New Zealand born bass-baritone James Ioelu returns from London, having taken up an apprenticeship with the National Opera Studio in the 2015-16 season. Highlights from the season include his performance in the Mozart/Da Ponte opera scenes directed by Giles Havergal and performed with the Opera North Orchestra, a public master-class with distinguished Italian conductor Nicola Luisotti at the Royal Opera House Covent Garden, a performance of German song curated by the renowned accompanist, Iain Burnside, an evening of English song with Susan Bullock, and in particular an evening recital with Dame Kiri Te Kanawa where the critics described his voice with having “a wonderful Tito Gobbi resonance”. In 2015 he attended San Francisco Opera’s Merola Opera Program singing the title role in Don Pasquale directed by Nicholas Muni and conducted by Warren Jones with the San Francisco Opera Orchestra; the critics hailed James as “resonant and rhythmically secure” (Opera News, November 2015) and he was described by Janos Gereben of San Francisco Classical Voice as “a big-voiced bass-baritone from New Zealand…[who]…showed a well-projected voice, with good diction” and lauded his “funny” and “convincing vocal and stage performance”. Other notable roles include Raimondo Lucia di Lammermoor, Rodolfo La Sonnambula, Publio La Clemenza di Tito and Cesare Giulio Cesare, Mother Seven Deadly Sins, Trinity Moses Aufstieg Und Fall der Stadt Mahagonny, Mephistopheles Faust and Louis XVI The Ghosts of Versailles. His competition successes include winning the New Zealand Aria Competition, the New Zealand Young Performer of the Year award as well as placing second in both the Joan Sutherland and Richard Bonynge Bel Canto Competition and the Sydney Eisteddford Aria Competition. Since moving to London Mr Ioelu has had the support and mentorship of Dame Kiri Te Kanawa who has taken a personal interest in him, and the Kiri Te Kanawa Foundation, for which he is very grateful.