ABOUT

“As a well-deserved award winner of numerous singing competitions, Julien Van Mellaerts became the shooting star of the evening in the title role of Figaro. The young New Zealander is still unknown on the opera stage, but his charisma and vocal elegance were in no way inferior to the Count of Florian Boesch.”

 

Figaro: Le nozze di Figaro / Salzburg Mozart Week / Das Opernmagazin

J U L I E N  V A N M E L L A E R T S

B a r i t o n e
 

Winner of the Maureen Forrester Prize and the German Lied Award at the 2018 Concours Musical International de Montréal, Winner of the 2017 Wigmore Hall / Kohn Foundation International Song Competition, the 2017 Kathleen Ferrier Awards, and the 2015 Maureen Lehane Vocal Arts Award, British / New Zealand baritone Julien Van Mellaerts graduated with the Tagore Gold Medal from the International Opera School of the Royal College of Music. His studies have been supported by the 2016 Kiwi Music Scholarship, a 2016 Countess of Munster Award, the Hunn Trust and the ongoing support of the Dame Kiri Te Kanawa Foundation. He graduated in Summer 2017, having been a Fishmongers Company Scholar, supported by a Toeman Weinberger Award. He is also a scholar and alumnus of the Verbier Festival Academy, the Heidelberger Frühling Lied Academy with Thomas Hampson, the Bayreuth Festspiele Stipendium, a Samling Artist and a lauréat of La Fondation Royaumont. In January 2021, he was invited to return to the Royal College of Music as a member of the staff to teach English Song.

 

He has toured with James Baillieu for Chamber Music New Zealand, and given recitals with Julius Drake at the Wigmore Hall, the Pierre Boulez Saal, Berlin, the Enniskillen International Beckett Festival, for the Juan March Foundation, Madrid, and at Temple Song, London. Further recital engagements have included Schubert Die schöne Müllerin with Jocelyn Freeman at Blackheath Halls and with Daniel Gerzenberg at the Piano Salon Christophori, Berlin, Wolf Italienisches Liederbuch with Mary Bevan and Joseph Middleton for Leeds Lieder, The Sexual Outsider – Settings of Walt Whitman for the 2019 London Song Festival, A Heine Liederkreis at Oxford Lieder, the Lied Festival Victoria de Los Ángeles (LIFE Victoria), Barcelona, with Simon Lepper, and Northern Ireland Opera’s Glenarm Festival of Voice. With the Royal Ballet, he appeared in Elizabeth with Zenaida Yanowksy at the Barbican Hall and with Sergey Rybin, he gave a Crush Room Recital at the Royal Opera House.

 

He also sang The Referee Mozart vs Machine for Mahogany Opera Group, Schaunard La bohème for Opera Holland Park Young Artists and New Zealand Opera, the title role in Stanford’s The Travelling Companion for New Sussex Opera, Harlequin Ariadne auf Naxos for Longborough Festival Opera, the title role in Eugene Onegin for Cambridge Philharmonic Society, Mr Fezziwig in the premiere of Will Todd’s A Christmas Carol for Opera Holland Park, Britten War Requiem in Lincoln and Salisbury Cathedrals, Copland Old American Songs with the Joensuu City Orchestra, Messiah with the Orchestra of St John’s, Mahler Kindertotenlieder with the Kensington Symphony Orchestra and Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen on tour with the Israel Camerata.

 

Singing under conductors including Alphonse Cemin, Valeri Gergiev, Stanislav Kochanovsky, Fabio Mastrangelo, Mathieu Romano and Sir András Schiff, recent engagements have included Argento’s A Waterbird Talk and Poulenc’s Tel jour, telle nuit for English Touring Opera, The Ferryman Curlew River for the Cross-Cultural Year of Russia and Great Britain at St Andrew’s Anglican Church, Moscow,  Oreste Iphigénie en Tauride at the Fondation Royaumont, Figaro Le nozze di Figaro at Salzburg Mozart Woche 2020, Papageno Die Zauberflöte at the 2019 Verbier Festival, an Opera Gala with the Sevastopol Symphony Orchestra, Beethoven Cantata for the Death of Joseph the Second with Symphonia Varsovia, Brahms German Requiem with Ensemble Aedes and Les Siècles and Handel Arias with the Bellot Ensemble.

 

His current engagements include Duke of Nottingham Roberto Devereux with Chelsea Opera Group, Count Almaviva Le nozze di Figaro for Opera Holland Park, Sonora La Fanciulla del West at the Verbier Festival, further performances of Brahms German Requiem with Ensemble Aedes in Rouen and Tourcoing, the world premiere of John Lubbock’s orchestration of Dichterliebe with the Orchestra of St John’s, and a return to LIFE Victoria with Christiane Karg and Simon Lepper, as well as Momentum recitals with Louise Alder and Roderick Williams.

 

Julien Van Mellaerts represented New Zealand at Cardiff Singer of the World 2019. His broadcasts and recordings include Britten War Requiem (Siren Media), Songs by Duparc, Fauré, Richard Strauss and Vaughan Williams (Classic fM), In Tune and Lunchtime Recitals (BBC Radio 3), Mahler’s Des Knaben Wunderhorn (Rádio Clásica España) Die Zauberflöte, Die Frau ohne Schatten and Salome (Medici TV) and The Travelling Companion (SOMM Recordings). His debut song CD , Songs of Travel and Home with James Baillieu, is to be released later this year by Champs Hill Records.

 

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, which cost him debuts with the Israeli Opera as Silvio Pagliacci and at Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw and the Teatro Nacional de São Carlos, Lisbon, for Des Knaben Wunderhorn, a return to the Verbier Festival as Masetto Don Giovanni and Mangus The Knot Garden with English Touring Opera, Julien Van Mellaerts organized and curated Whānau: Voices of Aotearoa, far from home. Devised to highlight the plight of and raise funds for those New Zealand singers unable either to return home or work, the concert was recorded at London’s Royal Albert Hall and broadcast on both YouTube and Radio New Zealand Concert.

Selected reviews:

“As a well-deserved award winner of numerous singing competitions, Julien Van Mellaerts became the shooting star of the evening in the title role of Figaro. The young New Zealander is still unknown on the opera stage, but his charisma and vocal elegance were in no way inferior to the Count of Florian Boesch.”

Figaro: Le nozze di Figaro / Salzburg Mozart Week / Das Opernmagazin

“The character of Papageno requires a lot of theatrical energy and lightness, which the baritone, with his assured voice and clear and articulated projection, absolutely fulfilled, anchoring the show, and quickly making him the most touching character of the opera.”

Papageno: Die Zauberflöte / Verbier Festival / Olyrix 

 

“Julien Van Mellaerts a lively Schaunard with his rich baritone and high-spirited acting...“

Schaunard: La bohème / New Zealand Opera / Bachtrack

 

“Julien Van Mellaerts possesses a distinctive, birch-grained baritone, subtle verbal skills and a generous presence which made him a model, Housman-esque Companion.”

The Traveling Companion / New Sussex Opera / Opera

 

“Julien Van Mellaerts’ baritone songs are beautifully, conversationally delivered…”

The Arts Desk / Elizabeth / Royal Ballet at the Barbican

 

“…the baritone Julien Van Mellaerts brings the songs to life with warmth and wit.”

The Times / Elizabeth / Royal Ballet at the Barbican

 

“Eisenstein, the philandering husband about to go to prison for assaulting a police officer, was sung by the New Zealand baritone Julien Van Mellaerts. He managed to be both bumptious and suave, while also negotiating the high notes skillfully.”

The Guardian / Gabriel von Eisenstein: Die Fledermaus / RCMIOS

 

“Julien Van Mellaerts made a nicely fatuous Eisenstein, and his sunny tenorial baritone made one regret the character’s lack of an aria.”

Opera / Gabriel von Eisenstein: Die Fledermaus / RCMIOS

 

"...there was a sense of substance behind the macho bravado of Julien Van Mellaerts' Husband, even when togged up in a floral wrapover dress and matching turban..."

Opera / Le Mari: Les mamelles de Tirésias / RCMIOS

 

“As Le Mari, New Zealander Julien Van Mellaerts displayed the characteristic ‘open, engaging tone’ and ‘muscularity and vitality’ that I’d enjoyed at the Kathleen Ferrier Awards Final earlier this year. Van Mellaerts delighted in the grotesqueries and improbabilities, and the brightness and power of his baritone enabled Le Mari to hold his own against his wife’s feminist proselytizing.”

Opera Today / Le Mari: Les mamelles de Tirésias / RCMIOS