In recent seasons, bass-baritone Paul Whelan added the role of Sarastro in Die Zauberflöte to his repertoire, which he sang at Hawaii Opera Theatre; he joined the Grand Théâtre de Genève as Quince in their new production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and appeared with Gothenburg Opera as Claudio in Thomas’ Hamlet in a new production by Stephen Langridge, for which he won sterling reviews.

This season the bass-baritone appears with New Orleans Opera as Timur in Turandot, creates the role of Captain Ross in the world premiere of Stuart Macrae and Louise Welsh’s Anthropocene with Scottish Opera, and joins the Garsington Festival in the summer of 2019 for the Commendatore in Don Giovanni.

Last season, Mr. Whelan joins the Lyric Opera of Kansas City as Gremin in Eugene Onegin, the London Song Festival, and the Arctic Philharmonic for Haydn’s Creation. He also appeared with the Jacksonville Symphony as Hagen in Götterdämmerung.

Recent highlights include Daland in Der fliegende Holländer at Hawaii Opera Theatre, Giorgio in I Puritani at Boston Lyric Opera and Victorian Opera, and his role debuts as Nick Shadow in The Rake’s Progress for Opera New Zealand, Banco in Macbeth at Opera North in the UK, and Titurel in Parsifal with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra under Andris Nelsons.

Other past successes include the artist’s return to Opera Australia as Ramfis Aida, and an appearance at Grant Park Music Festival in Chicago for Beethoven’s Mass in C. He sang Jesus in fully staged performances of St. Matthew Passion in Brisbane, and appeared as Seneca in a new production of L’Incoronazione di Poppea at Opéra de Lille, Opéra de Dijon, and at Glyndebourne Festival Opera. Other notable appearances include Theseus in the new production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream for English National Opera, Collatinus in The Rape of Lucretia for Opera Norway as well as Bach’s St. Matthew Passion for the Leeds International Concert Season. Additionally he appeared at Glyndebourne Festival Opera in two other roles: Claggart in their new production of Billy Budd, and Alidoro in La Cenerentola. He sang his first Wotan in Das Rheingold with the Auckland Philharmonic to critical acclaim.

Other significant appearances include the title role in Bluebeard’s Castle with NBR Opera New Zealand; Four Villains Les Contes d’Hoffmann at Southern Opera; Argante in Handel’s Rinaldo at Munich Opera; Apollon in Gluck’s Alceste at the Dresden Festival; a staged production of Bach’s St. John Passion (directed by Deborah Warner), Schaunard in a new production of Leoncavallo’s La bohéme, and Raimondo in Lucia di Lammermoor all at English National Opera; Escamillo in Carmen at Welsh National Opera; Harry Joy in Bliss at Hamburg State Opera; and world premieres of The Assassin Tree by Stuart MacRae in a joint production with the Royal Opera House and the Edinburgh Festival, and Bird of Night by Dominique Legendre, also for the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden.

Concert appearances include Stanford’s Songs of the Fleet with Ulster Orchestra, Mountararat in Gilbert and Sullivan’s Iolanthe with San Francisco SymphonyThe Dream of Gerontius (Priest and Angel of Agony) which he sang at Grant Park Music Festival in Chicago, in Berlin, Salisbury and in New Zealand; the bass soloist in Mozart’s Coronation Mass with Eugene Symphony Orchestra; a return to the London Bach Choir for St. Matthew’s Passion at the Festival Hall; the world premiere of Terra Incognita, a symphonic cantata for bass soloist and choir written for the artist by Gareth Farr and performed by the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra.

Other orchestral engagements include St. Matthew Passion with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and London Bach Choir, Judas in The Apostles at Leeds Festival, Mussorgsky’s Songs and Dances of Death with the Ulster Orchestra recorded for BBC Radio 3; Walton’s Belshazzar’s Feast with the Orquesta Sinfonica de Madrid (broadcast live), a series of concerts with Sir Charles Mackerras and the Sydney Symphony Orchestra; Schoenberg’s Gurrelieder at the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow, Delius’s Sea Drift in Osaka, and Valens in Handel’s Theodora with Scottish Chamber Orchestra, which was also presented in Winterthur, Switzerland.

Paul is a winner of the Cardiff Singer of the World Lieder Prize. Conductors with whom he has collaborated include Sir Simon Rattle, Kent Nagano, Richard Hickox, Yehudi Menuhin, Valery Gergiev, Gary Bertini, and Vassily Sinaisky; he has given recitals at Wigmore Hall, The Purcell Room, Cardiff’s St David’s Hall, Cheltenham Festival, BBC Pebble Mill, Perth Festival and at the Chátelet Theatre in Paris. Recordings include A Midsummer Night’s Dream with the London Symphony Orchestra under Sir Colin Davis (Philips), Kurt Weill’s Silber See under Markus Stenz (BMG); recordings with the BBC Philharmonic for Chandos and with the BBC Scottish Symphony for Hyperion.

London Song Festival – Songs and Dances of Death

Paul Whelan’s charismatic orotund bass practically made my fillings rattle. His vibrant tone and rich palate of vocal colour was mesmerising. A riveting storyteller, in Mussorgsky’s Songs and Dances of Death he was at once intensely menacing then passionate, earnest, unctuous, even languorous.”

Robert Hugill, Planet Hugill

Eugene Onegin – Lyric Opera Kansas City

New Zealand-born bass-baritone Paul Whelan, who made his Lyric Opera debut with his first Prince Gremin, was notable for his sure-footed technique and comfortable embrace of the character.”

Kyle Macmillan, Opera News

“Smith towers over most of the cast until he encounters Paul Whelan as Prince Gremin. Whelan’s height and lovely bass-baritone voice felt like an extra twist of the knife for Onegin. Tatyana has replaced him so completely.”

Marie Warner, Perform Ink Kansas City

“What threw Act III for a loop was Paul Whelan’s Prince Gremin: He was such an appealing figure that his famous “Lyubvi vse vozrastï” aria, sung with a gorgeously inflected basso, made us feel that Tatyana had made quite a good choice. Instead of the dumpy dotard that Gremin is often made out to be, Paul was not just the tallest but perhaps the most appealing man onstage, and arguably the best actor. Even though Tatyana was indeed “settling,” she didn’t marry just for fame-and-fortune after all: Gremin is a decent guy, and actually not that bad-looking!”

Paul Horsley, KC Independent

Il Ritorno d’Ulisse in Patria – Grange Festival

There’s strong work from her three deplorable suitors – most notably a vocally resplendent Antinoo from Paul Whelan, who like one or two other cast members collects three roles over the course of the evening.”

George Hall, The Stage

“Whelan, Stannard and Bowen are all superb”

Tim Ashley, The Times

“Paul Whelan, in several roles, displays a smooth, good-sounding bass”

David Karlin, Bachtrack

“Other stand-out performances include those by Paul Whelan and Gwilym Bowen.”

Michael Church, The Independent

Hamlet – Opera Gothenburg

King Claudius (Paul Whelan) gave a convincint portrait of a two-faced politician; the setting of his Act 1 speech looked like the acceptance speech of a US presidential candidate, complete with a beaming First Lady-to-be. Outwardly charming and statesmanlike, he was privately more brutal and depraved, as shown in the Act 2 duet with Gertrude. Mr. Whelan’s vocal delivery heightened this contrast, with the smooth, rounded sound of Act 1 giving way to a crueller, angrier bass in the Act 2 duet.”

Niklas Smith, Scene and Heard International

“Vocal splendour also from Paul Whelan as Claudius.”

Lennart Bromander, Aftonbladet

“King Claudius is interpreted by Paul Whelan, bass baritone. This interpretation also feels very convincing and his dark voice reaches all corners of the room.

Thorvald Pellby, P4 Sveriges Radio

“King Claudius, Paul Whelan, also demonstrates the authority and temperament of a regent.”

Carlhåkan Larsén, Opus

“Paul Whelan was imposing as Claudius.”

Andrew Mellor, Opera Now

A Midsummer Night’s Dream – Grand Theatre Geneve

Paul Whelan’s portrayal of Quince was wonderfully sonorous.”

Klaus Kalchschmid, Klassikinfo.de

St. Matthew Passion – Bach Choir

Bass Paul Whelan stood in for an indisposed Matthew Best as Christ. Tall and bearded, he is an imposing presence on the stage, and his voice is suitably commanding.

Gavin Dixon, The Arts Desk

The Magic Flute – Hawaii Opera Theatre

Paul Whelan (Sarastro) Physically dominates every scene he appears in, towering over the other members of the cast like a giant. Whelan’s size suggests that Sarastro is a god-like creature rather than a mortal, and that the mystical organization he heads has otherworldly origins.”

John Berger, Honolulu Pulse

I Puritani – Victorian Opera

New Zealand bass Paul Whelan as Sir Giorgio had a commanding presence. he delivered us a multi-faceted statesman – assured and confident at the same time as tender and loving to Elvira. His voice is rich and sonorous with great power; his character assertive and secure.”

Gregory Pritchard, Concertonet.com

“Excellent singing also from Paul Whelan as Elviera’s kindly uncle, Sir Giorgio.”

Michael Shmith, The Sydney Morning Herald

“The other men were admirable too, especially Paul Whelan (Giorgio Valton), an immensely tall young New Zealander who recently sang the role for the first time with the Boston Lyric Opera. His long Act One duet with Elvira and the aria ‘Cinta di fiori’, which precedes her Act Two mad scene, were highlights of the evening.”

Peter Rose, Australian Book Review

“Solid support was provided by baritone and bass Nathan Lay and Paul Whelan… ‘Cinta di fiori’ was lovingly done with the repeated ascending and descending intervals carefully placed.”

Simon Holden, Bachtrack.com

“As Elvira’s warm and fair-minded uncle, Sir Giorgio Valton (not much sense of a rigid Cromwellina Puritan there), Paul Whelan gave a resonant account of his arias and ensembles. His character drives much of the political element of the opera, but is really more impportant in providing and occasion for wonderful music. His duets with Elvira’s other suitor, the jealous Sir Ricardo (Nathan Lay) and his brother, Lord Gualtiero (Jeremy Kleeman) were splendidly sung by all three.”

Heather Levistone, Classic Melbourne

“As Elvira’s uncle Sir Giorgio Valton, bass-baritone Paul Whelan’s experience in the role showed, portraying a compassionate and trusted mediating force with exemplary diction and a fireside-warmth of tone.”

Opera Chaser

“Jeremy Kleeman and Paul Whelan offered strong vocal characterisations as the Governor-General and his brother.”

Peter Burch, The Australian

Parsifal – CBSO

Paul Whelan’s Titurel, sung from high above the orchestra near the organ, was especialy powerful.”

David Karlin, Bachtrack

“Paul Whelan was a sonorous Titurel.”

Alexander Campbell, Classical Source

The Flying Dutchman – Hawaii Opera Theater

Bass-baritone Paul Wheland (Daland, Senta’s father)…in [his] HOT debut, delivered (a) fine performance as well.”

Ruth Bingham, Honolulu Pulse

I Puritani – Boston Lyric Opera

His voluminous bass-baritone was expressively sympathetic in their scenes together.”

Angelo Mao, Boston Classical Review

“Whelan’s instrument was remarkably clear throughout its range; he provided, both aurally and visually, a sweet, powerful and awkward opposition to Coburn’s natural grace. His giddy eceitement at her happiness balanced his sorrow at her madness.”

Joseph E. Morgan, The Boston Musical Intelligencer

“Paul Whelan is a commanding presence as Sir George Walton, Elvira’s sympathetic uncle, stalwart in his “Liberty Duet” with Richard.”

Jeffrey Gantz, The Boston Globe

“Luckily bass-baritone Paul Whelan (another rising star) was given a bit more rein as Elvira’s commanding uncle, and used it to full advantage; with Cook’s help he made the opera’s famous “Liberty Duet” sternly rousing.”

Thomas Garvey ,The Hub Review

“Bass Paul Whelan, singing the role of her uncle and supporter Giorgio, sang with force and itelligence as well, his voice pushed to equally demanding extremes. His aria “Cinta di fiori,” at a pivotal moment in act two, had real passion.”

Keith Powers, Milford Daily News

Macbeth – Opera North

Paul Whelan is a stalwart and focused Banquo.”

Hilary Finch, The Times

“Paul Whelan’s rich baritone and his attention to fine details turn his Banquo into a major presence.”

Richard Wilcocks, Bachtrack

Paul Whelan’s Tall, charismatic Banquo… comes into his own during his supernatural second coming, nonchalantly discarding his jacket, shirt and waistcoat in front of a terrified Macbeth.”

Graham Rickson, The Arts Desk

“Paul Whelan as Banquo and Jung Soo Yun as Macduff, added huge depth of feeling to their characters with their glorious voices.”

Richard Trindler, Yorkshire Times

“This ambitious and imaginative production is blessed with two powerful leads … and notable performances from Paul Whelan.”
Paul Hindle, Nottingham Post

The Rake’s Progress – Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra

Paul Whelan mediated charm with chill as Nick Shadow, the smoothest of villains. he was seductively watchable, enticing the hapless Tom to ignominy and death.”

Willam Dart, NZ Herald

Wagner Concert – Royal Liverpool Philharmonic

…the befuddlement of a sensationally headstrong, young King Mark (baritone Paul Whelan, whose wondrous tone resounsd from top to bottom of his regsiter).”

Roderick Dunnett, The Arts Desk