"His voice...a resonating bronze instrument with excellent phrasing and articulation...with beautifully judged legato and caressing of the words."
Sandra Bowdler, Opera Britannia
In 2020, James Clayton sings the title role in Macbeth for State Opera of South Australia; for West Australian Opera, he sings Alfio in Cavalleria rusticana, Tonio in Pagliacci and the title role in Elijah. His concert appearances include Brahms’ Requiem for the Tasmanian Symphony, Carmina Burana and Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis for the West Australian Symphony, Messiah for New Zealand Symphony and an Opera Gala for the Queensland Symphony.
2018/2019 performances included Marcello (La bohème), Escamillo (Carmen), Leporello (Don Giovanni), The Forrester (The Cunning Little Vixen), Germont (La traviata), Judge Turpin (Sweeney Todd) and the title role in Macbeth in for West Australian Opera, The Forrester in Adelaide and Peter (Hansel and Gretel) in Melbourne.
Praised for his vocal phrasing and colour, James is one the most versatile singers to emerge from Australia in recent years. He has been lauded by audiences and reviewers alike for his performances throughout the opera houses and concert halls of Australia, New Zealand and Asia.
After ten years as a professional French horn player, James turned to singing and became a Young Artist with West Australian Opera in 2006 and 2007. His many roles since have included Escamillo, Leporello, Papageno in The Magic Flute, Iago in Otello, Schaunard in La bohème, The King in Aida, The Four Villians in The Tales of Hoffmann, Balstrode in Peter Grimes, Alfio in Cavalleria Rusticana, Tonio in Pagliacci, Enrico in Lucia di Lammermoor, Sharpless in Madama Butterfly and the title roles in Rigoletto, The Barber of Seville, The Marriage of Figaro, Falstaff and The Mikado.
James made his Opera Australia debut as Baron Douphol in La traviata – in Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour – and his Japanese debut as Don Alfonso in Cosi fan tutte for Biwako Hall.
2016/2017 appearances included Tonio (Pagliacci) for Victorian Opera, Scully (The Riders) for West Australian Opera, The Speaker (The Magic Flute), Angelotti, Escamillo and the title role in The Mikado for New Zealand Opera; he was soloist with the New Zealand, Christchurch, Melbourne and Tasmanian Symphony Orchestras, the Melbourne Chorale, Melbourne Bach Choir, Christchurch City Choir and Orpheus Choir, Wellington.
He has also enjoyed considerable success on the concert platform with performances of Handel's Messiah and Le damnation du Faust (New Zealand Symphony Orchestra), Haydn’s Mass in Time of War and Puccini’s Messa di Gloria (Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra), Mozart’s Mass in C Minor, Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 and Verdi’s Requiem (West Australian Symphony Orchestra) and Orff’s Carmina Burana (Orchestra Wellington).
James’ Personal Site