Russell Harcourt

Born in Sydney Russell Harcourt made his operatic debut in 2007 as Oberon A Midsummer Night’s Dream with the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts. He studied voice at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music with Graham Pushee and Dr. Rowena Cowley and at the Royal Academy of Music in London.

Recent engagements include the titel role in Handel’s Oreste (Royal Opera House at Wilton’s Music Hall), Nero in Handel’s Agrippina (Brisbane Baroque) for which he received a Helpmann Award Nomination, Andronico in Vivaldi’s Bajazet and Corrado in Vivaldi’s Griselda (Pinchgut Opera in Sydney), Narciso Agrippina (English Touring Opera) and Pissandro The Return of Ulisses (Iford Arts). He has covered Fox/Coachman in The Adventures of Pinocchio for Opera North, Armindo in Partenope for Opera Australia, Roberto in Griselda for Pinchgut Opera, Zelim in Vivaldi’s La Verita in Cimento and Licida in Vivaldi’s L’Olimpiade for Garsington Opera Festival, 1st counter tenor in John Adams The Gospel According to the other Mary and Hanahpu in The Indian Queen for ENO and David in Handel’s Saul for Glyndebourne on Tour.

He made his Australian concert debut in 2009 as a guest artist at the Australian Festival of Chamber Music and his Royal Opera House debut in 2011 in the Deloitte Ignite Series. His oratorio experience include alto soloist in Handel’s Messiah, Judas Maccabaeus, Israel in Egypt and Bernstein’s Chichester Psalms. Recent concerts include the alto solos in St Matthew Passion for the Leicester Bach Choir, Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater with Australian Ballet, Messiah in Christchurch and Wellington, New Zealand and Schnittke’s Faust Cantata with the Lithuanian National Philharmonic. He recently returned to Lithuania for concerts with the Lithuaian Chamber Orchestra under Robertas Servinikas.

Russell Harcourt is an associate of the Jette Parker Young Artists Programme at the Royal Opera House Covent Garden. He has performed in master classes for Emma Kirkby, Michael Chance, Andreas Scholl, and Rosalind Plowright and he is an alumnus of the Britten-Pears Young Artist Programme. He currently studies with Yvonne Kenny.

Prizes and scholarships include Hariclea Darclée Special Award for Excellence, The Sir Robert Askin Operatic Travelling Scholarship, Tait Memorial Trust Grant, Australian Music Foundation Awards, Ian Potter Cultural Trust Grant, Australia Council for the Arts Skills and Arts Development Grant and the Marten Bequest Travelling Scholarship. He was a finalist at the 2012 Kathleen Ferrier Awards.

Plans include 1st counter tenor The Gospel According to the other Mary in Bonn, the cover of Guildenstern in Brett Dean’s Hamlet for Glyndebourne Festival and his US debut with the Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia.


“Angela Simkin as Oreste was indisposed when I attended, her place taken by established countertenor Russell Harcourt. He’s an impressive Handelian, with a thrilling top register and assured technique.” Guardian, November 2016


“…. it has an excellent cast led by the great German mezzo soprano Ulrike Schneider as the scheming, eponymous anti-heroine doing whatever it takes to get her nut-job son Nero (outstandingly sung by countertenor Russell Harcourt) on to the throne. The Australian,
April 2016

“Russell Harcourt, one of three nicely differentiated countertenors in the production, wears red, commedia dell’arte outfits to match his red hair (referencing “The Real Julia”?) to emphasise this inability to dissemble.” Backtrack, April 2016

“His acting is first rate, whether libidinous lecher or sinister psycho-in-waiting, and his vocal fireworks have an appropriately hysterical edge. The highest of the evening’s three countertenors, he sings with easy confidence…” Limelight Magazine, April 2016

“…. it was good to see a Sydney Conservatorium graduate, Russell Harcourt, returning to Australia and making such a mark in the role of Nero.”, April 2016

“Here we had Australia’s Russell Harcourt, with his light, high, almost soprano-type tones.” Daily Review, April 2016

Russell Harcourt is a standout as the entertainingly lewd and degenerate Nerone…Harcourt sounded completely at ease at every vocal corner as he projected a succulently sonorous and throbbing counter tenor (one of three on magnificent show) to match the libidinous, later dildo-flapping desperado.” Operachaser, April 2016

“…in particular Russell Harcourt with his impressive vocal ambience and character portrayal.” stage whispers, April 2016


“….countertenor Russell Harcourt’s fawning Narciso a desiccated cleric who sings like a nightingale.” Independent, October 2013

“…good value from Russell Harcourt’s Narciso.” Independent, October 2013


“Russell Harcourt was nimble-voiced and wickedly self-serving as Narciso..” Classical Source, October 2013

“Both the comic nurses – easily the most down-to-earth characters in the piece – are finely sung, Arnalta by John-Colyn Gyeantey and Ottavia’s attendant by Russell Harcourt.” Guardian, September 2013


“…Russell Harcourt’s role as Corrado, isn’t designed to win hearts but his performance certainly doesn’t lose any. Snappy exchanges…are vociferous and precise.” Early Music Association of NSW, 2011