Although semi-retired from the stage, Ryland Davies still makes the occasional appearance, most recently in the last run of John Copley’s iconic production of La Boheme at Covent Garden. Ryland now teaches the singers of the future as a professor at the Royal Academy of Music and with the Reina Sofia School of Music in Madrid.
In the 50 years since making his operatic debut, Ryland Davies has firmly established himself as one of the most versatile and best loved of British tenors. At the start of his career, Ryland’s beautiful lyric tenor made him a mainstay in the major opera houses of the world, most notably Glyndebourne, Covent Garden, The Metropolitan Opera in New York and Salzburg. In the last decade Ryland has returned to all of these houses, now singing the character roles that have since become his speciality.
Born in South Wales, Ryland studied at the Royal Manchester College of Music and was made a Fellow of the College in 1971. He became a member of the Glyndebourne chorus and in 1965 was the first recipient of the John Christie Award. Ryland made his debut with Glyndebourne Festival Opera in 1965 as the Major Domo Der Rosenkavalier, and went on to perform many roles including Belmonte Die Entführungaus dem Serail, Ferrando Cosi fan tutte, Tamino DieZauberflöte, Nemorino L’elisir d’amore, Lensky Eugene Onegin and Flamand Capriccio. He made his operatic debut in 1964 as Count Almaviva Il barbiere di Siviglia (WNO) and his ROH debut in 1969 where his many roles have included Don Ottavio Don Giovanni, Ferrando, Ernesto Don Pasquale, Fenton Falstaff and Lysander A Midsummer Night’s Dream. He made his debut at the Salzburg Festival in 1970 as Cassio Otello and his American debut in San Francisco the same year as Ferrando, a role that also marked his debut at the Met in 1975.
More recently, engagements have included Turandot at Geneva Opera, Arbace Idomeneo and Monostatos Die Zauberflöte at the Metropolitan Opera, Opera North and Garsington, Le Duc Chérubin at Covent Garden and Monte Carlo, Aumonier The Dialogue of the Carmelites at Netherlands Opera, Monostatos in Jonathan Miller’s new production of Die Zauberflöte and Countess Maritza at Santa Fe, Don Basilio Le Nozze diFigaro at Nice Opera, New Israeli Opera, Netherlands Opera and to huge critical acclaim at Glyndebourne, Dr Caius Falstaff in Israel, Gaudenzio in Leoncavallo’s LaBohème, War and Peace, La Belle Vivette and Dialogue of theCarmelites at ENO, Sellem The Rake’s Progress at the Glyndebourne Festival, La Bohème and Monostatos Die Zauberflöte as well as Monsieur Triquet in a new production of Eugene Onegin at Covent Garden, Hauk-Sendorf The Makropulos Case with Houston Grand Opera and Horace Adams Peter Grimes at the Saito Kinen Festival in Japan and in Florence. Ein Hirt Tristan und Isolde at La Scala, Milan, M. Triquet for the Canadian Opera Company, Hauk Sendorf for Teatro Real, Madrid and a return to La Scala, Milan in Tristan, Theodora at the Salzburg Festival, Tristan und Isolde at the Royal Opera, Covent Garden, Hauk-Sendorf The Makropoulos Case at English National Opera and Salzburg Festival and Taupe Capriccioat the Opéra National de Paris, Bastille.
Other stage appearances include Flute in A Midsummer Night’s Dream with Sir John Eliot Gardiner at Teatro La Fenice, Basilio in Figaro at the Chicago Lyric Opera, Hauk-Sendorf in Nikolaus Lehnhoff’s production of The Makropulos Case at the Deutsche Oper in Berlin and at Opéra de Lyon, Guillot Manon for Los Angeles Opera, Hauk Sendorf in the new production of The Makropulos Case at the Bastille, Paris, M. Triquet Eugene Onegin at the Salzburg Festival with Daniel Barenboim, and Peter Grimes in Salzburg and Berlin with Sir Simon Rattle and in concert performances with the LSO in London and New York, which has since been released on CD on the LSO Live label.
Ryland now teaches the singers of the future as a professor at the Royal Academy of Music, and with the Reina Sofia School of Music in Madrid.