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Portuguese Bass João Fernandes received a prestigious Helpmann Award 2016 for his portrayal of Claudio in Händel’s Agrippina at Brisbane Baroque Festival, a role he also performed at the New York City Opera, the Internationale Händel Festspiele Göttingen and at the Oldenburgische Staatstheater. He recently made his role debut as Don Magnifico in La Cenerentola at the Oldenburgische Staatstheater and sang Händel's Judas Maccabaeus at the Internationale Händel Festspiele Göttingen 2018 with Laurence Cummings conducting.

Highlights for the season 2018/2019 will include the role of Timagenes in Händel's Poro at Komische Oper Berlin, in a staging by Harry Kupfer , Apollon in Gluck's Alceste at the Teatro Nacional de São Carlos in Lisbon, Purcell's King Arthur at the L'opéra Royal de Versailles with Le Concert Spirituel, the title part in Bononcini's Polifemo with Ensemble 1700 and Dorothee Oberlinger at the Musikfestspiele Potsdam Sanssouci and Händel's Messiah with the Artic Philharmonic Orchestra and Rinaldo Alessandrini conducting.


João recently performed the role of Truffaldin in Ariadne auf Naxos at the Nederlandse Reisopera with Antonino Fogliani conducting and other past engagements include Figaro in Le Nozze di Figaro with Giovanni Antonini conducting, Satyre and Momus in Platée at Theater an der Wien and Opéra Comique, Hérault, Bass Choryphée and Apollon in Alceste at the festival in Aix-en-Provence, Giove in La Calisto at the Royal Opera House Covent Garden, Seneca in L’Incoronazione di Poppea and Don Alfonso in Cosi fan tutte at Opéra de Lyon, Nettuno in Il ritorno d’Ulisse in patria with Boston Baroque, Huascar in Les Indes Galantes at Teatro alla Scala, Pallante in Agrippina at Vlaamse Opera and the Opera in Oviedo and Tiferne in Eliogabalo at the Théâtre Royal de la Monnaie and the Innsbruck Festival.


His operatic roles also include Il Re di Scozia in Ariodante, Achilla in Giulio Cesare, Kaspar in Der Freischütz, Gremin in Eugene Onegin, Sprecher and Sarastro in Die Zauberflöte, Il commendatore in Don Giovanni and Don Quijote in de Falla’s El Retablo de Maese Pedro.


João Fernandes has an extensive concert and recital career, encompassing performances at Cité de la Musique, Palais Garnier, Théâtre du Châtelet, Salle Gaveau and Théâtre des Champs-Élysées in Paris, Théâtre Royal de la Monnaie and the Palais des Beaux-Arts in Brussels, the Amsterdam Concertgebouw, the Gulbenkian Foundation in Lisbon, Teatro alla Scala, Prague National Theatre, the Bunkamura in Tokyo and the Wigmore Hall and the Barbican in London. Concert engagements have included Mozart's Mass in C minor and Stravinsky’s Pulcinella with the Gulbenkian Orchestra, Handel Dixit Dominus with the London Philharmonic, Les Indes Galantes with the Orchestra of the 18th Century, Polifemo in Aci, Galatea e Polifemo both in the Halle Festival with the English Concert and in a Danish production with Concerto Copenhagen, Sebastiani’s St Matthew Passion with Boston Early Music Festival and Polyphemus in Acis and Galatea with the English Chamber Orchestra and Opera Atelier in Toronto.


He has been having the pleasure of working with many leading conductors including William Christie, Hervé Niquet, René Jacobs, Andrea Marcon, Christophe Rousset, Laurence Cummings, Christian Curnyn, Harry Bickett, Ivor Bolton, Marc Minkowski, Christina Pluhar, Ottavio Dantone, Raymond Leppard, Leonardo García Alarcón, Raphaël Pichon, Paul O’Dette and Steven Stubbs, Ludovic Morlot, Thomas Sanderling, Theodor Guschlbauer, Paul McCreesh, David Stern and Sir Colin Davis.

About the role of Claudio in Agrippina at the Oldenburgische Staatstheater.

“João Fernandes erobert als debiler Kaiser Claudio nicht die Herzen von Frauen, aber die des Publikums. Ein parodistisches Kabinettstück ist seine Beschreibung zum „Sockel des römischen Throns“: Er lässt den Bass in der Tiefe zerbröseln. Danach muss er sich mit der Zunge die Zähne wieder zurecht schieben. Szenenbeifall!” 

Nordwest-Zeitung, 17 October 2016


“João Fernandes, Bass, gibt mal den Herrscher und befehlsgewohnten Kaiser, mal den weichen Gebieter, oder, mit leicht brüchiger Stimme, den der Welt fast entrückten, altgewordenen Herrscher. Wenn er auf der Bühne steht, beherrscht er, zurückhaltend oder trotzig bestimmt, die Bühne, eine herrlich zwiespältige Figur.”

Opernnetz, 18 October 2016

Photo: Marco Borggreve