House) Musical Criticism, 2007

“Of the other wives who feature, the standout is Ana James’ Ygraine, sensual and richly opulent.” (Ariane et Barbe-Bleue, Teldarc) Music Web International, 2007

” the New Zealand soprano Ana James produced rounded and stylish Mozart singing as Konstanze in the Act 3 duet from Die Entführung… James also gave an accomplished account of Lakmé , with beautifully controlled soft singing in the closing bars.” (Jette Parker Young Artists Summer Concert, Royal Opera House) Opera, October 2007

“…the extraordinary soprano Ana James, whose beautiful timbre, confident attack of notes and super-smooth delivery were something to behold. She returned to end the concert as Lakmé, lingering on the piano top notes like a true diva. Renée Fleming sprang to mind.” (Jette Parker Young Artists Summer Concert, Royal Opera House) MusicOMH, July 2007

“Ana James…outstanding as…Croyble.” (Thaïs, Royal Opera House) The Daily Telegraph, July 2007

“Ana James’… light, lyric soprano shines in her long aria.” (Il Re Pastore, Royal Opera House) The Times, 2006

“Elisa was sung by Ana James, whose expressive way with the coloratura was always meaningful.” (Il Re Pastore, Royal Opera House) The Independent, 2006

“…exquisitely sung… James shows an impressive understanding of Classical style…” (Il Re Pastore, Royal Opera House) The Independent, 2006

“…..One should not overlook Ana James’ debut with Barbarina’s haunting song.” (Le Nozze di Figaro, Royal Opera House) The Sunday Telegraph, 2006