Whether performing song, concert or opera throughout the world, baritone James Westman’s passion and musicianship bring an extra dimension to his performances. Combining opera and concert appearances for 2015-2016, he began with Germont in the Canadian Opera Company production of La Traviata. Brahms’ Requiem takes him to Ottawa’s National Arts Centre Orchestra and to the Vancouver Symphony, while Calgarians hear him in Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9. He will be heard in Bach’s Mass in B Minor with Kitchener’s Grand Philharmonic Choir, tours the Okanagan Valley in Carmina Burana, sings Messiah for the McGill Chamber Orchestra and ends his season in Trois Rivières as Germont in La Traviata.
During the 2014 – 2015 season he was featured as Sharpless in Madama Butterfly for the Utah Opera, Lt. Gordon in Puts’ Silent Night for Calgary Opera, Enrico in Lucia di Lammermoor for Pacific Opera Victoria, the Count in Le Nozze di Figaro for Opera Lyra Ottawa, Baron Scarpia in Tosca for Opéra de Québec and on the concert stage was heard in Messiah for the New York Philharmonic and Rimsky-Korsakov’s Mozart and Salieri with the Vancouver Symphony. Festival appearances included the Seattle Chamber Society series with James Ehnes, Verdi’s Requiem for the New Hampshire Music Festival and an Opera Gala for the Brott Festival in Hamilton, Ontario.
Nominated for two Grammy awards and three Canadian Juno awards, Westman has recorded for Decca, Opera Rara, CBC and BBC. Though widely regarded as an ideal exponent of the Verdi baritone roles, he has also been hailed for leading roles in the works of Puccini, Massenet, Donizetti, Janaček, Bizet, Britten and Mozart for many of the principal opera houses in North America and Europe including the Houston Grand Opera, Santa Fe Opera, Opéra de Montréal, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Vancouver Opera, English National Opera, Los Angeles Opera, San Francisco Opera, Florida Grand Opera, Boston Lyric Opera, New York City Opera, Michigan Opera Theatre, the Dallas Opera, Canadian Opera Company, Wexford Festival (Ireland), the opera houses of Graz, Cologne and many more!
Mr. Westman further thrives at art song repertoire in many different styles and genres. He has preformed recitals for The Marilyn Horne Foundation, The George London Foundation, The Aldeburgh Connection, the Canadian Arts and Letters Club, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC), the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), Stratford Summer Music Festival, the Schawbacher Debut Recital Series, the Michigan Chamber Music Society, the Lanaudière Festival, Jeunes Ambassadeurs Lyrique and the Wexford Festival, Ireland.
His success on the concert stage continues to flourish and he has performed with many of the world’s leading orchestras. He has sung Handel’s Messiah with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony, National Arts Centre Orchestra (Ottawa), Vancouver Symphony, Baltimore Symphony, Detroit Symphony, and the Kitchener-Waterloo Philharmonic Choir and Orchestra. He was featured in Carmina Burana with the Cleveland Orchestra, in Berlioz’ seldom performed Romeo et Juliette with the Edmonton Symphony and the Toronto Symphony, and Mendelssohn’s Elijah and Bach’s Mass in B Minor with the Vancouver Symphony. He has performed solo gala concerts with the Boston, San Francisco, Baltimore and Indianapolis symphonies, as well as with Thirteen Strings and the National Arts Centre Orchestra of Ottawa.
Baritone in Residence with the prestigious San Francisco Opera Adler Fellowship program, his critically acclaimed performances at the San Francisco Opera include Guglielmo (Cosi tan tutte); Marcello (La bohème); Sylvio (Pagliacci); Germont (La traviata); Renato (Un ballo in maschera) and Sid (Albert Herring). Mr. Westman placed first in all the international competitions in which he has participated, including the George London Competition, the D’angelo Competition, the Jeunes Ambassadeurs Lyrique , and the Licia Albanese-Puccini Foundation and Marilyn Horne Foundation Award. He was a finalist and the audience favorite at the Cardiff Singer of the World Competition.
Recent seasons have included: Ford in Verdi’s Falstaff for Calgary Opera; Sharpless in Madama Butterfly for Opera Lyra Ottawa at the National Arts Centre; Sandy Keith in Tovey’s The Inventor for Vancouver Symphony; recording The Inventor for CBC records; Carmina Burana with Toronto and Vancouver symphonies; and recording a CD of English, American, and Canadian songs for Sony BMG, England with Stuart Bedford.
Further credits include Sharpless in Madama Butterfly for Dallas Opera and Santa Fe Opera; Germont in La Traviata for Vancouver Opera; Talbot in Donizetti’s Maria Stuarda for Opéra de Montréal; Sandy Keith in Tovey’s The Inventor remounted for Calgary Opera; Messiah with the Kitchener-Waterloo Philharmonic Choir; Beethoven’s Symphony no. 9 with the Indianapolis Symphony; plus recording and performing Britten’s War Requiem in Japan under Seiji Ozawa for Decca Records. He performed at Houston Grand Opera’s 50th anniversary Gala with Sir Elton John, Bryn Terfel, Frederica Von Stade, and Renee Fleming, hosted by Sir Roger Moore.
Formerly a successful boy treble, Mr. Westman toured with the American Boys Choir, the Paris Boys Choir, and the Vienna Boys Choir. Known as Jamie Westman, he was the first boy ever to perform the fourth movement of Mahler’s Symphony No. 4, (Childs View of Heaven) and toured this work with the Boston Philharmonic Orchestra in Austria, Poland, Czechoslovakia, East and West Germany and Russia, performing in the Musikverein, Roy Thomson Hall and Carnegie Hall at the age of twelve.
James Westman’s professional development has been influenced by such renowned artists as Dame Joan Sutherland, Richard Bonynge, Renato Capecchi, Paul Esswood, John F.M. Wood, Carl Duggan, Lois Marshall, Patricia Kern, Régine Crespin, Warren Jones, Martin Katz, Virginia Zeani, Marlena Malas, Theodore Uppman, Diane Forlano, and Marilyn Horne. Mr. Westman lives with his wife Nadine (Dini) and their two sons Liam and Hardy by the Avon in Stratford, Ontario, Canada; situated close to the Westman and Marshall/Levy heritage farms which have been in his family since the 1700’s!
‘’Westman, with a lush, soaring, flexible voice that equips him to be a Verdi and Puccini baritone, is heir to some of the most coveted roles in Opera.” – Paula Citron, The Globe and Mail