James Maddalena, baritone, commands a large and varied repertoire ranging from Monteverdi to contemporary opera. He first gained international recognition for his notable portrayal of the title role in the world premier of John Adams's Nixon in China, directed by Peter Sellars at Houston Grand Opera followed by performances at Netherland Opera, the Edinburgh Festival, Brooklyn Academy of Music, Washington Opera, Frankfurt Opera, Australia's Adelaide Festival, and at the Chatelet in Paris. Mr. Maddalena has appeared with many other leading opera companies in the United Sates and abroad: San Francisco Opera, New York City Opera, Atlanta Opera, Opera Theatre of St. Louis, Opera Boston, Frankfurt Opera, Opera de Lyon, and Glyndebourne Festival Opera, as well as with the Chicago Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Boston Symphony Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony, Brooklyn Philharmonic, Royal Scottish Orchestra, Orchestra of the Accademia di Santa Cecilia in Rome, and the London Symphony Orchestra.

Mr. Maddalena is a frequent collaborator with director Peter Sellars and sang major roles in Sellars's stagings of the Mozart/Da Ponte operas (the Count in Le nozze di Figaro and Guglielmo in Così fan tutte), as well as his productions of operas by Haydn, Handel, and John Adams. Besides Adams, he has collaborated with many contemporary composers, including John Harbison, Gunther Schuller, Elliot Goldenthal, Robert Moran, Domenic Argento, Marc Blitzstein, and Michael Tippett, among others. He sang the world premiere of Stewart Wallace's Harvey Milk with Houston Grand Opera later heard at San Francisco Opera, a production that was recorded by Teldec under Donald Runnicles. In St. Louis, Mr. Maddalena sang Hobson in the premiere of David Carlson's The Midnight Angel. In 2001, he sang the role of Gideon March in Mark Adamo's Little Women at the Houston Grand Opera. He sang the premiere of Elliot Goldenthal's Vietnam oratorio Fire Water Paper with the Pacific Symphony Orchestra, recorded for Sony Classical. This was followed by performances of the oratorio with the Boston Symphony Orchestra under Seiji Ozawa at Carnegie Hall and the Kennedy Center. In 1998, he gave the world premiere of Harbison's Four Psalms with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.

Mr. Maddalena has recorded for Decca/London, BMG Classical Catalyst, Nonesuch, Teldec, Sony Classical, Harmonia Mundi, and EMI. He can be heard on the Grammy Award-winning recording of Nixon In China (Nonesuch label) and the Emmy Award-winning PBS telecast, now on DVD.

News and Press

[News Coverage] A.R.T.’s Death and the Powers: The Robot’s Opera Plugs in March 18

The American Repertory Theater production of Death and the Powers: The Robot's Opera, starring baritone James Maddalena, begins performances March 18 at the Cutler Majestic Theatre at Emerson College.

Maddalena, who recently reprised his performance in the title role of Nixon in China at the Metropolitan Opera, created the role of inventor Simon Powers in the world premiere of Death and the Powers at l’Opéra de Monte-Carlo last September. He returns for the A.R.T. production, which will run through March 25.

Playbill Full review
[CD Review] ClassicalCDReview Reviews John Harbison: Full Moon in March

Tour de force. I’ve been wading through a lot of contemporary dramatic music these days, mostly from a sense of duty—a very bad reason for learning—from Robert Grey’s “Navajo oratorio” Enemy Slayer to Daron Hagen’s Shining Brow, an opera on Frank Lloyd Wright’s marital irregularities and the awful horrifying destruction of the first Taliesin. I don’t consider either of these examples obviously terrible, but I would feel better for the current state of contemporary music if they were. Both show great craft and at least some talent.

ClassicalCDReview Full review